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The heel command is one of the first basic obedience commands a pet dog should learn. A dog has to learn to obey the heel command as it ensures not only its own safety but the safety of the pet owner as well. Moreover, a dog owner would surely be very proud to have a well trained and well mannered dog walking by his/her side. Dogs are supposed to protect their owners and a large dog walking beside an elderly owner would be enough to intimidate potential wrongdoers.

How would you make the dog respond to the heel command? Training the dog to heel may intimidate other pet owners but it is really not an arduous task. Dogs are intelligent animals and with the use of positive reinforcement, the pet can learn to heel with the least effort. Dog owners can take advantage of the fact that dogs are food motivated and these affectionate pets have an inherent desire to please their owners. So instead of reprimands and harshly pulling on the leash, the dog will be enticed to respond to training by giving the pet a lot of praises and using the dog’s favorite treat as positive reinforcement.

The objective of this particular obedience training is to teach the dog to stay by the master’s side whether walking or running. Snap on a leash to the dog’s collar. You can position the dog to your left or right side but this heel position must be consistently used so that the dog will not be confused. Hold the leash on one hand while the other hand holds the dog’s favorite treat.

Let the dog smell the treat in your hand to gain the pet’s attention. Continue to hold the treat in front of the dog’s nose and start moving forward. Instead of moving forward, the dog may move across your body to get the treat in your hand. Quickly yank the leash and say NO in a firm voice. Let the dog assume the heel position again and continue walking. Command the dog to heel and continue walking. Reward the dog with the treat if it continues to walk by your side. Short training sessions that are repeated several times every day will train the dog to heel beside you even without being lured by a treat.

Walking the dog can be a stressful task for owners of dogs that pull on the leash so that it would appear as if the owner is being walked by the pet. A dog owner can put a stop to this stressful situation by teaching the pet to respond to the heel command.

Sarah’s Dogs provides more information on how to train a dog to heel and dog first aid.