Training To Heel

This shepherd dog needs training!
"Heel" is not what he's doing right now!

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Training to heel will not eliminate your dog's urge to read p-mail along the trail, but will give you a a more pleasant walk.

There is nothing worse than walking down the street with a dog that is jumping from side to side and suddenly stopping to sniff every bush along the way.

Training to heel will give you a peaceful meander through the park or neighborhood without a lot of pulling and jumping. “Heel” is one of the first dog commands s/he should learn, either as a puppy or an adult dog.

You can use your clicker if you want. Every time the dog gets in the right position, praise her and “CLICK”.

Bring along a slip collar, a 6 foot training leash, treats and the clicker.

We’ll use the leash correction technique which simply means when the dog is going the wrong way or doing the wrong thing, we will “snap” the leash slightly so as to let her know she is to change course. If she has stopped to sniff, a slight “snap!” on the leash will alert to move along. You're training to heel, not stop and sniff.

  • Put the dog on your left side and step off with your left foot.

  • As you start to move, give the dog's name and say... “Amy, heel.”

  • Try to keep Amy’s neck and shoulder lined up with your knee by lightly snapping the leash and continue to say “Amy, heel” If she gets in the right position, praise and CLICK.

  • Anytime she starts jumping around, or goes too fast, stop and put Amy in a “sit” position. Leave her there until she calms down. Then start out again.

  • When you stop walking, the dog is supposed to “SIT” It’s up to you whether she sits or not. Personally, I think it’s a waste of energy. I only want her to stop when I stop to talk to someone, not at every street corner and trash can.

  • Every time she gets in the RIGHT position, give praise and CLICK.

  • Be sure Amy “SITS” each time you stop walking or some other dog trainer will hit you upside the head.

  • Once you master this in a quiet setting, go out where people and other dogs congregate and try this bit of obedience with distractions.

This is going to take some trial and error. It will take Amy quite a while to figure out exactly what it is you are expecting her to do. Practice, practice and in a week or two (maybe more depending on the breed of dog) she will get it and you will have one happy dog, not to mention yourself.

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