Dogs are of course pack animals, meaning they will react and function well as an extended family ‘pack’. From this simple premise all else will find its rightful place and expression if given the correct guidance and reinforcement.
In walking dogs there are a number of ways to practically teach the canine which are a natural follow-through from all areas one is exhibiting to them.
First and foremost is simply that you are the pack leader. You are the ‘alpha dog’. You must always lead and always assert that leadership. They understand and expect this.
Hence, your position in walking the dog(s) must always be in front and all dogs must be either at your side or slightly behind you.
Keep the leash short for leash training dog, a longer leash with ample drooping slack gives you no control– that is key– as the pack leader, you are always asserting your control. You must determine exactly when you are to exit that door and lead the ‘pack’ for their walk. If you allow the dog to bolt and lead you out the door,— you have lost primary control as pack leader.
Always have the collar and leash set as high as possible on the neck – up close to head and ears. This gives better transference of your commands to your pet.
When the ‘pack’ has shown to you that they have absorbed the correct frame of mind during the walk, you can relax and reward them with a little free time to sniff around and relieve themselves. But it must be you whom decides when to call that to a halt, hook up their leashes and resume the walk. This roam-around time should not be longer than the walk itself.
Do not praise your dog for walking calmly as this may excite it right out of the calm state it was in. If you are calm and quiet, they will follow that example in due course. You set the tone.
If you have multiple pets do not let them meander and change positions with each other. Put more hyper dogs and /or larger dogs closer to your side and the smaller ones on the outside – always keeping the minimal leash length possible. The effect should resemble a straight ‘line abreast’ with the biggest innermost, smallest outside and you will notice that the leashes all flow nicely laterally over each body height.
Do not simply quit this control and leadership once the walk is over – your leadership must continue even in more relaxed environments at home if you are thinking of working with dogs conveniently: you determine what, when and how much, just as any pack lead dog would exert. If you don’t, they will be set to become more unruly as soon as they get home, knowing that is your pattern.