Training your dog to heel is not as difficult as you might think. If you have a dog that always seems to run away, never listens and is always jerking on the leash, a few simple steps can help. It's about positive reinforcement and communication. A dog that always runs away is too restricted, has never been allowed enough freedom to make a choice to be obedient and has typically had his behavior negatively reinforced when obeying. He has no incentive to obey--in fact, his incentive is the opposite, and he'll develop esteem issues.
Tips & Warnings
You can always get your dog to come back by not chasing him. A game can develop where the dog likes to be just out of your grasp. Being disinterested and nonchalant stops this.
Walking in another direction should get him to follow you.
Always have a dog that will come before you start working on heeling.
Never punish you dog when he obeys you. Putting him on the leash is a punishment. If he comes, and you need to put him on the leash, don't forget to affirm "good boy" and pat him on the head as you put him on the leash. Cross the road, or walk to where you can take him off it again. Make him sit, and say "walk on" so he has his freedom again. This is important, because he'll understand that the leash is temporary. If he's smart, he may begin to understand when the leash is appropriate or necessary.
You don't need to spoil your dog and you don't need to beat him, either. You just need to communicate with him properly. A dog is aware. A dog is a mammal and can understand feelings. Holding an image in your mind of what you want the dog to do is surprisingly effective. Inform all your commands with a visual image in your mind's eye.
An animal must choose to stay with you -- it gives him purpose and defines his role in the "pack." He wants to be on guard, and to lead you around. You merely have to show him how to make this choice, and provide him the opportunity to do so.
Article Written By Benjamin Williams
Ben Williams is an award-winning reporter and freelance writer based out of Colorado. He has written for conglomerates of newspapers and magazines, supplying news, features, editorial and opinion. While running an Energy Services and Consulting firm, he now writes for multiple websites including the news site, Examiner.com.