Set up – This week’s challenge is Sequencing Turns for Heeling. It is important to add skills together ONLY after your dog is confident with the skill.
Purpose – This drill teaches you how to start putting all the pieces of heeling together.
|Tips on success – the key to sequencing skills, such as turns, is not letting any of your criteria for an individual skill deteriorate. For example: turns. If you put 2 turns together, such as two right turns, and the first one is less than your criteria, stop training. Analyze the problem and fix the issue to meet your criteria before attempting 2 turns again. If you continue to heel without addressing the turn that did not meet your criteria, your dog is learning that the deterioration in criteria is acceptable. Although the criteria of your turns are obvious to you, accepting less from your dog, rapidly deteriorates your criteria. For instance, my criteria for the right turn is that my dog moves with me with his head up, is attentive, and in an active state. I do not give my dog any additional help staying in position or keeping attention. So this is the criteria that I maintain while doing a turn.
Reward your dog – Anytime your dog performs a skill or the particular sequence of an exercise successfully, reward your dog by releasing him to a toy/treats. Resist the temptation to only reward AFTER the exercise is completed. In order to maintain all the skills in an exercise, all the skills need to be rewarded on a random basis!
Different levels of testing – After you have successfully completed an easy scenario, “bump it up” a notch by increasing the difficulty of the distractions during your training. As your dog gains confidence, add more distractions and make the training more difficult. Always reward your dog for a job well done.
Goal – to build your dog’s confidence and understanding of your criteria when heeling.