Easy-cheesy Way To Teach "heelwork"


Honored Member
I often tend to simple-up how to train various tricks, sometimes with great results, sometimes, not so much! :ROFLMAO: So many tricks seem to have multi-step lessons, or steps, that i am often able to skip. Not always, but 'sometimes to often', i can find simpler more direct way to get same trick.

anyway, i've always wanted to teach that type of heelwork, which the dog keeps his eyes on his owner, and follows beside the left leg, as owner does turns, backwards, forwards, etc etc, the dog stays beside human and follows exactly, with his eyes focused on owner's face.

Many ppl advised me, the TURNS are the hardest part of such work, and recommended i teach "elephant" trick (dog does circles with his back legs, by holding his front legs on a pan, then dog does circles touching my leg around the pan, then fade the pan).

MY dog immediately got the concept, but Unfortunately, *i* got dizzy as heck,:sick: within moments, of walking sideways around the pan to lure my dog to move his back legs. then i also wondered, "if *i* am dizzy, is Buddy also dizzy?":confused:

so i quit that trick before being able to cue Buddy to do the turns without me also walking sideways around to lure him.

SO I CAME UP WITH THIS simple, easy-cheesy way to get same heelwork.

First, I did "leftside" trick, which my dog had already learned, from our old "classroom" area which is not there. That trick was called "get in", and the final result was, dog stands or sits (depending on what you asked for) beside your left leg, facing same direction..

so i asked Buddy "Left side" and he sat beside me, facing same direction i was facing.

I PUT A PIECE OF CHEESE IN MY OWN MOUTH, said "heel" and took a step forward. Buddy, mesmerized by the cheese sticking out of my mouth, also stepped fwd.

Another step fwd, same thing.

it's only been a few days, but, dispite never conquering the elephant trick,
Buddy is also able to follow my turns!! Who knew?

Who knew walking with a piece of cheese in your mouth could also train your dog to walk beside you, with his eyes up on you?


Honored Member
My dog excitedly began to walk slightly in FRONT of me, still staring up at me,----------- but ------------in only one or two lessons,
of ignoring THAT position,
and heavily rewarding the correct, "beside my leg" position,
Buddy immediately got it, and stayed in correct position. YAY!!!:D:D:D

we are not 100% perfect yet,
it's only been a few lessons, so we are not yet entirely flawless, but, it's already impressive, we can go 50 feet, do turns (our left turn needs a bit of tweaking still, but our right turns are fine)
and we can do some backwards steps, and he is right beside me, looking up.:D

I've even already faded out the visible cheese in my own mouth, and still, Buddy understands, "I have to keep eyes on mom".


Experienced Member
yay!!! Just keep in mind that many people do not want the dog looking at their face while heeling as if you're not careful you can create forging/wraping issues. Many trainers teach the dog a different focal point, such as the arm band. I DO want eye contact while heeling but am careful to never reward in front of me and actually for the corgi I always reward behind me as he really wants to forge!


Honored Member
ohhhhh, i thought the dogs were suppposed to look at our faces, ohhh.
Yes, my dog still tends to "forge" a bit, ESPECIALLY when we first start. We've only been at this a few days, really but, so far, so good.
So i am being super careful to go back to 'one step at a time', and reward only exact proper position.

Oddly, he got the stepping backwards part perfectly, first try even, no idea why. Backwards, he stays right in exact perfect spot. Weird, eh?

Wanna hear something cute? *sometimes* when Buddy is trying to figure out why THAT step didn't get him a prize, ( a bit too far forward)
he offers me his "smile".

