If your dog keeps walking in front of you, this post will show you a number of reasons why it might be doing it and what you can do to stop it.
So, why does my dog walk in front of me? Possible reasons why your dog walks in front of you are that it wants to go faster, is being protective, wants to interact with things, has a lot of energy or you might have inadvertently rewarded it for doing so.
There are a number of things that you can consider when trying to figure out why it walks in front of you. Once you have a good idea of why it might be doing it, you will have a much easier time getting it to stop.
Why does my dog walk in front of me?
Each of the different reasons that your dog might be walking in front of you will likely come with a number of clues.
Below, I will mention a number of reasons that your dog might be doing it and what would make it more likely.
Your dog wants to go faster
The reason that it walks in front of you could be that it wants to go faster. This would be more likely if it tends to pull on the leash when it does it and if it is a dog that is known for wanting to go faster such as a Husky.
If it does seem to be doing it because it wants to go faster then it would help to implement the tips mentioned below.
Related: Why is my dog dumb?
It’s being protective
The reason that it walks in front of you could be that it is being protective. This would be more likely if it is a protective breed such as a German Shepherd and if it only seems to do it when other people or dogs are around.
It wants to interact with something
It could be the case that it does it because it wants to interact with something. This would be more likely if it seems to want to go ahead only some of the time and it does it when you are coming up to things such as bushes or trees.
It has a lot of energy
The reason that it does it could be that it has a lot of excess energy and it wants to get more exercise. This would be more likely if your dog is from a very active breed such as a Husky and it is meant to be getting lots of exercise daily.
If it is from an active breed and it isn’t getting the recommended amount of daily exercise then it would help to make sure that it does.
It wants attention
The reason that it walks in front of you might be that it is looking for attention. This would be more likely if it does it when you have not given it much attention and if it does it when you are not walking it. If your dog does walk in front of you when you are not walking it then I have written more about why it might do it here.
You haven’t trained it not to
If you haven’t trained your dog much then it could be the case that it does not know that it is not meant to walk in front of you. If you haven’t trained it much then it would help to start teaching it basic things such as to sit and to follow the tips below.
Encouraging the behavior
It could also be the case that your dog has learned that the behavior is rewarded. If you tend to give your dog things such as toys, treats, or extra attention (good or bad), when it walks in front of you, it would be more likely that your dog will do it more in order to get more rewards. This would be more likely if your dog has started doing it around the home.
Things to consider
Below, I will mention some particularly helpful things to consider when trying to figure out why your dog walks in front of you. Once you have a better idea of the cause it will be easier to take the appropriate action.
When your dog first started walking in front of you
Considering the timing of when it first started walking in front of you could be helpful.
Some things that might have happened could include:
- You changed its schedule
- You started walking it on a different route
- You stopped giving it as much attention
If your dog has always walked in front of you then it would make it more likely that it does it naturally and you need to train it not to do it.
When your dog walks in front of you
The timing of when it does it could also be a helpful thing to consider. If it only seems to be doing it in certain situations then it would likely tell you a lot about the cause.
For example, if it seems to walk in front of you on a walk then it would be more likely that it either does it naturally and needs to be trained not to or it wants to run more.
Whereas, if your dog does it around the home, it would be more likely that your dog does it because it does not realize that it is in your way.
How to get my dog to stop walking in front of me?
There are a number of things that you can do about your dog walking ahead of you. The best option for your dog will largely depend on the cause of it doing it.
Below, I will mention a number of things that you can do about it.
Use positive reinforcement training to get it to stop walking ahead on the leash
Positive reinforcement training is where you reward the behaviors that you want to see from your dog.
To use positive reinforcement training to get your dog to stop walking ahead of you on the leash you would do as follows:
- Start walking it on the leash with some treats
- Stop when it is about to walk ahead of you and get it to pay attention to you
- Reward it for stopping and paying attention to you then carry on walking
- Repeat the above until it stops walking ahead of you
You can watch the video below to see how it is done
Use positive reinforcement training to stop it walking in front of you at home
To use positive reinforcement training to get your dog to stop walking in front of you at home you would:
- Avoid giving it attention when it walks in front of you
- Get it to pay attention to you when it is about to walk in front of you, reward it and then walk ahead of it
- Reward it when it does not walk ahead of you when it normally would
You can also give it lots of attention and exercise throughout the day.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
As mentioned above, it might be the case that your dog has learned that the behavior is rewarded. Instead, if your dog does it when on a walk, it would help to stop and wait for your dog to calm down before walking again. If your dog does it around the home, it would help to avoid giving your dog any extra attention when it does it.
Should you let your dog walk ahead of you?
If your dog pulls you forward on the leash, it would be best to curb the behavior by stopping as soon as your dog starts doing it. By doing so repeatedly, your dog should eventually learn that the behavior is not accepted.
If your dog walks ahead of you off-leash, it is largely down to your preference. However, if your dog is not next to you within reach, it is a lot harder to control your dog such as when it sees a squirrel or when it misbehaves around other people or dogs. If your dog is a large dog or is particularly hard to control, it would be recommended by me that you at least keep your dog on the leash by using one of the extendable leashes.
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