In some cultures it is customary for a woman to walk behind her man; and from the point of view of a big celeb trainer all dogs should walk behind us. Not in my books; there are times when a dog should be behind us but out on a "leisurely" walk is not one of them. His philosophy is that only the Alpha in a pack walks up front; this is wrong if you've ever watched a documentary on wolves. Sure the alpha is saying where the pack goes and the lower members are following his lead but they aren't actually walking behind him.
There are alot of places I take my dogs; one is a great park where I can often sneak them off leash for a while. I usually see some of the regulars while we walk. There are a couple of ladies who walk their dogs there; the dogs never leave their sides as we pass and they stretch their heads to get a whiff of my guys. I always think to myself that they don't look like they are having much fun. No sniffing; no wandering for these dogs. And every so often I see a dedicated audience member of this walking behind idea. The owner is growing mad as they attempt to keep their dog behind.
I for one like my dogs out front; I can keep my eye on them out there. Plus; I have 8 foot leashes so that they can stay out from under my feet while we enjoy our walk. No I don't want to be dragged down the street but fun is why we are out on a walk. I can hit the treadmill at the gym if I just want my own exercise. I'm out with the dogs to let them be dogs; sniff, lift and do whatever makes them happy of course within normal limits. Not allowing a dog to sniff is just plain wrong; that is what dogs do. I have rules; when we are walking and I want to walk then we walk. When I decide that the dogs need a sniff then we do the snail pace walk and they get their sniffing in.
I believe in being a strong leader; I'm pretty strict and I have alot of rules but life is way too short to always be working, fun should be a huge part of everyones life.