A dog, they say is man’s best friend. They sleep by our side, we play with them, feed them, and lovingly take them to the vet for their regular checkups. Taking your dog for a walk is special, as it allows you to bond with your dog while on the daily walking routine. Walking has many health benefits for you and your dog, as well. Some dogs are born knowing the right way to walk or heel while embarking on a walk while others have no clue. This can become frustrating for dog owners as they do not enjoy the walk with their favorite pal. Well, if the latter is your current experience, then rest assured – after reading through this article, your exasperations are over. In this article, we will outline steps on how to train your dog to heel. We will examine the meaning of ‘heel’, the right positioning and the reason why it is very important to a dog’s growth. If you’re ready, get your shoes on and let’s take a walk.
When You Tell A Dog To Heel, What Exactly Does It Mean?
The order or instruction ‘heel’ refers to the process where your dog walks by your side. There are two ways, either your dog comes near you and sits, or your dog comes at your side and walks with you. Your dog needs to have the same pace as you when walking. Heeling is a very important and essential heel dog command in a dog’s development.
What Constitutes A Heel Position?
This is a frequently asked question as it is very technical and confusing at times. When you stand by your dog and the heel of both your feet is at bar or level with that of your dog’s foremost foot, then your dog is in a heel position.
Which Side Should the Dog Tag Along During the Walk?
Traditionally, the adopted and most common position a dog would take when heeling is on the owner’s left side. This practice began during the early hunting period of humanity, where the owner and the hound went hunting in the forest together. The hunter holds his gun with his right hand while leading the dog with the left hand. However, the time has evolved, and many institutions have moved on from this convention. The Military, the Police, and private security guards all have different customs of how a dog should heel by their side either in combat or in performing investigative duties. Therefore, in answering the above question, we will recommend that the exact reason for walking will determine which side the dog must be.
Examples of a Dogs Command
To be able to teach a dog to heel successfully, you must get to know the basic heel dog command and certain release and cue words. Also, using these words the right way and on constantly will allow your dog to grasp these words easily and very fast. Some of the basic cue words are; Come, Ok done, Sit, Stay, and of course, Heel.
Does My Dog Need to Acquire This Technique?
You’re a dog owner, and you enjoy seeing other people walk with their dogs in the neighborhood, but anytime you take your dog for a walk, your dog unnecessarily and continuously tugs and pulls you away in different directions to the extent that you abruptly end the walk. If the above scenario fits you and your dog, then both of you need a class 101 tutorials on how to train a dog to heel. So while we take a walk, let’s have a brief lecture. Welcome to the class.
How to Train Your Dog to Heel
So, let’s begin the class.
There are several ways to teach dog to heel. This method of training we will be elaborating has been established as one of the most useful ways for a dog to learn how to heel. Also, we recommend you have some treats around to motivate your dog during the session. Next, have a clicker at your right hand with a few treats in your left. Begin the exercise in an environment with less distraction, such as your basement, secured compound or living room.
Next up, position your dog at your left side and issue the ‘sit’ command to them. They will immediately sit down and then follow it up by rewarding them with a tasty dog treat. Be sure your dog is sitting quietly or composed at your left side and complying with your first basic commands. Again, it is essential to have your dog completely focused, and their eyes firmly fixed on you.
Furthermore, with the tasty treats in your left, begin to walk forward and give the ‘heel’ command. Once you pronounce the command, observe as your dog calmly walks beside you. The best way to do this is to have the treats within a millimeter of the dog’s mouth to usher your dog along. Dogs love treats so make sure to reward your dog with a couple throughout each of the steps. The ideal way is to combine this with the verbal command, and it can be done simultaneously or interchangeably, so you preserve or don’t lose your voice for longer training routines. During this session, when your dog begins to change direction or stray off, stop right away and call the dog by his or her name. Next, give a command to him or her to sit and remain in that position. After, begin again once you notice your dog is now solely focused and has his or her eyes firmly gazed at you.
Well done, now your dog can heel. Let’s move onto the next stage. Training your dog to heel is the easiest part, the most difficult or challenging part is educating your dog to hold the heel position, especially when taking a forward movement at a fast pace. However, it is imperative not to walk very far. Let’s commence with the basic one step. First, issue the heel command, and rather than treating your dog instantly with the left hand, advance forward and treat your dog as the dog moves to catch up with your pace. After your dog, take the steps with you, push ahead with the next two steps. Repeat this and slowly increase the distance to a few more steps. Throughout this exercise, reward your dog with treats once he or she completes the steps correctly and in the rightful positions. We hope you enjoyed the lecture; now, the class is over.
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Benefits of Teaching a Dog to Heel
The advantages are enormous. Here are a few. When you teach the dog to heel, the dog acquires new and exciting skills. These newly taught techniques will help your dog recognize that you are in control when you embark on a walk. Also, your dog will get to identify that you’re the dominant person in the relationship. This makes your dog very obedient to your command and makes your walk very enjoyable and fun.
Every dog owner is always excited to have his or her dog walk by them during their daily exercise routine. For some dogs, this side-by-side walking is not instinctive to their nature – therefore training is essential. As mentioned there are several methods on how to teach your dog to heel. Indeed it can be a bit cumbersome, but your persistence will surely pay and your dog will be able to learn faster as well. This essential skill will make you and the dog healthier. This session requires lots of patience, compliments, love and lots of tasty treats to achieve the desired results. The joys of having a competent dog are worthwhile and truly is the envy of many. We hope you enjoyed the walk.
- Fun With Heeling – American Kennel Club