Training your dog or puppy is an essential part of keeping one. If they are not appropriately trained, they could end up being annoying and become tough to control.
By teaching your pet dog some manners and tricks, taming it becomes easy for anyone walking or playing with your furry friend.
Amongst many habits, training your dog to heel is crucial.
It is vital since you will walk your dog every day, and during this time, it will interact with strangers and acquaintances.
Moreover, if the dog is at the heel, any untoward incident can easily be avoided.
What Does It Mean To Heel?
To heel implies that your dog is walking next to you or behind you. You must often notice your or other’s dog walking in front of the person holding the leash.
In this case, the dog is walking the leash-holder than the other way around. The dog assumes charge.
On the other hand, if the dog is trained to heel, it will follow you wherever you go. You hold the leash, and you become in charge of wherever it goes.
Why Is It Important To Teach Your Dog To Heel?
Dogs need to be taken out for walks. It keeps them healthy and contributes to sanitation.
Unlike the inside of your house, the outside world is filled with distractions.
Dogs are curious pets and would want to greet or smell whatever strange being or thing they see.
If they do not wish to a heel, they will continue to drag you to wherever they want to go.
Some dogs are aggressive because they are either protective or scared.
If they learn how to heel, nothing will distract them, and they would just follow your lead. This is also good for their mental health and growth.
Amongst other habits, this one mainly helps train your dog to a great extent.
What Do You Require To Train Your Dog?
Not much is required to train your dog to walk alongside you. You will need a lot of treats and a leash.
The best way to train a dog is to keep treats at hand. By offering them treats after they have accomplished the desired task will leave them wanting for more.
The dogs think that if they continue to follow the command so given, they will continue to receive treats.
This is how they develop their habit.
A leash is needed because that is how you will walk your dog outside. If the dog is trained correctly, you would not require a leash in due course.
Your dog will follow you regardless and not get distracted by anything. Except for these physical items, you need to have a lot of patience.
Also, training your dog frequently will help develop the habit quickly, and therefore, you need to give your dog enough time and attention.
What Are The Steps In Training Your Dog To Heel?
Training your dog for anything could prove to be a lengthy process. It would take some time before your dog starts to follow you or walk alongside.
Once the habit is developed, it will not go away. Therefore, it is necessary to train your dog correctly. Follow these steps to train your dog to heel:
It is essential to practice inside the house. Choose a spacious room where you could walk your dog quickly.
Inside the house, there will be fewer distractions, and your dog would listen to you intently.
Until your dog has learned to walk ‘at’ your heel inside the house, it is not advisable to take it outside. It is a slow process.
Start Slow By Calling Your Dog’s Name
The first step in training your dog is to make it sit next to you. Before you begin anything, ensure that your dog learns to sit calmly next to you.
Most of the dogs are food-motivated. Call it out and try to make it sit to the left of you. This is the ideal heel position.
When your dog learns to come to sit next to you, on being called, either use a clicker or say a command and give it a treat.
On completing this step, you can move to the next.
Lure Your Dog Into Walking Next To You
The easiest way is to lure your dog into walking next to you. Keep a handful of treats in your left fist and start to walk slowly.
Ensure that the dog walks slowly or matches your pace. You could reward it every 2-3 steps after using the clicker or using a command such as ‘heel.’
Since your dog would be focused on you and the treat, it will match your pace and walk alongside or behind you.
Ensure That Your Dog Doesn’t Move Ahead
It is quite common that despite having a handful of treats, your dog might veer off or start walking upfront.
In this case, you should go back to Step 2. If your dog loses attention or goes ahead of you, call it by its name and make it come sit next to you.
Once it is calm again, repeat Step 3. With continuous and frequent training, your dog would start to walk next to you even without the treat.
Increase Your Pace And Go Out
When your dog has learned the habit of walking next to you, increase your pace.
You can go in different directions, change your way quickly or try other means.
Your dog will start matching your changing pace but never leave your side.
You could also begin to making eye contact and incorporate more commands to train it further.
If you feel confident, you can take your dog out and see the difference yourself.
Ensure to carry your clicker and treats. You might or might not require the clicker or treats.
In due course, they can be done away with, and your dog will walk behind or next to you, regardless.
What Are Some Of The Important Things You Should Remember?
The whole process of learning how to heel is important, but there are certain points that you should remember by heart.
You must never keep the leash in tension. For advanced training, it is better than the leash stays loose.
These form the crux of the process:
- Use a clicker or a command and treats for better training. Your dog needs to know the action first and then the command or click.
They will automatically join the two. For instance, when it comes and sits next to you, the command ‘Sit’ and offer a treat.
After a few sessions, your dog will come and sit next to you whenever you command the same.
- Increase your pace and make sudden movements. It is crucial that you gradually increase the distance and pace of walking inside your house.
Your dog needs to realize that it will be treated if it continues to walk alongside you.
- Increase distractions as training progress. This will be the hardest to deal with as dogs will veer off often. You could start by changing rooms. Going out should be the last step.
- Except for walking your dog, ensure that it also sits or stops whenever you do. Walking at the heel is not only about following but about behaving during the entire walk.
Only when you have your dog trained completely, be confident in taking it wherever you need to go. Else, your dog will continue to bring you wherever it needs to go.
How Should You Act While Training Your Dog?
Dogs only listen to you when they consider you their master. Else, they think themselves to be the leader of the pack.
Therefore, you must be confident and consistent while training your dog.
Also, dogs can sense a person’s energy, and if you are uninterested or nervous, the training sessions will not be fruitful.
Ensure that your commands are strict and do not rely too much on verbal communication and treats.
Both of them should be perfectly balanced. It is important to keep breed-specific needs in mind.
Few of the breeds have too much energy, and it needs to be released before you could train them.
You could also seek professional help if you are unable to train your dog owing to such reasons.
Train Your Dog To Heel And Enjoy Hassle-Free Walks
Therefore, training your dog to heel requires patience and a lot of treats.
You need to begin slowly, and gradually, you should pick up the pace. You should have the confidence and intent of training your dog to make it a success.
Once your dog learns to heel, you could even drop the leash. Since there was no tension on the leash, to begin with, your dog would not notice and continue to walk behind you.
Training your dog to heel will make the walks hassle-free. It will not jump at strangers or react to other dogs in the vicinity.
Your dog will stay in an excellent mental state even with all the distractions. Train your dog and make the good boy even better.