How Important It Is To Have A Well Behaved Dog
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Walk in a straight line. Angling into your dog will cause her to heel wide. Walk briskly! Don't adapt your pace to that of the dog. Hold your LEFT hand close to your body! Give the first command in a happy tone of voice. Change to a demanding tone or call your dog's name sharply if she lags or ambles away. AFTER the second command, gently pat your side and give praise. If forging is your problem, or if your dog attempts to dart away, STAND STILL! Signal back with your left hand and repeat the heel command forcefully, then pat your side coaxingly.
When your dog is doing a good job of FREE HEELING, give her credit! Praise her while she is working. The praise can be discontinued AFTER THE DOG IS TRAINED, but while learning, every dog needs encouragement.
If you are training a large dog, carry the leash folded twice, with the snap end in your RIGHT hand. If the dog fails to pay attention, call her name loudly or reach out and "spank" her playfully on the hindquarters with the end of the leash, then coax her close by patting your side.
If all attempts to keep your dog at heel position fail, snap on the leash, give it ONE good jerk to bring the dog in close, and try again. The change in voice, followed by flattery, with the occasional use of the leash, should eventually teach your dog to stay at your side at all times. Especially if you make the heeling fun! On every halt, avoid stepping into your dog. The foot that is furthest back is brought forward to meet the foot in front. When the action is in reverse (toward the dog) the dog will draw away, fearful of being stepped on.
When teaching your dog FREE HEELING for the OPEN Course, the length of the practice sessions will vary, depending upon the dog. Short lessons with generous praise and patting, with the offering of a few tempting tid-bits, are generally effective. Far more important, by keeping the training a pleasant experience, you will have a HAPPY working dog!"
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