Trainer reveals the number one mistake couples make when walking their dog (and avoiding this will boost your pup’s obedience)

Couple walking dog in forest
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Are you the kind of couple that loves to walk your dog together? If so, you're not alone. Many of us relish the chance to get out and about with both our dog and our partner, seeing it as an opportunity to enjoy some much-needed quality time together. 

But what you may not have realized is that walking your dog as a couple has the potential to derail your pup's training progress if not managed carefully.

While having the best dog treats on hand can certainly help keep your canine companion on track, expert trainer Adam Spivey has shared some important advice in a recent Instagram post. And it's certainly got us thinking! 

Spivey says that there's one golden rule all couples must remember when it comes to dogs: "He who holds the lead or he who gives the command must start and finish that command and everything in between."

What does Spivey mean by this? Well, one good example would be if you're holding the leash and ask your dog to sit but your dog doesn't listen so your partner steps in and issues the sit command again. 

While this may seem harmless, it's teaching the dog something very important —  you're not someone they need to pay attention to.

"Your partner is unintentionally undermining you," Spivey explains. "It's teaching the dog that it doesn't have to listen to you but it may have to listen to your partner."

So, what's the best way to approach this sort of situation?

"You're allowed to work as a team and help each other," says Spivey. "If one of you is getting a little bit stressed, you can step in and say 'hey, look, just calm down a bit, slow down a little bit' but it's important that whoever is giving the command or is holding the lead is the one that must start and finish that exercise."

If you feel like you need a break or your partner wants to take over, tap out fully by giving your partner the leash so your dog knows there's been a change regarding who's in charge. This prevents confusion and ensures your dog learns they must listen to both of you.

Remember, always work together as a team and do your best not to undermine each other — if you follow this golden rule, it will help boost your dog's obedience. 

Once you've mastered that, here are 12 clever ways to have more fun with your dog on walks (and we're huge fans of number nine!)

Milo's Kitchen Chicken & Apple Sausage Slices 
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Milo's Kitchen Chicken & Apple Sausage Slices 
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Made with real chicken and apples, these deliciously wholesome meaty morsels are made without artificial flavors or colors and are great as a snack or training treat. 

Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.