Click Your Heels! Heeling for Performance

A fluent heeling team is a thing of beauty. A dog and handler moving in sync, appearing to read each other’s minds, is like a dance. The performance may look magical, but there is nothing mystical about it. Heeling is a complex behavior chain that follows the same Antecedent-Behavior-Consequence contingency of any other learned behavior.

In this Session, we will demystify heeling and, in the process, find out why it’s just like any other trick. We will break down the necessary skills and behaviors into achievable components. We will examine thoughtful selection and delivery of reinforcement to teach each of these component skills efficiently.

Depending on the sport, our cues are often limited by the rules. We will learn to use our cues “legally” and creatively. As you will learn, strategic cueing of this nature allows us to subsequently fade the cues for a seamless performance.

Hannah Branigan

Hannah Branigan has been training dogs and teaching people for more than 12 years. In addition to being a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner (KPA CTP), she is a faculty member for KPA, a professional member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT), and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT). Hannah is also a popular speaker and teaches workshops all over the country. As the owner of Wonderpups, LLC, Hannah is committed to training both dogs and people with positive reinforcement methods.

Hannah has titled her dogs in conformation, obedience, schutzhund, agility, and rally. Her dogs have multiple class wins, both AKC and UKC High in Trial awards, and scores that qualify for several Front & Finish Awards of Excellence (FFX).