Shaping a Flashy and Confident Heel – Foundations

Date:Apr 1st, 2024
Registration Opens:Mar 22nd

Do you have “heeling envy”? Do you see all those prancing dogs in perfect position looking up at their handlers and wish you could teach your dog THAT? Does your dog love the pivot platform, but how DO you get from there to a finished heel position with no handler “help”?

My absolute favorite way to teach heeling is by shaping! Since heeling is such a complicated behavior chain with many different skills factoring in (head position, gait and rear end awareness being just a couple), I teach each skill separately and then stick them together to make confident heeling. This class is the first of 3 on heeling, and is all about the foundation behaviors needed for stationary heel position. It will also include left and right finishes to heel, pivots, and the skill of staying in heel position for one and 2 steps. Dogs that would do best in this class are ones that work well with food reward, and are of a higher motivated personality type. Handler-dog teams that would have the most success in class are teams that like shaping, have some experience at shaping behaviors and did I mention like shaping!

While we won’t be using toy play in the majority of this class, it’s easiest to get high motivation from dogs that like the arousal and excitement of toy play. Handlers who use toy reinforcement in the class are expected to have good rules for toy play, including a dog that brings back the toy to push the handler for more “work” without prompting from the handler, and a knowledge of how the game skills deteriorate when the dog is not getting what he needs from the training session.

Dogs that will do best in this class have good motivation for food, and are over 6 months old, with some learning history of learning to offer behaviors.

Please read the pre requesite skill section for additional information on whether this is the class for you and your dog!

This class will overlap with the obedience skills in the retired Drives and Control 1 and 2 classes.

Teaching Approach

This class consists of individual lectures for each subject/concept. Lectures are mainly bullet points with short videos showing examples of each point. No voice over or explanation is in the videos themselves (maybe a subtext or two). I release a lecture once a day, usually 3-5 times a week. Class subject is obtainable for most dog/handler teams. Minimal room needed, mostly enough for a reset treat and come to heel.   🙂

This class will have a Teacher’s Assistant (TA) available in the Facebook study group to help the bronze and silver students! Directions for joining that Facebook group will be in the classroom after you register.

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