The Natural Heeler
Converting a Dogs Natural Desire to Pull into a Desire to Heel
The Natural Heeler is like training wheels for dogs, it is the best way to introduce a young dog to walking on a lead
It will naturally inspire a puppy to walk by owner's side by using its leash and collar system as biofeedback
The Natural Heeler easily and effortlessly converts a dog's desire to pull into the desire to heel
Training a dog to walk calmly on a leash is far more difficult for dogs than most owners realize.
For example, the current approaches are analogous to teaching a child to ride a bike while insisting they remain on the left side of the person helping them.
So not only does the child have to master pedals and handlebars to keep the bike upright and moving, he must do so while remaining in formation; a complex problem of tandem maneuvering while simultaneously trying to learn a new skill.
In such a vein we mistakenly approach leash training as a simple binary problem.
(1) Pulling on the lead results in the dog reaping no reward and/or a correction; whereas (2) not pulling results in no corrections, great rewards and lavish praise.
Tight leash equals a Negative, loose leash equals a Positive, what could be easier?
Yet dogs struggle with this (most especially high energy ones) as it's obviously working against something deep and innate in a dog, the desire to move faster than we humans move, and hence to pull on the lead.
And so we notice that pulling is self-reinforcing, even in defiance of corrections and despite reward schedules.
Therefore training requires constant administration of either corrections or rewards as per a given training regime's protocol.
The "Natural Heeler" provides the missing piece to this equation.
I liken it to training wheels for dogs because during the learning phase the dog is always tethered to the handler, remaining connected is no longer an issue.
Attached to the "Heeler", the dog is always experiencing tension on his neck and this captures the self-reinforcing aspect of pulling. However because the tether is elastic, the tension is now imbued with a quality.
It's no longer only rigid but can be rendered supple IF THE DOG DOESN'T PULL TOO HARD.
The physical feeling of connection to the handler is made modifiable, and so the dog learns not to pull in order to maintain this elastic quality which simultaneously means PULL.
At a certain point in the training phase, when the "Heeler" is stretched too tight by the dog pulling it to absolute rigidity, the dog is corrected.
The dog knows why he experienced a correction because he can FEEL the reason, the elastic cord became too tight. And then a return to elasticity results in praise.
It's not abstract deduction, we're not asking the dog to figure out how to not pull and at the same time march in formation.
All he has to do is just pull hard enough to keep the stretch cord elastic, and the only way he can do that is by keeping to his handler's side.
By keeping the "Heeler" in an elastic state he naturally moves in sync with the handler.
The dog learns to tune the feeling of pressure on the lead to maintain its elasticity and this simultaneously draws him to his owner's side and at his owner's rate of movement.
We reduce a complex psychological problem, moving in the same direction and pace as the handler despite his desire to move fast, into a simple physical problem, keeping the stretch cord in a spongy state.
Most importantly, praise from the owner rather than treats becomes the motivational driver for the dog. He always feels physically connected to the owner through the "Heeler," as there is no emotional "dead air" of a loose lead, just a change in its quality of tension from rigid to elastic, then the pleasure of moving in sync with his owner as the real reward.