by Le Chameau
Whether you live in the town or in the country training your dog to walk to heel should be one of the first aspects of a dogs training, there is nothing worse than a dog taking you for a walk. Heel work should be something that needs dedicated training time and practice definitely makes perfect.
It is far better to practice your heel work in a car park or on any other area of hard standing as this will help to prevent the dog from constantly putting his nose on the ground trying to find interesting scents. Before setting off make sure your dogs’ front feet are level with yours and the dog is looking at you.
As you step off, use the command “heel”. Rather than keep walking up and down in straight lines which can encourage the dog to pull forward try lots of tight turns and figures of eight (don’t forget to go both ways round) Your dog will have to concentrate a lot harder to stay with you. Keep these sessions short.
If your dog tends to pull away from you when walking at heel, try using a wall or fence line to guide the dog. To start with keep the dog tight to the barrier and gradually come away from it as the dog gets into a good habit of walking next to your leg.
Fran Ardley of Tarncrag Gundogs has developed a reputation as a person who, with a calm and gentle approach, can gain a dog's complete trust every time, making life for all much more enjoyable. With over 10 years’ experience her positive attitude has seen her succeed not only in competition but also in training many different breeds of gundogs. She offers a variety of training courses, including basics, 1:1, group or residential.
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