Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Christmas Photo Fun #5

Yooper Paws Christmas Fun: Golden Heels

Does your dog heel? And just what does heel mean to you? There are some people who believe that if a dog is walking on a leash, that they should always be at a heel. Yet this is also one of the hardest things to teach a dog. (Usually! Cam actually learned to heel in 1 short session and does it perfectly on or off leash! But he's the exception to the rule.) In competition obedience training, “heel” means the dog is walking on your left side with his head even with your knee while you hold the leash loosely. Puppy training can be a little more relaxed with the goal being that they walk politely on a loose leash without pulling. Some trainers prefer to say “let’s go” or “forward” instead of “heel” when they train this easy way of walking together. We train our dogs to do 4 variations of this with different commands for each as well as a different time and place for each command. 1. Heel - AKC positioning with the dogs head by our left leg, walking very close to us. (Or with many Service Dogs, handlers choose to do this heel on the right side.) 2. Easy - Simply means keep the leash loose. We do this on different lengths of leash and can also be used if a dog is too excited and pulling a bit hard. 3. Follow - Stay behind me and pay attention to my lead. This comes in very handy walking thru public places where there may be little space. It works thru doorways where you want to be first and have your pup come after you. (That's actually how we begin this training.) 4. Walk Nice - This is very close to heel, but more relaxed Basically, for us, it means stay within a 2 ft radius around me. It means the dog can have some freedom to choose exactly where they want to be (right, left, front, back) as long as they stay close by and keep the leash loose. This is the way Azul and walk when we are out and about in public places.

What variations of "heel" do you use? Can you capture it in a photo or video? It might help to have a partner to work your camera. If you can't capture it, simply describe your trick and how you use it when working or playing with your dog in the email.

Please send your photos or videos to yooperpaws@gmail.com for a chance to win prizes. Prizes will be announced on the Yooper Paws Facebook page.

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