There are many ways to start a puppy or young dog on the early skills required for dog sports. This video demonstrates two useful things – ‘choosing’ to work and the start of heel work.
In this video, puppy Kismet (11 week old Dutch Shepherd) and her mom are having their first lesson on recall away from distractions, a bit of heeling, and “go play”. Mom doesn’t always do exactly the right thing at the right time, but it works anyway. Both mom and puppy will get better with experience.
In this video, I’m combining three concepts in one lesson – choice (work or free time), recall and heeling.
“go play” – you are free to do as you wish. Kismet chooses to explore when allowed – that will often change as the weeks go by. By allowing the puppy to choose between what she is likely to want to do (explore) and what you want her to do (work), you can be sure you’re not overwhelming the puppy.
“Come” is rewarded with exciting praise every time and a cookie most of the time. The puppy is also rewarded with the option to “go play” again. Recalls don’t end the fun; they simply interrupt it with praise and cookies.
When the puppy begins to show more interest in you, turn your left side towards the puppy and walk away. Most puppies “fall” into heeling – reward. That is the beginning of heeling.
What a nice puppy!