Heeling is also a great way to bond with your dog. As you work on teaching them this behavior, they’ll start to see you as their leader and will look to you for guidance in other areas of their life.
While heeling may seem like a simple behavior, it can be very helpful in a variety of situations.
For example, if you’re out for a walk and your dog suddenly sees a squirrel, staying close by your side will help prevent them from running off after it.
For this, you must also teach them to walk on a leash from a very early age.
Additionally, heelwork can be handy when you need to get somewhere quickly and don’t want to be slowed down by your pup stopping to sniff everything along the way.
If you’re interested in teaching your dog to heel, there are a few things you’ll need to do first. Petpress brings you the ultimate guide on how to teach a dog to heel in 7 easy steps.
What is the Heel Command?
The heel command is one of the most basic commands that you can teach your dog. It is also one of the most important, as it can help keep your dog safe and under control when out on a walk.
So, what exactly is the heel command? Put simply, it is a command that tells your dog to stay close to you and not wander off.
This is especially important when walking near busy roads or in crowded areas.
With this, you can also teach your dog to run with you and stop at your command too.
Teaching your dog the heel command can be a little bit tricky, but with patience and a lot of practice, it is definitely possible!
How Do I Tell My Dog to Heel?
Assuming that you already have a basic understanding of how to train your dog, teaching them to heel is a relatively simple process. Here are 7 easy steps to get your furry friend heel-trained in no time:
1. Start with basic obedience commands.
Before you can teach your dog to heel, he should be well-versed in the basics like sit, stay, and come. If your dog isn’t already obeying these commands, take some time to work on them before moving on to more complex tricks.
2. Put a collar and leash on your dog.
Heeling requires that your dog is on a leash so that you can keep him close to you and under control. Make sure the collar is snug but not too tight, and attach the leash securely before beginning the lesson.
Make sure they don’t pull it. There are many ways to stop your dog from pulling on the leash that can come in handy during your walks.
3. Stand next to your dog and give the command to “heel.”
As you say the command, take a step forward with your left foot, keeping your right foot stationary. Your dog should walk with you, staying at your side. If he gets ahead of you or lags behind, simply stop walking and wait for him to catch up.
4. Repeat the command and step forward with your right foot this time.
Again, your dog should stay at your side as you move forward. If he isn’t heeling correctly, stop and make him sit or lie down until he is in the correct position before continuing.
5. Walk around obstacles while heeling.
As you heel, you’ll inevitably come across obstacles like curbs, puddles, or other dogs. To keep your dog heeling correctly, simply give the command to “heel” and walk around the obstacle, keeping him at your side the entire time.
This way your dog won’t freeze during walks by getting distracted by the things that they see around them.
6. Make heeling a part of your daily routine.
The more you practice heeling with your dog, the better he’ll get at it. Try to incorporate it into your daily walks or other activities where you’re together so that it becomes second nature to him.
7. Reward your dog for heeling correctly.
Like with any trick or behavior, positive reinforcement is key when teaching a dog to heel. Be sure to give your dog plenty of praise and treats when he’s doing it right so that he knows he’s on the right track.
How Long Does it Take to Teach a Dog to Heel?
The answer, of course, depends on the dog. Some dogs seem to “get it” right away and pick up the desired behavior quickly.
Other dogs may require more patience and time before they grasp the concept. And still, other dogs may never really “get it,” no matter how much training they receive.
But in general, most dogs can be taught to heel with a reasonable amount of time and effort.
So, how long does it really take to teach a dog to heel? Again, it depends on the individual dog.
But as a general guideline, you can expect it to take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks for most dogs to learn the
Final Words: Should a dog always walk to heel?
Some people believe that it’s more important for the dog to have a good time and get exercise, even if that means walking off the leash.
Others believe that walking to heel is a sign of respect and obedience, and is therefore essential for all dogs.
So, which side is right? Well, there isn’t really a definitive answer. It ultimately comes down to what you want from your dog, and what works best for you and your pet.
If you’re looking for an obedient dog who will always stay by your side, then training your pooch to walk to heel is probably the best way to go.
However, if you’re more interested in letting your dog have a little bit of freedom to explore and play, then you may be better off walking without a leash.
Whatever you decide, the most important thing is to be consistent. If you start off by walking your dog to heel, make sure you always do it that way.
And if you prefer to let your furry friend roam free, then stick to that method. The last thing you want is for your dog to get confused about what’s expected of him!