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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I've had my rescue pup for about a week and a half now. We are making some progress on his manners and taking an obedience class. For a few days he was definitely testing me to see who is the leader and I've been working to establish myself as the alpha. That said, I wanted to be sure I wasn't undoing my work with the way I've been walking him.

We walk for at least 30 minutes around the neighborhood and a nearby park. I'll let him walk ahead of me IF he keeps slack in the leash. If he pulls, I give a little tug on the leash as correction and stop until he looks back at me and then walks at my pace again (on a loose leash).

I just read on another site that the "leader" walks out in front. Am I confusing the alpha role by allowing him to walk ahead of me?
 

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The "alpha" stuff has been debunked for a while. I wouldn't really worry about it. It's silly. Work with your dog, care for your dog, and he will learn to love and respect you.

As for him walking in front of you, I don't see any issue with it as long as the leash is looks and he can be pulled easily next to you if an occasion calls for it. I let my boy walk out in front of me too. As long as the leash is lose it doesn't bother me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The "alpha" stuff has been debunked for a while. I wouldn't really worry about it. It's silly. Work with your dog, care for your dog, and he will learn to love and respect you.

As for him walking in front of you, I don't see any issue with it as long as the leash is looks and he can be pulled easily next to you if an occasion calls for it. I let my boy walk out in front of me too. As long as the leash is lose it doesn't bother me.
Cool. Thanks. That's kind of my feeling. As long as he isn't pulling me I don't care if he's in front.
 

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It depends on what you want.

Some folks don't care of their dog is out in front doing its own thing and rarely giving them a glance as long as the dog isn't pulling.

Other folks want the dog back beside or behind them and paying attention to them instead of doing it's own thing.

Up to you.
 

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I don't think it really matters,

If anything, it would be useful to teach a good heel so he can walk next to you in a crowd or tight quarters
 

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Forget about all the "alpha" nonsense. Decide what behaviors you want to get and teach your dog to give them to you. All that is needed for the dog to see you as leader is reasonable rules and boundaries (and giving that information to the dog in a way that is understandable to him)
Walks are to be enjoyed, and as long as the dog isn't trying to pull me, s/he can be in any position, including in front. I do teach dogs to ask permission to go through doors, but that is a safety concern. Nothing to do with being "alpha". Trying to act like a dog only makes your dog think you are really weird.
 

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In our obedience class, we've just started to teach "heel", for those times when we want the dog close by and paying attention. Otherwise, we let our dog wander and sniff, as long as the leash stays loose.
 

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I prefer my dogs to walk in front of me so I can keep an eye on what they're doing and make sure they don't pick something up and so I don't continue walking if they need/want to stop and pee/poop/smell something. Walks are to be enjoyed by all of us. They do know that dragging me down the street is NOT acceptable but on leisurely walks I don't mind some tension on the leash and actually put them in harnesses so they don't strangle themselves if they hit the end of the leash. Their leash manners are awesome and my 4 year old roommate (lol) can walk either dog without issue.

The alpha stuff is not something to concern your dog with. Both of my dogs have been described as "alpha" or "dominant" because they ooze self confidence however they are very well behaved and earn compliments whenever we go out. They don't bolt out of doors, they stop at all crosswalks (which so many people are amazed by.. lol) and wait for permission to go forward, they won't get out of the car or their crate until I give them the OK to do so. All of these things have nothing to do with me trying to show them that I am a pack leader or an alpha, they've simply been conditioned to know that demonstrating some self control and waiting for direction in those scenarios is way more profitable to them (treats, petting, praise, ability to continue on walk and do fun stuff, play) than going off and doing things on their own.
 

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Please read Ian Dunbar, don't shoot the dog and culture clash. Alpha theory is bunk that has done a lot of damage to dogs over the years.

As long as kabota isn't pulling on the leash, I prefer him out front, so I can see what he's doing. He will walk at my side if I ask him to, but that's only for crowded places like petsmart. I also let him on the couch and sleep on the bed. Amazingly, he does pretty much whatever I ask. Probably because I'm known to give treats for a good performance.
 
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