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Steven_L
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PostSubject: Teaching Your Dog to Heel   Tue Nov 24, 2009 9:36 pm

Teaching A Dog To Heel - Step by Step

Ok lets have a go at building a good solid and reliable heel. You can go through these steps off leash (if possible) or on leash. The leash is there for security only, it is not used to drag your dog around or hold him in position. The idea is to condition your dog to want to be by your side rather than to force him to be there. This is the method I use to teach my dogs to heel - as with building any obedience command, start in an environment that is familiar to your dog and free from distractions.

1. Stand with your dog closely next to your left leg, both of you facing the same way.

2. Have one of your dogs favorite treats in your left hand, hold it up near your waist, not directly in front of your dogs nose. Now say "Harry" (your dog's name) to get his attention and to gain eye contact. Immediately take two steps forward then stop. If your dog moves with you and is still in the heel position enthusiastically praise him and give a treat.

3. As soon as your dog swallows his reward from step 2 repeat the heeling process again, then do it again. Say "Harry", take two steps forward offering encouragement to your dog ("come on" or "that's a good boy"), stop, praise and treat. Only ever give the reward when your dog is still in the heel position.

4. At this point your dog will be very interested and attentive. It's important to note that you are using the treat to reward his behavior rather than to lure or bribe him.

5. If at any time your dog lags behind or forges ahead of you hold off with your praise and reward. Simply say "aah-aah" and start again.

6. Continue to practice your heel training and when 2 steps forward becomes easy for your dog, increase to 4 steps, then 6 steps and so on... Keep up your encouragement, praise and tasty rewards.

7. When your dog is reliably heeling for 10 or more steps it's time to attach a verbal cue to the behavior. The process is the same as you have been practicing except now you say "Harry Heel", then step forward. Over time and plenty of repetition this builds up the association in your dog's mind between the verbal "heel" cue or command and the act of heeling.

8. You've now got the very basic heel going well and on cue, it's time to build upon it and add some more variables. Introduce the following elements one at a time and make it as easy as possible for your dog to succeed. Mix it up - continue with your enthusiasm, encouragement, praise and treats.

Walk slowly, speed up, stop, speed up etc...

Take your training session to a new location.

Add some left and right turns and then some obstacles.

Practice your heeling around other people and animals.

Increase the duration of the heel.

Roll a ball in front of you - what does your dog do?
That's the heel training process I follow and have experienced good results with. Always remember to keep your training sessions fun and don't expect too much from your young puppies, it will take some time.

http://www.dog-obedience-training-review.com/teaching-a-dog-to-heel.html

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PostSubject: Re: Teaching Your Dog to Heel   Wed Nov 25, 2009 2:43 pm

this is something im trying to work on with mine right now..thanks for the tips. i'll have to try these out. he keeps trying to pull forward as much as possible when we walk..i'd really like for him to calm down and enjoy his walks instead of pulling fwd all the time.
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PostSubject: Re: Teaching Your Dog to Heel   Fri Nov 27, 2009 11:40 pm

I've tried ideas from at least 10 different trainers, but the following method seems to work the best for me in most cases. Its not the quickest but it works every time. 

Start by putting a short (3 to 6 foot) leash on your dog. With the dog standing next to your left leg, make your dog stand with it's head next to your left knee. 

When the dog is calm, begin the session by taking one short step forward. As you do, give a slight pull forward on the leash. When the dog begins to move release any pressure so that you are not pulling. When the dog takes one (and only one) step, praise the dog. If it takes more than one step, re-set the dog to the original spot and begin again.

When the dog is able to take only one step at a time, move to two steps, then three and so on. Remember to praise and reward your dog when it does it right. Take it slow. You may only get one or two steps at first, but if you are patient your dog WILL get the message. When you can get three or for steps, add the word "HEEL" as you begin to move forward.

Some dogs will figure this out within a few minutes, others may need three or four sessions, still others may take a week or so. No matter how long it takes, each time the dog takes a step and stops next to 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. 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.

More articles like this at: www.ABETTERDOG4U.com

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PostSubject: Re: Teaching Your Dog to Heel   Mon Nov 30, 2009 5:53 pm

I'm also working on writing up a heeling article to add the the Commands section in K9Domain, haven't had to time to write it up but I'll be adding it soon. Grin

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