A proper "heel" command sends a powerful signal to your dog. It is the only command given which requires the dog to place his eyes on the handler in order to be "correct."If your dog is dog-aggressive and you see another dog approaching, you command your dog to "heel" and look at you. As long as your dog maintains eye contact with you he cannot create a fight
Your dog cannot chase, bark or lunge at squirrels, cats, cars, skate-boarders, etc., if his brain is focused on conducting the "heel " command.
Dogs cannot hold two thoughts in their mind at the same time.
Avoid the problem situation by giving the dog an obedience command that you know he can perform properly. Then praise him for doing a good job instead of scolding him for barking or lunging.
The "heel" command should be practiced daily.
Can you walk your dog for 45 minutes on the "heel" command? No! Instead, begin your walk with a heeling session. Let your dog 'earn' his walk by first showing you that he will come to your side quickly and look at you while you walk forward.
Once he demonstrates excellent heeling, on right and left turns, and at a variety of speeds, then go on your walk.
When you and your dog master the true "heel" you can take your dog anywhere and into any situation. That will make for every walk being an enjoyable experience for both you and your dog.
Maureen Ilg is the owner of Harmony Dog Training & Holistic Fitness Center in Hellertown. An expert in dog behavior and training, she has written frequently for The Saucon News.