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Heeling

Once the basic position is taught, we need to start moving. You can continue with the method you used for getting the position. Start with very small steps, forward, backward and sideways, rewarding the dog for staying in position and keeping focus. You cannot do too many repetitions of a single step or two in all different directions. If the dog looks away or gets out of position, start the exercise again, we want continuous focus as we begin to move. Very gradually increase the number of steps but don't forget to reward variably, sometimes only ask for a single step. Taking a step or two backwards before moving forwards can help with dogs that like to leap forward as you begin to move. Remember to do lots of left turns and look for the dog to be able to tuck his rear in behind you.

Part of the heeling exercise in Schutzhund, is checking in with the judge prior to starting a phase in trial. We have found that it is useful to train this exercise as part of normal training, this makes it much easier to start in a trial. It can also be helpful to practise with a friend and their dog and switch sides so that you don't have to think too hard about it in a trial situation and your dog is used to having another dog in close proximity.