Why Your Dog Walks Behind You

Why Your Dog Walks Behind You

Have you noticed your furry friend’s habit of trailing behind during walks? It’s a seemingly simple behavior, but have you ever wondered what lies beneath this pattern? In this article, we’ll explore the reasons why your dog walks behind you, revealing the heartfelt reasons for this endearing pattern. 

 Subsequently, we’ll delve into techniques to modify this behavior. It’s essential to note that a dog walking behind you isn’t inherently “misbehavior.” However, if you like them to walk beside you, we’ll guide you in achieving that.

Your loyal pup sometimes trails behind, whether on or off-leash, for a range of intriguing reasons. Sometimes, it’s simply because they’re tired or not too fond of their gear, signaling a little comfort protest. Other times, it’s a beautiful sign of submission, acknowledging you as their pack’s protective leader. Fear might make them hug the safety of your footsteps, especially in unfamiliar territory. And let’s not forget the power of habit – sometimes, they just prefer to follow your lead.

7 Reasons Why Your Dog Walks Behind You

1. They Are Being Submissive

Dogs, like pack animals, have a strong mentality to be obedient and walk behind their leaders out of respect, not fear.

When your dog is following you, pay attention to their body language. If they have their ears back, are walking with their head bowed and tail tucked between their legs, or are curled up around you, these are all indicators of submission.

 2. Naturally Comfortable for the Dog

When wondering, “Why does my dog walk behind me off leash?” consider comfort as well.

Some dogs simply enjoy walking beside you. They prefer to see you while walking since it gives them peace of mind rather than having to turn their head.

3. They’re dressed in very tight gear

Perhaps not many dog owners consider this when walking their pets: Your dog’s lagging may be due to their gear.

Your dog’s collar could be choking him. Insert your finger between the collar and the dog’s neck. If you couldn’t, your collar is too tight

When it comes to the harness, your dog may be bothered by it. Your dog may have grown and the harness is now too tight. Or the harness could be the incorrect size.

As a result, your dog’s skin may become chafed. Or put undue strain on their bodies.

Furthermore, if the harness is constructed of cheap materials, it will still feel uncomfortable.

It is preferable to use a harness with cushioned straps and mesh webbing.

If their leash is not weight and size appropriate, it will be uncomfortable.

4. They are in an unfamiliar territory

Unfamiliar surroundings can be frightening for any dog. Walking in a new place will cause your dog to react differently.

However, your dog is likely to be wary of a new setting. There will be new dogs and people. There are bushes and walls that your dog is unfamiliar with.

Perhaps it’s a busy neighborhood with a lot of foot traffic and cars. Your dog would react by following you. They are comfortable in that position.

5. They Don’t Like Other Dogs

Some dogs dislike other animals and keep as much distance as possible when out on walks. This is especially true if they have been assaulted or bitten by another animal. In most circumstances, your dog will not feel safe approaching other animals unless you are present. Fortunately, though, simply allowing your dog to become familiar with many breeds of dogs by taking them to dog parks should help lessen their fear of other dogs.

 6. Your dog is exhausted.

This one should go without saying. When your dog is fatigued, he or she is less likely to walk beside you and more likely to shuffle behind you. The good news is that you may have heard the expression “A tired dog is a happy/good dog.”

Some dogs require less exercise than others, but all dogs require some type of physical outlet regularly, or else they may develop destructive habits. So, if you see your dog trotting behind you on walks, this is a good sign because it suggests they are less likely to become a destructive lunatic in your home.

7. Curiosity

Some dogs would find their environment overwhelming, while others might see it as a world full of excitement. Your dog may be following you because they are interested in what they are seeing.

Dogs possess keen senses of smell. Your canine companion might pick up other dogs’ scent if you’re walking on a trail or in an area where they frequently congregate.

They might also be observing unfamiliar faces, unfamiliar smells, and new animals that cross their path.

While some dogs’ interest prompts them to race forward and tug on the leash, other dogs “take their time” and remain back.

4 Tips To Stop Your Dog From Walking Behind You

1. Training

Training your dog to walk beside you, rather than behind due to fear or curiosity, can be achieved by using treats as positive reinforcement. When your dog lags behind, hold a treat at your side, prompting your dog to come closer to receive the treat without stopping.

By consistently rewarding your dog for staying by your side, they’ll quickly grasp that staying close to you brings rewards.

If your dog is overwhelmed by the surroundings, like traffic noise and lots of people, start the training in a less distracting environment, like a quiet path or a walking trail.

Once your dog becomes proficient at walking alongside you in a calm setting, gradually transition to busier routes. Continue using treats to reward them when they stay by your side.

2. Give Your Dog a Sniff Break

Your dog may be inquisitive about all the sounds and smells around them if you always walk them on a leash. Therefore, it won’t harm to let them go off-leash for little periods of time to give them a sniff break.

 Most individuals use “go sniff.” When your dog comes to walk with you after a few minutes, say “let’s go,” give them a treat and then go on to the next location. Your dog will quickly understand that by walking beside you, they have the freedom to explore everything.

3. Let Your Dog Enjoy The Walk

It’s crucial to visit the vet if your dog is having trouble keeping up with walks due to a medical condition. Don’t feel as though you need to stop your dog from “taking it all in” if they are merely curious about their surroundings. Allow them to spend as much time as they like outside.

 4. Use A Short Leash

Opt for a short leash on days when you can’t afford to give your dog extended sniffing time. This may be due to weather conditions like winter, or if you’re not feeling well and can only manage a brief walk.

A short leash provides better control and allows you to guide your dog, minimizing the time spent on sniffing.

Additionally, a short leash keeps your dog close to your side. Make sure to maintain a firm grip on the leash to prevent your dog from pulling you. Reward your dog with treats when they stay beside you.

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