Agility Heelwork

Google
Home > Training > Agility Heelwork


Agility Heelwork

This type of dog training is great fun.  It's different to obedience heelwork in that I work Jamie on both sides and I don't want that very close heelwork that you might see from a good obedience dog.  I want him to turn to either side when I turn my body and to go wherever I go.  I started with a handful of titbits and the word "here." Using a faster pace than I would for heelwork I fed him titbits when he followed. 



heel1.jpg (35088 bytes)

 

I worked him first on the left side using "back" for the left hand turns, then on the right side using "here" for the right hand turns.  I can't trust myself  with saying "left" and "right" as I'd soon get mixed up and then we'd be in right old pickle.  I also use my body and hand signals for the left and right turns. Once Jamie had got the hang of this I increased the pace so that he would follow and turn at the trot.
heel2.jpg (23100 bytes)

 

When Jamie was thoroughly used to this exercise and following easily I used it to practice changing sides on the move.  We practice crossing behind and in front but because I'm not as athletic as some of the younger handlers I sometimes find the front cross more difficult in the ring.  In the pic we've used a cone to help us with a front cross and change of sides. heel3.jpg (23282 bytes)

 

Jamie loves agility heelwork and it's really helped us. If I've walked a course I try to remember any tricky bits and then we go and practice them in the exercise area using the heelwork.  It's a bit like learning dance steps.  Jamie learns the steps with me so that by the time we get to the ring we both know what to do.  That's the theory anyway!  Try it and see if it works for you.  Good luck.

Update 25th July 2011
Sasha has also learned to do heelwork but I use the words "back" and "right" respectively for the directionals.  I also taught her as she was working the jumps.  I clearly indicated which way to turn with my arms and shoulders and used "Back" and "Right" at the same time.  Sasha eventually learned the difference.  Being able to use directional commands can be great in certain situations but I've found a dog will often stop listening and work according to your body language. 

Home > Training > Agility Heelwork