How to Teach a Dog to Heel?

How to Teach a Dog to Heel

Here’s a breakdown of How to Teach a Dog to Heel, with key takeaways:

What is Heeling?

  • A trained behavior where your dog walks closely by your side, matching your pace and stopping when you stop.
  • Makes walks safer and more enjoyable for both you and your dog.

Why Teach Your Dog to Heel?

  • Reduces pulling and leash tension.
  • Prevents your dog from chasing distractions, getting lost, or encountering hazards on walks.
  • Promotes a stronger bond and better communication between you and your dog.

How to Teach Your Dog to Heel

  1. Choose the Right Environment: Start in a quiet place with minimal distractions.
  2. Lure and Reward: Use treats to guide your dog into position and reward them for each successful step.
  3. Introduce the “Heel” Cue: Use the word “heel” consistently as your dog begins to understand the behavior.
  4. Practice Makes Perfect: Short (10-15 min) sessions several times a day will reinforce the behavior.
  5. Gradual Progression: Slowly increase distractions and the duration of the heel as your dog improves.

Key Takeaways:

  • Consistency is Key: Regular practice sessions make heeling a habit.
  • Positive Reinforcement: Reward success with treats, praise, or play.
  • Patience is Essential: Every dog learns at a different pace.
  • Start Early: Puppies over 4 months old can begin learning to heel.
  • Consider a Professional: If you’re struggling, a qualified dog trainer can help customize a training plan.

What is Heeling?

Heeling is a process that most dog owners use to adopt to make their dogs learn to behave appropriately while walking on the streets.

During this process, the dog has to pace with the owner, and it has to stop while the owner stops and has to walk while the owner walks.

It is a type of training in which the owner teaches the dog to stride by its side just according to the owner’s movements.

A dog that knows how to heel never behaves unpleasantly in the streets and always avoids wandering away or pulling the leash.

This process makes the pet and the owner’s walking session smooth and comfortable and provides a stress-free ambiance that they can enjoy from the core of their hearts.

Why Should a Dog be Trained to Heel?

A dog should be trained to heel and to behave appropriately on the roads while having a walk. A dog owner who wants their dog’s actions to be in their control properly can opt for the heel technique.

If a dog knows how to heel, it will probably lead to a safer walking experience. The dog that knows how to heel doesn’t chase after other street dogs while walking, used to avoid running unnecessarily on the road, and doesn’t chew the toxic things in their surroundings, which are harmful to them.

How Much Time Does it Take to Train a Dog to Heel?

While talking about the process of training a dog to heel, it’s quite a lengthy procedure. Some dogs are slow in grasping new skills, and some are active. That’s why it depends upon breed to breed and their intelligence level.

But an approximate timing is mentioned in the surveys that it almost takes 2 to 3 months for a dog owner to train his dog how to heel.

Whereas if the owner doesn’t provide regular practice sessions, it can often take much more time than 2 to 3 months. So we can say that the time consumption of this training is based on the grasping skills of the pet and the rate of consistency of the owner.

How to Teach a Dog to Heel?

As we know, there are many procedures that people throughout the world follow. But still, the preferable method for dog owners is the “lure and reward.” So we are going to discuss the steps to learn the “lure and reward” method.

A dog owner must have to follow the correct procedure to make the training to heel a dog smooth and more manageable. The steps that the dog owners can rely upon for teaching their dog to heel are discussed below:

Choose the Right Location

Selecting the right ambiance for your dog’s training is an essential part of the training. You can go to a distraction-free area like a place where cars and vehicles don’t run and a place with no people. A place like the garden of your house is the best choice to go with.

Take a Handful of Treats

We all know that giving treats to a dog is the best way to make them understand what is good for them or if they are doing work, then treating them after they have done the job correctly is the best way to make it a habit for them. So don’t forget to keep treats with you for rewarding your dog.

Take the Correct Position

After completing the above steps, the owner has to take the proper position. For the training, the owner has to stand in such a way that the dog falls on its right side.

Give a Command to the Dog

After taking the right position, now all you can do is hold the treats in your left hand and give a command to your dog to sit.

Make sure your dog is aware of the cue word sit. This is because if your dog is not familiar with the word sit, then ultimately, his mind will get blank after hearing this and will not be able to understand what exactly it has to do.

Reward Your Dog

If you notice that your dog rapidly seats after hearing your command, then make sure to reward your dog.

This will make it understand that something good is going to happen because of which it has got a reward.

Check the Mood of Your Dog

The skill of learning how to heel is quite difficult for the dogs, which can make the dog frustrated and anxious during the training,

So it’s essential to check the dog’s mental state, and if it seems nervous, then you should take a break for a while.

Introduce the Cue Word Heel

The owner must ensure that the dog is familiar with the word heel, and if it’s the first time, then at first introduce the cue word heel and make him understand what he has to do after this command.

Make the Command Heel

After making your dog familiar with the cue word heel, it’s time to make it a habit. Hold a handful of treats just before your dog’s nose, cause the command heel, and slowly step forward. It will make the dog understand what it has to do.

Reward the Pet with Each Step

Keep moving forward slowly, and if you notice that the pet is also walking just according to your steps, then give him a treat at each stage; it will help them know that they were doing it in the right way.

Repeat it for Some Time

After you confirm that your dog is doing it in the right way, make it a practice and repeat it up to 10 – 15 minutes twice or thrice a day daily until the pet becomes perfect in it.

Correct the Pet’s Irresponsible Behavior

Sometimes the dog may lose its focus and concentration over the training and start wandering away and stops walking. All you can do is call its name strictly and tell him to come to the right position, and it will understand what he has to do next.

Practice it for 1 to 2 Weeks

Now, we are done with all the steps to be followed, but the owner has to make it a habit for their dog to practice heel by giving treats to them with every step. Treating is necessary because it will help the pet develop its interest in learning the thing.

A Final Test

After you get the confidence that now the pet will be able to walk properly in the street, it’s time for a final test. Take your dog for an outing on the street and keep an eye over his way of walking.

If you notice that the pet is walking in the way you trained, then he has learned to heel, or if the pet is still walking unpleasantly, then it needs some more practice of the habit.

These steps are based on the experiments done by the cynologists. So a dog owner can entirely rely upon these steps to make his dog learn how to heel efficiently.

Is it Possible to Train a Dog to Heel without Treats?

As per the research done on dogs of various breeds, training dogs to heel without treats is possible. For doing this, all the owner has to do is reward the dog with his favorite things like toys rather than treats.

Ensure you reward your dog at each step during the training; you can give him compliments or cuddle after the pet successfully follows your commands.

This is enough because love and care are all a dog wants from its owner, which can also be replaced with treats.

What is the Correct Age to Teach a Dog to Heel?

If your dog is a pup, you shall care for its age. This is because training a dog before its age can affect its mental health as its learning capacity develops after a specific period.

As per research, if you are a puppy owner and want your dog to learn the best manners, you can start to train the pet at the age of four months. The dog’s learning capacity gets fully developed by this age, so this age is preferred.

So, this is the end of the article, and we have discussed all the necessary things to make you understand the facts. Therefore, we hope you know how to teach a dog to heel.

Aapt Dubey
Aapt Dubey

Aapt Dubey, a devoted canine enthusiast and experienced dog Owner, brings boundless passion to our team. With a heart full of love for our four-legged friends, Aapt is dedicated to sharing insights on dog care, behavior, and training to make every pup's life happier and healthier at

Know More

Recommended For You