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Teach Your Dog to Heel and Walk Beside You in Easy Steps (2024)

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how do you train a dog to walk beside youYou want a well-behaved pup by your side, not pulling on the leash.

Teaching your dog to heel takes some know-how, but we’ll make it easy.

With positive reinforcement and incremental training, your dog will soon walk nicely beside you.

I’ll share professional tips to understand your dog’s behavior and have more pleasant walks.

Together, we’ll get your best friend heeling happily in no time.

Key Takeaways

  • Use positive reinforcement, such as treats and praise, to encourage your dog to stay by your side.
  • Start with short training sessions and gradually increase the difficulty by adding distractions and varied walking speeds.
  • Practice in different locations and real-life situations to ensure your dog learns to heel in various environments.
  • Use a combination of treats and verbal praise as rewards during heel training.

What is Heel Training?

What is Heel Training
One. Heel training teaches your dog to walk closely beside you on the traditional heeling side, usually the left, without pulling on the leash or wandering away. It’s a crucial skill that promotes safety and obedience during walks. By using rewards, consistency, patience, and the heel command, you can successfully teach your dog to stay by your side while walking.

During heel training with a clicker or treats as rewards for good behavior; start in an enclosed area with no distractions before gradually introducing more challenging environments. Using a collar or harness along with a quality leash ensures maximum control and safety during walks.

Remember to be patient throughout the process and stop frequently to reward your pup for staying close by your side. With practice and persistence in heel training sessions filled with love and praise from you as their owner; they’ll become well-behaved walkers who understand their place within the family unit.

Why Teach Your Dog to Heel?

Why Teach Your Dog to Heel
You’ll often want to teach your dog to heel so they walk beside you without pulling on the leash or wandering off.

Heel training prevents accidents by keeping your dog focused on you instead of distractions.

It strengthens your bond through positive reinforcement and consistent communication.

Heeling improves obedience as your dog learns to watch and respond to you.

It prevents mischief since your dog can’t run off or jump on people.

Ultimately, heel training instills good manners and safety so you both enjoy walks more.

As their leader, teach your dog to heel using patience, praise, and persistence. They’ll be happier and healthier for it.

Tips for Effective Heel Training

Tips for Effective Heel Training
To effectively train your dog to heel and walk beside you, there are a few key tips to keep in mind:

First, use treats and praise as positive reinforcement for when your dog stays by your side.

Second, start slowly and gradually increase the difficulty of the training sessions.

Lastly, be patient with your dog’s progress and stay consistent in your training efforts.

By following these tips, you can successfully teach your pup to walk obediently by your side.

Use Treats and Praise

Using treats and praise is an effective way to motivate your dog during heel training.

  1. Use high-value treats that your dog loves.
  2. Hold the treat in your right hand to keep their attention on you.
  3. Click and treat or reward with your left hand as they walk beside you.

Remember to praise verbally along with the treats for maximum reinforcement of good behavior!

Start Slowly

Start slowly by introducing short training sessions and gradually increasing the duration as your dog becomes more comfortable with heel training.

Keep the sessions focused and concise to maintain your dog’s attention.

Use a clicker to mark desired behavior, then reward with treats for proper heeling.

Avoid distractions during training, such as other dogs or loud noises, to ensure your dog stays focused on you.

Consistency is key in leash training, so be patient and persistent in your efforts.

Remember to give occasional sniff breaks as rewards for good behavior!

Be Patient

To effectively train your dog to heel, it’s important to maintain patience and consistency throughout the process.

  1. Avoid yelling or getting frustrated with your pup. This will only set back training.
  2. Stay calm and reward your dog often with treats and praise for desired behaviors.
  3. Be consistent with commands and expectations, and rely on positive reinforcement techniques.

With time and persistence, your dog will learn to happily walk beside you.

How to Teach Heel Command

How to Teach Heel Command
Now that you understand the benefits of teaching your dog to heel, let’s discuss how to actually train them.

There are three key steps:

  1. Reward your dog for walking beside you.
  2. Gradually increase the duration they stay beside you.
  3. Add verbal commands such as heel.

By following these steps consistently and patiently, you can successfully teach your dog to walk calmly and obediently by your side.

Step 1: Reward Beside You

As you’ve established an effective foundation, begin rewarding your dog when they choose to walk beside you.

