BH Training Resources - Page 1

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by jkuja913 on 01 January 2018 - 21:01

Hey All,

I'm sure this topic has been discussed before, but many of the previous threads are kind of dated. I'm interested in trying to work through the BH with one of my dogs. I would consider myself at least a novice trainer; we worked through CGC which is a breeze and my dog is also dually certified in "Trailing" by 2 different nationally recognized SAR orgs. It's hard to get out and do much trailing work in Wisconsin during the winter where I live (especially when it doesn't get above 0 for weeks at a time...) but keeping him sharp with doing some more advanced obedience is something we can do regardless of the temp. There is a USCA regional club several hours from me which I do plan to visit at some point, I'd just like to try and get out of the dark before I do that.

I've found various youtube videos of actual BH trials, I've read the requirements a few different places so I have a general understanding of what you need to do, I'm just lacking direction of where to start.

I see the USCA has a $25.00 BH Tutorial, has anyone used this and is it worth the $25.00? Anyone know of any other text/video resources online that could help me get started?


Thanks in advance!


Jim K. 

Q Man

by Q Man on 01 January 2018 - 23:01

Do you know exactly what you're wanting help with...You can go on and see a number of routines...
Have you read the rules? Once you've read them then ask what you're looking for...



by Hundmutter on 01 January 2018 - 23:01

Oh but isn't it nice, for once, to read a post asking sensible questions, from someone who really wants to give their dog a full life with things to do (rather than just breeding them into the ground.) You might as Bob says need to do a little more research to identify just what you need, Jim K, but thank you for making my day on this first of the New Year; and I wish you every success in finding what you are looking for, and with your dog, once you find it.

by jkuja913 on 02 January 2018 - 02:01

Alright, I’ll try to be a little more specific. I’m a pretty visual and repetitive learner, it’s difficult for me to read over testing requirements and paint myself an image of what it looks like. It just helps a lot to see things and have them explained and I’m sure there are some good videos and tutorials out there.

The first thing I need to figure out is the whole “focused heeling” thing. The CGC basically just focused on the dogs position and a loose lead. I’m kind of familiar with the concept of focused healing, my understanding is to start with teaching “watch” or “look” to build the handler focus. After I’ve got that I’m not really sure how to transition that to “heel”

The next thing is I’m not sure of the position requirements of the dog. I know the shoulder is supposed to be right next to the knee. I see a lot of robotic obedience routines on YouTube where it looks like the dog is literally glued to the handlers knee. What is a realistic expectation of heeling position so I know when I’m getting close to what is expected?

I’m pretty confident I can work through the heeling pattern and get a start on that portion of the BH, I guess I’m basically looking for insight into teaching that focused heel and what the acceptable heeling position looks like. Obviously heading to a club and getting face to face help will be great, I just want to put in a little effort to get to a baseline before I do that. I’ll already have the fact my dog is a WGSL (please nobody tell him that, I don’t want it to ruin him) working against me at a club that sports WL dogs, so I don’t want to be chewed up!

Thanks for the kind responses.


by Reliya on 02 January 2018 - 06:01

I'll send you a PM.


by Hundmutter on 02 January 2018 - 06:01

Teeth Smile I liked "Don't tell my dog he's a Showline."   Yes, its sad but true that a lot of people report that their IPO etc Training Clubs are full of people with W/L dogs who are snotty about any other breeding.

However the good news is that lots of posters tell us there ARE Clubs out there where it ISN'T like that, or at least not with a majority of members.  I think the attitude of those who organise the Club has a lot to do with it.  But I want to pass on something that I have picked up over the years:  you can't afford to be thin-skinned.  Its not just about the type of dog; you will occasionally meet bad attitudes over other things - there's nothing more embarassing than being at any Club and ballsing up a new exercise because either you or your dog didn't quite understand what to do; if your dog is new to Club and shows itself to be getting on too well, some established people will feel threatened and will haze you; you can't be the minority gender of Handler in some Clubs without constant razzing; I am sure I could come up with other scenarios given more time.  Concentrate on your dog, hold your own, don't allow yourself to be provoked, People are only people. This applies whether its an IPO Club or a Basic Pet Obedience Club or a Showcraft Ring Training Club or ...


