Published at Friday, 24 May 2019. Dog Training. By Ranier Lang.
Teaching your dog to HEEL makes walks in your neighborhood a pleasant experience. I am sure you have seen or experienced the owner that gets walked by their dog. The owner is fearful of each approaching human or animal because they have not been trained to HEEL. Your goal is that your dog will stay close to you on a walk. He will not pull you or become too hard to control with the distractions of other dogs or humans. Start from SIT, add 'Let's Walk' so your dog knows what is expected after he has learned to HEEL. A good tip, exercise your dog with play before training to HEEL. Work out all excess energy and train your dog in a quiet distraction free area. Start at SIT, use your dogs name and command HEEL. If your dog does not stay with you and darts away, turn in the other direction and repeat command HEEL and dog's name. Remember to always to praise and treat desired responses.
Sincere appreciation is key. All too often, we get so caught up and focused on teaching our dogs that, just when we need to relax and enjoy the moment of success, we end up giving praise that is hollow, rehearsed, and frankly, not very praise-like at all. Keep in mind that the words are not important; it's your demeanor that counts. Praise doesn't need to have a certain tonal quality or pitch nearly as much as it needs to convey that you are sincerely pleased and happy at that moment. In other words, your dog should feel truly appreciated for a job well done – regardless of whether the success was a long sought-after quantum leap, or one of the many baby steps to success along the way.
Dogs are amazing creatures. They adapt to countless situations. They are phenomenal at associations: including learning the meaning or implication of many sounds, such as human language. A dog's ”vocabulary” can reach upward of 150 distinct words! However, regardless of how smart, how skilled, and how adaptable they are, dogs will never be verbal animals. Their first language, so to speak, is not words, but body language. Because of this, it's only natural that your dog will interpret your words though a ”filter” – of body language, facial expression, tone of voice, even your attention. And if one or more of these ”disagree” with the words you are using, most dogs will ”obey” your body language!
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