Should Dogs Walk Beside You or In Front of You?

Walking your dog is not just about getting exercise; it’s an opportunity for bonding and training. 

One common debate among dog owners is whether their furry companion should walk beside them or in front of them during walks. 

Both approaches have their advocates, and each has its benefits and drawbacks. In this article, we will delve into the reasons behind both methods and provide insights to help you decide which approach is best for your four-legged friend. 

Let’s explore the advantages and disadvantages of both walking positions and uncover the optimal way to enjoy your daily strolls with your beloved canine.

Walking Beside You: The Traditional Approach

For years, the traditional approach of having a dog walk beside their owner has been widely adopted. This method promotes a sense of connection and partnership between the dog and the human. 

When a dog walks by your side, it fosters a feeling of belonging and reinforces the human-dog bond. 

Additionally, this walking position allows you to have better control over your dog, making it easier to manage their behavior and provide quick corrections if necessary.

Walking in Front of You: The Pack Leader Concept

Alternatively, some dog trainers and behaviorists suggest allowing the dog to walk in front of the owner, adopting the concept of the pack leader. 

See also  Why Does My Dog Move His Mouth Like He Is Talking?

According to this theory, allowing the dog to lead the way taps into their natural instincts, as dogs are descendants of wolves, which are pack animals. 

By adopting this method, the dog is given the freedom to explore their surroundings and take in different scents, which can enrich their sensory experience during walks.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Walking Beside You


  1. Reinforces Bond: Walking alongside your dog enhances the sense of companionship and strengthens your relationship with them.
  2. Better Control: Having your dog close to you allows you to manage their behavior effectively and ensure their safety.
  3. Training Opportunities: Walking by your side creates opportunities for training and reinforcing obedience commands.


  1. Distractions: Dogs walking beside you may get easily distracted by other dogs, people, or animals, leading to pulling or erratic behavior.
  2. Limited Exploration: Your dog may miss out on the chance to explore their environment fully.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Walking in Front of You


  1. Enriching Experience: Allowing your dog to lead the way offers them a more stimulating and engaging sensory experience.
  2. Tapping into Instincts: This approach aligns with the pack mentality, tapping into your dog’s natural instincts.


  1. Lack of Control: Allowing your dog to walk ahead may result in a lack of control, especially if they encounter potential hazards.
  2. Pulling Behavior: Dogs may develop pulling habits when walking in front, making it challenging for owners to manage them.


In conclusion, the decision of whether to have your dog walk beside you or in front of you during walks ultimately depends on your preferences, your dog’s behavior, and your training goals. 

See also  Can Golden Retrievers sleep in AC? Facts to Know

Both methods have their merits and drawbacks, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Consider your dog’s personality, behavior, and the level of training they have received before making a choice.

Remember that the most crucial aspect of walking your dog is to do so safely, attentively, and with love. 

Whether your furry friend walks beside you or in front of you, the key is to cherish the time spent together and make every walk an enjoyable and positive experience for both of you. Happy walking!