I skipped day 3 so sorry! On Day 4 my goal is still trying to get that perfect position. The problem is the rear end of the dog swings wide and so they wind up being crooked. Now image you start walking with your crooked dog, what happens? You bang into each other or he stays out of position. Neither are good for heeling. The perfect position is what we are after and teaching the dog to find that perfect position is the goal of week one.
So, if you are having issues, you have to implement something to fix it. You can use ring gates or a box – my choice is a box. Especially since we will use the box for more things later.
With Blaze, I’ve worked on putting his front feet on the box, just never at my side. I did the same thing, tossed the treat back and called to heel (I’m using “get close”) and click when the two front feet are up on the box. I’m standing at the right position to get him lined up perfectly with me. Now that we have the box I can begin to angle the direction of the toss to try to help him figure it out. If he messes up I say uh oh and try again.
With Nitro he had never used a box but he got the concept quickly. I found when I toss the treat to the side, he gets confused and comes around to the front. The goal is to get the rear legs moving laterally. The best heeling dogs have a nice head up and back legs that move! When he would come around front I would use his no reward marker (uh oh) and try again.
Another trick i’m using is to use two different types of treats, a yummy one, and a cheerio. Toss the cheerio (less interesting) and reward with the higher value treat when they return.