2. Find Heel Position & Walk Nicely


Exercise 2.2 - Find Heel Position

In this exercise we move our hand target behaviour that we taught in Exercise 2.1 on a little further by using it to help the dog move into a nice heel position right beside us which is where we want them to be when we’re walking.  

  • First we warm up our hand target behaviour just as we learned in Exercise 2.1.
  • In this video I’m working Jim on my left hand side but do teach this on both sides.
  • Progress your hand touch behaviour by moving your left hand and left leg back about a foot or so and reward your dog when he moves to your hand behind you.
  • Then step forward bringing your left leg and left hand forward and reward your dog again when they follow your hand and end up beside you with his/her shoulder next to your leg.  This is what we call ‘heel’ position and exactly where we want them to be when we’re out walking.
  • Once in this position reward with several treats – don’t be stingy here, we want the dog to really like being in this position so we keep them here for a few seconds and reward with several treats fed one-by-one.  There’s a dog trainer saying that goes ‘you get what you reward’ and it’s very true.

 

Be a little bit careful at this stage because you're feeding a lot of food from the hand, if you pup gets a little bit grabby or jumpy for the food, feed the treats on the floor and you may also want to do this exercise kneeling down at first which dramatically reduces the chance of jumping up.

 

Notice that as I bring Jim forward I will actually shuffle a little bit closer to him so I'm actually rewarding him exactly where I want him to be when we're walking.  This is called ‘feeding for position’ another dog training saying that goes hand-in-hand with ‘you get what you reward!’.