When you have a puppy, one of the most important things you can teach them is to heel. This means that when you are outside, your dog stays behind your right or left knee. No matter what may be going on at the time, your dog will not leave your side. This will help keep your puppy safe and will allow you to walk your dog without a leash in some cities. The five dog training aids you need to teach your dog to heel are a collar/harness, a leash, a clicker, treats, and patience.
Depending on your training method, there are different types of collars, harnesses and even halters available for your pet. Collars come in the standard variety, also known as flat collars, which you see on most often on dogs. They have a clip for an ID tag and come in leather or fabric.
Other collars that you can use are a choke collar, a prong collar or an e-collar. A choke collar is usually made of metal links that tighten around the dog’s neck when you pull on it. A prong collar has studs or prongs on the inside of a leather collar. This collar will press the prongs into the dog’s skin or fur when it tightens. An e-collar or electric collar will emit a shock, high-pitched noise, or water when the owner pushes a button on a hand held device.
The choke, prong, and e-collar have come into serious debate in the last several years. Many dog training professionals believe these techniques are cruel and unnecessary, while others say that they don’t have to be cruel to be effective. It is up to you to decide if you want to use these training aids, but you may want to research them online before making a purchase.
A harness fits around the dog’s torso and doesn’t choke the dog if pressure is applied. Proponents of harnesses say they allow the owner to have more control over a pet without running the risk of harming them. They come in different types, such as a figure 8 or some even allow you to clip them into the seatbelt of a vehicle. Make sure that whatever type you chose fits properly and allows you to adjust it as the puppy grows.
A halter for a dog is similar to a halter for a horse. It fits over the dog’s muzzle and ears. The theory behind a halter is that if you pull on the leash the dog’s head will have to turn and then the dog will have to follow you. There is a risk of hurting the dog’s neck, however, if you jerk the leash, and this type of control may not be effective when teaching the dog to heel.
Leashes come in many different lengths and there are even retractable leashes that allow you to reel in the leash, and the dog, when more control is necessary. For the purpose of teaching a dog to heel, a retractable or six foot leash is the most beneficial.
Once you have selected these dog training aids, you want to make sure your puppy wears them whenever you are outside. If he is going with you to get the mail or just keeping you company in the garage while you fix your daughter’s bike, he should be on a leash. If you have a fenced in backyard and you are taking your puppy out to go to the bathroom, she should be on a leash. This method will help your puppy to learn that you want them with you when the two of you are outside.
Once your puppy knows you want them close at hand, the next task is to teach them to be calm and not run around you in circles when you are trying to walk. If you have ever accidentally stepped on a paw or a tail, you know that puppies always seem to be underfoot because they want to be close to you. The trick is to get them where you know where they are so you don’t accidentally hurt them or yourself.
A clicker dog training device can help with this phase of the training. Make sure the leash is short enough that the dog has no choice but to be at your side. Take a few steps forward with the puppy at your side and use the clicker to let them know that they are doing what you want them to do. The next phase is to lengthen the leash to give your dog more freedom. If they start to wander off a bit, tell them ” and pull them back to your side. Once they are there, use the clicker device to mark the behavior.
Dog training treats can be used in conjunction with the clicker or by themselves to help reinforce good behavior. If the puppy walks at your side, give them a treat once in a while in addition to the clicker to further encourage them to heel as you travel around the neighborhood. If the puppy gets distracted, pull them back and let them calm down before you reward them with a treat. This will make them decide a treat, and obedience, is better than sniffing the hydrant or chasing the squirrel up a tree.
This is perhaps the most important dog training aid, and the one that is often abandoned as time wears on. It is easy to forget that puppies are young, excitable and have short attention spans. When approaching teaching your dog to heel, or any other command, understand that they won’t get it right away and there will be times when they forget what they are doing and run off after something that looks interesting. If this happens, be firm but calm as you bring them back to you. Take a deep breath, count to ten, and remember that he or she won’t be a puppy forever.
Dog training aids help an owner gain control and reinforce training commands. A leash, a clicker device, some tasty treats and a collar or harness are great aids to teach your dog to stay with you when you are at the park or out and about in the neighborhood. Some cities allow you to walk a dog without a leash as long as he is under control, and this will make your time outside more enjoyable. Even if there is a leash law in effect in your area, at least you can walk your dog without getting tangled up in the leash or drug down the street.