2. Find Heel Position & Walk Nicely

Exercise 2.3 - Sit in Heel Position & Watch Me

In this exercise we’re going to bring together three different exercises so it’s important that you have already worked through the following:

  • Exercise 2.2 Find Heel Position with a Hand Target, 
  • Exercise 5.2 Sit to a Hand Gesture,
  • Exercise 1.3 Sit & Watch Me.

If you’ve nailed all these then we’re good to go!


This exercise definitely falls into the Walk Nicely section but the good news is it’s one of the most valuable exercises for Improving Attention as well!


I can’t emphasise enough that attention from your dog is crucial.  Without it, he will learn very little.  It’s not difficult to be the centre of your dog's world when he is tiny and dependent on you for everything but as he grows up and becomes more confident and independent things may well change drastically!


One of the keys to an attentive dog is making ignoring you very unrewarding and sadly although we usually mean well it is very easy to reward inattention in our dogs and these uncontrolled rewards are a very bad thing as they feed the lack of attention constantly and sabotage our best training efforts.


Every time you so much as step forward with a dog on a lead before he looks at you, you are inadvertently rewarding inattention in a big way. 


This is why Exercise 2.3 is so valuable.  It will help you now set a new standard for your dog and that standard says that he must look directly at your face and hold that look for a few seconds before you set off with him for a walk.


Here’s the exercise I want you to practice in your easiest place first and then in all the rooms of your house and finally in your garden before we take it on the road.

  1. Move your dog into heel position with a hand target
  2. Ask your dog to sit beside you with a very clear and deliberate hand gesture (no verbal cue)
  3. Once sitting, practice Sit & Watch me using the counting method to count from 1, 1-2, 1-2-3, 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4-5, 1-2-3-4-5-6.
  4. Then release to find a treat before having another go.