• Linda Healy

Teaching a dog "Heel"

Heel means "stay by my side when we go walking". Some dogs are natural heelers, while others require a lot of training. To teach your dog how to go out for a stroll with you without taking you for a mad dash, use a collar and a loosely held six or eight foot leash. Be prepared to spend a lot of time outdoors because this exercise can't be practiced inside.

1) Have your dog on a loose leash on the left side. You should be holding the leash with your right hand so that it crosses your body. Hook your right thumb into the loop of the leash. Keep your right hand at your waist.

2) As you start walking with your dog, say his name and the word "Heel." If he doesn't pay attention and follow you right away, use your left hand to grab the leash and give it a quick jerk, gently.

3) If he starts to pull or lag, put your left hand on your right for extra strength and turn in the opposite direction. If you bump into him, don't apologize. He'll realize that he will need to keep a watchful eye on you in case you turn again.

4) When your dog is walking nicely by your side, look at him and praise him verbally. You can also reach down and give him a pat.

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