Heelwork Foundations: Clicker Dog Training


Ok, here it is. So many of you have been asking for this.

This is just one episode of the few episodes that are on my Loose Leash Walking DVD that I sell on my website. On the DVD I also go over how to get eye contact as you heel as well as heeling around distractions.

I have recently started really focusing on heelwork with my puppy Twix and many of my YT subscribers have been wanting me to post a video on how to get the basics. So, here it is. I do also have more exercises on heelwork on my Loose Leash Walking DVD, but most of the DVD is geared toward Loose Leash Walking.

Anyway, have a great day!

I really do go into depth with this video and remember there are 25 more episodes with just as much information on them on this LOOSE LEASH WALKING DVD.

Pamela Johnson spends a lot of her time making free how-to youtube videos on a variety of topics. Some of these include agility, canine freestyle, tricks, behavior modification, puppy training, and cat tricks.

“It is my dream to have my own facility. A place to provide large group seminars or host a dog camp. With several dog sports fields, a doggie swimming center, herding rings, and a frestyle arena I envision a place where people bring their dogs to learn and have fun! ”


Have a great evening!

Take care,
Pam, Isabelle, Bandit & Twix


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  1. I love the steps you use and how you break it down. Can you write this down about failure being your friend. It starts at about 13 minutes. I think it would help to but it in your notes because it is such great advice. I think I will use this for my kids too especially when learning hard multilevel tasks. do you have a book?

  2. Hi Pam, I would love to train to get my dog between the legs to walk or turn around in freestyle.. Issue here is, Im 5'2 feet tall and my 2.2 year old GSD is standard height. Getting him to step on the box with my legs around or to get him to move while he is between my legs is difficult.. Last thing I want to do is end up sitting on his back….Please suggest how to over come this ?. Thanks.

  3. Hi Pam. I have a lab puppy. He will put his front paws on the box or bowl but will not move his rear end around independently. He usually just turns his head and touches his butt. Then eventually sits or lays down. What would you suggest?

  4. I have a kelpie x collie that has a problem of pushing a head of me in heelwork I have not tried this yet but I am planning on doing it but can I ask how did you manage to keep twin to stay on the box when turning as my terrier steps off when I go to turn… Would appreciate a reply… Great video by the way! 🙂

  5. I love this idea!! The only thing is that I can't get my dog to look at me even with the target. he spins round but does not look up and once I stop and he looks at me I'd click and treat. Once I provide the treat he'd look down again. Any suggestions?

  6. Pam loved the targeting of the leg – my youngest already knew brick work (though without the leg touching criteria), so I started the leg targeting without the perch – I did one session of it the other day and tonight he not only remembered it but maintained it no matter where I went with pivots and turns and backups, He's a smart boy but it was well beyond anything I expected. Needless to say – love the clear cut criteria!!! Thanks!

  7. I do add the cue once the dog understands the behavior/position. I might not have added the cue in this video, yet. Once the dog understands the behavior and I know they are about to do the behavior, I will say the new verbal cue. When the dog does it, I click/treat. If the dog does not do the behavior, I move and when the dog finds the position, I click/treat. I keep repeating until the dog understands the new verbal cue. Hope that helps. 🙂

  8. When did you add in the verbal cues (heel/side)? I never heard you use them. Do you just usually use a hand signal? I know you wait until they have it well learned.

  9. Hey Pam, i think we've had a small breakthrough : ) I had a friend watch me adn realised that it was my clicker timing that was out : ( I needed to raise the critera a little higher and wait until he moved round to touch my leg. So we've sorted the problem in one sesion : ) hopefully i can now move down box sizes until working on the floor. I'm really pleased : ) thanks for your suggestions.

  10. I would use a lure if the dog is not understanding and the shaping process is going slow. This way the lure can eventually become a follow the hand until you can fade it completely. I would also do a few on the box and then get a lower box and a lower box or book until you can fade the object. Some dogs just pick it up and others do take a lot of time. Twix makes it look easy, he is just a crazy smart dog. Hang in there. I hope those few things help…

  11. This is soooo hard!!! I've been working on this for more than a week and still can't get it : ( I think i've got stuck using the object, i am standing side on to the object and then when i move around he shuffles round a few steps, It took a long time to get to this stage. Now trying to change the object and he gets stuck and just lies down or stis : ( I haven't taught this behaviour with a lure i have shaped it maybe this is the problem as there is no obvious cue??? Help, getting frustrated ; (

  12. Yay I am going to try this all out! I have been so confused about heelwork because I am new in the dog training world, and I have my first dog so I waited a year and half to start doing heelwork yeah I know we are so late (but I didn't want to risk getting everything messed up). Now with your guidance I feel confident that I will get this right! I think my biggest problem that is I rush things too quickly. I will let you know how it goes!

  13. It will depend on your dog. If he gets in a new environment and acts like he has no idea what you are asking of him, then I would work on the behavior as if it is a new behavior in that new place. However, usually dogs will pick it up quicker because they already do know the behavior. They just don't know it in the new place yet. Every time you change your criterion you might have to go back a few steps and retrain the behavior. Soon he will generalize and just know it. 🙂

  14. Wow! Thanks! I would have never had thought of that!! How do you know when it is right time to combine both? Plus sience I have been working til now only in the living room, when I change places do I need to start over both separately and then combine them once again?

  15. I train eye contact separate and work on building duration. I have a video called Loose Leash Walking with eye contact and focus and this is actually how I teach eye contact with heel work. 🙂

  16. Amazing video!!!!! Anyone else having problems with eye contact? I heard someone saying to train eye contact, and heel separately and then combine them.. what do you guys think?

  17. Thank you so much Pam. This video is great, you explain the process so clearly in such a short video. I'm going to give this a go this afternoon : ) you are an inspiration!!!!!

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