Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best ones.
A while ago I did a blog post on “what’s more ___ than ___” You can read about that idea here.
Using that principle, let’s consider a dog that drops his head while heeling. Maybe on the first step, or left turns, or right turns, or on the fast pace or…you get the idea.
What’s more looking up than up?
Jumping up, with your head up.
First I taught Brito to jump up for a cookie. For some dogs that can be a bit complicated, so start from a standstill , then progress to a slow pace, then normal, etc. They’ll figure it out. If your dog is taller, then your hand would be higher – just up.
Now that you have that, let’s switch that to a generic hand touch rather than a cookie. And… here we go.
Problem on the start? Do a week’s worth of starts with a hand touch to start and reward every single one. We want our dog to love this game!
Problem on the about turn? Do a week’s worth of about turns with a hand touch at the exact point where the head drop tends to occur.
If your dog misses the hand touch, just try again until they succeed, and then reward.
Watch what happens. It’s like magic! You will find that your dog begins to hold a lovely, head’s up heel position, even on those tricky spots.
Here’s a very short video of Brito. The specific issues were the first step of heeling, and dropping his head when pivoting to the right, so those are the two things I worked on.
TODAY is the first day of instruction at Fenzi Dog Sports Academy! If you’re enrolled, head to your classroom, and if not – go get registered!