“Walk and Dine” is a fabulous way to train your dog to walk next to you, with attention. You don’t have to use the clicker: just take a few steps away from your dog and when he makes any motion towards your side, reward him at your side. Your body motion is very likely to invite him to follow you. Repeat. Be sure not to lure him – this can encourage a dog to come only if he sees a treat. Pay him for his effort.
Genny the German Shepherd puppy has been practicing “walk and dine” at PupStart, my puppy day school, since she was just 10 weeks old. Here she is at 5 months.
There is a lot of handler mechanics happening here. For “walk and dine,” I like to bring my hands up to “home position” (folded against my body) except when I am rewarding her. The click is for connecting or reconnecting with me as well as for eye contact. I feed at heel position. The fence helps keep Genny right by my side so walking close to me becomes habitual (notice how she strays away when she is not sandwiched?). I stop to feed, which helps teach a dog to put on his brakes when you do and to follow your movement. It’s not easy for the dog to do this!
As always, make training nothing but fun and games!