Training with Dino

Dino, Heel !

heel

Dogs are pack animals in their natural habitat and they are constantly migrating from one place to another in search for food and water. The pack is always led by a leader walking in front. Although dogs have been domesticated into our families and do not need to travel to search for their needs, we have to play the role of the pack leader to fufill their migrating habits.

Walking is a very important daily activity which can help to fulfill his migrating habit and to further enhance your leadership role. Heel is a very important command which you have to make sure that he follows religiously. Never allow your dog to be pulling you or walking in front of you. Only the pack leader walks in front. Your dog should be walking by your side or slightly 1 or 2 steps behind you. If your dog refuses to walk, you may use treats to entice him.
I strongly recommend that you first train him indoors as there are no distractions.
1. You should be using a leash that is not too long and just long enough to allow him to walk and not choking him.
2. Get him to your side and then to the sit position.
3. Use his name and then the command for e.g. "Dino, heel". In this case, I use "Let's go" with my dog. It is up to you and once you decide on the command, stick to it.
4. After you have said the command, start to walk a few steps (I recommend 3 steps) and then stop. If he follows you on the first 3 steps, praise (Good boy to heel) and give him treats. If he runs or pull forward, give him a light tug on the leash and put him back to the sitting position and start over again. You should be tugging inwards towards your side, not backwards or upwards.
5. If the first 3 steps is good, increase the number of steps as you go. Remember that when you stop, it should not be a sudden stop. You have to slow down and then stop. This is because by slowing down, he will get the signal that you are stopping. Remember that we have to make it happen for them, to let them succeed in the command and getting all the praises and treats.

You have to be patient and be prepared to do it a thousands of time or especially when you have a hyper-active dog. I recommend that you tire him out first before you start with this training. On your daily walk, if you see that he is distracted by other dogs or anything, give him a slight tug inwards to "knock" him out of the concentration and get his focus back on you. If you have a bigger dog, you will have to tug in harder. This is because all followers' attention should be on the pack leader, following him wherever the leader is going. It is a very common sight that when a dog starts to focus on another dog with his ears erected, what will happen next is he will dash forward and the owner will be pulling back. Sounds familiar?

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