How To Teach The Heel Command
Heel (Motivational Method)
Heel is the position where your dog is on your left side with his front leg in line with your left leg. After your dog completes the finish, you will be ready for heeling.
With your left hand as a target, let your dog sniff your palm as you move your left hand in a way to align your dog into the heel position. Next, step forward with your left foot. As your dog moves into the heel position, say "Good," wait a moment and give the treat.
Repeat until your dog stays focused by your side as you step forward and give him a treat.
Once your dog is heeling easily with your target motion, you can introduce the heel command. As your dog heels, say the word "Heel." When your dog heels, say "Good," wait a moment and give the treat. Pet your dog on the head if he is very enthusiastic.
Practicing the lessons on leash
Attach a leash to the dog's collar. Stand facing the dog. Hold the leash loosely in both hands, along with the treats. Practice all of the exercises from Lesson 1 and Lesson 2. Your dog should be able to move freely through all of these exercises without pressure from the leash.
During these exercises you should NEVER TUG at the leash, but simply provide guidance.
Heeling - Working with your Dog (Obedience Method)
You are walking on a path and your dog is in the heel position walking on a path directly next to your path. Heel is a position at your side 6"-8" by your side with your dog's front leg aligned next to your left leg. If, while you are walking, you look down at the location where your right foot is landing your dog's front leg should not land in front of your left toes.
If your dog starts to move ahead or anywhere wide to the left you should respond with a right directional strike. When your dog turns to look at you, pat your left side with your left hand, say "Heel" when your dog move into position say "Good" and continue walking.
If your dog crosses your path, either in front of your or behind you, you should respond with a left directional strike, when your dog turns to look at you, pat your left side with your left hand, say "Heel" when your dog move into position say "Good" and continue walking.
If your dog starts to sniff the ground or put something in their mouth, you should respond with a upward directional strike. When your dog turns to look at you, pat your left side with your left hand, say "Heel" when your dog move into position say "Good" and continue walking.
When working with the dog on leash give:
Wait a 1/2 second.
If your dog responds correctly, praise.
If not, tug on the leash, say "No"
Signal (tap the side of your left leg to let dog know
where to position).
Praise (only if dog responds).
Repeat the process if the dog fails to respond.
Begin the lesson with the dog on your left-hand side, with the leash in front of you, held in the right hand and down on the side by your right leg.
Give the dog the "Heel" command, step off with the left leg; if
your dog follows say "Good", if your stays give a light tug,
continue moving and say "Good" when you see your dog moving into
As you begin walking you may pet the dog's side of the head under their cheak if he stays near your side. You may also give verbal praise.
If the dog begins to stray as you are walking, give a verbal command of "ah, ah". If he responds, praise your dog. There is no need to tug. If he does not respond to the verbal command, say "No" and simultaneously give a quick tug, signal the dog's position, and praise him when he responds. If the dog strays to the left, the tug should be to the right; if the dog walks in front of you, tug to the left.
Continue walking in a straight line until your dog stays with you. Your walking speed is based on your dog activity level. If your dog is walking fast, you should walk a slower than normal pace. If your dog is walking slow, you should walk a faster than normal pace. If your dog is staying with you then a normal pace is allowed.
The leash should be in your right hand and should be loose (not taught and putting pressure on the dog’s neck). You can have a piece of food or a favorite toy in your left hand to motivate him and keep his attention. With the dog at your left side, step forward with your left foot. If he doesn’t move, give a gentle jerk on the leash and say his name. If he runs ahead, let him reach the end of the leash. When it restrains him, say his name and the word “Heel” as you make a sharp U-turn to the right and walk briskly in that direction. The dog will be behind you and will be forced to catch up. Praise him as he comes alongside you. Now you can teach your dog to walk at your side. Begin with the dog seated on your left, say his name and “Heel” and begin walking. If the dog moves ahead of your left thigh, give him a corrective jerk, say “No” and make an immediate U-turn. Every time you stop, have him sit at your left side.