2. Walk Nicely On A Lead Continued...


Exercise 2.7 - Let's Go & Choose To Heel

‘Let’s Go’ walking - great for developing what I think of as casual control while walking out in public and ‘Choose to Heel’ to teach your dog that finding Heel position really pays off!

 

Let’s Go:

 

  1. Show the dog some food in the left hand (assuming the dog is on the left), say ‘Let's Go’ and step forward with the dog following your hand slightly in front of you and away from your side. 
  2. Feed a treat every few steps by letting it fall gently through your fingers and praise your dog for walking with you.
  3. Release your dog with an ‘Okay’ when finished. 
  4. Practice often, short sessions both on & off lead and in many different places!

 

Choose to Heel:

 

  1. Begin with your dog in a secure enclosed area, anything up to about the size of a tennis court. Alternatively you could have your dog on a long line attached to his harness with the other end secured to a post or tree.
  2. Say nothing, just start to walk.
  3. Your dog may pay no attention to you at first. He may start checking out the surroundings, etc. 
  4. Eventually though he will get curious and wonder what you're doing and come and investigate. 
  5. When he gets close to you and in approximate heel position, stop and quickly give him the treat. Say nothing, no good boy or anything - just give him the treat. Then, turning abruptly begin walking briskly again.  When he reaches heel position again, stop and treat him. Then turn (approx 180 degrees) and begin walking again treating each time he gets into heel position.
  6. Pretty soon he’ll start coming around in front of you, trying to get at your hand. Be sure you do not treat him when he is in this position. Move your hand to your side, and only treat him when he finds heel position. 
  7. Continue working in this fashion until he gets the idea where he is supposed to be to be rewarded.
  8. If he wanders off just keep walking and when he finds you again in heel position click and treat.

Before too long you’ll have trouble shaking him off and that’s when you know he’s ready for some distractions and another environment!