Teaching a dog to walk on leash seems to be one of the most difficult behavior for owners to accomplish with their dogs and it shouldn’t have to be. When it comes to walking the dog, the emphasis is on rewarding the dog for walking on a loose leash. This leaves a lot of wiggle room for where the reinforcement should be. Is it when the dog is in front, behind, or next to you? Perhaps it’s when the dog is crossing behind or in front of you? If we teach the owner how to train a heel we are conditioning them to look for a specific position which can help them be better with their timing and reinforcement.
3 Options To Teach Your Dog How To Heel
Utilize Your Surroundings To Limit The Dog’s Choices
Training Positive utilizes a wall and a chair to help position the dog into a heel. The heel in this instance is on the right but ultimately the heel is more of the dog’s position in relation to you, so it can be on the right or the left. You can teach your dog to heel for the left side and label the right side something different so that you have a dog that can walk on either side of you. Training Positive shows the small steps and the patience it takes to use the lure, to just the hand signal, and fading out the hand signal to just a verbal cue.
Start With A No-Motion Heel Position
K9-1 starts out by beginning with a stationary work luring the dog back into position while giving the heel command. Once the dog is reliably targeting the general location just behind your left leg K9-1 trainer starts adding only 1 step to the process, keep it short and sweet. Gradually she begins to increase her movement and as that improves also starts to reward in intervals. K9-1 discusses how to troubleshoot if your dog falls out of the heel, how to get them back into it, and then also the importance of having a release cue to allow your dog to exit the heel position which is very important.
Teaching Heel With Platforms
With the use of 4 square mats with the handler standing in the middle of them, this trainer, Stonnie Dennis, utilizing targeting of mats to teach his dogs what position he wants them in. He uses positive reinforcement and emphasizes the importance of if the dog does his part then we need to be certain to do ours and reward the dog using food or toys. Stonnie also puts emphasis on repetition and putting in the work to achieve the proper heel position. For the handler that wanders too much when teaching the heel, you utilize the mat for them, to ground them to one spot, and have the dog rotate around them.
Have you used other tricks to teach your dog to heel?
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Other articles you might find useful when teaching a dog to walk on leash.