How to Train a Dog to Heel?

As a long-time dog owner and enthusiast, I know firsthand the joy and challenges that come with training a furry friend. One of the most useful commands you can teach your dog is “heel.” It keeps them safe during walks and ensures a pleasant experience for both of you.

Here’s a beginner-friendly guide on how to train your dog to heel, using a blend of patience, consistency, and the right harnesses.

Step 1: Choose the Right Harness

Before starting, it’s crucial to pick a suitable harness. Harnesses provide more control than a standard collar, and they’re essential for this training. Look for one that’s comfortable for your dog but offers good control. A front-clip harness often works best for training because it discourages pulling.

Step 2: Get Your Dog Comfortable with the Harness

Next, let your dog get used to wearing the harness. Put it on them for short periods around the house, rewarding them with treats and praise. This step is about building positive associations with the harness.

Step 3: Start with Basic Commands

Now, begin with basic commands like “sit” and “stay.” These foundational commands establish your role as the leader and prepare your dog for more complex instructions.

Step 4: Introduce the Heel Command

With your dog on a leash and harness, hold a treat in your hand near your thigh and say “heel.” Encourage your dog to walk alongside you. If they do, reward them with the treat. If they pull or lag behind, stop walking and wait for them to return to your side.

Step 5: Practice Short Heel Sessions

Initially, keep the heel training sessions short but frequent. Gradually increase the duration as your dog becomes more comfortable with the command.

Step 6: Add Distractions Gradually

As your dog gets better at heeling, introduce distractions like other people or dogs. Start with minor distractions and gradually increase the challenge, always rewarding your dog for staying by your side.

Step 7: Practice in Different Environments

Take your training sessions to different places – parks, busy streets, and quiet areas. This variety ensures your dog can heel in any situation.

Step 8: Consistency is Key

Consistency is critical in dog training. Practice regularly and use the same command and rewards each time. This repetition reinforces the behavior you want to see.

Step 9: Be Patient and Positive

Remember, patience is vital. Some dogs may pick up the command quickly, while others may need more time. Always use positive reinforcement – treats, praise, and love.


10: Gradual Reduction of Treats

Once your dog starts to understand the command, gradually reduce the frequency of treats. However, continue with praise and petting to reinforce the behavior.


Training a dog to heel can be a bonding and rewarding experience for both of you. It enhances not just walk times but also your relationship. Remember to choose the right harnesses, be patient, and stay consistent with your training. Every dog has its own pace of learning, so adapt to their needs and celebrate the small victories along the way.

Training a dog is not just about teaching them commands, but also about understanding and connecting with your furry companion. Enjoy the journey, and you’ll find that this training brings a new level of understanding and communication between you and your pet.

Remember, the key to successful dog training is patience, consistency, and a lot of love. Good luck, and happy training!



Andre likes to share design blog posts on social media and in online forums. He has a degree in Graphic Design, and he loves working with Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. In his spare time, Andre enjoys hiking and camping with his friends.

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