The Heel position is about the dog staying close to the handler and paying close attention. We will start with the Basic Heel position, the Stationary Heel.
To do this, we will food lure the dog into the Heel position at our left side. (The left side is the traditional way, but you can choose your right side if you like. Whichever side you start training with is the side your dog will default to for Heel.) Use your left hand to food lure the dog into the position. If you need, take a step back with your left leg to encourage the dog to move. Once the dog is in the Heel position, practice a Sit and Look.
- Food lure the dog several times while backing up.
- Food lure the dog, now turn your body so the dog is now on the left side in Heel position (use the treat in your left hand).
—Always begin and end every Heel exercise with a Sit in the Heel position.
—When you stop moving forward, move your baited hand UP slightly to initiate the Sit position.
—As you are moving forward, the treat should be held up slightly from the dog so she is looking for it. Gradually progress to moving your hand all the way up to the Look position.
Adding Distractions to Heel:
Practice Heel while walking past and around other dogs and distractions in class. During this exercise, keep your dog focused on you. Use your Look/ Watch Me Cue to keep your dog’s attention or continue to use the food lure while walking in Heel.
Greeting a Stranger while walking in Heel:
For this exercise we will practice walking your dog in Heel. You and your dog will walk up to another person with their dog. To start, the dogs will be on the outside. Begin walking in Heel towards each other; when you meet in the middle you will both stop, have your dogs sit, and then the humans will say hello. Then you will give your “Let’s Go,” and continue walking in the Heel exercise.
Means to your dog, stay in this position until I come back to release you. This is not the same thing as Wait. For this exercise, the dog should either be in the Sit or Down position. Some owners prefer to have a specific Sit-Stay and Down-Stay as separate commands. If you would like to do this, please let your trainer know.
There are 3 parts to the Stay Cue:
- Duration (Time)
Adding Distance to Stay:
We will start by slowly adding distance to the Stay command. Start with one step backwards, then quickly return forwards to the dog and reward. Then add two steps, pause, return and reward. Slowly begin to add distance. If your dog gets up, take the training back a step and make it easier (don’t add as much distance).
Adding Distractions to Stay:
To add a new part of the Stay cue, we must take the other parts of the cue back down to zero. That means, since we are now adding distractions, the distance and duration of the Stay should be near zero. You will start by dropping or tossing mild distractions while asking the dog to Stay. We will slowly begin adding more difficult distractions.
Come When Called:
Practice Come When Called with various distances and distractions.
- Safety first. Always have a leash or be in an enclosed area.
- When you say come, you have to see it happen.
- NEVER punish a dog for coming to you.
- Say the dog’s name and Come, one time only.
- Have a party.
- Lure (or gently lead) the dog back to you.
Practice Look, Sit, Down, & Stand:
Practice each cue and make the dog hold the position longer before the reward. Be sure to say your Reward Marker, “Good,” the instant the dog performs the behavior, but withhold the treat for a few seconds. Make the dog wait longer and longer for the reward. When rewarding, praise lavishly.