Once you have reached the level in training your dog where he is not fooled by distractions or temptation, you are then ready to proceed to the next level of training – how to heel correctly.
If your dog cannot walk comfortably at your side, there is no way you’re going to teach him anything about being obedient. He must learn to heel properly and focus his full attention to you.
You will be using a six-foot leather training leash for this phase. During this stage of training, you will teach your dog to walk beside you like a gentleman. He will learn to automatically sit at your side when you stop.
No Punishment Needed
The right attitude cannot be achieved if your dog is mistreated or abused. To restrain or choke the dog on a short, tight leash, to hit him in the chest, or to smack his face with the end of the leash while trying to teach him to heel will result, among other things, in a completely negative attitude in the animal.
To begin, you will notice that your leash has a loop in one end. Place your right thumb through that loop. With your left hand, grab the leash at the middle section and place it in your right hand. Notice that the dog is on your left side, but that the leash is held in your right hand. This will seem a little awkward at first, but your left hand will be doing other things.
Do not form the habit of trying to restrain your dog at your side by holding him up close with the left hand on that leash. Remember, you want to train your dog, not restrain him. Forget about everything that you were told or read about restraining a dog tugging at your side in the hope that he will get the idea that this is where you want him to walk. That idea will never occur to him.
There is an important characteristic of an untrained dog on a leash that will become obvious to you during this stage of training. This dog wants to feel a tight leash! If there’s a slack in the leash, he has no way of calculating its exact length. On a tight leash, he can lunge and pull and go through all kinds of twists and turns, because he has the security of feeling where the other end of the leash is. Therefore, it is very important that you don’t give in to your dog’s wishes by walking him on a tight leash.