Loose Lead Walking - Teaching a Heel cue
How to begin:
Start Fido in a sit!
At that point start luring him/her by having the treats right in front of the nose, as Fido gets good at this cue, we want to start to just deliver treats to Fido's mouth as they walk rather then full on luring
Talk high pitched, be exciting when Fido is engaged
If Fido disengages, just stop, don’t walk anymore, and don’t give them too much leash to go explore with
Wait for Fido to reengage with you, when he/she does, pop that treat in front of the nose again, and then start to walk, once their feet are walking with yours, start feeding treats again and being exciting.
To end, say “go sniff” and toss a few treats, this means Fido can be a dog again, and go sniff and doesn’t have to be engaged!
Later on in this cue we will start to take more time in between treats. We also want to be random about when Fido gets the treats so they stay engaged with us.
Eventually Fido should be able to do this cue with just a few treats!
Indoor Heel Game
For this we want to do the exact same thing as on the leash, but off the leash in the house!
Start with that “lets go” and end with that “go sniff” have some task that you are doing, I always suggest cleaning, and then play this game while you do that. You want to cue the game, and then feed treats and be super exciting if Fido chooses to be near you, if they walk away, you continue to move around completing your task and ignore them. If they come back, you come to life again until they go away again. You know they get it, when as soon as you say that lets go cue they wont leave your side!!
Start in a very low distraction area, somewhere they walk all the time, start at the end of the walk when they are already tired, build up to working in more distracting areas and moving the practice to closer to the beginning of the walk each time!
Use very high value treats, a peanut butter Kong, frozen overnight is a great option, keeps them very engaged. Licking can help settle them too.