At our house, Buddy is heavily rewarded for smiles, see,
so i could SEE him struggling to figure out, "what? how come this here step did not earn a prize? hmmm, how about if i throw in a smile, too? is that it? is that why some steps gets prizes, is a smile?"

but, he IS figuring out it is his position. Lolz, he is also self-correcting, all by himself--- if he forges, or if i stop walking-------he BACK HIS LITTLE SELF UP beside me again!!:ROFLMAO:

this cue is proving to be a bit challenging for my 100 mph border collie who does loves to speed up alllll tricks...all of 'em.
soon as lessons are completed, and Buddy has any trick nailed perfectly,
a week or so later,
he speeds up the trick to warp speed.....:rolleyes:

zoom zoom zoom, is Buddy's motto!! ha ha


Honored Member
i was stoked stoked stoked last night,
to find out,
that even though i never did get far enough along for elephant trick to have Buddy circle around with me (cuz *i* got dizzy, :censored: lol )
that while i am practicing this heelwork thing,
that when i stand in place, and just turn in either direction,
buddy is staying beside, just mostly only moving his back legs around.

maybe, the few elephant lessons did help him, not sure. but i said "YESsssssssssss!" when i realized, Buddy can indeed, circle around with me! YAY!!


Honored Member
That's how Shiloh heels. :D She is by my side, giving me eye contact.

I gave up on the "elephant" type heel. I will be trying it again though.


Honored Member
Dilly, you couldn't nail "elephant" either? OH, i feel so much better about myself!:ROFLMAO:

I got so dizzy...i gave up after only trying a few times. Still, you did get that type of heelwork?

Buddy is coming along nicely,
he manages to stay in perfect position,
eyes on me,
so long as i am walking along------------
but the one step at a time thing, is very hard for him to stay in position, but he seems to have the concept of what is wanted,
he steps back, on his own, to re-position himself correctly, but, the one-step thing is harder for him than actually walking in proper position.

and Buddy can not yet stop in position, when i stop, he steps ahead, and then back himself back up...
everytime. He never stops walking at very same time that i stop.

I may have to add in a lil cue:p , some signal, that means we are stopping, but i was hoping, he'd just stay plugged in enough, he'd know to stop at same time, but, he can't. at least not yet...

Always has one more step, then backs up to be beside me.

His backwards is flawless, jsut nailed that one right away, and his turns are pretty darn good most of the time,
but, i was all bummed out,:(
that yesterday, we were walking like this, with Buddy in heel, eyes on me, practicing,
doing so so well, i was so stoked we were doing THIS good, see,
and then
my guy walked through eating something,
and BAM
my lil student was gone....now following his daddy admiring him and his food...smiling up at his daddy, trying to be cute, hoping for a "trick for snack" trade.....

so much for actual attention and focus, eh?:ROFLMAO:

so i can see, we will have to practice this around distractions!:rolleyes: which we have not even tried that yet, as i am trying to be very precise to get him in just the right spot...


Honored Member
my guy walked through eating something,
and BAM
my lil student was gone....now following his daddy admiring him and his food...smiling up at his daddy, trying to be cute, hoping for a "trick for snack" trade.....
You should try training in a house where in the middle of your training session someone walks in and puts a load :mad: of :mad: chicken :mad: scraps :mad: down :mad: for :mad: the :mad: dog :mad:


Experienced Member
Oka is always focusing on my pocket - as thats were the treats are!! She does look at my face quite often. She gets the stops but sits down taking a step backwards :rolleyes: so ends up a pace behind me. We have both turns but sometimes when i turn towards her she goes behind me and comes around the wrong side. The Elephant thing makes me dizzy too. I tried "get in" but she seems to think 'well i'm sat, i don't think it should matter how close or neatly'! i may have another go ...

Actually a funny - as it's winter here and cold, so i walk with my hands in my pockets, holding the lead inside them....Oka walks SOOO much better!! It's really funny.
I get beautiful "prancy" heels if i walk around with Oka's meal in my pocket - she's raw fed, it's in a bag! - people stop and stare LOL!!


Honored Member
OH MEWZARD!! Thank you so much for saying the elephant trick made you dizzy, too! I feel a lil better about myself! :ROFLMAO: ha ha! Then, i could not stop wondering, if i am dizzy, could my dog be dizzy too?:sick: is why i quit trying that one...

