The heel dog command, just as the sit command, is one of the more basic commands that you can teach your dog. In actual fact however it isn’t as common as the sit command or the stay command. The reason for this is that many people don’t understand exactly how this command works and therefore don’t include it in their class time training. There are two schools of thought on how to teach a dog the heel dog command. You could go to your local obedience class and find out how others are taught this or you could do some search engine searches and learn how others are taught it. There is no right or wrong way to go about it but you should find what suits your style of training best.
When learning the heel dog command it is important to know that dogs are not able to see very well so don’t expect to see them performing the heel dog command from across the room. You will need to be right next to them though, preferably by their side. Try and use some distracting techniques such as showing your dog a good treat and then saying the heel dog command. This will get their attention and once they focus on you they should begin to heal on their own.
The heel command is a little harder to teach when it comes to young puppies and older dogs. Older dogs can easily sense when you are attempting to teach them something new and that may mean they give you a warning bark or turn away. Puppies on the other hand are usually not aware that you are attempting to teach them a command word, until you have actually said the word out loud. For them it is merely a command word and they will hopefully understand after a few attempts.
When teaching your dog the heel command word you should always be consistent and firm in your instructions. Never allow your dog to take its attention off you or to simply walk away. You should either stay right next to them or be within shouting distance. If you attempt to ignore them or move out of the way then you are only causing confusion. Your dog will learn to heal on its own without your instruction.
To use the command word for heel you must make sure you have your dog’s full attention. If you have a dog that is distracted then it may not hear or understand you. In fact, it may walk away from you with mis-communication. Be sure that your dog is focused on you and that it understands what you are trying to tell it.
Once your dog begins to heal listen closely for the heel command word. It will most likely begin to heal after it has been repeated several times. Continue to repeat the word and emphasize the heel command. Repeat the heel command until your dog understands the meaning of the word.
While it is important that your dog heel whenever you give the command word, you also want it to stay in heel position. This can be difficult to do at first but once you have mastered this technique of teaching your dog the heel position then it will become easier for you. The key to remember is to use lots of praise. Also, you must get your dog to heel before you lift your heel or else the dog will not understand the command word. Remember to praise your dog for staying in heel position even if it is not apparent from the dog’s position.
Properly using the heel command can be difficult to master for some dogs. However, if you persist you should notice your dog begin to heal more often. Keep practicing the heel positioning until you can successfully use the command word and command your dog to heel on command. You will also have a much happier dog. He will not only learn to heal on his own, but he will also know when you need to correct him.