Hold a treat in your left hand and position it on the opposite side of where you want your dog to walk.

As they come up beside you, use a clicker or say “yes” and reward them with the treat from your right hand.

Cue Action Reward
Heel Dog walks beside owner Treat from right hand

Step 2: Increase Duration

Gradually lengthen the time your dog walks beside you as you teach them the heel command.

Keep the leash loose so they don’t feel constrained.

Don’t rush the process or expect perfection right away.

Reward your dog often with treats and praise for staying by your side, being consistent helps them learn.

Also try to avoid distractions during training so your dog can focus on you and the heel command.

Stay positive and patient, and in time your pup will heel like a pro.

Step 3: Add Commands

Add Commands (How to Teach Heel Command):

Now it’s time to incorporate commands like heel as you walk with your dog. This helps them associate the verbal cue with staying by your side.

Practice heeling on different locations, such as in parks or busy streets, and gradually introduce distractions like other dogs or squirrels.

Remember to reward and praise your dog for successful heel behavior, and gradually increase the duration of walking beside you for extended periods of time.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Troubleshooting Common Issues
If you’re experiencing any issues during heel training, it’s important to address them in order to ensure success.

If your pup wanders off or pulls too hard, you may need to adjust the length of the leash. Make sure it’s short enough to keep your pup close but not so tight that they feel restricted.

Additionally, check if the treat is too far away from your pup’s nose. The treat should be easily accessible and within their reach as a reward for proper heeling behavior.

If your dog seems unmotivated by treats, try using higher value rewards or finding other forms of reinforcement that excite them more.

Lastly, make sure you have enough treats on hand during training sessions so that you can consistently reward good behavior and reinforce positive habits throughout the process.

Take Training Outside

Take Training Outside
Take your training sessions outside to gradually increase distractions and reinforce the heel command in real-life situations.

Use a long leash to give your dog more freedom while still maintaining control.

Vary your walking speed to keep your dog engaged and focused on you.

As you walk, practice crossing streets together, teaching them how to navigate safely beside you.

Add distractions such as other dogs or people passing by, bicycles, or even squirrels running across their path. This will help teach them impulse control and strengthen their ability to stay by your side despite distractions.

Be sure to practice in different locations like parks or busy areas so that they learn how to heel in various environments with differing levels of distraction.

Taking training outside is an essential step towards achieving consistent heeling behavior no matter where you go with your furry friend!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What equipment do I need to train my dog to walk beside me?

To train your dog to walk beside you, you’ll need:

  • A collar or harness
  • A quality leash
  • High-value treats for rewards
  • A clicker

Start in an enclosed area with no distractions.

How long should my training sessions be when teaching my dog to heel?

To ensure effective training sessions, aim for:

  • Short but consistent periods of 10-15 minutes,
  • 2-3 times per day.

This helps keep your dog engaged and focused on learning the valuable skill of heeling by your side.

Can I use verbal praise alone as a reward during heel training?

Yes, verbal praise can be an effective reward when training your dog to heel. However, for most dogs, a combination of treats and praise works best.

The treats serve to initially capture and reinforce the desired behavior, while the praise helps maintain that behavior over time.

Be enthusiastic and animated with your praise so your dog understands when he’s doing something right.

What should I do if my dog starts pulling on the leash during a training session?

If your dog starts pulling,

  • Pause your walk and stand still.
  • Wait until your dog’s leash slackens and sits.
  • Never yank to correct.
  • Then coax your dog to your side with a treat or praise cue.
  • Continue on.

Stay patient and consistent and the pulling should reduce in time.

How can I make training sessions more enjoyable for my dog?

To make training sessions more enjoyable for your dog, incorporate fun and interactive activities.

Use toys or games that reward good behavior, such as playing fetch after a successful heel command.


To conclude, teaching your dog to walk beside you and heel is an achievable goal with the right training approach.

By using positive reinforcement, starting slowly, and being patient, you can effectively train your pup to walk nicely by your side.

Remember to reward your dog for staying beside you and gradually increase the duration of their heeling.

Adding commands will further solidify their training.

And don’t forget, troubleshooting common issues and taking training outside will help ensure success.

So, start implementing these steps and enjoy pleasant walks with your well-behaved canine companion.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is an author and software engineer from the United States, I and a group of experts made this blog with the aim of answering all the unanswered questions to help as many people as possible.