One of the most frustrating elements of dog ownership, from what I hear from many people, is manipulating the dog on the leash. This should be a pleasure and a time in your case and your dog to exercise, explore and bond, never a chore. If you make the choice to focus on heeling, you will find walkies considerably more pleasurable the other you do far more often, which is great for two of you.
To get this profitable you should begin by introducing your puppy to some leash. Attach the leash towards the appropriate collar. I use a German pinch collar or martingale collar when I am walking. I will examine the different kinds of collars in another blog, because there are numerous types available and numerous philosophies where type to make use of.
I avoid the use of a flex-leash, or retractable leash for this specific purpose. The reason is that for a dog to heel, he must stay at your leg, not forging ahead and never lagging behind.
Once the leash is secure, lead your dog in your left side, this is when you may always walk your canine. That way he knows what you should expect. Start walking at the quick pace. As you step off, say “Name, heel.”
If (when) your dog veers from your path, then gently pop the leash and collar and say “no, heel”, adjusting him back to place. You decide which direction the walk takes, not the dog. When the dog is heeling inside the correct place, always verbally praise and carry a treat to strengthen initially. The dog needs you to be clear verbally on what is right and what is wrong. The signals must be like day and night.
Another issue I learn about often is dogs especially puppies biting on or twirling around using leash. For the biting, I say, “No heel, and pop the leash again.” Moving forward with a quick pace also leaves short amount of time just for this. The same holds true for the twirling, adjust your pet into place, say ‘No” and still have quick forward motion. Again, praise correct behavior in the event it does happen. This can take time, keep it going, its a smart investment in most of your future walks.
Soon we are going to mention having your pet sit any time you stop, until then, what you really are trying to accomplish is the dog becoming comfortable and expecting you to definitely function as leader for the walk. (See blog entry on Pack Mentality). Depending on the purpose of the walk, I either allow sniffing and stopping or not. For our morning walks, which are for exercise and relief, we walk and invite sniffing in certain areas, and so the relief is situated some area. We determine where we walk, the dogs continue in heel position.
Common sense dictates the distance and length of the walk depend for the breed. My labs need long, fast walks, smaller breeds will require less, until you use a Jack Russell or any other small high energy breed. There are ways to reach the level of walk you choose even though you have a very large or high energy breed. Throw the ball or Frisbee first for a while to lose a good amount of energy off, then go on the walk. You will possess a far better result. But remember the walk can be a different kind of “work” for your new puppy, the retrieving shouldn’t replace the walk, it should be an entirely different activity.
Mastering the “heel” will take time, depending on how often you work on it and exactly how clear you happen to be along with your discipline and praise. These two components can shorten or lengthen the learning curve.
What you will also notice, in case you give a second dog or puppy once the first you have mastered heeling, is that this second one falls into place very quickly in any respect in the event you walk together.
This may seem stringent, but you’ll be rewarded having a dog that is comfortable because you are leading and he knows what you should expect. This again, provides mix of both mental and physical benefit your dog, which they all experience.