Today I wanted to see what I had with Brito’s heeling.

Here’s an unedited video:

After you teach the pieces of lovely heeling, You have to string them together. At that point, I use my choice of reinforcement (food or toys) and the positioning of those reinforcers to improve my dog’s work. Personally, I will always emphasize drive over precision because I simply cannot feel inspiration for a dog who is absolutely correct but shows no joy or “lift” in their work. I want to work with a dog who is obviously having a good time – if that’s on the fine edge of self-control then that’s okay with me.

Note my choice of reinforcement options…

To encourage drive and forward movement I reward ahead.

To encourage a tight wrap for a right turn or an about turn I throw across my body – indeed, I do as many 360 degree types of turns as possible before throwing at all.

If I want to reinforce a left turn/not forging I reward to the left and slightly behind.

Rarely do I start from a halt – that’s boring.

Rarely do I practice halts. That’s boring too.

Rarely do I hand THIS dog cookies in heel position when we are working “in flow” – he needs more movement in his work because of his temperament. A different dog? I might approach it differently.

Look at your dog and work to encourage more of what you want to see, based on whatever happened in your last repetition and with an awareness of your dog’s basic temperament and tendencies.