Last summer we did a lot of camping. At one particular park, we found random chicken bones all over the place during our daily walks. I have no idea where they came from but it was so gross.
But of course, the dogs found these bones to be quite a delicacy. Our walks were continuously being interrupted as the dogs sniffed out these random treats.
How could I stop my dog from picking up every bone, garbage, or stick found on the walk?
My dog Phritz was young and to be honest, had not spent a lot of time on a leash. He was found feral and abandoned in the woods. He was my wild child and chicken bones from heaven were the greatest gift he could ever ask for.
I had no choice but to teach him to heel. The heel walk is traditionally done with the dog at your left and the dog's head in line with your leg.
This is my advice to all of my clients whose dogs eat random stuff while they are out on a walk. Heel is the answer.
I have four dogs, so the two big dogs heel on the left and the two little dogs heel on the right. In a heel walk sniffing is not allowed. If the dog is not sniffing then they are not finding random snacks.
They are all walking at my pace, without a death grip on any of the leashes, and most importantly they are not eating random stuff on our walk.
Lots of my clients want to use the words “leave it” or “drop it.” Those commands are awesome, but it's vital to teach the dog what those commands mean.
- I find that when walking it is easier to teach your dog to heel than leave it and drop it.
- Heel walking is a much more pleasant experience than having your dog wander from side to side or loop around your legs.
- The heel walk requires your dog to use their brain. It becomes both a mental and physical activity.
- When the dogs come home from a nice long heel walk they are usually exhausted. A tired dog is a good dog.
I provide a step by step process on how to train your dog to heel (and drop it / leave it too) in my Basic Training Course.There are no “bad” dogs, just mofos with problems. Problems generally have solutions, and I’ve encountered them all. ( Check out my easy, 30-minute Potty Training workshop.)