Teaching your dog how to heal correctly begins with teaching him the basic Heel to Tail command. You can easily accomplish this in one to two minute sessions with your dog each day. Here’s how to get started.
Train your dog with a Heel to Tail collar: Your dog needs to realize that if you command him, he must stay in your side, regardless of where you go. So far, you’ve been using a Negative Aversion technique to teach your dog to heel with a leash, primarily by attaching a leash correction to tell your dog that he’s out of the proper heel position. Using an electronic collar can be an effective alternative to the traditional leash for some dogs.
Using an electronic Heel to Tail collar will provide your dog with a positive reinforcement to follow your commands. The e-collar receives your dog’s virtual shock when it receives the negative Heel to Tail command. This will cause your dog to quickly back away from you. You will notice that your dog is learning to heel without receiving a shock. As he begins to learn and recognize the sound of the electronic clicking noise, he will stop using the leash to heel.
Using treats to reward your dog for heeling can help to reinforce the heeling training technique as well. Try to only reward your dog when he completes the heel command. Your dog may feel a little guilty about not completing the task but don’t punish him. This could confuse your dog and prevent the training from working.
When your dog understands the technique of heel positioning, begin tapping training by putting the bottom of your heel into the plastic shock absorbing plate. Tap your heels three times before removing the plate. You want to start the training at a slow, medium speed and increase as your dog becomes better at the technique. It is important not to over-tap. Never pull on the leash. Continue practicing until the dog completes all the heel positions without pulling.
You should try to work on heel zones one at a time. It is best to begin by walking around the house and teaching your dog where the heel zones are. You can use the pictures or postures outlined in “Heel Positioning For Puppies” found in our “Resources”. Walk around the house and be patient. Eventually, your dog will be able to heel on command.
Once your dog has begun to walk forward with your left foot forward and the heel zone being used, only practice heel positioning with the left foot out in front. Don’t do it anymore until you see the dog heel. You may have to wait for a while for the dog to get comfortable with the method before trying it again. Once your dog heels, begin training by putting the bottom of your left foot down into the shock absorbing plate. Your dog will learn to heal from this position.
Begin by changing directions slowly. Don’t make large changes immediately. This could confuse your dog. For example, if you are changing directions to the right, start by turning to the right, followed by the left. After completing the process three times, change to the left and finish up facing the opposite direction.
You can also use your hand instead of the leash when teaching your dog to heel. Begin by holding a treat in your left hand. If you want the dog to heel, move your left thumb along the leash. As soon as the dog begins to heal, give him the treat and say “heel”. Then give the command heel-zone, followed by a release of the leash.
For dogs who have problems with jumping, using the heel position stop tapping. For this, I recommend starting with a loose leash and then taking the loose leash and position it under your chest, between your legs. Then begin moving the leash back to its original position. Slowly ease the leash back into its original position until the dog becomes comfortable with the movement.
E-Collar is another excellent choice in leash training dogs. When used properly, an e-collar can help dogs that have a hard time standing on their own to learn to heel. It can also help prevent unwanted chewing. The dog should start off using the e-collar on a small amount of dog. Then as they get better at using the e-collar, you can progress to a larger size e-collar.