Best Way to Train Your Dog to Walk on the Leash

When you take your dog out on leash, take three minutes in the middle of his walk to work on “Heel.” After your dog has had sufficient time to relieve himself, begin as you would for “Follow me,” walking one way, then doing an about-face and walking in the opposite direction. If your dog is not paying attention, he will cor­rect himself when the leash becomes taut. A couple of turns should get him watching.

Now simply up your expectations. Patting your left leg, because heel is traditionally done at the left side, and folding your leash so that there is less slack, introduce the word heel as you continue the follow-me game. Once you begin to use the “Heel” command in addition to enticements, your goal is to encourage your dog to stay much closer and to stay at your left.

Dog Walk on Leash Best Way to Train Your Dog to Walk on the Leash

Proper heeling requires the dog to begin working seated at your left side, in the heel position, and to stop and sit at your left, even with your hip and facing forward, whenever you stop. For now, who cares! We’re not going to rush into this. We are going to work three minutes, maybe four, on every walk, just tightening “Follow me” so that the dog now walks along at your left side, turning with you when you turn without having to be cued, reminded or yanked.

Only after the dog is consistently walking at your pace will you add the automatic “Sit,” asking the dog to sit when you stop and praising him for doing so.

Expect this new work to take at least a few weeks to gel. Go back to the old “Follow me” game anytime you feel you’ve gone too fast, and, when you’re ready, reel your dog in, tapping your leg, telling him he’s handsome, praising him warmly when he trots nice­ly at your side.

Dog Walk on Leash 1 Best Way to Train Your Dog to Walk on the Leash

What if he darts ahead and pulls? Simply extend your right arm with the leash firmly, and gently move arm and leash to the right until your dog begins to circle. Then lead him in a great, wide cir­cle around behind you, swapping hands on the leash, until your surprised dog ends up at your left in the heel position. Tell him he’s the smartest dog ever born. Tap your leg and go, go, go.

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