OK, that said, I do not normally set out to give training advice to anyone through PDB. But you've asked a specific  question about focussed heelwork and I'm going to attempt to help - other, wiser, heads may want to correct me or add in to this:

It depends what you use in Training your dog already.  If you ONLY use tone of voice and vocal encouragement as a reward, then obviously you have to devize the method that suits you & your dog to keep him  interested in holding position.  As with all training, it may help you to work out short 'stages' in getting to the right place, rewarding as each is achieved and ensuring that bit of the exercise is well-learned before moving up to the next. However ... there are many tools in the box of training 'assets /tricks' and if you are happy to use e.g. food or toys for some, or all, stages of training you may find they make life easier.

People who are most successful in training tend to start asking for close heel work at an earlier age/stage than it sounds as if you have done, and of course it is easier with baby puppies.  But it is perfectly possible with adult dogs ( I have trained heelwork to competition standard with dogs of 4 years and more).  Look at Denis Soldan's recent videos (on the last page of PDB or the one before that, still, I think) and watch how he works pups with something like peanut butter smeared on his hand which is constantly in front of the pups' nose. As far as toys can help, watch videos from the Vicklor website and see Ashley's ('Fozzy' here on PDB) use of 'hands free' balls that stick to the back of a jacket; balls or other things that attach under your armpit.  These things are available online and in pet stores if you know you are looking for them. (It is amazing what you can completely miss if you have ruled them out in advance !)

The most 'realistic' expectation of precise position is that which is comfortable and sustainable for the combination of you and your dog !

Get someone else to sit and watch you train, and feedback how tidy it looks, if you can't yet find a Club.


by Hundmutter on 02 January 2018 - 06:01

PS Michael Ellis training videos are apparently pretty darn good and explanatory, too.


by Hundmutter on 03 January 2018 - 07:01

Also, Jim, if you click on "Forum List" on the left hand column, and go to the "Training & Obedience" Forum, two thirds of the way down that page is a thred specifically titled "Focus Heeling". It is some six months old, but I think you might find it interesting reading. (Plus Denis's most recent vids are all listed in one place on the Training Forum, so that means they will be easier to find !)

I'm hoping some other posters will join in on the detail of having done the BH, and what to watch out for there.



by Koots on 03 January 2018 - 17:01

Here's a good video explaining the heeling pattern and prep for the BH. I don't know if you need to subscribe to the Dave K. video learning or not, but he usually puts on a 'free Friday' video event to watch - I usually get a notice on FB about them.

by jkuja913 on 04 January 2018 - 02:01

Thanks for all the replies!

I probably shouldn't be judgmental of a club I've never been to. However, I just know how it can be. I've seen too many people show up to SAR trainings with pointy eared dogs who are just born to track. I'm automatically sceptical of any prospect who shows up or contacts us with the next top tracking dog... So I can only assume that's what it's like with most dog circles. I'm just trying to make sure I'm at least minimally prepared beforehand. I am fully capable of handling the razzing; when dealing with some SAR handlers you have not only the "dog trainer" ego but also the "Volunteer Emergency Services" ego. It's a double whammy!

Next, I wish I had started earlier with my dog. I didn't really know what I had and didn't know what direction I wanted to go. I wanted an active companion. I got far more than that. Luckily, my dog is extremely food and toy motivated when training. He still loves to learn. So far, it seems like I'll be using food reward to build the basic 'stages' of the heel. I did fork over the $50.00 for the Michael Ellis heeling video and that seems to be fantastic so far. It's 3.5 hours long and in the first .5 hours I think I've got enough to keep my dog and I busy for a week or so. I'll definitely check out the "Focus Heeling" thread. Thanks for all the advice.

I just discovered that video yesterday. It was extremely helpful in explaining the routine. I'll have to "Like" him on Facebook to get those notifications. I've been debating subscribing to his site for a month to binge all his videos.

So far this week I've just been working with rewarding focus with food, basically training the "watch" command to reinforce to him that the reward comes from "ME" not my hand. I've also been working on luring him around in the heel position with a food reward, varying time between rewards and transitioning to luring without food in my hand. It's baby steps and the biggest challenge is trying to keep it fun for him when he is used to tug and toss rewards with his absolute favorite to the frisbee. He lives for that thing and it will be great to work towards transitioning to his toy for reward after we have a solid foundation down.

Thanks for all the help so far!


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