How to Teach a Dog to Heel in 7 Easy Steps (For Beginners)

Walking a dog on a leash is the most important aspect of training, so it should be done right from the start. In this blog post I will teach you how to train your dog to heel and why it is necessary.

How to Teach a Dog to Heel

  1. Cut up a few treats into small pieces. These will be the reward for your dog heeling you successfully.
  2. Take the dog outside or to a long hallway of your home. Walk around for a bit.
  3. At a certain point, stop. Call out the name of your dog and point to the side you want them to walk on. This should usually be the left side because this is the traditional heel side.
  4. When they come to your side, use a clicker or say “Yes” to acknowledge them. Repeat this step a few times.
  5. At a certain point, you can stop using the clicker or calling out their name. This will hopefully be the cue for your dog to come up beside you on their own. If they do so, give them a treat as a reward.
  6. After a few more times, you can increase your pace. You may also wish to turn or move in a random direction. This will give your dog the challenge of finding the right heel position once more.
  7. As your dog’s training commences, they should get more accurate at heeling. Keep giving them treats, rubs, and hugs as a reward.

Some additional advice for training your dog to heel can found at this video.

What Is the Heel Command for a Dog?

“Heel” is a standard dog training command. It basically means that you intend for your dog to come to your side when called and then stay there. If you are standing or sitting still, “heel” means that your dog comes to your side and likewise sits in a still position.

What Age Can You Teach a Dog to Heel?

It’s best to start training a dog to heel when they are as young as possible. Most puppies are usually weaned at about the age of 8 to 10 weeks. You can try to start training them as soon as you think they are old enough to start understanding your commands.

How Do You Train a Dog Not to Pull?

Put your dog on a leash and walk with them about 10 yards. Keep a treat in your hand about level with their height. If they walk the 10 yards without pulling, give them the treat. Repeat this operation as many times as necessary until it becomes a natural behavior for them.

What Side Do Dogs Heel On?

Most dogs traditionally heel on the left side. This is because most dog trainers are right handed. It’s also the side that trainers prefer when training a dog to compete in an official sporting event.

Why Does a Dog Heel on the Left Side?

Most trainers prefer their dog to walk on the left side. This is mostly due to the fact that most trainers are right handed. You can hold the leash more easily with your right hand while heeling your dog on the left.

Should Dogs Walk on the Left or Right?

Most people prefer their dogs to walk on their left hand side. This is because most people are right handed and prefer to hold the leash in their right hand. It just makes things easier for both owner and dog to handle.

There is also the fact that most trainers prefer their dog to heel on the left side. This is especially true for sport dogs who compete in official events. It’s just as much true for normal training situations where most dogs can be found on the left of a right handed owner.

Is it Ok to Let Your Dog Walk in Front of You?

You shouldn’t let your dog walk in front of you while training them. Doing so will send them the message that they are the alpha in the situation. Remember that there is no democracy in the canine world. They grow up learning a very strict hierarchy. Just think about what where the word “underdog” comes from. You don’t want to be that.

What you will need to do in this situation is stop them from trying to get out in front of you. Let them know that you will not tolerate this behavior. When they try to do so, move up beside them or simply stop moving. Wait until they also stop and then call out to them. Put them back on your left side and continue the training.

How Do I Teach My Dog to Heel Without Treats?

If you forgot to bring a snack with you, don’t panic. You can use a favorite chew toy or even a spoon. Let them chew or lick on it every once in a while after they have successfully heeled you.

Will a No-pull Harness Stop a Dog from Pulling?

A no-pull harness is very effective at stopping a dog from pulling. It does so by putting the front of the harness around your dog’s front chest rather than around their neck. This keeps them from straining against the harness and accidentally choking themselves. The harness moves with their body when they move forward.

What’s Better, a No-pull Harness, Heel Training, or Both?

Your best bet will to give you dog a combination of no-pull harness and heel training. You should definitely consider using a no-pull harness during the training. This will prevent them from harming themselves by choking. It will also keep them from getting frustrated with the training. A no-pull harness will make the heel training easier.

Why Does My Dog Always Pull on the Leash?

Dogs pull on the leash to try to get you to stop training. If a dog doesn’t feel like being trained, they’ll exhibit all kinds of avoidant or aggressive behaviors. Use a no-pull harness as a gentle and humane way of showing them that you intend for them to stay on your left, not in front of you.