Test Changing Directions

If your dog moves ahead of you while you are both moving forward, step forward on your left foot and pivot completely around so you face the opposite direction. If your dog turns with you, praise. If not, correct with NO and re-command HEEL. Do not turn your dog with the leash; make sure he turns on his own. Praise when your dog returns to the HEEL position.

Right circles and right squares. Right-hand circles and squares will require your dog to keep a close eye on you, as your body will not be there to steer him. You may be required to give several small corrections at first, but enthusiastic motivating (patting your left leg) will encourage your dog to follow you.

Left circles and left squares. If you find your dog drifting forward, many small left-hand circles will motivate your dog to keep at your left hip. Avoid the temptation to hold your dog back by the leash. Correct backwards with NO (and re-command HEEL) as long as your dog's head is in front of your left thigh. Also, don't try to get in front of your dog's head; make your dog slow down to match your pace and turns. Left squares will help keep your dog's head in the correct position.

Figure eights are an excellent test of focus and following. Start slowly and maintain a slack leash. Only use the leash to correct (with NO) when required. Motivate by patting your side and using your voice. Walk slowly at first and increase speed to a normal pace.

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