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Teach Your Dog Some Contextual Heeling

 by zack on 28 Oct 2012 |
1 Comment(s)
So your dog knows some tricks, eh? Feeling pretty smug? Alright smart guy, why don’t we work towards something a little more challenging? Anybody can get the basic tricks down: sit, stay, shake, lie down, and come. Those aren’t that tough so here comes the curve ball.

You’re going to teach your dog to heel.

Training a dog to heel takes a lot of concentration from your pooch, and a lot of patience from you. There’s tons of repetition, variability, treat giving, and affectionate praise involved so get ready for a long endeavor. Like most tricks, it’s not the difficulty involved that makes it so tasking to teach your dog. It’s the sheer redundancy and time spent that really has you pulling your hair out. So long as you’re prepared for that you should do just fine. So let’s get started.

The objective in training a dog to heel is to teach your dog to come immediately when called and stay right by your side. This is a handy skill for an excitable hound who, left unattended, may just tackle your neighbor’s toddler. Begin with your dog in the Heel position, adjacent to your leg, but not touching you.  Keep one of the hound’s favorite snacks in hand at about waist height with plenty more in reserve.. Take two steps forward, leading the dog with the treat. Always teach your dog to heel on one side, left or right according to your preference.
When the dog follows your lead and comes to a stop at your side reward the behavior with a treat and verbal praise. Did you enjoy that? Good, while training a dog to heel you’ll be doing it thousands of times. Once you’re comfortable with the pup’s ability at two steps, increase the distance. As you’re leading the dog, consistently keep its attention by calling its name and making kissing, clicking, or whistling noises. Don’t add the verbal command, “Heel” until you teach your dog to consistently and correctly perform the trick. The concept behind this is to establish the behavior before cementing the trick with the command.

Continue this process until you’re blue in the gills, rewarding your dog every time it gets it right. If they lag behind or run too far ahead, simply stand up straight, patiently say “no” and restart the process. Once your dog has the trick down to a distance of ten paces or more, you can add in the verbal command. Begin telling it to heel as it’s following you. Slowly but surely the idea will sink into the dog’s mind.

Once that’s done, it’s time to test your dog’s commitment to treat-getting. Take them to different locations, practice in front of other people or animals, adjust your speed, heel longer before restarting, and add in some turns while walking. If your pup manages to stay obedient through all that, then congratulations, you can officially start calling yourself a dog whisperer and lobby animal planet for your own reality show. That is one well behaved doggy!


Sheryl Burke - Comment
Sheryl Burke06 Nov 2012Reply
Wow! You guys not only have great products

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