I have bred, trained and worked Labradors for the past 35 years, but have a problem with a seven-month-old labrador dog puppy. Biddable and responsive in all other respects, he will not walk to heel. On a lead or choke chain, after nearly three months’ heel work, he still pulls like a horse. Can you advise me, please?


I never teach a dog heelwork with a lead tight around the top of its neck, but insist that it moves on a slack lead right from the start.

I begin by teaching the pup to sit and watch me intently, and then I make it stay as I move a step away.

On the command ‘heel’ – I let it move to my side, and give it a reward for looking up at me. I am teaching the puppy to watch me for guidance – until this is established it will not walk at heel.

Increase the lesson over time, so that instead of the puppy sitting when it has moved one step, I will move another step away, let it follow and then stop.

Even the boldest dog can be calmed and taught self-control as long as the trainer is patient.

This training method may take several weeks of 10-minute lessons twice a day, but success is achievable with a positive one-step-at-a-time approach.

  • barbara howcroft

    we have a 6 month old labrador puppy, she is very good apart from when we take her out, on or off the lead, as soon as she sees another dog she just wants to lunge at them and play around, is this normal, this happens every time can you help or give some tips thanx