If you’re interested in learning the skill of Precision Heeling, I’m teaching a class on just this topic starting June 1st, 2017 at the Fenzi Dog Sports Academy.  Registration is currently open.  Gold spots are full, but bronze is unlimited and at $65, it’s a pretty good deal for 100 or so videos plus descriptive lecture and active forums plus, you’ll get to watch 10 teams work their way through the materials with my coaching.

After this term, I will move this class to the self-study section of FDSA, so if you’d like to join the class “live” then this is your last chance to hop in.  I will miss teaching heeling – I love heeling. But I need to free up my schedule for a few new ideas that I’m passionate about and I really want to develop.  No doubt I’ll be talking more about those ideas here on this blog in the near future.  Always something going on.

If money is tight, please ask for a scholarship and we’ll cover half of your tuition.

Here’s the direct link if you’d like to learn more; Precision Heeling.

I’m also teaching Engagement this term; you can find that here:  Engagement

In addition, a variety of talented instructors are teaching thirty ADDITIONAL classes on the schedule – it’s going to be hard to choose!  Each class now includes a sample lecture so you can see what we offer and how each instructor approaches teaching.

Here is the sample lecture from Precision Heeling; Go ahead and use it whether you sign up for the class or not.

Sample lecture from Precision Heeling:

This class is comprised of four lectures and 23 skills.  In combination with the forums for problem-solving, a student will acquire the skills to train precision heeling or to re-train problems with their basic heeling foundation.  The following are the first four skills from the skill set.

Skill 1: Place front feet on a disk

Method: You may either shape or lure this behavior.

Video Demo:



Note: Teaching your dog to keep the feet up even when you move is very very important – I like to be able to move out about five feet without my dog getting off – that makes the second step (pivoting) much much easier. So…do not rush this step! In the above video, the dog was extremely cooperative – she understands training so she understood what I wanted right away. If your dog avoids the disc, try for one foot first. Even if the dog just brushes the disc with a foot, give a cookie. Position the cookie over the disc as you feed so that the dog is more likely to decide to step on it to reach the cookie than to try going around.

If your dog REALLY does not want to stand on the disc, try a full stair step first – if you have stairs in your house then this will be easy – stand at the bottom of the stairs and hold the cookie in a manner that will cause the dog to reach forward and step up to get it with their front feet. First one foot and then two feet. Then go back to your disc – some dogs just need a bit of help to get that first step up. Still struggling? Change the surface of your disc. It may be slippery or shiny or…who knows?

Skill 2: Keep feet on the disc

Method: After dog’s feet are on the disc, step slightly away and then return quickly to feet a cookie. If your dog’s feet come off, help them back onto the disc and then try again. Start slow! Just a few inches away from the disc and back. In this video, Brito is working on keeping his feet on the disc. He is relatively new to this, so you can see how I handle it when he comes off. Note that I back in and out from the disc- rewarding for staying up. Make sure that both feet are on the disc when you reward! I am also doing a very small amount of rotating (for skill 2 below):

Skill 3: Dog maintains a “front feet up” position even as you move around the disc.

Method: start very close to your dog. Move slightly left or right with your hands centered in front of your dog (with a treat if you prefer to lure; without if you are a shaper). Treat immediately for any movement. Slowly increase the number of steps dog must take before rewarding. Don’t sweat the straightness of the dog in front at this point. Continue until your dog can do 180 degrees in either direction. You should be moving relatively slowly so your dog is controlling their movement.

Video Demo: In this video, I am working with a dog that does not have this skill already, so you can see how I help her to develop what I want.

(learning with lure – tervuren raika)

Video Demo: In this video, you’ll see the finished product – Lyra already knows how to move on the disc. Note my hand position in front – if you center your hands in front, your dog will be much straighter.

(shaped – tervuren lyra)

Video Demo: This puppy is just learning! See how we handle his mistakes, but we want him to be correct as much as possible. we are using food placement to try and keep him relatively straight in front:

(Puppy Brittany Cruise – lured with hand pocket from the front)

Video Demo

Same puppy as above but his second lesson:

(puppy Brittany Cruise lesson 2)

Video Demo: This is the same video from above for skill #1: Note that Brito actually turns more easily if I am further away from him when I rotate; that’s fine too! Find what works best for your dog. Because Brito is also learning to offer positions, you’ll see him doing all sorts of things. Just ignore the positions and focus on what his front feet are (or are not) doing:

Skill 4: Accept pressure of your body near disk:

Method: Teach your dog to be comfortable with your feet very close to the disk in both front and side position. Note that my feet are centered and facing the disk, or parallel to the dog and disc when I am standing next to my dog (heel position). If your dog avoids you and tries to leave the disk as you move in closer, take your time. This is normal. If your dog tries to come to front position when you attempt to move to the side, use a piece of food on the outside of his head to hold him still (shown in Lyra video)

Video Demo:

As you can see, this skill is new to Raika. Note that the pressure of my body plus the movement of the food is not enough to get her moving, so I put my knee out to add pressure. She understands and the second time she moves on her own

(front position – trainee Tervuren Raika)

Video Demo: In this video, you should be focusing on how close I am to the dog; the fact that I added a pivot was simply to give you a better camera angle – do not add this step at this point unless your dog already understands pivoting on a disc: