How to - Train a Heel and Sit command:
1) Make sure the dog is on the appropriate lead - in most cases I think this should be a slip lead that applies pressure for a negative behaviour but releases immediately when the dog performs what is asked of it. There are exceptions to this so make sure you get advise from a professional.
2) Make sure that when you start off training the command, as with training anything new you are in a safe environment for you and the dog and there are as few distractions at this stage as possible.
3) Have a treat or reward (ball/tug/toy) which ever you have chosen to use ready. Have the dog on your left hand side by your feet - hold the treat or reward in your left hand just above standing head height of the dog and lead in the right hand across the front of your body - walk off and command (name of the dog) and heel and then go - walk forward at a normal pace and encourage the dog to come with you straight by your left hand side with the treat/reward held just above the dogs head height.
When the dog comes with you with no pressure on the lead and walks nicely by you reward this with giving the treat/reward and saying “yes” at the same time as the treat/reward is given out. This treat/reward giving and the word “yes” must happen within 3 seconds of the dog giving you the correct behaviour - this way the dog can link the behaviour with the reward, any longer a time period and the dog will not associate the good behaviour with the reward. You are then in essence rewarding nothing.
4) Once you have the dog walking to heel you can also practice putting a sit command in, all you need to do is stop and as you do command (name of dog) sit and raise your left hand with the treat/reward upwards on the left hand side of your body just above the dogs head. The dogs head should come up which in turn creates the bottom to go down and creates the sit. The second the dog puts its bottom on the ground treat/reward with the simultaneous “yes”. The dog needs to understand what it has just done is a sit - this comes with a lot of repetition and practice. In some cases if the dog doesn’t put its head up and bottom down you can encourage the sit position by using your right hand across your body to hold lead and treat and the left hand can slip down the dogs back and apply pressure to encourage the bottom to go down - the same instant reward system applies.
Some Common Problems:
My dog isn’t interested in treats or balls etc so how can I train the above? This is quite common with well fed dogs that are already full enough. If this is the case prepare the dogs meal as normal into its bowl etc, but then put the dogs lead on and practice the above stages but take the rewards from the bowl and use each meal as the dogs training time, so it gets it meal by a reward system.
The dog chews the lead or gets its paw over the lead? The dog should wear the slip lead just behind the ears and the lead should leave the dog in a straight line to you. There only needs to be just enough lead for the dog not to have pressure applied when it is performing correct behaviour.
If you are moving forward and continuing to do so its very hard for the dog to do this especially when you are using the above reward system, the dog will be more interested in that. If it does happen remove the paw or lead from mouth and carry on as quickly as possible making as little event over it as possible - the behaviour will quickly subside.
The dog walks all over the place and trips me up? This means the lead is too long and you are allowing the dog to take control of the situation. The lead should be in a straight line from the dog to you with just enough slack that there isn’t any pressure on the dog when it is doing the correct thing. The dog should be positioned by your left side level with your feet if sat or your stride length if walking. If this isn’t happening check where you are holding the reward or toy and check you lead length and above all just walk - go…. the dog will have to position itself by you if the lead is on correctly at there correct length.
The only way to teach the dog a command is repetition repetition repetition - there is no quick system you just have to use the correct method be consistent and stick at it. Good Luck