How to teach your dog to heel

How to teach a dog to heel. A dog walking next to it's owner down a footpath

Who loves having a dog to walk beside you? Then, ‘Heel’ is your dream command. ‘Heel’ is a command that gets your dog to walk alongside you, usually on the left side. Teaching a dog to heel is not difficult and will keep your dog safe during the everyday walk.

Are you ready to be the alpha? Let’s check out how to train a dog to heel!

1) Preparation: Pick a less distractive environment & have enough treats!

Before starting training, pick a comfortable and less distractive environment for your dog to be able to focus on you, such as yard, garage, or hallway. Also, make sure you have enough yummy treats in your pockets!

2) Dog heel position

Call your dog and point to the side you want your dog to walk along (usually a left side, but it is up to you!). Say ‘yes’ and give the dog praise and treats if the dog comes. Repeat this until your doggo learn to come beside you without calling their name.

3) Say ”Heel”

Put a small treat in your hand put it in front of your dog’s nose, then say ‘Heel‘ calmly.

4) Luring

Once the dog recognises the treat, start walking slowly. Keep holding the treat in your hand so that your dog will sniff it and follow you.

5) Rewards

Give your dog the treat in your hand for walking every step, and gradually increase the number of steps. 1 step, 5 steps, and 10 steps… Be patient and repeat this process until your dog masters the move.

6) Add distance

Change the timing of rewards from steps to a shorter distance, such as from the end of the hallway, or back and force in the training space. Repeat this regularly and eventually do this without holding a treat in your hand. (*Remember to praise the good doggo immediately when he/she does it correctly though!)

7) Walking at heel

Once your dog starts doing heel without a treat in your hand, it is time to start walking at heel with a leash outside. Pick a calm and close place to try out for the first time so that your dog can still focus on you. Give the dog a treat every time they follow the heel command and gradually add the distance longer.

••• Related training •••

Were these instructions helpful?

Thank you!

Are you interested in sharing this page?

Please tell us how we can improve.

••• Does your dog need professional training? •••

Need professional help?

Reach out to one of our partnered trainers!

Live Love Bark

Live Love Bark

Join to receive mothly email treats with training tips, bad habit hacks, upcoming dog events and prizes.