Preparing Buddy for the Figure

Before you begin practicing going around posts, teach Buddy that he has to speed up his pace when you circle to the right and to slow down when you circle to the left.

For the inside turn,

1. Start with your dog sitting at the Heel position, with your leash in Control Position.

2. Say "Buddy, heel," and walk a circle to the left, about four feet in diameter, at a slow pace.

3. Twist to the left as you walk.

4. Release your dog after you've completed the circle.

After two or three tries, you'll notice how your dog responds to your body cues. If nothing happens, exaggerate your body motion.

For the outside turn,

1. Start with your dog sitting at the Heel position, with the leash neatly folded into your left hand.

2. Put your left hand against your right hip.

Doing so keeps your left shoulder facing forward.

3. Have a treat in your right hand.

4. Say "Buddy, heel," and walk in a circle to the right, about four feet in diameter, at your normal brisk pace.

5. Use the treat, which is held just in front of his nose, to guide your dog around, and give him the treat after you've completed the circle.

The Obedience Regulations are quite specific about the position of your hands. For the Heel On Leash, you can hold the leash in either hand or in both, so long as they're in a natural position. For the Heel Free, your arms can swing naturally at your side, or you can swing your right arm naturally at your side and place your left hand against your belt buckle, which is the position we use.

You're looking for a visible effort on the part of your dog to accelerate. Repeat these steps several times so you become comfortable with the maneuver. Then try going at a trot.

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