Heel! Good Girl!
For anyone that has ever felt like a walk with their dog is really an opportunity for the dog to walk you, it’s time to prioritize the heel command! Exercise is of the upmost importance to both people and pets, and when your dog heels it makes for a much more enjoyable experience for all involved. Break out your leash and read the info & tips below for helping your pup heel!
What does it mean to heel?
For new pet owners, the heel command may not be completely understood. When walking your dog, the expectation is that they will walk side by side at roughly the same pace as the owner. Oftentimes the dog with lag behind, or more commonly, pull ahead making the owner feel like the dog is the one in charge. The heel command is vital for safety and enjoyment, and means walking at the same pace, side by side with the pet owner.
Positive Reinforcement & Consistency
Some of the keys to encouraging good habits are positive reinforcement and consistency, and these tools apply to the heel command. By using the lure & reward method, you’ll communicate to your pet that when they execute the command they receive a treat. Begin in a safe space such as your living room or backyard. Start in the sit command, then walk a couple of steps forward while keeping a short leash and putting a treat just in front of your pet. Guide them along for a few steps with them at your side then give a treat for heeling. Repeat this exercise using the sit command as a starting point, and gradually go a further distance each time. Eventually, your dog will be heeling and need few treats!
Public and Off-Leash Heeling
The longer you practice the heel command, the better your pet will understand what’s expected. Be sure to use positive reinforcement along with treats, and as time goes on heeling will become second nature encouraged by verbal positive reinforcement. When your pet exhibits great understanding of the heel command, you can start taking them in public with ease. For off leash heeling, start in your backyard then graduate to public places where dogs are allowed off leash (dog park, dog beach etc.).
If your pet is struggling with the heel command, contact It’s A Dogs World for a free consultation. The heel command is part of our obedience training, and we can support the growth of good behavior in your pet! Visit www.ItsADogsWorld.biz for more info.