When I got Rizzo as a puppy my intent was for her to be my Obedience Trial Champion (OTCH) dog. A dog I could take to the AKC obedience invitational. We did LOTS of early work on competition obedience skills. Rizzo is my first dog that I really trained heeling, with the mind set that I love heeling and it’s all a game. I trained her very differently, of course it was all positive. We used lots of platforms, rear-end awareness games, and shaping.
Over the years we have fallen more in love with with K9 Nose Work and less with competition obedience. My training for competition obedience has fallen by the wayside. The other day I was working with a friend making videos for the local 4-H group about competition obedience. We were done formally video taping and Rizzo was off leash with our friend’s dog Divine. Thankfully someone grabbed their phone and started video taping!
WARNING there is a dog BARKING on the video. If you have a barky dog at home turn off your sound. You will still get the basics of the video. 🙂
No, it’s not perfect heeling, but damn I was pretty happy. We have not had a formal heeling training session, in probably a year, if not longer, maybe 2 years. It goes to show you that something that is well trained from the beginning is a life time skill for your dog.
What I love most about the video is Rizzo’s choice to be with me. She could leave and play with her friend or visit the people at any time, but working with me is better. Yes, I have food on me, but not in my hand. Just because I have food on me does not mean she is going to get it, due to her food allergies. She used to that “issue”. Divine was trying so hard to get her to play, it’s just too cute.
You don’t need to be showing your dog to enjoy training at a high level or enjoy the benefits of high level training.
Remember you do not need to use force to train awesome heeling!
Remember heeling is just another “trick”, have fun with it!
Thanks Rizzo for being such a great partner!