Teach your dog how to heel correctly – Part 5
When you feel that you have sufficient control of your dog while walking, usually within four days of his initial orientation to the leash, you are now ready to go to a higher level of control.
Give your dog the command to heel and begin walking, remembering to start out on your left foot, in a straight line. Make a few right-about turns as necessary to make sure that you have his full attention. Then, as you prepare to come to a stop, shorten your hold on the leash just a bit. As you stop, not after and not before, pull up the leash with your right hand and press gently on the dog’s rear as you say the command “Sit”!
As soon as he sits, praise him and give him a pat on the head. Remember, dogs learn by associating their actions with a pleasing or displeasing result.
Next, give the command “Heel” and begin to walk briskly in a straight line. As you prepare to stop, shorten your hold on the leash. When you stop, pull up on the leash, pressing gently on the rear with your free left hand, at the same time giving the command “Sit”.
Always follow a correct behavioral response by your dog with praise, even if you caused the behavioral response. Even though you are placing your dog in the sitting position, this should still be followed by warm praise.
This will be the pattern throughout the course. You will show your dog what he needs to do and follow it with praise. After the learning process has taken place within the mind of the dog, then will you correct for disobedience.
Your training program at this stage should still be limited to fifteen minutes per day and consist only of the commands “Heel” and “Sit”. Give the command to heel, walk about ten feet, do a right turn, then come to a stop, placing the dog in the sitting position while giving the command to sit. Follow each sit-placing with warm praise.
Dogs with above average intelligence will absorb what you are trying to convey in less than four days and will begin to sit by themselves before you have a chance to place them. However, you must be firm with your decision that, regardless of how fast your dog appears to be catching on, you will continue to place him in the sitting position each time you stop for a period of one week.