Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Heeling A Dog - Is It Necessary For An Entire Walk? Dog Training in Milton

 It is a question that is often asked, "Should I been heeling my dog for it's entire walk?". This is a complicated question because, in my opinion, it depends on the temperament of the dog, the reactivity level, and the amount of control that one needs on their dog in order to make the walk as "stress-less" as possible.

Any dog, regardless of size or temperament, will benefit from learning the heel position and the boundaries of it.  It is an extremely useful command to have on your dog, particularly when passing distractions out on a walk. It brings the dog back to your side, under control, and with attention on the handler. I must emphasize that this should be done with a loose leash. This isn't tightening up on your dogs leash, wrapping it multiple times around your hand, and reeling them in like a fish., This is, instead, after they have learned what the command means and entails, they can get to that position without a lot of physical prompting and no pulling back or tension the owners part.

For some dogs, it is an absolute necessity, every single time they go out, to heel them for an entire walk, for if given an inch, there are those canines out there that will take three miles, regardless of how much training that you have put in. These might be hyper sensitive dogs, or reactive dogs that have a tendency to display aggressive or fearful behaviours when in the vicinity of other dogs or even people. These types of temperaments benefit from more control, the owner giving them guidance, showing them that there is nothing to fear or react to by giving them a strict set of rules that shows that the owner is in charge, and the dog needn't worry. Sometimes these dogs are just the more dominant type, with no severe issues other than being pushy, and not listening when needed. This type of temperament benefits as well from a more controlled heel rather than a loose, casual walk.
For other dogs, the nice, casual, loose leash walk works instead, but those dogs need to learn ahead of time that no pressure can be applied to the leash/collar. This means that the dog is taught the boundaries of the leash, and doesn't go beyond these boundaries with pulling or tension. These are typically the happy-go-lucky guys or the dogs who don't care too much about what's going on around them.

Regardless of how dogs are walked, they should not be allowed to pee on every rock, plant, lamp post or blade of grass, and they shouldn't be allowed to wander all over the place, between legs, tangling leashes or otherwise being a nuisance. All dogs need to be taught to respect the leash, their owners and the boundaries of their training. If you do this, it makes the walks more enjoyable, less stressful and makes for an easy to handle dog that can be controlled with little effort.

If you need help with training your dog to walk nicely on leash, heel or give you more attention while on a walk, email us to find out how we can help:

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