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Teach You Dog To Heel

Heeling is when your dog walks calmly on your left with his head next to your left heel. Once trained, he will be at your heel whether you are walking, running or stopped. He will not be trying to run ahead or off to the side, and he will not be yanking as hard as he can at the leash to pull you along.

Let's get ready. . . Attach the leash to the choke chain collar, and put the collar on your dog. Give him a few minutes to relax and get used to the collar. When he tries to walk too far away, just stand firm and let him see that he can't go any farther. He may try this a few times. Don't yank on the leash but do talk to him and pet him, and he should soon figure out that the collar won't bother him if he stays near you.

While training your dog, your praise is his reward. Praise him every time he does the correct thing, even if you had to force the correct thing to happen. The more he hears good boy!, the more he will try to do the correct thing so he can hear even more praise. Your approval and praise are what he lives for!

Let's begin heeling . . . Hold the leash tightly with your right hand, and let it be loose in your left. With your dog on the left side of you, say heel, give the leash a quick tug as you start walking, and say good boy! as soon as he starts moving. Keep walking - different directions - different speeds - all the while saying heel with a quick tug of the leash and saying good boy! every time he stays with you. You might have to tug heel, tug heel, tug heel, three times or so before he gets near your heel area and you say good boy!. If his mind starts to wander, his attention will go back to you the first time you make a turn and he doesn't. Left turns are great - walk almost into his head, kind of pushing it and him with your leg while saying heel and good boy! It won't take long at all for him to realize that he has to pay attention to where you are at all times. This is the essence of heeling - paying attention. After he seems to be getting the hang of go straight and making left turns, throw in a right turn. Yeah, he will not be expecting this, and he will probably need to tug heel, tug heel, tug heel before he gets to hear good boy!

Keep this first session down to about 20 minutes of actual heeling. Finish up with an extra happy and excited good boy! and lots of petting and hugging. This is the signal that this session is over. And, now is when you healthy training treats on hand.

What about tomorrow?

A dog has a very short attention span. You will need to have a heeling session once or twice a day for 15 minutes everyday for the next week to get him to remember what to do.

Your dog may get the hang of this early and improve more and more each day. Or, your dog may be one of the tougher ones and will need a full week - or even two - to really catch on. If your dog is one of the "slower" ones to catch on, it may actually be that you are not being consistent enough, or not saying good boy! like you really mean it, or you are not tugging hard enough to get the message through. It may not be his fault.

Next - Sit is a very important part of heeling. Click to go on to Sit

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