Should I Allow My Dog To Sniff The Ground During A Walk – Northern Virginia


Heeling with Dog Northern Virginia

During our heel lessons at our facility in Northern Virginia, we always get asked, “Should I allow my dog to sniff the ground while we are walking?”

The short answer is, “No.”  While we are working a dog on heel, I want their attention focused on me, my pace, and my direction.  It’s impossible for your dog to pay attention to all of these Fundamental Things That Make A Good Heel if they have their nose and their eyes to the ground.

Dogs are very sensitive with their nose (as any dog owner in the world can tell).  They can be walking with purpose, pick up on a certain scent, and all of the sudden take off in the completely opposite direction in order to follow this new scent.  The same thing will happen on your walk.

At our dog training facility in Northern Virginia, I literally say on a daily basis, “Your dog sniffing the ground during a heel, will ALWAYS lead to your dog not being in a heel.”  To me, the dog sniffing the ground is essentially a precursor to him breaking the heel, for a few reasons:  a) he’s not paying attention to you, so if you slow down or speed up, he is now out of the heel position b)  he will undoubtedly catch a scent he likes and that will draw him out of the heel c) you will do a direction change, he will not catch it, and that will put him out of the heel.

I tell people that when I release the dog with the “break” command, that’s the dog’s time to sniff around, play, run around, and do whatever they please.  However, when I have a dog in the heel command, that’s now my time.  I give the dogs plenty of “breaks” to do whatever they please; therefore, I do not let them do this while they are in the heel.

I can honestly say, “I have never seen a dog in my life that was allowed to sniff the ground during the heel, who was amazing at on/off leash heeling.  Never.”  That’s a pretty powerful statement, and it’s 100% true.

If you look on our YouTube Channel, we have numerous heeling before and after videos, so you can see the difference this (among other concepts) make in your dog’s walk.

So, in summary, do not let your dog sniff the ground while in the heel command, correct them using whichever dog training method you are currently using.  Sniffing the ground during the heel command will always lead to your dog leaving the heel command.


About Off Leash K9 Training

My name is Nick White, I am the owner of Off-Leash K9 Training. I am a former US Marine Iraq War Veteran, and former US Secret Service, also, I currently have 12 locations in the United States. We specialize in basic obedience, advanced obedience, personal protection, and drug detection. About us: As you will see, our client list includes: NBA Star John Wall, UFC World Champion Jon "Bones" Jones, World Champion Boxer Roy Jones Jr, UFC Announcer Bruce Buffer, film star Ron Jeremy, 3x UFC Champion Rich "Ace" Franklin, WWF World Champion Iron Sheik, Kane Hodder ("Jason" from the Friday the 13th movies), the staff from the hit show "Operation Repo," and Elliot's dog from Elliot in the Morning on DC 101! See them in our highlight video here: We also had yahoo do a special on us, as well! As you will see on our website, we are getting a lot of publicity and it's continually growing! We've had American Legion, US Military Veterans, NoVa Dog Magazine, Military Times Magazine, Smart CEO Magazine, and The Virginia and Maryland Dog Magazine do stories on us (just to name a few). You can see all of these articles if you go to our "About Us" page of website and scroll to the bottom. We are also the official trainers for ABC's "The Pet Show with Dr. Katy Nelson." Recently, we were named one of the top trainers in the world by the Dogington Post! There are over 400 videos of dogs we have trained on YouTube so you can see the amazing results we get verse us just tell you about it, so we would highly encourage you to check out our Youtube Channel and was some of the stuff we do! Thank you for your interest in our amazing training. -Nick

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