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Heelwork

The heel work is very important for both retrievers and spaniels, even though the retriever is required to have a more exact heeling position than the spaniel. The aim is that the dog follows the handler, without the handler having to focus on the dog. We start the heel work training as soon as we can with our puppies and on this page you’ll find all our blog posts on the subject.

Day 15: Heelwork – level: Nerd

I like measurable things, bars and charts. If it’s possible to measure something, I would love to do so – preferably in Excel. When I started to clicker train , I did a lot of logging of different behaviors I trained, but in the gun dog training I...

Day 14: Who are you walking with?

Many dogs quickly build an expectation of who’s really in charge – it’s that interesting person with the gun or the dummies .All of a sudden, the dog walks to heel with them instead of with you … Tassla walks to heel … with the guns The...

Day 13: Leash off means walk to heel

I like to teach my dogs “default” behaviors, things that they should do even though I don’t say anything but the situation itself tells them what to do. One such behavior is that when I take off the leash, the dog should walk by my side (if I am in...

Day 12: Reward placement

Something we talk a lot about on our courses is reward expectation and reward placement. Used properly, they are great training tools, but they can also counteract the training if we’re not aware of them. I simply use reward placement to create the reward...

Day 11: Endurance

Many dogs are happy to walk properly for a while, but then they get tired. The heelwork is something that needs to last for quite some time, so it is important to build endurance early. With eager dogs I think the “dull heelwork” is a very good foundation,...

Day 10: Help eager dogs by managing them

Some dogs get very excited as soon as something happens – they walk nicely when you turn away from the distractions but get excited again as soon as you turn back. Then it is even more important not to let the dog work out of that anticipation but to turn...

Day 9: Follow the left leg

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...

Day 7: “Dull heelwork”

“Dull heelwork” means that the dog just tags along by my side. The dog will not be able to heel by anticipation a whole hunting day, so I want to create a feeling of calm in the heelwork as early as possible, especially with eager dogs. In this way, I also...

Day 6: Pivot

When the dog can find it’s position by my side when I walk it is also good if it can come to my side when I stand still. Something I often see both on courses and trials is that precisely that part is quite ceremonious. In many cases, the dog cannot get into...
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