First, clicker training has proven to be one of the most effective ways to get results fast. We also suggest having some quality treats on hand. The reinforcement makes all the difference. First, get a clicker for your right hand and a handful of training treats in your left hand. Brown Beggars is our personal choice and they make a great healthy and delicious incentive while training. Keep extras in your pocket if you plan to do a longer training session. Start your heel training in a non-distracting familiar environment, like your living room, basement, or a fenced-in backyard.
Second, you will position your pup on your left-hand side. Have them sit and stay then quickly reward them with a click and a treat. Have your dog sit calmly next to you until you are ready to walk. Make sure you wait to start until they are calmly following your first more simple commands before beginning your more advanced heel training. You will also want to make sure they are fully focused on you! Clickers are used to show your dog they have successfully followed your command and to keep their focus solely on you.
Third, keep the handful of small, soft training treats in your left hand. Start to walk slowly forward; the command "heel" would be appropriate. Expect your pet to walk slowly beside you. The idea is to hold the treats out within an inch of your dog's face to guide him or her along, and every step or two rewards with a click from the clicker and a treat. If you combine this with verbal praise it is most effective. But the clicker and verbal praise can be interchangeable, so you don't wear out your voice on longer sessions. If your dog starts to veer off, pull ahead or focus on anything other than you, you should stop immediately, call your dog's name, ask them to sit, stay and then start again only once your pup is in the correct position and focused on you.
If you are still having trouble you might want to look for some gear that can help you train your dog to heel. Many professional trainers recommend martingale collars (also known as human control collars).
Check Out Our Section of Collars Here