People often ask me why it’s so important to me for dogs to walk on my left side. There are a few reasons and a couple of them are almost sure to apply to you, too!
First, I tend to walk on the left side of the road with traffic coming at me. This lets me know when people are driving near me more easily and if I need to move over. I have seen people very nearly get sideswiped walking with traffic coming from behind that comes a little too close for comfort. So if I walk on the left side, I want the dog walking on my left side so I am closer to cars. They might not see my dog over their dash, but they are much more likely to see me! Also, if the dog sees something and decides to bolt into the street, this gives me a scant extra spare moments to control him or her before disaster. He is further away from his target. This protects whatever animal I am walking at the time!
Next, it gives a little more control for right handed people. I loop the end of the leash around my right hand, but hold up the slack and control with my left. That way I can more easily open gates, doors, et cetera!
Finally, it prevents me tripping over the dog either on turns or when he decides it is a good idea to move in front of or around me. Without knowing where he should be, a dog may move all over and interrupt the flow of a relaxing walk or even cause a fall. Dogs that pull are a more exuberant example of not knowing where he should be- pulling prevention is another great reason to train your dog to heel at your left side.
Without having a place a dog knows he or she should walk, it’s often hard to enjoy a walk. Whether it’s something as simple as answering your cell phone or keeping your dog out of the street, there really is something to letting your dog know where he should be.
Where do you walk YOUR dog? Let me know what you think!
Image credit: Greencolander