Basic Commands – Heel
When you give the “Heel” command, you want your dog to walk closely by you on your left hand side. His neck and shoulder should stay next to your left leg, no matter what you do. If you walk fast, jog, or zig zag through a crowd, your dog should maintain his “Heel”
Learning to properly “Heel” requires a tremendous amount of concentration on your dog’s part. Before you even attempt to teach this command, your
should be performing the “Watch Me” command successfully for at least several weeks. In
addition, he should be able to perform the “Let’s go” command for at least two weeks.
In order to teach your dog the “Heel” command, start with your dog’s leash in one hand, and doggy treats in the other. Give the let’s go command first. “Grover, Let’s
Go!” Start to back away from him. Let him catch
up to you. When he does, turn to face in the same direction as he is. Let him get to your left side. Walk forward together as you
show him the treat. At this moment, give the command “Grover, Heel.” Walk for a few steps, then have him sit. Give him his treat and praise him. You will want to repeat this process several times. When
your dog can handle it, make it challenging by turning, walking fast, walking slowly, and going in different directions. Always start with the “Let’s Go” command first. When your
puppy arrives at your left side, give the ‘Heal” command and walk forward.
The second training method uses the snap and
release leash training correction. Start with your puppy on your left. Hold the leash in your left hand, the treats in the right. Show
your dog the treat, then issue the watch me command, “Grover,
Watch Me.” While he’s
watching you, give the heel command, “Grover, Heel”, and start to walk forward. If he pulls ahead of
you, use the snap and release correction method along with a verbal “Acccckk! No
Pull!” If he slows down and returns to your side, praise him. If he stays by your side for a few steps, give him a treat.
As this training does require concentration, keep he sessions short and upbeat. Always praise
him when he succeeds.
When you take your dog for a walk, practice the heel command. However, never make him
heel the whole way. Alternate between “Let’s Go” and the two training methods for
“Heel”. The goal is for your dog to learn to respect the leash and that it is never OK for him
to pull on it.
The “Heel” command is one of the tougher commands to learn. However, with practice,
I’m sure your dog will master it. Good Luck!
PS - If you feel like you need more information on how to train your dog, you should check out
the dog training program that Dove Cresswell has put together. Dove is a professional dog trainer, training dogs for film
and television in Hollywood North (Vancouver). Her program uses online videos, so it is very easy to follow. To learn more, click here or on the picture to the right.