It's no fun to have a dog that just wants to pull the whole walk. Heel teaches polite leash manners. Dogs should go at your pace and in your direction. It's less stress for everyone involved.
1. Make sure to have all your supplies ready.
Treat pouch filled. Clicker in hand. Slip leash positioned high on neck, just behind the ears.
2. Show your dog where you want them to be.
Start by walking with a hand full of food leading your dog on the side you want them walking on. Click and feed as your dog follows along.
Bring the hand away briefly to let your dog do more of the thinking. Click. Put your hand back down to feed. Repeat. Every time you bring your hand up, increase the amount of time that passes before lowering it again.
If your dog loses interest or pulls ahead, walk in the opposite direction and start the exercise again.
3. Mom and Dad are broken.
Pulling is a game that dogs learn. They know that we'll follow them wherever they lead, for the most part. Today we change the rules. Whenever your dog pulls ahead of you or veers in a new direction, walk in the opposite direction of them. The leash will get tight and they'll have no choice but to follow. Click and feed right as your dog catches up.
It's not a typical walk where we're turning in circles. This unpredictability requires more attention on Mom and Dad than past walks have.
4. The leash does the talking.
This step is best to practice in an open area. Getting started in the driveway is a great place to begin. Choose the side you want your dog to walk on and imagine a box. As this exercise continues, the box will shrink. For your dog to be walking appropriately, they need to stay within this box.
Any time your dog steps out of the imaginary box, you pull the leash and turn to walk the opposite direction. You should not be waiting for your dog to pull. When your dog catches up, don't reward immediately. If they shoot ahead again, repeat the process. If they stick with you for a couple steps, click and feed.
Add stops to your route. Any time you stop, require your dog to sit. Even when we're stationary on walks, our dogs should still be paying attention to us.
Now we will put a word to this command. The word is "Heel." Heel is an in motion exercise. Say it while standing still and immediately start walking. Give your dog food as you begin walking to create a positive association to the word Heel.
While we walk, if our dog pulls ahead, we now use corrections to get them back in position. It's the same 3 step process:
1. Say "no"
2. Give a tug on the leash, in the direction you want them to move
3. Remind them "Heel"
6. Build the 3 D's
As our dogs show that they understand where they need to be as we walk, keep challenging them.
Duration- How long can your dog walk without needing a correction or reward?
Distance- How much of the leash can be dipped between you and your dog as they continue beside you?
Distraction- What kinds of things can you and your dog walk past as they stay in the heel position?