How to Teach Dog to Heel

There are 5 easy steps to teach dog to heel. Use this command when you want your dog to pay close attention to you and walk close to your side. This command is useful when you are walking in a crowd, crossing a busy street, or passing another dog.

  1. Begin with your dog on your left side with his ear even with your side seam of your pants.
  2. In your right hand, hold a shortened leash (not taut). In your left hand, hold a treat directly in front of your dog's nose.
  3. Say the command "Heel," and walk forward with your dog.
  4. After a few steps in the heel position, reward with a treat.
  5. When you are ready to stop, give the "Sit" command. Give your dog a treat and praise. Your dog will automatically learn to sit when you stop. Remember to use a treat instead of the leash to keep your dog in the heel position.

Problem Solving

  • Dog lunges ahead pulling on the leash. Stop walking forward. Call your dog's name and start walking backwards a few steps. When your dog returns to your side, say "Heel" and begin walking forward.

Reinforcing Heel Command

  • Initially give food rewards and praise, but gradually reduce the treats. Eventually, your words of praise will be sufficient reward for your dog.
  • Increase the distractions gradually. If you started off in your yard, move to walking down the street, then through a busy park.
  • Practice the heel command frequently throughout the day. Keep the training sessions brief so your dog doesn't lose interest.

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