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Teaching Your Dog to Heel

Teaching your dog to Heel (not pull on the lead) during the walk seems to be one of the biggest problems dog owner have today. 

Over the past 20 years I think I've investigated many different ideas from at least 10 different trainers, but the following method seems to be one of the best and actually one of the quickest. 

Start by putting a collar and leash on your dog. With the dog standing next to your left leg, make the dog stand with it's head next to your left knee. 

When the dog is calm, begin the session by taking your left foot and step slightly to your left in front of the dog's right paw. As you do, pull back slightly on the leash and say, "HEEL". Continue to turn left, walking slowly (one step every 5 seconds or so). As you turn left the dog will see that it needs to stay behind your leg to see what you are going to do next. In a very short time, the dog will figure this out. When it does, reward it by giving a small piece of treat or verbal reward.  If the dog gets out of place or resists. Stop!!! Wait a minute or two and then start again.

Most dogs will figure this out within a few minutes, others may need three or four sessions. No matter who long it takes, as you turn, say, "Heel" ... Each time the dog moves the correct way and stays behind you, reward it for staying in position next to your leg. If the dog goes to far or breaks formation ... call it back to your side and start over. As with all training, try to limit sessions to under 5 minutes each. I suggest you try to do two or three sessions per day as needed. Always end the training session with something the dog likes to do. Treats or a play session with a favorite toy works best.

When the dog has the left turn figured out, do the same thing turning right. When left and right are both going well, you can mix them up. End your training session with a 5 minute playtime. Use one of his favorite toys. This will keep your dog interested and because there is a "fun time" following the training it will make the dog more willing to train well.

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