Now, my fiance can get my dog to heel without a leash whatsoever. He simply places his hand out to his side, commands “heel” in a firm voice, and my dog backs up and walks right at his left side. When she surges forward, he commands, “back” and as she slows, he says “heel” again with his hand out and she falls right back into place. He can walk my dog in a crowded park with her dutifully and happily by his side without any issue whatsoever, sans leash.
Now here’s me. I walk my dog often enough without a leash, and she is just fine. Heels, comes, sits, waits for traffic- she is the picture perfect study of a well-behaved dog. But I put a leash on her and she acts like an unruly puppy, yanking, charging, rushing, and dragging me all over the place, me yelping frantically for her to “Come! Heel! Stay!” what have you. The solution? When I have to walk her on-leash (say, to the vet or in public places- I’m not as brave with her as my fiance), I use my trusty two foot leash.
The glory of a two foot leash (you can buy these at the dollar stores) is that it keeps your dog right at your side with just enough give for them to walk without their head being yanked back. The dog has less freedom to pull, and you can utilize the “heel” commands much more efficiently because you have more control over the leash in general. Simply place your unruly mutt on a two foot leash, and when they pull slightly (which will allow them to barely get ahead of you), gently pull the leash back where your elbow meets your body and say “heel” firmly while stopping the walk. As the dog backs up and the leash slacks, continue the walk.
I have massive success with the two foot leash while walking my dog. She is unable to tangle herself up in me, I can keep firmer control of her, and the “heel” command only has to be repeated maybe once more and she gets the message. With a longer leash, my dog just drags me all over and I don’t stand a chance unless I loop the leash under her armpit so it inconveniences her to pull. The two foot leash is particularly great for smaller individuals whose dogs outweigh them (my dog’s got me by about 3 pounds).
The two foot leash is worth every single penny, and since you can often get them for a buck at the dollar store, they’re a super score.