Teaching the cue "heel"
Walk on a loose leash
Lesson 2.0 Walk on a loose leash
WALKING ON A LOOSE LEASH
After walking your dog, do you feel like you have been in an arm wrestle with Sylvester Stallone? Or did your dog bring you down to his level after tripping you when criss - crossing between your feet?
The important thing is that when you take your dog out on a lead, you are the one who should be leading not the other way around.
A dog can quickly learn his street smarts if you are in control. A walk can be a pleasant experience for both of you instead of a mobile tug of war.
Let's dress for success!
Let's start at the beginning with the basics for stepping outside. You have a couple of options to get into gear with the right gear. Collar or harness? Use a good quality buckle up collar. Make sure it's not too tight. It's hard to walk when you are choking. You should be able to snugly fit two fingers between the collar and neck, and your dog will need to have his council registration and other identification.
Or there's the harness. Little dogs are best with a harness with a back clip for the leash. It takes the pressure off their necks. A harness with a chest clip for the leash suits larger, stronger dogs. The front attach harness uses the dog's body weight against himself. If he strains too much the harness will turn him around. Head collars are terrific for very strong or boisterous dogs, they work by controlling the head and the rest of the body will follow.
If you have a boisterous dog, invest in a good quality leash. I have seen too many cheap leads simply break at the clip. Look for one that is double stitched at the clip.
The Solution to your leash pulling problem
We want to teach your dog to walk on one side of you and not criss cross or pull
Decide which side you prefer your dog to walk on
Hold the leash by the handle and step forward. If your dog is walking nicely beside you, praise and reward him with a treat.
If he pulls or crosses over, stop and walk backwards until the leash becomes loose. Your timing is important
Repeat this many times in a small area until your dog understands that the quickest way to move forward is by having a loose leash. You will know when he understands this because he will slow down just before he reaches the end of the leash or stops himself before he crosses in front of you.
When you and your dog are out, he will want to follow his nose literally. A dog's sense of smell is incredible. He uses it to smell who has been in his neighbourhood . He too might want to leave his calling card. He might not be smelling the roses , but to him those scents are even better. So be patient and give him a little time. A dog being dragged down the street by an impatient human too busy to stop is a sad sight.
Again the key to making sure your dog learns a good new habit is consistency. The lessons themselves are not hard to practice, but it's up to you to do them regularly and be consistent. After all when you and your dog head outside it should be a walk in the park.
Lesson 2.1Training the cue "heel"
WALKING AT HEEL:
What does walking at heel mean? For a companion dog, heel will simply mean that they are trotting along beside you while gazing up at you, giving you their full attention. This is not something you would ask your dog to do for their entire walk - how boring would be that be for a dog! We want them to enjoy their walk and sniff about. There are times however when having your dog very close to you in the heel position is useful. If you see a rowdy dog ahead or kids on bikes or you a walking through a crowd it is good to have your dog walking at heel. Below is a short video on how to teach this useful cue.