Changing direction

After you and your dog have pretty much gotten the hang of heeling, your next step is to introduce your dog to changes of direction while heeling. In this section, you find out about the three essential turns — a right turn, an about-turn to the right, and a left turn.

Right turn

To stay with you when you're making a right turn, Buddy needs to speed up. And, at this stage in your training, Buddy isn't yet giving you 100 percent of his attention, and you're going to anticipate that he needs help with the right turn.

If you want your dog to pay attention to you, you have to pay attention to your dog. Discovering how to anticipate what he's going to do is the first step to successful heeling. Just before you make the turn, enthusiastically say his name, make the turn, and keep moving. Using his name causes him to look up at you, and he notices that you're changing direction, which causes him to stay with you. Without giving him that cue, chances are that as you make the turn and go one way, he keeps going the other direction.


An about-turn is a right turn times two. When you make your turn, keep your feet together so Buddy can keep up. As you did for the right turn, use his name just before you make the turn to encourage him to stay with you.

In the event Buddy has a particularly difficult time remaining at your side for the right or about-turn, you can use a treat or other object of interest to help guide him around. Hold the treat in your right hand as you're heeling. Before you make the turn, show it to your dog by bringing the treat directly in front of his nose and using it to guide him around the turn, and then give him the treat.

This approach has a potential drawback. Some dogs become overly stimulated when they know you have a treat in your hand. Make no mistake about it, Buddy knows. If you see that your dog becomes difficult to control under such circumstances, you may want to eliminate use of the treat. The hassle isn't worth the potential benefit.

Left turn

To make the left turn without bumping into him, Buddy needs to slow down as you make the turn and then resume normal speed after you make the turn. Just before you make the turn, slow down. With your left hand, draw back on the leash, make the turn, bring your hand back to position, and resume your normal brisk pace. Practice heeling and the turns for a few times as a regular part of your daily outings.

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