Besides being able to walk for a long time at my side when I walk straight ahead, the dog needs to be able to follow along when I turn in different directions, when I stop and when I take a step backwards. Here it is great to bring in the obedience heelwork and work with turning on the spot.

Detail Training

  • The right turns can get a bit wide and the dog ends up far away from me, so I work on rewarding the dog to make tight turns.
  • The left turns are a little tricky because it often ends up with me having to walk around the dog when we are going to turn left – which is a bit of a hassle.I therefore want to teach the dog to turn on the spot. To do that I use  the pivot I wrote about the other day and I can also use a leash to get the dog to be in the right position. Then I gradually remove the leash. In the video below I show what that can look like.
  • Turning 180 degrees : I also want to teach the dog to turn 180 degrees and direct its attention forward again – very useful when I during walk ups and when something suddenly happens behind the line.If the dog can turn around swiftly with me, its chances of marking increases.
Diesel following my left leg in a left turn – looking up at me to see where I’m going, later on we’ll also work on turning without the dog looking at me. (Keen just wanted to see what we were doing 😉 )
  • Sit when I stop : The dog does not have to sit when I stop, but I think it is great if it does so so I teach it to do that. Most of the time I do this by using my existing sit cue, so when I stop, I say “sit”, reward, say “here”, take a step forward, stop, say “sit”, reward and so on. When I have done that five to six times, I just stop and see if the dog sits on its own without my cue. If it does I reward and repeat a few times without giving my sit cue. If it doesn’t, I continue using the cue a couple of times more.
  • Sit straight / walk close to me : To get the dog to sit straight and close to me and also to walk close to me, I am careful about my reward placement, but I can also use a fence or a curb so that the dog is between me and the curb.Then I gradually remove the aid of the curb. At the end of the video below I show what it can look like. The “dull heelwork” with leash is also useful here – the leash helps the dog to walk in the right position.Then I use it and reward when the dog when it walks in the right position without the leash.
  • Backing up : Backing up isn’t something that you do for very long distances, but rear part control is always useful so I also teach my dog to walk a few steps backwards.Here I usually use a curb in the beginning to get the dog back up straight. I have the dog standing between me and the curb, take a t step backwards and reward the dog when it follows me.In the video below I show what it might look like when the dog walks close to me and sits down when I stop, just use the same method but walk backwards instead.

In the video I show how I teach the dog to follow the left leg by using a short leash and with the help of an obstacle – which I then gradually remove.

Bonus Tips: Check out this post about the “Flamingo Walk”

Today’s exercise

    • Think about how well your dog follows your left leg – what does your right turns, left turns, 180 degree turns, stops and backing up look like?
    • 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.

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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