How to Teach Your Dog to Walk on a Leash
You’ve probably heard all the horror stories about dogs who pull their owners down the street, yanking them this way and that. And you know how hard it can be to walk a dog on a leash without having them constantly pulling away from you. But as difficult as it may seem, teaching your pup how to walk on a leash is not impossible. In fact, with patience and consistency, it will become second nature for both of you!
To teach your dog to walk on a leash, there are three steps: 1) train yourself what “heel” means, 2) train your dog what “heel” means, and 3) practice until both of you have mastered this skill. Teaching your dog to walk on a leash is great for your pup’s obedience training, and it will make your life easier when you are enjoying some quality time together outside.
Even if you do not plan to go for walks with your dog regularly, heeling is an essential skill that can help keep them under control while in public. Your dog will be less likely to pull away from you while you are at the park, for example, if he or she knows how to follow your lead while walking on a leash.
What is the Heel Command?
The heel command is one of the most important commands in obedience training. It is used to get your dog to walk by your side, and it is typically taught after your dog has learned how to sit and stay.
Why it's Important to Train Your Dog on a Leash
There are many reasons why it is important to train your dog to walk on a leash. First and foremost, walking your dog on a leash provides you with more control over him or her. This is essential when you are in public, as an unleashed dog can quickly become a nuisance (or even a danger) to others.
In addition, leash training is a basic obedience skill that every dog should know. A well-trained dog is a joy to take for walks, and he or she will be much more likely to respond positively to other commands.
How to Teach Your Dog to Heel
When you are first training your dog to heel, it is important to keep things simple. Start by saying “heel” and then rewarding your dog with a treat when he or she comes close to you. As your pup gets better at following this command, you can begin to lengthen the distance between you and him or her.
It is also important to be consistent with your training. For your dog to learn how to heel, you must always use the same words and type of rewards. If you are inconsistent, your pup will become confused and may not respond well to the command.
The best way to practice the heel command is by taking walks with your dog. As you walk, say “heel” and give him or her a treat when they walk close to you. You can also use a leash correction if your pup starts to pull away from you. Be sure to praise your dog when he or she follows your lead.
It is important to keep in mind that your dog will need to rest between lessons. In other words, you should not expect him or her to be able to follow the “heel” command for extended periods until they have a chance to build up his or her endurance.
The Four Rules of the Heel Command
Four basic rules must be followed when training your dog to heel. These rules are as follows:
1) Your dog should always stay by your side—if he or she wanders with each step, you will not be able to train him or her effectively.
2) Your dog should turn with you whenever necessary—if you turn, your dog should follow you.
3) Your dog should sit automatically when you stop moving, showing that they are paying attention to you.
4) You must never forget to reward your pup for following the rules of the command!
Common Mistakes & How to Avoid Them
There are several mistakes that many dog owners make when training their pup to heel. For example, some people try to teach their dogs to follow the command after they have reached maximum walking distance—this is ineffective because your dog will not be able to pay attention for long periods until they build up endurance.
Many people also mistake not rewarding their dog properly for following the command. If you forget to reward your pup, he or she will be less likely to follow the command in the future.
Finally, some people mistake using physical corrections (such as pulling hard on the leash) to get their dog to heel. This is ineffective, and it can also send mixed signals or, worse yet, be dangerous. It is always best to use positive reinforcement when training your dog.
Get Professional Leash Training Guidance with The Beacon Dog Training Course
It’s important to train your dog how to walk on a leash because it gives you more control over them and teaches basic obedience skills. In this blog post, we covered the four rules of heeling and provided some common mistakes that people make when training their pups.
If you find you require guidance, consider signing up for The Beacon Dog Academy training course! Our instructor, Daniel, offers key insights to help guide you through each step to ensure that your dog is trained effectively.