Heel Position (Finish)

This is another one which is easy to do with luring, using food, or a target stick to move the dog around. You can also help to guide them with a leash. Start with the food in your right hand, and switch it to your left hand behind your back, with the dog following the food. Once in the correct position, lift the hand to get a sit. This is assuming you want to do a right finish where the dog goes behind you, this way of finishing is more likely to end straight than a left finish. At first, the dog will probably not be entirely straight, but this is ok as long as you are getting good focus. Gradually expect the sit to be straighter and straighter before rewarding. This is one exercise where I use a non-reward marker. If the dog has just performed a pretty straight heel, and the next time, he goes too far in front, I will shake my head, and say "uh-uh, heel". The dog then tries again. Make sure the dog is able to get a reward in 8 out of 10 tries, ensure that your definition of how close to ideal he needs to be to get a reward is achievable by the dog If your criteria is too high, your dog will get frustrated and may give up trying.

To give the dog the right idea of the heel position prior to teaching the around-the-back part, you can ask for a sit, move yourself into position, and ask for focus before releasing and rewarding. This teaches him that sitting straight and close to your left side is a good place to be.

Left finishes have become very popular in schutzhund particularly with drivy dogs who leap in the air and turn to finish. You can also teach this with luring or with brickwork. To view the brickwork playlist, click here.

The beginning of this Youtube video below shows advanced luring with Seven.

The Youtube video below shows Apollo & Bella working on a "brick".

<< Back to Obedience index   7. Heeling >>