Monday, January 8, 2018


Above is an instructional video on how to teach your dog a proper "Heel."  Below I have included more information on how to teach this.  Remember that Heel means the dog is in a specific position.  Heel is not something that should be used constantly on your every day walks.  Your dog needs the opportunity to explore their surroundings.  For every day walking, use "Loose Leash Walking."

The Heel position is about the dog staying close to the handler and paying close attention.  We will start with the Basic Heel position, the Stationary Heel.
To do this, we will food lure the dog into the Heel position at our left side.  Use your left hand to food lure the dog into the position.  If you need, take a step back with your left leg to encourage the dog to move.  Once the dog is in the Heel position, practice a Sit and Look. 

Moving Heel:  
  1. Food lure the dog several times while backing up.
  2. Food lure the dog, now turn your body so the dog is now on the left side in Heel position (use the treat in your left hand).
Always begin and end every Heel exercise with a Sit in the Heel position.
When you stop moving forward, move your baited hand UP slightly to initiate the Sit position.

As you are moving forward, the treat should be held up slightly from the dog so she is looking for it.  Gradually progress to moving your hand all the way up to the Look position.  

Loose Leash Walking:
Loose leash walking (LLW) means that a dog walks nicely, not pulling on the leash, and not completely all over the place.  LLW is not the same thing as Heel.  To teach a proper Heel, you must first teach LLW.

Consistency is very important when teaching LLW.  Doing this technique is actually very easy, but does require a LOT of patience.  Remember to stay calm.  If you are calm and consistent, your dog will be walking nicely on a leash in about a week.

To begin, go out for a walk with your regular 4-6 foot leash and buckle collar properly fitted to your dog’s neck (so they can’t slip out).  As soon as there is tension on the leash, you have two options:
When the dog pulls:  1)  Stop and wait for the DOG to move in a way that releases the tension.  When s/he does, continue walking.
2)  Say “Let’s Go!” and walk off in the opposite direction.

Related Blog articles:
Trainer Tip Video:  How to Walk on a Leash
Trainer Tip Video:  How to walk a scared or timid dog
Trainer Tip Video:  Having your dog off leash
Teaching Stay, Step One

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