It’s fun to roam and sniff on a leash walk. Sometimes, though, you just want to walk your dog safely by your side. Knowing how to heel your dog will reduce the stress of walking on a narrow sidewalk or crossing a busy street. Dogs need to exercise just like us humans. Walks (or “walkies” in my own home) can be an enjoyable activity for both the pet and the owner.
Your most successful walks with your dog should be based on your dog’s speed, letting them walk at their own pace and when they are eager to. Allow them to sniff and urinate all over any ground that would be fulfilling to their doggy whims.
But training your dog to heel can be advantageous both for you and for the pup. Having a heel cue can help the dog stay on your side when crossing the road or walking through a crowd. The secret of teaching a dog to heel is hand targeting. It makes learning this skill easier and fun.
To teach a dog how to teach your dog to heel on leash, be patient, practice, and use positive reinforcement. Take advantage of this tutorial to learn how to encourage your pet to walk on leash while behind a handy (bah dum tsshh) target.
4 Easy Way to Teach Your Dog to Heel on Leash
1. Treat your Dog for Attention by Clicking it
Our dogs are always happy to see us when we come home, even if we’ve only been gone for a few minutes. But sometimes, their excitement can be overwhelming. If your dog jumps up on you or demands attention when you’re trying to do something else, it’s time to start training them to calm down.
One way to do this is by clicking your fingers whenever they behave the way you want them to. For example, if they’re sitting calmly, give them a click and a treat. Over time, they’ll learn that being calm gets them what they want.
If your dog is still having trouble settling down, there are other things you can try. You might need to increase the number of clicks and treats at first, or try using a different type of treat that they really love.
2. Teach Your Dog Hand Targeting
Hand targeting is a great way to get your dog’s attention and focus. It is also a great way to teach your dog new tricks and behaviors. Here are some tips on how to teach your dog hand targeting:
- Start by holding your hand out in front of your dog’s nose and saying the cue word, “touch.”
- When your dog touches his nose to your hand, click or say the word “yes” and give him a treat.
- Repeat this process until your dog is consistently touching his nose to your hand when you say the cue word.
- Once your dog is responding consistently, start moving your hand around so he has to follow it with his nose.
- As he follows your hand with his nose, click or say “yes” and give him a treat.
3. Increase the Distance Between Hand Targets
When you’re teaching your dog to target with their nose or paw, it’s important to gradually increase the distance between your hand and the target. This will help your dog learn that they can still hit the target even when it’s not right in front of their face.
Start by holding your hand just a few inches from the target, and then slowly move it further and further away. If your dog misses the target, don’t worry – just bring your hand back to where it was and try again. With some patience and practice, your dog will be hitting targets from all over the room in no time!
4. Fade Your Hand Target
Now you want to begin walking your dog on leash only using the hand target whenever you choose to, such as when you want to redirect your dog from something they don’t desire to smell or to keep your dog close to you while you’re walking across the street.
Continue to click and treat for around one step all the way across your home’s sidewalk. Click and click and manage your heel for several consecutive steps. Healing can be a difficult skill to master and requires good tutelage and a decent quantity of reinforcement and praise.
While participation in obedience competitions is not mandatory, it’s a sensible way to hone the ability if you’re not doing it for the recommended distances to be more of a safeguard whenever not out on a leash. Even if you do not head out on runs, you must still remember to have your pay attention to the dog and ensure he gets the necessary enrichment and exercise!
How to Train Your Dog to Heel in Less Than a Week
Training your dog to heel can be a daunting task, but with patience and consistency, it can be done in less than a week. Start by teaching your dog to sit and stay. Once your dog has mastered those commands, you can begin working on heel. Have your dog sit at your left side and hold a treat in your right hand.
Say the command “heel” and take a step forward. As soon as your dog moves with you, give him the treat. Repeat this process, each time taking a few more steps until your dog is heeling by your side for the entire duration of your walk. Remember to praise your dog throughout the process so he knows he is doing something right!
In conclusion, teaching your dog to heel on a leash does not have to be difficult. With patience and consistency, you can have your dog’s heel by your side in no time. Just remember to start slow, keep your training sessions short, and end on a positive note. Soon enough, you’ll be enjoying walks with your well-behaved pup.