Training Your Dog to Heel
Teaching your dog to heel is an essential command for your dog to learn, especially if you would like to enjoy walking with your dog. In the past this type of command was taught to dogs through negative reinforcement by jerking on their leash and pulling them into position. However there is a much more effective, kinder, way to teach your dog to heel.
5 Steps to Teach Your Dog to Heel
Begin your heel lessons at home when your dog is in a calm frame of mind; for example right after a meal or after settling down from an energetic play time.
Place your dog on a leash; if your dog becomes excited once you put the leash on, wait a few minutes until your dog has calmed down. Pick the leash up, and begin to walk.
If your dog does not move with you, entice your dog with praise and a treat. Once your dog starts moving with you reward your dog with plenty of praise. If your dog jumps ahead of you and pulls on the leash, simply wait until your dog has stopped pulling and tugging; do not move, do not yell at your dog, simply wait patiently and ignore your dog. Once your dog settles down, call your dog back to you and then give a reward with praise and a treat.
Once you and your dog are moving together, say the word ‘heel’ over and over again. If your dog lags behind or jumps ahead stop, entice your dog back to your side, and begin again. When your dog is walking next to you while you say ‘heel’ reward the dog with plenty of praise and an occasional treat.
Keep the lessons up in your home or yard, and then slowly extend the distance you are walking your dog, and frequently switch directions that you are walking in. Every time your dog follows a heel position give plenty of praise and an occasional treat.