Heeling

Once the basic position is taught, we need to start moving. You can do this in several ways. One way is to build drive for a toy and move so the toy is by your left shoulder and the dog is approximately in heeling position, rewarding the dog when he is in the correct position. You can use the leash to help the dog to stay in the right place. The dog will focus on the toy (this cue will have to be faded by concealing it under your armpit or maybe using one of the new training vests that have recently become available).

You can also start heeling from the static heel position, ask for a look, and begin to move forward, encouraging the dog to come with you. To begin with, reward after half a step of continuous focus. Then gradually move the length of time and distance out. If the dog looks away, start over from the sit or go back to building drive and don't let the dog get the toy, otherwise you end up rewarding both the good focus and the looking away as part of the exercise. You may find it easier to use a release word as a marker, then reward with the toy, rather than using a clicker and food. It gets hard to keep track of everything in your hands. If you are using a clicker, a set of cotton pockets to tie round your waist may be extremely useful. These are available from most hardware stores. These pockets tend to be easier to access than the bait bags you can buy - and a fraction of the price!

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