Day 18: Will the heelwork ever be done?

Last day of the heelwork challenge! I hope that you feel that your heelwork has improved – at least mine has. I would like to send you some final, summary words – and of course know how many heelwork sessions you have done in the past few weeks. The one with the most heelwork sessions will win an online private session with me! 

Report your heelwork training via this form no later than March 1st 2019 23:59 GMT+2 to participate in the competition.

My best heelwork training tips are:

  • practice your heelwork every day
  • analyze what you and your dog need to train the most
  • divide the training into details, endurance and distractions – and then combine them
  • have a strategy so that you do not mistrain the heelwork.
Training goal: nice and calm heelwork.

And on the question “will the heelwork ever be done?” I answer “no”. There is a need for constant training and reminder of it, especially if the dog has been hunting or trialing and has been practicing a little less than desirable heelwork. But it gets better – the more you train, the better it will become, even if it feels like an everlasting project  so practice the heelwork every day and between “more fun” things like casting the dog to work at a distance.

Today’s exercise

  • Make a new heelwork diagnosis and compare it to the one you did when the challenge started.
  • 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.)
  • Report your training via this form no later than March 1st 2019 23:59 GMT+2 to participate in the competition.
  • 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.

Want to improve your heelwork even more? Check out our online courses and webinar on heelwork!

4 thoughts on “Day 18: Will the heelwork ever be done?”

  1. Excellent series. Extremely well done, Elsa. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I recommended your series on the Labrador Forum. For what it is worth, my favourite bits: The proofing at the train station–in a high distraction environment the dog and handler working as a team. And also treating from the hand to prevent anticipation in the two bowls exercise.

  2. Thanks for this Elsa, my boy has improved a lot in the last few weeks. We have done 31 heel sessions in the last few weeks as follows:
    Morning .. dull heel work mostly but then when opportunities arise to do more formal heel work with distractions we take them and progress has been good. He definitely knows where heel is and takes longer to drift forward. Its also meant that he only pees if I say go sniff .. and then back to dull heelwork. 🙂
    Evening .. start with formal heel work squares, then changing direction, changing pace etc. Then some gundog work,lefts, rights, backs, some short retrieves some longer ones… and sometimes no retrieves, just sit nicely and I will pick them!
    I’ve definitely noticed the time he takes to relax the lead when doing “dull” heeelwork has reduced to around 5 minutes from 15-20 and taking the lead off he doesn’t try to move away but waits ..and gets a treat reward. I was fortunate that he doesn’t bounce on the lead its more a gradual drift, and he gets a reward for returning to correct position, which he has been doing quite well.
    I know we still have some way to go mainly with distractions but he is definitely more focussed and if distracted easier to regain focus to me, so thanks again for this challenge which like you have said will be ongoing!

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