When you get a puppy or older dog one of the most fundamental things you should teach any puppy or dog is how to heel on a walk.
Let’s face it nobody likes being dragged down on a walk by their dog, nobody wants to feel like you just had a shoulder workout after your walk.
Training dog to heel is more than just teaching your pup how to not pull on a leash.
training dog to heel is about getting your pup to actively be present with you on the walk and be able to follow your guidance instead of completely ignore you.
If you’re struggling with your dog pulling or just want your pup to heel you in the right place! In this guide, we go over training dog to heel step by step!
Why train your dog to heel?
Training your dog to heel is one of the best things to teach any dog!
Training dog to heel teaches your pup how to; check in with you on walks, learn to stop pulling, and follow your guidance on walks!
So if you’re tired of your dog pulling, getting a shoulder workout after walks, or just want your pup to be more attentive on walks training your dog to heel is exactly what you want!
Equipment you’ll need:
Before we jump into training your pup how to heel below we have listed equipment we recommend to ensure you and your pup are set for success!
Treats: We want to get some of your pups treats to begin teaching your dog the behavior we want from them. Rewards are important especially when initially teaching your pup something new like heeling.
Leash: When beginning to teach your pup how to heel, we want a leash that isn’t too long or too short. We recommend a 4-foot leash that way your leash isn’t too long that it gets tangled and isn’t too short when walking.
Training Collar: This is an added equipment we recommend for fine-tuning your pups heeling. We recommend one of the following training collars because it is a great way to create another line of communication between you and your dog through the leash alone!
Whichever collar you decide to go with will work fine as we will go over how to begin teaching your pup how to respond to the leash later in this guide.
What Is The “heel” Position In Dog Training?
Before we dive into the practical step by step, let’s go over what is considered the “heel” position in the first place?
The heel position is essentially whenever your dog is either at the “heels” of your foot or behind.
If you notice that your pup is ahead of your heels then you already know that your pup is not in the “heel” position.
Beginning To Training Dog To Heel
Now that you have all the recommended equipment for teaching your dog how to heel, and have a clear understanding of what the heel position is, let’s dive into teaching your pup the beginning of heeling.
The very first step of teaching your pup to heel begins with luring and rewarding.
We essentially want to lure your pup into the “heel” position and reward your pup when your dog gets into the correct position.
The more you do this the more you will begin to notice that your pup will begin to walk more and more in the heel position.
If Your Dog Begins to Pull.
If at any point you begin to notice that your dog is beginning to pull on the walk you want to; Stop, guide your pup back into the heel position using the leash and luring at the same time.
When your pup gets back into the heel be sure to continue rewarding your pup for walking next to you without pulling.
In the beginning, you will be stopping a lot, especially if your pup is used to pulling, remember to be patient.
As your dog gets better and better you’ll notice that you’ll have to stop less and less and begin using fewer rewards to get your pup to “heel”
When encountering a distraction
If you’re on a walk and begin to notice that your dog is focused on something else that is extremely distracting to your dog, you want to continue guiding your pup back into the heel using the leash and treats.
We essentially want to teach your dog that just because there are other distractions present, our “rule” of walking in the heel still applies regardless of the distractions.
When encountering distractions you may have to provide higher value rewards and may also have to be a bit firmer on the leash, especially if we are “competing” with something your pup rather be doing.
Training dog to heel shouldn’t be difficult to accomplish be sure to take your time and go at your pup’s pace and remember the golden rule if your dog pulls you stop and bring your pup back into the heel!
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