Dog Training Basics: The Structured Walk


All dog training programs share a common goal: to foster a relationship of mutual trust and regard between you and your pet.

One of the basic techniques used by professional trainers is the structured walk. Not only does the structured walk serve an invaluable purpose in the training process, but it also creates a strong foundation from which to further your pet’s education and development.


What Is a Structured Walk?

In the dog training world, you will hear this phrase (or some form of it) often.

A structured walk is when your pet walks calmly at heel, with a relaxed leash. It involves no pulling, tugging or reactivity. Instead, your dog remains focused on you rather than barking, lunging or pursuing distraction.

You can combine your walk with verbal or non-verbal commands, depending on how your pet is trained.

Isn’t This Overly Restrictive for My Dog?

Quite the opposite, the structured walk is the best way to make your pet feel safe and secure in public.

The pack-animal nature of dogs means they want and need rules and structure. Without this sense of order, your dog may become stressed out. When you teach your pet a set of rules and enforce those rules at all times, he will always know where he stands. The result is a calm and responsive dog and a walk that is safe and enjoyable for both of you.

But… Aren’t Walks Supposed to Be Fun?

Whether you believe it or not, your pup will have fun on a structured walk. In fact, as any dog training professional will tell you, dogs enjoy themselves more when you enforce the rules.

On your command – and only on your command – you can reward your dog during the walk with a few minutes of unstructured walking. During this time, your pet will be free to sniff, answer nature’s call and explore. This does not, however, give your pet carte blanche to pull, tug or attempt to chase people or other animals.

When you use dog training principles to establish a set of rules for your pet, you contribute to his confidence. Your pet wants very much to please you, and the rules of the structured walk show him exactly how to do that. And, as a result, you’ll notice him looking to you for guidance in other areas and becoming a joy to be around for you, your family and any visitors to your home.

Innovative K9 Academy, located in Salt Lake City, offers Utah’s most well-regarding dog training programs. We offer puppy boot camps, dog obedience courses and group classes, as well as personalized training programs to meet your needs.

Contact us today to learn more about our compassionate and highly effective dog training programs.