Next, let’s continue teaching your dog these seven basic commands with the “heel” command
Teaching your dog the heel command
Heel is the fifth command you should teach your dog. The come command can be difficult and take a lot of practice and patience. When you are asking your dog to “heel” you are asking them to ignore the exciting smells and visuals around them and follow your command and walk along side you. Teaching your dog to heel trains them to walk by your side, not in front of or behind you.
Just like with the other commands we have covered so far, heel can be taught through lure training using treats or toys to “lure” your dog into following your directions. While lure training works great, it’s important that you pay attention to when your dog is ready to follow your commands without the incentive so they begin to follow your commands without reward.
To teach your dog the heel command:
- Start in a relatively distraction free environment. The fewer smells and objects that may distract your dog the better. With the lure in your right or left hand, show your dog to get them to follow the lure to your side.
- With the lure in your hand move forward to get your dog to follow
- Keep repeating step two wile gradually increasing the distance walked keeping your dog by your side with the lure. Prompt them to follow in addition to the lure by saying “heel”. You can also provide a non-verbal cue by tapping your side. This step should be repeated over multiple days in varying environments.
- Bring your dog out of the house and continue using your lure or treat
- After your dog has displayed a willingness to heel gradually decrease use of the lure or treat until it is no longer needed.
It’s important to reward good behavior, but never punish your dog for a delayed response to the come command. Positive reinforcement for obeying and heeling when called will make the training easier. When on a walk, do not ask your dog to heel all the time.