How To Practice The “Traditional Heel” Command (Traditional Leash Walking)
- Hold the leash with an overhand grip (Thumbs up, pinky down).
- Keep the leash short but not tight.
- Imagine an invisible boundary line across the front of your hips.
- Always correct your dog right at the boundary, not after he has already gone in front of you.
- Stay relaxed, let your arms hang at your side and swing naturally.
- Let the weight of you arm swinging do the work for you when correcting, just add an extra flick of your wrist.
- Walk at a good pace and with “purpose”. The slower you walk the more difficult it is for the dog. Purposeful movement makes the dog want to follow you naturally.
- Your dog should sit when you come to a stop. If he doesn’t, gently pull straight up on the leash, and release when his butt hits the ground.
- When you want to give your dog a chance to use the bathroom or just relax and sniff around, come to a stop, make sure your dog sits, then use the release cue “Break”. At that time you can give them a bit more length of the leash and casually hang out or walk in a more casual manner. This casual style of walking will be contrasted against the more purposeful walk that you do while heeling.
For information on doorways and thresholds, please view the “Doorways” portion of the video found at https://www.considerthedog.com/programs/walking-behind
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