Basics – Teach your dog to heel

The “heel” command is a formal obedience exercise in which a dog walks precisely by a handler’s knee, matching her pace and immediately sitting when the handler halts. Your four-legged friend should know this valuable obedience exercise-for your sake and his.

This is the formal thing to do. 🙂  Do most people want their dog to heel?  no.. They simply want their dog to walk with a loose leash.   BUT teaching a heel is very valuable.

1. useful for agility training when you want your dog in close to you.

2. useful for walking through crowds and on busy streets

3. useful for when you are walking your dog off-leash and need your dog to stay really close to you.

A dog walking at heel is staying close, paying close attention, and is right beside you.

So just how do you teach a dog to walk at heel?

1. get your dogs attention, get your dog to watch you and pay attention to you.   There are different ways to do this.  Get your dogs attention by calling his name, tapping on his head, making noises or any other way you can think of.   This is a command in and of itself.

2. teach your dog where to stand.  For most people a heel is having your dog stand with their head at your left knee (or hip/ankle) depending on the size of the dog.   he’s to stay in that position regardless of how fast you move or in which direction you move in.  NOW.. for agility folks…you might want to teach your dog to heel on both sides as it’s a useful tool to have.  🙂   have a different command for each side.  Me…I always taught my dog to walk on my right side as that’s what worked for me.   Doesn’t really matter as long as you teach them to do so consistently.

3. Once your dog is in position.  Say Rover (or whatever the dogs name is) HEEL.  and start walking forward.  When the dog starts with you. Stop and praise him!  Treat him with food.  And then try again.  Practice is key.

4. gradually increase the length of time you walk with him before treating him.

If your dog starts to forge ahead, a good trick to correct that is to turn around calling your dogs name and walk in the opposite direction.

some people will do this:

When he tries to forge ahead, turn sharply and step directly in his path, making a 90 degree turn and heading off in a new direction. Once again, turn sharply, as if walking along a square. The dog will be used to leading you, and may be surprised or confused. Walk in a straight line again, until the dog tries to forge past you. Pull the same stunt. Doing this for 5-15 minutes a day is enough. Some dogs learn after the first session, but some dogs who have been used to leading you for years may take longer. This lesson will teach your dog that YOU are the one who knows where you are going, and not him.:

there are sites on-line to teach you how to train your dog to heel, I hope this has given you a start.  🙂


3 thoughts on “Basics – Teach your dog to heel

  1. Happy New Year! Good advice, my westie took ages to learn this and your method seems more logical than the way I was shown to teach him. Rewards are a very valuable tool – don’t like training that punishes.

  2. Pingback: How To Train Your Dog To Heel

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