How to Teach Your Dog to Heel

Learn how to teach your dog to heel in this Howcast video with Andrea Arden Dog Training.

Teaching your dog to heal is one of the most difficult behaviors that you’ll probably try to train, especially because it’s a behavior that you want to use with your dog when you’re in their most competitive or distracted environment, outdoors. The place to begin is indoors in a low distraction environment, so that you can teach your dog what you want and then you take it on the road. The first step is to simply teach your dog that you want them to pay attention you. If you don’t have your dog attentive to you and you don’t have eye contact, you can’t really go any further. So first I’m just going to take a treat and bring it up towards my face so that my dog looks in my eyes, and when he does I’m going to use a clicker as a marker. If I wasn’t using the clicker, I would simply say the word ‘good’ to let him know that it was the eye contact that I wanted, his undivided attention. So you either say, "Good," or click. Since I’m going to be awarding fast and furious and giving him a lot of feedback, I’m going to use the clicker so I don’t run out my voice. Once your dog is attentively following your every move when you’re just going short distance, you’re ready to put on a few more steps. So I’m going to click as I walk in this direction, frequently rewarding my dog for moving along with me. Eventually I would click less frequently as he gets better at it ’cause he won’t need quite as much information. One of the real challenges to teaching your dog to heal is for the person to get used to all the equipment. You have your treat pouch, which is best if it’s hands free, your leash and if you’re using a clicker, your clicker. So make sure you’re comfortable. Have your leash nice and relaxed and loose so your arm is hanging in a relaxed manner. If you’re relaxed, it’s more likely your dog will be. Have fun with it. . You know, you’re kind of dancing with your dog. And when you’re indoors in a safe environment, you can always take the leash off and that will show you that your dog will follow and remain in heel position regardless of whether they’re leashed or not. You ready to go Jack? Lets see if you can do it. Good boy. At home you can even create an obstacle course where you go around your furniture to make this day really fun for you and your dog. And that’s how you get started to teaching your dog how to heal.