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How to train a dog to heel

Updated on June 27, 2009

You take a dog because you know it would be a good companion. These creatures love unconditionally. They are loyal and fierce protectors of their masters. However, the rambunctious behavior of the dog can be very annoying. Training is therefore necessary to turn the dog into an ideal well behaved pet. And one of these is training the dog to heel.

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Being the leader of the dog

Dogs are pack animals. They thrive well in a well defined hierarchy. Dogs eat dogs….this is the rule in the wild when there is no known pack leader. Be the pack leader of your dog. You need to establish yourself as the alpha male. Otherwise the dog would try to be in charge. Be a firm but fair boss to earn the respect of your pet. This will make training the dog much easier.

The positive reinforcements

Positive reinforcements in the form of toys, treats and praises are the essential tools in training a dog. Dogs learn by association. Most dogs are also food motivated. So that every time the dog is rewarded, the treat will be associated by the dog to obeying the command. Dogs are eager to please their masters. Lavish praises will entice the dog to repeat the action or behavior over and over again.

The Heeling position

The basic heeling position is for the dog to be on your left side with the dog’s shoulder parallel to your left leg. But the dog can be positioned on the right side as well. You just have to be consistent so as not to confuse the dog. Hold the leash with your left hand and several bite size pieces of treats on your right hand. The smell of the treat in your right hand will serve as a lure for the dog to follow your command.

The Walk

Step forward with the leg nearest to the dog and at the same time giving the heel command and firmly tugging at the leash.  The dog would either continue walking or try to block your path to get to the treat in your hand. You need to say firmly NO! and pull the leash to return the dog to the heel position. If the dog continues walking, praise it in a happy voice. Dogs aim to please and the verbal praises will let the dog know that it is doing something that pleases the master. After about a dozen steps slow down, stop and give the dog the sit command. Again praise the dog and reward the pet with a treat. This process must be repeated several times a day until the dog has perfected obeying the heeling command. The ultimate test is for the dog to calmly walk beside you with out the restrictions of a leash.

Dog Training - Heel Command 1

How to Train Your Dog to Heel

How to Teach a Dog to Heel


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