Teaching your dog to heel and walk properly is beneficial in more ways that one. Walking with your dog will be a much easier task when he is standing where he needs to be in terms of your body while walking. Formal obedience training (if you are going to show your dog for example) teaches the dog needs to walk on your left side. Unless you plan to enter your dog in competitions, for the purpose of a family pet, he can be on whatever side is most comfortable for you. My right is more comfortable than my left. Let’s check out a few ways for teaching your dog to heel and walk properly!
Teaching Your Dog to Heel and Walk Properly
He should be standing with his head even with your hip. Of course if he is a smaller dog (or a puppy) the line drops down from your hip, but you understand the general idea. Most think you need to keep a tight leash. The reality is you want some slack in your leash. Use a command with him. Something like ‘right here’ works to get him to stand where he needs to be. Be consistent, commands only work well if you keep using the same one.
Reward him with treats! We all like to be rewarded right? Keep some training treats in your pocket. Now, take this slowly. Take a step, keeping him where he needs to be, and reward him. Take a couple more steps and when he stays where he needs to be, reward him. Keep going like this, he is learning to walk where he needs to be in relation to your body.
You don’t always walk in a straight line right? Well you won’t always be walking straight with your dog as well. Once he mastered walking beside, consider every time you walk a training session. Keep treats with you in your pocket and reward accordingly and often.
Remember, lots of praise and treats and play! Your dog wants to make you happy, so show him that what he does makes you happy. You have seen those dogs walking with their owners, so nice and calm and beside them, and they don’t have to hold the leash very tight. It is like the dog knows what he is supposed to do and he does! Because his owner took the time to teach him how to walk and heel properly. You always want to be ahead of your dog, not him ahead of you.