Want your pooch to be a superstar? In order to proper choreograph a routine for a show, for example, or a performance for friends, not only will your pooch have to walk to heel forward, but he’ll also need to learn to walk to heel backward as well. This will be necessary for all the shifts and turns in your show. Most dogs learn to heel forward, however as heeling backward requires a different level of skill, watching your pooch heel backward is sure to impress your audience. Another instance when having your four-legged friend heeling backward could be useful is if you want to do obedience or agility training, as these courses can involve an element of heeling backward.
Heeling backward is where your pooch walks to heel, but backward with you. A lot of pooches will be familiar with walking to heel forward if they’ve had any obedience training. Walking to heel in general is a great way to teach your pup obedience and get him to understand that you’re the leader of your pack and that what you say goes. Often, if dogs walk in front of you, as would occur in a pack, it allows them to think that they’re ahead of you in terms of dominance, therefore getting them to heel to you both forward and backward helps to eliminate this form of thinking.
Heeling backward can also be important in situations where you’re unable to walk forwards and need you and your pup to walk backward in order to keep safe in a dangerous walking environment.
This trick can be taught to both puppies and adult dogs, dogs are suitable for training when over 3 months old. This trick can be difficult to learn, as walking backward to heel is not normal behavior for a pooch it can take them a couple of months to learn this trick.
To get started, you’ll need some extra tasty treats to keep your pooch interested and let him know there’s a reward for his hard work. High-value treats, such as chicken pieces, hot dogs, and small cheese slices are good. You'll also need to purchase a heeling stick for some of the methods used, these can be bought from most pet stores. This trick is suitable for clicker training, if you’re clicker training your pooch. It is also a very good idea to teach your dog to heel forward first, to get him used to the concept of heeling.
Be patient with your pup and don’t get frustrated with him if he doesn’t get it right away, especially if he’s a younger pup. It would be best to train him in short 10-15 minute sessions. Remember to not get annoyed at him and to keep training fun and rewarding, so that he doesn’t go off the training.