For many people taking your dog for a walk is a quintessential part of dog ownership. Walking your dog promotes good physical and mental health and helps to build a strong bond between you and your dog.

To make the most out of the dog walk, I use three types of loose lead walking for different situations. These three styles of walking allow you to walk your dog past a distraction, safely cross the road and walk down the sidewalk as well as allow free time to sniff and explore.

All while on a loose lead.

Style #1: Focused heel

The focused heel position is where your dog is walking close to you on your left-hand side WHILE looking up at you. The dog is giving you their focus and trusting you to keep them safe while walking.

I typically use the focused heel position to get past distractions and to safely cross the road. The focused heel takes practise but is definitely worth the effort.

Style #2: Casual heel

The casual heel style is similar to the focused heel without the dog needing to look up at the handler. The dog will still be walking close to the body on a loose lead.

This style is good for walking along footpaths and when walking around people and other dogs. When in the close walk position, I generally discourage sniffing and toileting as the dog should be walking with you and following your lead.

In the video linked below, you will see Coco learning this technique. She is not all the way in the casual heel position (we are getting there!). This is an intermediary step teaching her to still walk on a shorter lead before the final stage of her walking next to me. I wanted you to see this stage of the training too.

Style #3: Social walking

The final style of walking is what I use to give the dog freedom to sniff and explore and just be a dog.

The dog has the use of the full length of the lead, they can walk ahead of you, behind or switch sides. The dog can stop and sniff, and go to the toilet as long as the lead is loose.

This style is great for use at the park or a part of the walk route where you have a bit more space.

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