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How to train your dog to walk to heel

One of the most common problem dog owners face is out on the walk. Dogs pull due to excitement, because they feel unsafe, to get to food, to toilet, to avoid weather conditions or because they think they are in charge and so decide the direction and speed of the walk. Knowing how to train your dog to walk to heel will better your life for you and your dog.

That is why I recorded this video: a step by step guide to get your dog to walk beside you, starring Ruby and Milly. Ruby and Milly are two very enthusiastic, untrained chocolate labradors. Enjoy!

if you have any aggression issues with your dog be sure to complete my online course on nervousness and aggression before implementing any advice given on my YouTube videos as a complete oversight of the method with careful management is needed.

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My goal is to better the lives of #onemilliondogs in my lifetime. It is clearly impossible for me to do this on a one to one basis. I have seen that with around every thousand views on my videos, I get a comment or email thanking me and letting me know the video has helped. So working on that basis, I have to make videos on how to address every problem behaviour and accumulate ONE billion views in order to help 1,000,000 dogs.

You can help me reach #onemilliondogs by (1) subscribing to my channel and (2) give this video a thumbs up – so YouTube suggests this video to more dog owners and we can help 1,000,000 dogs all over the world.

Thank you so much! *** THANK YOU ***


51 thoughts on “How to train your dog to walk to heel”

  1. Used this method on our two retrievers and then on their puppy that we kept.
    Took 8 weeks with the big male, 4 weeks with the female and 2 weeks with the pup.
    Works every time but boy do you need patience and lots and lots of chicken!
    Many thanks for the upload.

    1. @Michael Jordan I’m by no means a professional, but the way I trained my dog was to stroke my dog whilst eating. Then giving my dog the food, then taking it away etc. Then the same with treats like bones and toys. Since doing this I’ve had no issues with resource guarding.

    2. How could you be consistent with it? I have an older dog from a familymember who had to go to a nursery home. The dog pulls hard on the leash and i want to try this but i think it will take a lot of time.. and the dog has to go out daily to do his business tho?

  2. Plum Street Samplers

    Finally! A video that shows a dog not already trained to do what the tutorial is teaching! I greatly appreciated this – the constant repetition needed to cement this new behavior is just what I needed to see; I tend to think I’m doing it all wrong if my dog doesn’t learn it in just a few tries. Thank you for teaching me to teach my dog!

    1. @The Practical Dog Folk ought to be taught observation skills at school. It is so easy to miss things; how quickly a dog can flip from excited to scared e.g. Owners/guardians need to be 80% more observant and react on what they see 100% quicker. It’s quite intense. Maybe we (most ordinary dog owners) fail to realise that good leadership is secretly pretty intense. It’s only that the best leaders have also mastered the art of sounding calm. 😐

    2. At what age are they ready for this training? I know the first few months( he will be 2 mon) when I get him) will be basic training, not walking.

    3. @Maryann Farrell I have the same situation with my Mainois/Labrador cross puppies[?] of 10 months. The pull me all over the show. Will try Nigel’s approach and see how it goes. Best video of more than a dozen I looked at. How did it go with training your dog based on this video?

    4. @Nigel Reed Bravo, love the way you highlighted significant points, and especially how you ended this. Not enough trainers properly showing “Heel” training these days!

  3. I really like how you show her puling again and again and all of the corrections also the “32” times to get out of the door. It is really helpful to SEE the failures and corrections or else it looks like you did it twice and then they were perfect. Thank you.

    1. The American dog training channels are v serious and all the dogs respond like the keenest Navy Seals. The subtle humour in your videos make them all the more realistic. Your patience is Saintly but your authority is huge. Millie is testimony to that.

  4. A very good video. Thank you. I especially liked the fact that one of those labs (Millie?) had gray on her muzzle. Yes, old dogs can learn new tricks IF their owners can.

    1. Hi @Nigel Reed, I found this video super helpful and I like how you explain step by step. I have a 2yo chocolate lab. I’ve been using a prong collar, I didn’t know when someone suggested it that it was not a good option. Now I get it. I’ve also tried a choke collar but he pulls a lot so I always return to the prong. After seeing your video I’ve been practicing for a couple of days and I see a good response but I’m practicing at home only and using chicken as reward. What type of collar do you suggest to use from now on? I’m a little hesitant to go for a walk yet because he’s a strong dog and I don’t want to get dragged on the street 🙃 or he getting loose from a collar that is not appropriate. Thanks!

  5. My dog alway nite the leash after I put it on! Low key it makes me laugh even though I know it’s wrong! And ask she gets older it’s going g to get worse sooo I will b trying these suggestions

    1. Mine does the same thing every damn time. I got a leash where they can go as far as the want. If she is getting into something she shouldn’t be. I say @not your business, YES she knows what that means)and bring her leash in right next to me. She stays there until she shows she is behaving again. I only use a leash when we are on vacation or they are at my store with me, to go potty. So they have to have leeway because she won’t pee close to me. I want to try this method. I use to take her for walks, but both my dogs pull and choke themselves the whole time. They are just little dogs. So I worried. But to this day every time I pull out the leash, even before it’s on her; and also when it’s on her, she bites it. I can’t help but think it’s cute as I tell her No

  6. Canine Empowerment with Victoria Haffer M.S.

    As a professional dog trainer I am so grateful to see a great trainer who gets results without aversive techniques. Bravo!

  7. This video shows everything I needed to see, patience and repetition is the key. Best video on leash pulling I have seen and I have seen 1000’s of leash pulling videos. If you are reading my comment and want your dog to “stop pulling on the leash,” you found the right video trust me!

    Thank you, Nigel.


  8. Thank you Nigel. Finally, I found someone on YouTube who truly and patiently explains each step of that training. Nice job and greatly appreciated!! 👌🏻

  9. Wow, “if the dog is not listening to you at home he won’t listen to you away from home” 👍. So easy and comprehensive. Thank you. I’m inspired. Thank you much. Reminds me of kid training 🤔, but a bit easier 😆.

  10. I honestly can’t believe the results of this! It takes a ton of patience, but it paid off immediately. My dog started walking with a slack line already thank you!!

  11. As others have said, I really appreciate you showing her during the training part, and not just before and after. Or a short clip of one mess up. It really helps to see every stage

  12. Nigel. This is the easily the best walk to heel video that I’ve found.There are some other ok vids, but yours explains this technique in a manner that is easily understood. Thank you from Calgary, Canada.

  13. This video was very helpful, especially seeing the pulling dogs. My dog pulls just like that. I started utilizing these methods the day I watched this and I have already seen a change in the first day. Thank you!

  14. This is the best dog training video I have ever seen! It is so clearly explained, and not too long. I will try these techniques with my 2 German Shepherds today. Thank you!

  15. Thank you! My puppy was struggling big time on the leash. As soon as we stepped outside she would go nuts. I watched this video and started her off today just practicing inside my house where she could feel safe and she actually paid attention to me! She was engaged and we made a ton of progress not only inside but outside in my yard where there were more distractions. Still a long way to go but I can tell we have a foundation now! You are the man!

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