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Discussion Starter #1
My dog and I just got our Beginner Novice title in obedience in June and I would like to try Novice. However, I haven't taught her how to heel off-lead. Does anyone know how I can start teaching? I have no idea where to start. She knows how to do everything else required for Novice because we use to do 4-H together and most of the Novice exercises were used in 4-H obedience.
 

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How well does she heel on leash right now ? How responsive is she to your voice?

If you does OK, and you have a safe place to practice, maybe give it a try and see. If it doesn't work out well, just make sure you do a little heeling on least before stopping so you can end the practice on a positive note.

Either way, the video/on-line suggested above would be a great place to start
 

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I usually start training trial heeling off-leash to avoid a situation like this (and there was/is off leash heeling in novice where I live).

Some people probably try to fade the leash by changing it into lighter and lighter until they can leave it out.

How did you teach your dog to heel on leash? Have you tried your dog's heeling off-leash? What did he do? If you try, remove all distractions and lower your criteria at first so you can reward him and get a good start.

I used luring while teaching my current dog. I chopped heeling into smaller parts which were a) from font to heeling position and left turns/pivots. Many people use the perch method for this. It teaches the dog to use its hind legs in turns and produces neat movement. Kikopup and other trainers have video tutorials about this. I used a slightly different method (did not include the perch) and I got a nice side effect - I did not have to use much time to train her to back up in heeling.
b) right turns, heeling position and keeping it - sucking method. I held a treat in my hand and pulled the dog along me with it. I let her lick the treat and then I said my marker word and allowed her to eat it. Then faded the lure and the hand. Some dogs are too focused in the lure so this method doesn't fit all dogs. I began with right turns because I started training inside and I did not have space to walk straight for more than 5 steps.
c) eye contact. Your dog probably knows this already and this is also one of the first exercises I do even though I did not list it earlier.
d) Sitting at stops and sitting in heeling position. We are not allowed to tell our dogs to sit at stops here so stopping is the cue for it. I asked the dog to sit and went to stand next to her feeding her treats and asking/waiting for eye contact. I get her to sit automatically using anticipitation. I asked her to sit every time at stops and then she started to expect it and sat down anyways. Good girl!
e) I took the exercises outside and taught longer straight heeling sequences. Then I started combining things and built the heeling from there. I also tried to teach invisible cues for turns, like taking a shorter step right before it.
 

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An on line class is an excellent suggestion. Also, look for how to clicker train heeling. IMHO, leash corrections aren't very helpful in teaching heeling, so if you have been taught the "pop and jerk" method for heeling, I suggest you look into changing to a clicker method. No leash needed!! :D
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'll admit that she is not the best at heeling. She likes to lag and can be slow to sit. I have thought about clicker training and have recently bought a clicker. She seems to be responsive to it so I'll try incorporating it into training. I'll definitely have to study the videos you guys have suggested!
 
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