Circles, Eights, Ovals & Spirals!
Walking shapes with your dog is a really great way to build a nice rhythm and start extending the length of time your dog can walk nicely focused beside you.
Warm up with the Choose To Heel Game (Exercise 2.7) and then start to walk forward with your dog in heel position just a few steps at a time and then as long as your dog is able to stay in position and walk with you vary and gradually increase the number of steps so your dog never knows when you will stop.
Start off with large circles in a counter clockwise direction first and when that’s easy move to clockwise circles. The dog has to work a bit harder on the outside of the circle so reward this extra effort to keep him alongside you.
Then you can do Figure 8 shapes, Ovals and Spirals.
These shape patterns really help your dog learn how to keep in position beside you as you walk. The goal is always for the dog to be focused on following the handler not the other way around! :-)