If your Border Collie loves to go for long walks with you but leaves you with one arm that feels like it is at least 6 inches longer than the other, you are doing something wrong. If you feel like you can't go for walks when other dogs are present because your dog wants to tear your arm off to get the other dog, you are doing something wrong. So, what is it that you are doing wrong? You have not trained your Collie to walk in the 'heel' position.
The hardest thing your pup has to overcome is his natural need to explore and sniff at just about everything. At first, he is not going to like the fact you are keeping him close by your side, instead of letting him do what he wants. Once he gets used to walking with you this way, you can both settle down to enjoying long walks with each other.
The 'heel' position is a very specific place where your dog must walk when he is given the command to do so. This position is on your left side right beside your leg. Ideally, his front legs should be in front of yours and his back legs behind. He should never be more than a couple of inches away from your leg. This is the ultimate in controlled walking positions as your dog will learn he is not to stray from this spot once the command "heel" has been given.
Bear in mind that since you are teaching your pup to walk with you in the 'heel' position, you can treat every walk the two of you go on as a training session. But this doesn’t mean you have to, try and vary up the walks. In reality, most of your walks will not be in the 'heel' position, it is used more to control your dog in unusual situations.
To train your dog to walk in the heel position, he must first have mastered the four basic commands, 'come', 'sit', 'stay', and 'down'. He should also be used to going for walks on a leash. You will need a few things to help make the training go smoothly, including:
The only other things you need are a quiet place to work and plenty of time to work on this skill. Be patient and work with your pup. It might take a little time, but be patient and your Border Collie will know where he belongs when you give him the "heel" command.
My puppy will not stop pulling on the leash. I’ve tried saying ‘ah ah’ walking backwards, waiting 5 seconds then when leash is relaxed walk forward. I’ve tried standing still until he walks backwards towards me, Waiting 5 seconds then walking forward, I’ve tried carrying treats, he’ll come back take treat then pull after treat. I’ve tried toys, I’m at my wits end, he has a front leash connector. He’s an angel at heal when at home, but outside he just constantly pulls.
Hello Carol, Check out the "Turns" method from the article linked below. Focus on cutting in front of him at a ninety-degree angle abruptly as soon as his face moves past your leg...you have to cut in front as soon as he starts to get ahead for this to work. Cutting in front helps teach respect and spacial awareness. The truth is that heel around distractions simply takes time though. Practice outside in a spacious area like your front yard or neighborhood culdesac (where he can see some distractions but you have space). It will not feel like he is being exercised but as long as he is walking (even if it's in a circle) he is getting what he needs. The mental exercise of having to focus on you during the walk should actually tire him out more than a regular walk. The goal is to teach focus on you and following (which automatically stops the pulling - opposed to just teaching him not to pull as the goal). As he improves, be intentional about practicing the training in gradually more distracting locations. Expect walks to look like training sessions and teaching focus for a while. Also, reward with a treat while he is moving when his head is behind your leg, focusing on you. This will help him understand along with the turns what heel actually means (be in the position beside/behind you and focus on you). Heel article - "Turns" method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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