Tips for Teaching Your Dog the Heel Command
Do you want to teach your dog to heel? You’re in the right place! Mastering the heel command can help improve your dog’s walking behavior and help both of you enjoy a pleasant walk without pulling or straining. Read on to discover tips for teaching your dog the heel command.
Set the Foundation With “Sit” and “Stay”
If your dog can sit and stay on command, they have the basic skills to remain in control and attentive to your instructions. This is the foundation they need before moving on to more advanced commands like “heel.” If your dog already knows “sit” and “stay,” great! They’re ready to expand their skills, and you can read on.
Learn How To Properly Handle and Position the Leash
A short, sturdy leash with a comfortable handle works best for teaching the heel command, allowing for more control without putting undue strain on either you or your dog. Position your dog on your left side, with the leash in your right hand and your left hand holding the end. Keeping the leash short but not tight helps guide your dog in the desired position without causing discomfort.
Reward Your Dog Generously
An essential part of teaching your dog the heel command is using reward-based training methods, such as treats, praise, and play. This positive reinforcement encourages your dog to associate the heel command with a rewarding outcome. Invest in effective treats for dog training and reward your dog generously for their accomplishments.
Step-by-Step Instructions for Teaching the Heel Command
- With your dog in the sit position, hold a treat in your left hand close to their nose.
- As your dog starts to focus on the treat, take a step forward while saying, “heel.”
- As your dog moves with you, slowly raise the treat, guiding them to the desired heeling position.
- If your dog maintains their position, reward them with the treat and praise.
- Repeat these steps, gradually increasing the number of steps before rewarding.
Gradually Increase Distractions and Duration of Heeling
Once your dog begins to master the heel command, it’s time to increase the difficulty by introducing distractions and increasing the duration between rewards. Begin by gradually reducing the frequency of treats and praise. Then, practice in various environments with different levels of distractions, such as parks and busy sidewalks. This extended training ensures that your dog becomes a near-perfect heeler in any situation.
By following these tips for teaching your dog the heel command and consistently practicing the techniques above, you’ll soon have a well-behaved furry companion by your side. Be patient and watch your dog’s skills grow!