This is our first blog post under the category, 'Heel! Hacks'. In these posts we'll be discussing interesting and novel ways of using the network that our Pet Parents and Veterinary Clinic Partners have come up with. We're hoping this category becomes our most interactive and that you'll share with us new or different uses you've found for the app so we can share those with other Pet Parents. Just leave comments below on how you've made Heel! work for you!
Training your pet is a commitment in time and effort. It's most effective when it's also routine and frequent. You've got to reinforce the techniques and 'tricks' you teach them if you want them to 'stick'!
Because Heel! is able to remind you of any recurring need for your pets, you can use it to remind you of your training schedule with your pets too! The sky's the limit!
Let's say you're trying to teach your dog to 'Heel'.... (see what we did there?) You'll start by walking them on a leash and keeping them by your side in the position you want them to be in. Using treats to reward them when they maintain that position, ignore some distraction ('Squirrel!!"), or sit at your side when you stop walking will help them to understand what you want them to do. Our pets work very hard to please us and they want us to be proud of them and their accomplishments. But all it takes is a short time forgetting to reinforce these behaviors, and all that hard work is lost.
With Heel! you can set reminders for yourself to make these training sessions as effective as they can be. You can even control the reminder so that you know where in the process your little fur-ball is. For instance, when training Fezzik to 'Heel' we used the app to remind myself and my wife (she's a shared caretaker for him like we outlined in this post) to work with him every day. We also used the reminder to help us stay on the same page with where he was in the process. Our reminders went something like this:
'Heel' training for 20 minutes TWICE daily
'Heel' training with trailing leash for 20 minutes TWICE daily
'Heel' training off leash for 20 minutes TWICE daily
Over the course of several weeks (months actually), I'm very happy to report that Fezzik now 'heels' off leash whenever we go for a walk. I have to admit though, we're still working on not chasing those tempting squirrels!
Leave comments below about how you've been able to use Heel! to help train your pets!