The heel command is another very important and popular command for your dog, taking the time to teach your dog this command will save you hours of getting annoyed when your dog doesn't behave on long or short walks around your local area.
The reason dogs are so 'badly behaved' when it comes to going for walks can be for many different reasons but the most common in many homes is the excitement of wondering the streets with all the new smells, tastes, and other local dogs to discover.
The best times to train your dog and get them to do exactly what you want without too much fuss is before feeding times, if your dog wants something they will give you a lot more attention than normal. Also puppy's and younger dogs are better to train, even with them getting over excited over everything, puppies and young dogs will be much better behaved and easier to train when they get older.
The heel command, when performed well and properly is used to stop your dog or puppy in their tracks, drop everything and return to your left hand side. Any distractions should be left alone and your dog should carry on walking closely by your side.
To begin with you will need to go in a fairly open space with enough room to move around and walk around properly, and you will need to use a lead to gently correct your dog in this exercise.
Begin by tapping your thigh saying 'heel' to get your dogs attention and them to come towards you, when they are by your side wait a couple of seconds then start to stride forwards, at this point your unknowing dog or puppy will try to run off ahead. If this happens you should turn in the opposite direction letting the lead go slack for 5-10 feet, start to walk in the opposite direction and as soon as the slack goes in the lead your dog will realise you have gone in the opposite direction and run towards you again.
At this point repeat the first step of commanding heel to get your dog by your side. Continue doing this exercise for 10 - 15 minutes and about 2-3 times a day. Before long your dog will become used to coming to your side and obeying you whenever you command heel.
When your dog gets used to doing this command try going in circles, in figure of eight, and changing directions suddenly, if the command is still working then try your dog on short walks and then build your way up to longer walks as you progress.
Never use the lead to discipline and roughly tug on, if you feel yourself getting annoyed then you should stop and continue at a later date when you are calmer. Keep repeating the process and your dog will eventually come to respect you. Some dogs take longer than others to train so be prepared for this behavior.