How to Train a Puppy to Heel
There are basic commands that every puppy needs to learn to help keep them safe and provide a more enjoyable human-canine bond. Training should begin when the puppy is four months old. Consistency is the key to any type of training and individuals should expect the training to take some time. Puppies will make mistakes. Keep training sessions fun and short.
A dog responding to the heel command will walk beside their human without pulling on the leash or being distracted. Start training indoors where the area is familiar and there are fewer distractions. Dogs are typically taught to walk on a human’s left side.
A pocket full of the dog’s favorite treats will ease the process. Call the dog’s name and point to the side where he/she is expected to walk. As soon as the dog comes alongside, tell him/her “yes” and reward them with a treat. Practice this a few times until the puppy automatically assumes the proper position when called. Be sure to provide a reward when he/she comes into position.
The second phase is walking on heel. Individuals can practice this in the home. Use a room with a larger space to accommodate turns. A hallway is also a good choice. Say the command heel and begin to walk. Go slowly until the puppy understands what’s wanted. Always hold the treat in the left hand to prevent him/her from crossing in front of the person holding the leash.
When the puppy has mastered the maneuver, individuals will want to increase their pace and even zig-zag. It teaches the puppy to find his/her place and always return to the left side no matter how the human moves. Reward the pup throughout the process when he/she performs correctly.
Be sure and hold the treats at chest level to prevent the pup from simply following the treat or jumping while walking in an effort to get the treat. Always let the puppy know, in words or with a treat, when he/she has performed as desired. Always exercise patience when working with a puppy.
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