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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 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...

Day 5: Beware of mistraining!

Heelwork is something that many people with me work a lot on and sometimes struggle with. “How hard can it be to just walk there?” We think. “Very difficult and terribly boring – all the fun happens in front of me” the dog probably...

Day 4: Heelwork – from many perspectives

Since the heelwork consists of many parts and should work in many environments, I believe more than one way is needed to train it. I think it is perfect to combine the gun dog training with the detail focus from the obedience training. I divide the training into three...

Day 3: Get started with heelwork

I start to train heelwork as soon as I get the puppy home and continue practicing practically every day of the dog’s life. What I do first is to reward the dog for voluntarily seeking out my left side and then I gradually increase the time it should walk there....

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