What Is Heeling?
Heeling is when a canine walks in a controlled stride directly subsequent to its handler without wandering away or pulling on its leash. Traditionally, heeling means a canine matches its handler’s pace and moves exactly, but today the time period “heel” is often used interchangeably with “loose leash walking”—a less strict ability where the dog is solely required to neither be lag nor pull on its leash while walking.
Why Is It Important to Train Your Dog to Heel?
Heeling is a skill really useful for anyone looking to have greater control over their dog’s actions. When you train your canine to heel, your dog won’t drag you forward or lag a ways behind during walks. Heeling additionally promotes a safer dog-walking experience; dogs that know how to heel are much less likely to chase other animals, run into the road, or devour toxic materials that are damaging for dogs to ingest. Heeling also establishes a nearer bond between you and your dog, enabling your dog’s to focus on you while enhancing your overall communication skills.
How to Train Your Dog to Heel
There are a few techniques used to teach a dog the heel command, however one of the most effective involves the usage of the “lure and reward” technique along with clicker training. All you will need is a leash, a dog collar or harness, a clicker, and a handful of canine treats.
1. Select a training location. Attach your leash to your dog and take it to a acquainted distraction-free area without different people or animals present. Your backyard or a hallway inner your house are both excellent options.
2. Position your dog, clicker, and treats. Stand so your dog is on your left side. Hold your clicker in your right hand and take hold of a handful of treats in your left hand so the treats are easily accessible to your dog.
3. Give the sit down command. Once your dog sits next to you, reward its true behavior with a click and a treat. Before shifting on to the next step, make sure that your dog’s interest is on you and that it’s in a calm state. Heeling is one of the more difficult dog-training skills, so it is important your dog has mastered the sit down command before continuing.
4. Give the heel command and lure the canine forward with a treat. Hold out a treat in the front of your dog’s nose, verbally say the command “heel,” and slowly step forward. The treat should act as a information so that your dog follows you. For every couple of steps your dog walks in stride with you, reward it with a click, a treat, and a verbal complement. And remember that you want your canine to remain as close to you as possible, so hold your left hand with the treat near the aspect of your body instead of extending your arm outward.
5. Correct terrible behavior. Keep practicing the above routine for 10 minutes at a time, with a few education sessions each day. If your canine ever wanders away or loses focus, stop walking, call your dog’s identify until it comes back subsequent to you, and give the sit command again. Now that your canine is in the correct position, give the heel command and restart the technique from there.
6. Taper off using treats. Once your dog has at least a week of exercise and is heeling consistently, continue the same method, however keep the treats in your pocket so that your left hand is empty. When your dog follows the heel command efficaciously and walks in stride next to you, reward it with a click and a deal with from your pocket. Gradually wait more and more steps earlier than giving your dog a treat; first do it every two steps, then each five steps, and then every 10 steps.
7. Master the heel command. After some other week or two of successful training, it’s time to take your canine to more challenging environments. Increase the size of your walks and try bringing your dog to a extra distracting location like a dog park. As your canine becomes more educated at heeling, use treats as a reward sparingly and instead rely broadly speaking on verbal encouragement and praise. You can even train your dog to heel off-leash, however for off-leash training make sure you are in a safe, confined area.
Most dog trainers instruct the heel position on the left side of the handler’s body, however the right side is appropriate as well. Training dogs to heel at the left side is solely customary because the heel command originated in the military, the place soldiers carry a rifle in their proper hand and the soldier’s dog walks on their left-hand side.