How to Train a Poodle to Heel

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As a dog owner, one of the most important things you need to teach your poodle is how to heel. Heeling is a fundamental obedience command that helps your dog stay close to you while walking. Not only does it help you maintain control of your dog, but it also makes walks more enjoyable for both you and your furry friend. However, teaching a poodle dog to heel can be a challenging task, especially if they are easily distracted or have a strong prey drive. In this article, we will discuss the best way to teach a poodle dog to heel.


What is heeling for a poodle?

“Heeling” for a poodle refers to a specific behavior that a dog is trained to do while walking on a leash beside its owner. It involves the dog walking directly next to the owner’s left or right leg, with the dog’s shoulder in line with the owner’s leg, and the dog’s head up and looking forward.

Heeling is a basic obedience command that is taught to most dogs, including poodles, as it helps to ensure that the dog is under control while walking in public areas or during competitions. A poodle that is well-trained in heeling will walk calmly and attentively beside its owner, without pulling on the leash or getting distracted by other dogs, people, or objects.


What are the benefits of teaching your poodle to heel?

Teaching your poodle to heel can have several benefits, including:

  1. Improved obedience: By teaching your poodle to heel, you are helping them understand that you are the leader, and they need to follow your commands. This can improve their overall obedience and make them easier to train.
  2. Increased safety: Heeling can help keep your poodle close to you and prevent them from running into dangerous situations, such as running into traffic or getting lost.
  3. Better leash manners: When your poodle heels, they learn to walk calmly and without pulling on their leash. This can make walks more enjoyable for both you and your poodle.
  4. Bonding: Training your poodle to heel requires time and patience, but it can also be a great opportunity to bond with your furry friend and strengthen your relationship.
  5. Mental stimulation: Teaching your poodle new commands and tricks can provide mental stimulation and help prevent boredom, which can lead to destructive behaviors.


What are the steps to teaching your poodle to heel?

Teaching your poodle to heel involves several steps that require patience and consistency. Here are some steps to take:

a. Use Positive Reinforcement: Positive reinforcement is an effective training method that involves rewarding your dog for good behavior. Once your dog starts walking beside you on a loose leash, offer them a treat or a verbal command as a reward.

b. Start with Short Sessions: Start by practicing heeling for short periods, preferably in a quiet and distraction-free environment. Gradually increase the duration and intensity of each session.

c. Use a Command: Use a command word such as “heel” or “walk” to indicate to your dog that it’s time to walk beside you. Use a cheerful tone to make it fun for your poodle.

d. Stand Still: Whenever your dog pulls or tries to wander off, stop walking and remain still. This action teaches your dog that pulling or wandering off is unacceptable.

e. Use a Short Leash: Use a short leash while teaching your poodle to heel. It helps maintain control of your dog and prevents them from wandering off or getting distracted.


How do you handle distractions while teaching your poodle to heel?

Poodles are intelligent and sensitive dogs that can quickly get distracted by their surroundings. To handle distractions, start by practicing heeling in a quiet environment before introducing distractions. Initially, major distractions should be avoided until your poodle has mastered the basic commands. However, if your poodle gets distracted, use a command word such as “focus” to regain their attention.


What should you do if your poodle doesn’t respond to heeling commands?

If your poodle doesn’t respond to heeling commands, it could be due to a lack of motivation or inconsistent training. Start by motivating your dog by using high-value treats or a favorite toy. Additionally, ensure that you are consistent in your training approach and avoid punishing your dog for not responding.


How long does it take to teach a poodle to heel?

Teaching your poodle to heel takes time and patience. Every dog has a unique learning pace, and some may learn faster than others. Typically, it takes about two to three weeks of consistent practice to teach your poodle to heel. However, the duration may vary depending on your dog’s age, personality, and overall health.



In conclusion, teaching your poodle to heel is an essential obedience command that promotes safety, enhances your bond, and makes walking enjoyable. The process takes time and patience, but with consistency and positive reinforcement, you can train your poodle to heel like a pro.

Jessica Davis

Jessica Davis

Owner of the cutest poodle on earth

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