Mewzard, if you DO want Oka to focus on your face, try the cheese sticking out of your mouth trick....worked for Buddy anyway...i've faded the cheese in my mouth, still he watches my face.

TOO FUNNY about the walking with your hands in your pockets!:ROFLMAO:

And Rdog, you are so so right, i DO have to
have to
have to
work on this heelwork with distractions. Your idea of plates of food, like 'landmines' is great, as Buddy DOES have a solid "leave it".

I am unsure, should i try working on distractions before Buddy has perfectly nailed his "position" perfectly, or at same time? what does everyone think?


Honored Member
Funny thing, i skipped a day of working on heelwork, and focused on other tricks for a day. Then next day, resumed working on heelwork,
and oddly, Buddy had IMPROVED dramatically after a day off.

this has happened before, with other tricks and cues, too. No idea what that is all about, but, i've noticed this once or twice before.


Honored Member
Tigerlily, something that might help Buddy stop at the same time as you do... When you walk, before you stop, slow your pace down for about three steps, before you stop. That gives him time to realize that you are going to stop.
It's how we do this at the dogschool. In time you can probably decrease the amount of steps you slow down and fade them out completely.
I also have a cue for stopping. I say HALT, take three slow steps and then stop. I can now leave out my spoken cue and I am working on making the slow down less visible(for others):D;)

About the day off off training... I read somewhere(really can't remeber where) that scientists did research on a group of dogs training every day for 3 months and a group of dogs training every other day. They both were training the same things. And it turned out that the group, training every other day, picked up on the training quicker than the other group.
Funny isn't it?


Honored Member
that is GREAT idea, Anneke, i bet that would work, about the stopping. THANKS!

Fascinating about the every other day training. If i don't train Buddy daily, he goes nutters.:confused: But, i think i may alternate which tricks we are working on, more often, switching them up a bit/day by day, more often.
One day, THIS trick, next day THAT trick, kinda thing.


Honored Member
I think you are great together!!
I personally would prefer him to be a little less in front of you. At 0,54 sec he is almost blocking you in your walk. Ideally he should be next to you, his head curved around your leg and up to you. Now his shoulder is in front of you and his shoulder should be next to your leg.
This might be because you are not walking fast enough. If you speed up(not running, but a fast walk) then his gate will stretch and become more regular and he will probably level out next to you.
He is in a bit of an angle, his back is turned away from you, he should be parallel to you.
I am not critisizing you, mind you!! Just a few tweaks.
You are already fantastic!

Looking at him, I wonder if there is some australian cattledog in him, somewhere. Especially in that first shot of him in the kitchen area and then when he come between your legs, his head really reminds me of cattledog. The way he poses himselve, how he walks, it just isn't quite shepherd. Funny, because when I look at your signaturepicture of him, I just see german Shepherd....


Honored Member
WOW, IS THAT DOG EVER CUTE!! SO SO CUTE!! I smiled the whole way through this video! Just cute cute cute !!!

I also think your heelwork in the first clips, it *seemed* like Shiloh was doing what someone above called "forging and wrapping" to see your face,
but at another spot, later on, Shiloh looked like he was in proper position. but, i'm still figuring this out myself, so what do i know?:ROFLMAO:

I think if Shiloh stays just a bit ahead, it makes turning LEFT kinda tricky. STILL, very very impressive, all the tricks, so nicely done, you've done a great job with your adorable dog! Loved this video!

also, interesting backdrop for the dog tricks, made it unique, imo. Like the music added in, too!


Honored Member
MAYBE all of us who are working on heelwork,
instead of putting cheese in our mouths to get our dogs the idea to look up at us,
we SHOULD be putting a piece of cheese on OUR EAR!!!!!???????:ROFLMAO:

above, Fickla suggests that dogs who have been trained to look at FACES are more likely to "
forge and wrap" forward of us, to see our whole face.

SO NOW that i know more about this, now I NEED TO TWEAK my easy CHEESY way to teach heelwork, to be "stick a piece of cheese in your LEFT EAR!!":ROFLMAO: