Teaching the Heel command
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Thread: Teaching the Heel command

  1. #1
    Remi is offline Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2008

    DefaultTeaching the Heel command

    Wondering how some have taught their dog the "heel" command. When I refer to "heel" I mean teaching the dog to stay at my side while we're out on a walk, etc. (I only specify because I've heard the command used other ways).

    Right now I feel like sometimes I'm in the middle of a tug-o-war with Remi. He can be great on the leash, walking right by my side and paying attention to me but this is usually after 3/4 of our walk is spent with him yanking my arm, jumping up in the air, me pulling back. I'd really like to get the "heel" down well now while he's still young AND small....40 lbs of wiggly, crazy puppy yanking the other end of the leash is starting to take it's toll on my back.

    My neighbor suggested the technique her trainer used....where you literally do an about-face when the dog begins pulling and walk in the other direction with the hope that the dog will realize that pulling doesn't get them anywhere. This has NOT worked with Remi at all. He thinks it's a game and it actually makes the pulling worse...as soon as I turn he turns and then runs as fast as he can past me to the end of the leash. Any suggestions are greatly welcomed!!

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  3. #2
    Chester B. Dickens is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009

    DefaultRe: Teaching the Heel command

    Check out the "Our Best Advice" sticky.

  4. #3
    GulfCoast's Avatar
    GulfCoast is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009

    DefaultRe: Teaching the Heel command

    I have found that working them on a lead, between a fence and you, so they can't get out of position sideways, with a broom handle or heeling stick to block the forward momentum past you (not to hit the dog, but like a "moving wall" or barrier) has worked the best for me.
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  6. #4
    Dynamicdogs is offline Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    DefaultRe: Teaching the Heel command

    I use "Heel" for crosswalks and busy side walks, but use a "let's go" for walks. "lets Go means you can sniff nad walk as long as you keep the leash loose. I click and treat for a loose leash and if the leash tightens I become a tree. once the dog loosens the leash I then C/T for the leash being loose. It takes repetition but as long as you always use the same length leash for your walks the dog will realize the length that they have to work with. and if the dog doesn't loosen up when I become a tree I turn and walk in teh opposite direction, and C/T once the dog catches up to me. This works well with labs since they are generally food motivated. I usually use dog food ratehr than extra treats to avoid weight problems and just measure his breakfast to take on our walk.
    if you want a heel then i have found the target stick to be of use. just a wooden spoon with the bottom painted black. teach the dog to target the black spot with his nose and then hold it at your left side to get him to target. also as said above, using a fence or wall to start this exercise is good.
    Handle every stressful situation like a dog. If you can't eat it or play with it, just piss on it and walk away

  7. #5
    TN_LAB is offline Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2008

    DefaultRe: Teaching the Heel command

    I used it all. It took some time, but we're pretty good now.

    Walk next to a fence
    Do the "about face/tree" thing
    Let the leash come down between the dogs front legs so that it pulls the dog's head down if/when he pulls
    Prong collar
    Heeling stick (works well when used in conjunction with the fence)


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