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Heeling Games – “Fly”

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“Fly” is what I call it when a dog is sent out of one behavior, out around an object, and then called back into another behavior.  In this blog example, we’ll use heeling for both behaviors with a fly in the middle.

There are many reasons I teach a “fly” command.

1)  Dogs appreciate the release of movement when they are working hard in a controlled behavior such as heeling.  Precision heeling is a lot of work – each second the dog is making tiny adjustments to their body to remain in correct position.  If you approach heeling as a highly precise and engaging activity, the dog really needs that release.  Heeling is hard work!

2)  Allowing a dog to leave any tightly controlled behavior – at full speed – clears the dog’s head and creates more energy and enthusiasm when they return.

3)  Allowing a dog to leave work for a short break naturally reduces your reward schedule – instead of handing over a classic reward, you make the release the reward.  Because most dogs like to run, the “fly” operates as both a reward and as a release.  What a deal!

And for anyone who plans to sign up for my Fenzi Obility courses on-line (“Heeling Games” in June or Obility 1 in August), you will need this skill, so you can get a head start by learning it now.

Here’s Cisu learning the first steps in fly:

At first you can either lure the dog around the object (in this case a stanchion) or shape the behavior – either is fine.  When the dog is flying out reasonably reliably, add the cue (I say “fly”, you can say anything you wish).  Then add some distance from the object – I work my way up to about 50 feet so I can also use it for go-outs as well as a few other obility exercises.

Doing well?  Good.  Now, send your dog out and then turn your back, giving your “heel” cue as you move away from your dog.  Your dog should accelerate back up to you and drive into heeling.  What you do when the dog arrives will depend on what aspects of heeling give your dog the most trouble.  In a nutshell, allow bouncing and forging in a dog that lacks energy, and encourage tighter control in a dog that lacks precision but oozes drive.  We’ll get to that on another day.

Here’s Cisu.  She’s working on building drive for the first 45 seconds or so.  Then I add a control move (pivot left) – which also changes where the reward is delivered. Near the end I add a drop signal (control) and follow it up with coming up into heeling (drive).

About dfenzi

I'm a professional dog trainer who specializes in building relationship in dog handler teams who compete in dog sports. My personal passions are Competitive Obedience and no force (motivational) dog training. I travel throughout the world teaching seminars on topics related to Dog Obedience and Building Drives and Motivation. I own Fenzi Dog Sports Academy, a comprehensive online school for motivational training of performance sport dogs.

12 responses »

  1. As usual, I love your posts. You’ve seemed to hit the nail on the head with this Fly post. It will work great with where I’m at now with training !!

  2. Neat! I have been doing a version of this at the park, out around a tree, then back into heel, then throw frisbee. I like it a lot for building more drive for heeling!
    I also want to thank you for your idea of the left sided “turn” to help fix a dog who wraps around your front.

  3. Do you always send them “around” in the same direction? I was going to ask at the seminar in a few weeks but since it’s todays topic now is good!

  4. Do you always send them “around” in the same direction? I was going to ask this at the seminar in a few weeks but since it’s today topic, now is good!

  5. How do encourage a dog who just trots out without attitude? have one terrier that flys out the other youngster, take it or leave it any tips please.

  6. now i follow the e course precision heeling. I’m enthousiastic and looking forward to ‘Heeling games’. Thanks for your post

  7. More stuff

    Anne Drillio Sent from my iPad

  8. Love this. Loved it at your seminar last wknd. This is one of the first things I’ll teach the new puppy.

  9. Pingback: Dogs Just Want to Have Fun! - The Crossover Trainer

  10. hi . do you teach the go out this way? I have been teaching my dogs right now to mark with a look command and Go to the stanchion. Can I teach this by using the Go command for going around the stanchion or do you think it will be confusing to the dog?

  11. Pingback: Question re: Send Away

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