How To Teach a Dog to Heel
Okay, no doubt you've had a bad experience with your dog that's made you wonder how to teach a dog to heel. At some point, your dog has probably yanked your arm off on one of your walks right? Unfortunately, you, like many dog owners, don't have the know how to teach a dog to heel. At the very lease, you can't get your dog to pulling on the darn leash. Right?
That command you and your dog need to learn is the heel command.
Why? If you don't know how to teach a dog to heel, there are terrible consequences for both you and your dog. Let's see what happens when you don't teach your dog this very important training command.
Getting Dragged Down The Street!
Teaching a dog to heel prevents him from either dragging you around, or lagging behind you. On the contrary, when you teach a dog how to heel, your teaching him to walk side by side with you. If your dog is all the way ahead of you, you have no control over what happens to him.
Your Dog Could Get Hit By a Car!
Sadly, your dog could easily get hit by a car. Encounter a vicious dog. Or bite someone. The same scenario could happen if he was lagging behind you. You don't have eyes in the back of your head, and you won't be able to act in time should an emergency happen.
Therefore, teaching your dog how to heel must become part of basic dog obedience training.
Step 1: How to Teach Your Dog to Heel
The correct way to walk your puppy or adult dog is with the dog on your left side, and the leash across in front of you. The leash should be held in your right hand.
Step 2:. How to Train Your Dog to Walk
When walking, your dog's head and shoulder should be in alignment with your hip at will. That means you should not be holding the leash tight in order to keep him in place. The leash should be slack between you with no contact.
Step 3: Get Your Dog to Pay Attention to You
Train your dog to pay attention to you. The reason you want him to watch you is so that he takes his cues from you and not just listen to you because you pull the leash. In addition, when you keep the leash slack, when you actually have to pull the leash, your dog is more likely to respond.
Step 4: The Leash is An Extension of You
Think of the leash as an extension of your arm, and do not correct your dog unless he/she needs correction.
Step 5: Come Up With a Command
Remember in the beginning when I said get your dog's attention? That's a must because the key to learning how to train a dog to heel is making sure you have your dog's complete attention. Start standing still with your dog sitting beside you in the proper position. There are many ways to get your dog's attention. You know your dog, so you can come up with some ideas. I usually tap my dogs head, or just tell him to “come.”
As soon as your dog looks up, slap your left hip with your hand and say
“Here”. This is your command to get him to look at your thigh. This gives your dog a reference point for where he should heel.
Step 6: Get Ready to Implement the Heel Command
So now you're both positioned correctly. It's time to implement the heel command. If you're dog is like mine, he's likely to charge ahead, especially if he sees a squirrel. To correct this problem, keep your dog on a leash that is tight enough to allow you to step across in front of him.
The Heel Command in Action
When your dog tries to bolt in front of you, turn swiftly and sharply and step directly in his path. Then make a 90 degree turn and head off in a new direction. Remember, you're going to turn sharply as if you were walking along a square. The first time you do this, your dog will be surprised or confused.
Repeat The Exercise
Repetition is key, so you're going to do it again. Walk in a straight line with the dog again. When the dog tries to bolt in front of you again, do the same exact thing you did before. You should practice this exercise with your dog for about 15 minutes every day. Short sessions are more potent than lots of long sessions.
Some Dogs Learn Quicker Than Others
Some dogs are really bright and learn after the first session or two. But other breeds take longer, especially those who have been used to leading you and being the boss for years. The heel exercise will teach your dog that you decide where you're excursion is going to take place.
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