"HEEL" Command

Set your dog free in a safe area (inside or outside, as long as the area is closed-in). By practicing the exercise without the leash, the dog will try to find the most comfortable position, the first step in education with a leash. The basic rule behind executing this command is that before having to correct a dog that pulls on his leash, he must know what "HEEL" means. By proceeding this way, it will not be necessary to strike your dog with the leash when he pulls on it.

When a dog "HEELS", it means that he's walking at leg level, without his head going beyond the outside stitching on your pants. One efficient technique to bring your dog on your left side, near your leg is to use peanut butter, or sugarless jam.

Your hand then becomes the required target to position the dog in the correct posture to "HEEL". Peanut butter is used because the dog will have a tendency to lick your hand, which will keep him in the "HEEL" position longer, thus rendering your education more time-efficient.

When the dog becomes better at "HEELlNG", use a bone or pieces of dog chow. Always initiate this kind of exercise in a place where the dog will not be too stimulated by all sorts of outside elements. Distance yourself from the puppy, and he will most surely follow you.

How to proceed with small dogs: With a small dog, it will be necessary to bend down to place the lure at the right height If this inconveniences you, put the lure at the end of a stick.

  1. Tell your dog to "Sir at your left, in the "HEEL" position.
  2. Give the command "HEEL", and start walking. Your dog must be able to reach the peanut butter on your fingers (the target). When the dogs reaches the correct position, congratulate him by giving him the SR 'SOUND + GOOD!". Continue walking.
  3. Repeat the command and congratulations frequently, so the dog will be encouraged to persevere.
  4. Stop to put some more peanut butter on your hand; tell him to "SIT', and let him go with the release cue "O.K.". Do the exercise over many times a day. The dog must follow you at all times. If he does otherwise:
    * Alert him by saving "NAME + HEEL".
    * Do the opposite of what the dog is doing. This will force him to change his direction. If the dog slows down, accelerate; if the dog rushes towards you, change direction. If he goes left, go right and accelerate.
  5. When the dog reaches you and licks the target, praise him.

Start the education with a few steps, and then a few more. After a few weeks, do not use any more peanut butter; instead, give him a solid treat such as pieces of the dog chow that the dog already eats. Congratulate him from time to time by making him follow the lure. In the last stage, eliminate the lure. Keep some in your pocket, and surprise him from time to time with a "special treat".

The dog must understand that he must be vigilant in your presence at all times, as you could abruptly change direction. Practice this exercise, lure in pocket, in all parts of the house. In a short time, your dog will have mastered the "HEEL" command. In order to consolidate the command, bring your dog to challenging places, full of distractions. Then, the dog is ready to walk on a leash.

In the beginning, omit the leash so you can be sure that the dog understands the "HEEL" mode. Premature use of the leash complicates matters. If the dog has learned to hate the command, it will become necessary to use another word besides "HEEL ". Then, you will have to start over with another name for the same command.

A leash is required to show the dog to heel. For maximum security, start the training with a leather leash, or one that is made of synthetic material, and comes with a two meter-long adjustable reel to block the position. When you have your dog on a leash, omit the peanut butter (for practical purposes) and give him dry treats that are fast and easy to use. Place the rewards in your left hand (or pocket), so the dog can walk on your left.

The leash and the treat are in the same hand. Keep a reward in your right hand in case you have trouble manipulating both at the same time. The dog is usually educated to walk on the master's left; however, it is possible for the dog to walk on the right. No matter which side you choose, make sure the dog is on the correct side before starting each exercise. He must be seated on your left, near your foot. Use the lure on the side that matches the one you want the dog to take; tell him to "SIT'. Give a signal with your right hand, in a diagonal motion in front of his body, as you lift him and move the lure in front of his nose. When the dog walks to your satisfaction, reward him, and he will always be content by your side. The dog, seated on your left, is now ready to heel with a leash.

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