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Heeling in 6 weeks: Week 1 Day 1

I have a theory that dogs can heel but they need to be taught very specific things. I’m testing this theory out on my own dogs and hopefully some of you will try it and give your feedback.

So for week 1 the goal is to teach the dog to find that place. There is a game we use when teach recalls which makes it really fun, the dog chases food, goes through your legs, its high energy, its fast and it builds drive. So why not use the same concept with heeling. Initially we can’t just start out running around having our dogs catch up to us, but we can use a fun game that encourages the dog to find our left side.

Heeling in 6 weeks Week 1 Day 1

Start with two treats (and a bag full of treats to grab from somewhere on your body). Put the two treats in your left hand, place the hand on your belly (as you would if you were heeling). Lure the dog to your side, click, (or say yes) and then toss the treat behind you. The trick to this game is all in the toss. By throwing it in the right direction your dog will likely line up nicely.

With blaze my puppy I had to angle the treat back slightly about 6-8 feet behind me. Then I called his name and placed my hand down as a target to give him another treat. After a few repitions I could stop placing my hand down and I could keep it up on my belly button. When he got to me I clicked and gave him a treat in the exact position I wanted him. For my dogs I like to turn their heads forward so they are straight when they get the treat. After a few minutes I could begin to vary the position I was throwing the treat – always keeping it behind me.

With my larger dog Nitro, he would get confused and come to my front I would just say uh oh, take a few steps, then readjust myself and toss the treat back again.

The keys to this game:

1. Feed your dog in the heeling position exactly as you want them
2. Stand as though you are heeling while the dog is getting the treats
3. Keep two cookies ready so you can move the game along quickly.

One Response to “Heeling in 6 weeks: Week 1 Day 1”

  • This is a fantastic idea!! Anything that gets dogs and their people enjoying training and having fun together

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