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Something that often happens when walking to heel is that the dog gets a bit too excited and moves around like a bouncing ball – it walks a little too far ahead, jumps back, walks nicely a step or two, walks ahead a little too far, jumps back, and so on. It often jumps back when we stop or stomp our feet, because we have taught it that we will not move on until it walks in the right position.

Sometimes, of course, the dog must bounce – for example, as a really good reward

Often, the dog has also been rewarded for coming back – which is often good to reward the dog for but in the heelwork it often results in this bouncing ball effect. Therefore, be careful not to reward the dog when it bounces back, but only when it has walked one or two steps properly by your side. And ideally you should try to reward the before it bounces off again. It can also be more effective to turn around and walk the other way if the dog has too much anticipation on walking forward than to stop and wait for the dog to come back to your side again.

Bouncing in the heelwork gets the dog into an undesired feeling – since we want it to be calm and relaxed. Likewise, it’s the same with getting into heeling position. Don’t let the dog bounce into place, it is an unnecessary raising of its energy. Let it move calmly and collected, that way you’ll get off to a better start for your next exercise – whatever that might be.

Today’s exercise

  • Think about what you do if the dog is in the wrong position. Does your dog have “bouncing ball” tendencies? When do you reward after it returns to the right position again?
  • Train heelwork at least once. (Note how many sessions and minutes of heelwork you do. Train what you and your dog need – it doesn’t have to be the training in the blog post of the day.)
  • Feel free to tell us and others about your training by commenting on the posts on our website and/or Facebook page.
  • If you haven’t participated in the challenge from the start, read here to find out how it works: Day 1: Heelwork challenge.
  • Subscribe to our blog to receive emails when new training tips are available.


Retrieving for All Occasions - Foundations for Excellence in Gun Dog Training
Retrieving for All Occasions - Foundations for Excellence in Gun Dog Training

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