Competition Heeling Part 1

This video shows my 3 dogs working competition obedience heeling.  The first dog is Pounce, she is 3 years old.  The 2nd dog is Sparks he is 15 months old, and the 3rd dog is Remi, he is 4 years old.  The video is not about how to teach your dog to heel, but rather showing you a technique on getting your dog to activate YOU to go to work.  I want my dogs to be excited about heeling, it’s a difficult behaviour to teach and for dogs to excel at, it is a behaviour that they will perform through out their obedience career, so adding fun to it is integral to their success.   I use a cue word “what”  that allows my dog to get excited and activate me to start working with him.  I learnt this technique from trainers that concentrate on IPO work.  I have worked with these talented trainers personally, including Micheal Ellis, Forrest Micke, Lindsay Sommer and Marko Koskensalo.

In addition to the activation cue, I have added in my own heeling cue, which tells my dog we are going to go heeling next, they excitedly bounce to the side of me and get ready to go heeling.  If I activate my dog to start working, it could be for any exercise, but if I add in the heeling cue, they continue to get excited and go to my side – i.e. heel position.   In Part One I am showing what it looks like, part 2 (to come) will show how to teach it and how to get your dogs to do similar.

Do notice when I am heeling with all my dogs that I don’t do any formal set ups into heel position.  Not to say that I never do, but it is a low percentage.   Also notice that during the heeling, I will stop and ask my dog to reactivate me to go heeling again.  Also notice I have surprise play breaks with my dogs during heeling, that I use a lot of tactile, and that I keep my dog interested and sharp by doing a bit of drifting heeling, and surprise releases for excellent effort.  If you want your dog to enjoy heeling you need to put yourself into the team and be a partner your dog wants to be with.

Happy training!  Janice