Train Your Dog to Heel by Yourself Without a Professional Trainer

Walking into a friend’s home or even your own, and then being trampled by a dog can be a little frustrating at times. It is not really the dog’s fault. He is just so excited to see someone!

This is where the command to HEEL will really come in handy!

The truth is that this is not really proper behavior for an animal. Your dog can be excited to see someone walking through a door, but should definitely refrain from acting in this manner. So this is obviously becoming a problem….there are ways to fix the situation without spending a lot of money on dog trainers or obedience boot camp. Something about “boot camp” sounds a little harsh anyway. And facts are showing that by allowing another individual to train your dog, the dog will no longer see you as the “Master”, but rather the individual that he was trained by.

First of all, the dog should be able to respond to your voice. Little things like coming or sitting on command should be responded to with no effort. If not, teaching these basics should be the first priority. And these commands, plus other commands will be addressed in other articles.

Now to the Heeling:

Keep in mind that things are optional. For example the leash, and how the dog is rewarded. The leash is there mainly for initial stability.

When first beginning it is suggested to use a leash. The goal here is to get the dog to follow, then stop, follow, then stop. Some tugging may be required at first, but it is not necessary to yank the leash, just lightly tug.

1. Begin by standing to the dog’s right, slightly ahead of him.

2. With the leash hand, take a couple steps turning towards the left and walking forward. The dog may not come in the beginning, so tugging the leash lightly may be required.

3. Once the dog reaches near the back of your heel, applaud him by saying, “Good Boy!, (and his name)!” If you give the puppy treats, it should be done at this point.

4. Repeat the first three steps for about fifteen minutes or so, occasionally taking steps to the right instead of the left.

5. At the end of the session, give the dog a great big Good Boy! and his special reward treat.

How to Handle Rewards

Everyone has a different opinion about rewarding dogs with treats for obeying. Some believe that rewarding the dog with a “Good Boy!” or “Good Girl!” should be enough. In other cases, people believe that by rewarding the dog with a special healthy treat he is more apt to proceed. It really is up to the owner. If your dog is already used to receiving treats for good behavior, it may be best to keep the pattern consistent.

Working with your dog frequently on these steps will show results quickly. Over a little time, by being consistent with PRAISE!, PRAISE!, PRAISE! and his TREATS, he will learn the proper behavior.

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