There is nothing as pleasant as walking your dog through the park, knowing that he will stay at your side, walking at heel, without tugging, pulling or otherwise acting up. Scottish terriers and other small terriers are high-energy, spirited dogs, and unless you train them how to walk at heel you will find that every walk is a battle, and neither of you will enjoy it as you should.
The first thing you should do is make sure that you have the right equipment. The right dog collars and leads are important for the comfort of both owner and dogs. You can find a really wide variety of dog collars and leads available from Pets at Home, so don’t worry that you won’t be able to find something that suits both you and your dog. If you find that training is not working as you like, try out some different styles of dog collars and leads to see if there is one that suits your dog better.
You will also need some small, tasty treats that your dog can’t get enough of. If you use a lot of treats in a training session, make sure to decrease the size of your dog’s meal that evening.
Wait to start your training until the dog is calm. With terriers, this may be halfway through or towards the end of their walk. Stand with your dog on your left-hand side, the end of the lead in your right hand and use your left hand to hold the middle lead about 2 feet from your dog’s collar.
Say “heel” and begin to walk. If your dog pulls ahead, keep hold of the end of the lead with your right hand, but let go with your left hand and turn around 180 degrees and begin walking in the opposite direction. Do not give any command – your dog will notice that you have changed direction and eventually realise that his pulling causes this.
When your dog turns to follow you, collect the lead again in your left hand. If your dog pulls forward, repeat step 2.
Once your dog is walking to heel nicely (after around 10 minutes of training), give him lots of praise and a treat if he is very food motivated. Take frequent breaks and start each new round when the dog is in the correct position, with the command “heel”.
You must be patient, persistent and consistent, but terriers are intelligent dogs and will soon understand what you want them to do.
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