How to Train Your Dog to Follow You

Be the first one out the door to establish your pack leader position.
i boy walking dogs on the beach image by Jenny Thompson from

Training your dog to follow you will seem natural to him, if you're the pack leader. Dogs look to the pack leader for direction, so the first step in training her to follow is to always hold the position of pack leader, even when you're not walking.

Step 1

Establish your position as the pack leader. Always eat before your dog eats. Don't let your dog go through a doorway first or up and down stairs first. Always greet newcomers first, and then allow your pet to greet them. You should initiate all play and end playtime. If your dog is going to sleep on the bed, you give him permission to get on the bed.

Step 2

Teach your dog simple commands such as sit, stay and come. These commands enforce your position as leader and teach your dog to watch, listen and follow through with the command.

Step 3

Practice walking with a leash. As the leader, go out the front door first. If your dog is excited, give the sit command. Wait until he is composed and then start the walk. Keep the leash short and walk with your dog beside you or slightly behind you. Walk at a good pace so your dog does not have time to wander but must follow your lead.

Step 4

Walk where there are other dogs or people. This gives you a chance to correct your dog if he starts to pull on the leash. Give a one-word correction and snap the leash. Continue to walk. Your dog will soon learn he is to walk beside or follow. When he has learned to heel and pay attention, you are ready to try walking with a loose leash and eventually no leash.

Step 5

Find an area with few distractions and no traffic. A back road or path in the woods is ideal. Begin with the leash so your dog is practicing heeling. Stop and remove the leash and continue to walk. Keep a fast pace. If your dog stops and sniffs, call his name and keep walking. Walk him off leash for a few minutes and then put the leash back on. Continue to lengthen his time off leash.

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