How Do You Teach a Dog to Heel?


Quick Answer

Train your dog to walk close by your side and mirror your pace. This teaches your dog that you are in charge and that he must look to you for direction and leadership, even when distractions are present.

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Full Answer

  1. Choose a side for your dog

    Decide whether your dog should heel on the left or right side of you. Then, keep him on the same side every time. Begin each training session with your dog on that side, so that the dog knows your expectations.

  2. Begin your training sessions on a sidewalk

    Use a surface that gives your dog a line to follow. Stay out of fields and meadows during your training sessions. Those areas have too many odors that can distract your dog from following commands. You want to keep your dog's attention on you.

  3. Put your dog in a slip collar

    Choose a collar that makes a "pop" when you snap the lead. Use a rubberized collar and lead or a choker chain. Tell your dog to sit, say his name, and then say "heel" one time. Start walking at a slower pace than what he wants. Do not repeat the word "heel" as that confuses the dog.

  4. Maintain your pace

    Take a sudden turn or slow down when your dog tries to speed off, snapping the lead as a form of correction. Let the yank of the leash and the popping sound remind your dog of a pack member biting him. Let these changes tell the dog that you are in control and that he must remain in place instead of having you drag him to the right spot.

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