Do you know the feeling when you walk your dog and the leash is WAY out in front of you and the dog is looking back at you eagerly? Or maybe not!! That is the sign that the dog is leading YOU down the street.
I have many patients who walk their dogs and often complain of neck and shoulder pain. That could be a sign that the dog is walking you. This can of course vary, depending on the size of your dog, But a little tug here and there even with a small dog can cause some aches and pains in an otherwise healthy neck.
Patients often complain of neck tightness and generally grab the part of their neck just above their shoulders and want to massage it in the hopes that it will make them feel better. More often than not, this area is being put on tension or elongated when the leash is in that hand and the dog is way ahead of you. Simply put, when your leash hand is held is out in front, it puts stress and strain on the neck and shoulder muscles on that same side.
When I ask my patients who have complaints of neck and shoulder pain if they walk their dog with the hand on the same side as their neck pain they often say, “Yes, but I would not think that is relevant.” Trust me, it is! Once, you bring the dog closer to you, which I know may be a training issue and can take some time, you will be surprised as to the difference it can make in your symptoms. In the short term, switch sides or alternate, you and your dog will be thankful you did!