Walking with a dog walking on loose leash isn’t the same as the Heel, or With Me command. Heel requires that the dog stay right beside you and at the same pace, whether he is on or off lead. Teaching your dog to heel is a little bit more difficult than just loose leash walking, and will take some time to practice.
Heel is usually done with your dog on your left side, and the Side command on your right. But this is all in personal preference. I prefer right, to keep the dogs on the inside when we’re walking along the road. Train to whichever side is more comfortable to you.
The heel command requires lots of concentration on your dogs part, and shouldn’t be used the whole way through long walks. It’s keeping your dog focused on you. It’s great for getting your dog through crowded, or potentially dangerous areas.
Teaching Your Dog to Heel
You can work with your dog on the heel command on or off leash. Whichever is more comfortable for you. You will need dog training treats, small high value treats that your dog values more than most. For smaller dogs, that it’s not as easy to hand treats to while walking, some people use a long spoon with peanut butter, or another sticky substance that your dog likes on it.
For the first few practices, work in a quiet area with few distractions.
Start with your dog sitting at your chosen side, and hold the treats in front of him and slightly above. Tell him to heel and begin to walk. If he keeps pace and in position give him a treat every few seconds.
Stop and start out again with the heel command often. As your dog stays in position longer, space the treats out further and further. Practice turning in both directions, and stopping and starting.
Gradually make your walks longer, and add in distractions as he gets the hang of it. Spacing the treats out further and further, until they’re no longer needed.
Teaching Your Dog to Heel Training Video
This post is part of the series 10 Basic Dog Training Commands & How to Teach Them
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Teaching Your Dog to Leave It