15 Tips to Help Your Dog Master the Art of Heeling


Training a dog to heel is a skill that makes walks more enjoyable and stress-free for you and your furry companion. It requires patience, consistency, and the right methods to be successful. To help you, we’ve provided tips to get your pup to heel in no time!

Start Early

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Begin training your dog to heel as soon as possible, ideally when they are still a puppy. Early exposure helps instill good habits and makes the learning process smoother. You can teach an older dog to heel using positive reinforcement.

Positive Reinforcement For Better Results

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Reward your puppy with praise, tasty treats, or playtime whenever it walks calmly beside you. Positive reinforcement encourages desired behavior and makes training enjoyable for your pup. Your dog will also pick up on the training with the proper methods.

Consistency is Key


Establish clear expectations and be consistent with your commands and rewards. Dogs thrive on routine, so practice heeling regularly in various environments. You can practice the command at home or the park with your dog, so you’ll always be able to train.

Use a Proper Leash and Collar


Invest in a sturdy leash and comfortable collar for you and your dog. A shorter leash provides better control and minimizes distractions during training sessions. Use a harness instead of a collar around the neck for better control.

Focus on Attention

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Encourage your dog to pay attention to you by using their name and offering treats or verbal praise when they make eye contact or respond to your commands. Dogs have excellent hearing abilities, so you can use certain sounds, like whistling, to get their attention. 

Start Slow

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Begin training in a quiet, familiar environment with minimal distractions. Gradually increase the difficulty level by introducing new stimuli such as other dogs, people, or enticing smells. It will keep the training enjoyable for you and your dog.

Master Basic Commands

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Ensure your dog knows basic commands like “sit,” “stay,” and “come” before introducing heeling. A strong foundation sets the stage for successful leash training because you’ll use the same positive reinforcement techniques.

Short and Sweet Sessions

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Keep training sessions brief and engaging to prevent your dog from becoming bored or frustrated. Aim for several short sessions throughout the day rather than one long session. You can start early in the morning and again after lunch and dinner.

Use Verbal Cues

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Teach your dog verbal cues such as “heel” or “close” to signal the desired behavior. Consistently reinforce these cues during training to reinforce the association. Use a minimum of two verbal cues when training your dog to heel.

Be Patient

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It takes time and patience to train, so don’t get frustrated if progress is slow. Celebrate small victories and continue to work with your dog at their own pace. Don’t give up training, especially when you and your dog are experiencing a bad day of training. 

Be a Strong Leader

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During training, always exude confidence and assertiveness, as dogs look to their owners for guidance. Maintain a calm and assertive demeanor to establish yourself as the pack leader.

Avoid Pulling

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Refrain from yanking on the leash or using harsh corrections to control your dog. Instead, redirect their focus back to you with gentle leash cues or by changing direction

Practice in Different Environments

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Gradually expose your dog to various environments and distractions to generalize their walking at-heel skills. Practice walking in parks, urban areas, and busy streets to reinforce good behavior in any situation.

Use Distraction Techniques

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When your dog becomes distracted or begins to pull, use distraction techniques such as a quick change in direction or a gentle tug on the leash to regain their focus.

End on a Positive Note

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Always conclude training sessions positively by rewarding your dog for their efforts. Ending on a high note reinforces their progress and leaves them eager for the next training session.


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