Continue doing duration for phase 1 heel with Nova. Increased duration of heeling time from previous session.

Added a bit more turns and change in pace. Nova did well in keeping up and remaining in heel position.



  1. Davis, you are the man! Great technical “Phase 1 Heel Duration” video. In its pure state, it is priceless for troubleshooting and makes moving forward do much easier for the dog and handler.
    I will always go backward and ask a client to do this exercise if they are having problems with positioning (especially forging) in the later phases. The side effects of a handler/client not getting their dog to this stage and skipping over it are many. Too many clients try to jump to the leash corrections, and it makes it more difficult for the dog to understand WHY it is beneficial to heel and where the position is. This causes more stress if handlers go straight to leash corrections and can lead to all extremes from handler aggression to protest the corrections (especially if not the best relationship with the handler) to becoming fearful of the training. Some dogs will simply take waaaay longer to teach the position in the real world if a handler thinks cutting corners will get faster and better results. The next step would be to apply the same concept of variable rewards explained here: toward the “heel”. This is where the judgment really comes into play.
    You can and should still give her interval rewards during the heel to extend the heel to longer durations. As a rule, you can do a duration as long as you can space your average interval reward. So if you have been doing a heel duration for about a 20-second spurt, you can do 1 minute or more spurts if you give an interval reward “good girl” on average about every 20 seconds (more or less – variable in time). Ideally the primary reward schedules (when the praise is followed by treat or love) is kept dense for both the interval and duration and slowly thinned out to what you think the dog can do without losing motivation (considering the environment and all factors). Usually, the interval reward can be thinned out first if the dog gets a more motivational reward at the end of the duration. The praise encourages the dog and reassures her that she is on the right track, and to keep doing what she is doing, and eventually she will get a reward or activity (getting ready for premack principle) that is desired. The more the dog understands (and we communicate) that we have their best interest in mind, in such a way, that they understand, the easier it will be to guide them in life and for them to accept that even our discipline will lead them to more rewards in life.

    Any questions let me know. I encourage any student to ask questions on this journal entry. Great vid!

  2. Great great job! You are doing so awsome with her….and now that you are doing so awsome I’m going to point out one little thing i noticed when i watched the video…because I notice the little things…. .lol….and it is little and not a bug deal now, but it will be more important as you move forward in training. So i figured why not go over itvwith you now so that you can get in the habit of it now instead of trying to fix your habit latet….when heeling, or any command at this point, try not to use her name in the middle of the command. The dogs name is what will divide their world and is one thing that will help make training fair to them later on. The dogs name is going to be a cue to pay attention something new is about to happen. Getting in the habit now of only saying her name in the beginning of the command and at the end when you release her will make it more fluid for you as you move on. When you go over command structure you will learn this in more detail but since you are doing so well I wanted to point it out now so you can get into the good before you progress to phase 2. It would look like this. Say her name, heel…..then just heel without her name whenever you normally would. The next time she will hear her name is when you free her up. Instead of saying her name and heel everytime. You’re doing awsome so i figured id mention it sobyou can do even more awesome lol. Like I said it’s not that big if a deal now, but I know sometimes when we get into habits they can be harder for us to break so why not work on it now so you have a smooth transition….You’re doing awsome and she is so cute!!! Keep up the good work.

  3. I forgot to mention it wasn’t on this video, it was on the other video when doing the interval…..sorry for the confusion if anyone is wondering what the heck I’m talking about lol!

  4. Thank you Mike for your words of encouragement and feedback! I will proceed with training as suggested.

    And Thanks Judy for spotting my bad habit, that’s super helpful, bad habits are hard to break so I’m glad you intervened before it developed 🙂

    A questions:
    Not directly related to this video, but to phase 1 obedience in general.
    Should we aim to progressively increase environmental distraction (within reason of course) at any point in phase 1? or is that strictly for phase 2 only?

  5. I think adding distractions in phase 1 depends on a lot of factors and time frame for a training project. For instance, if someone is going to be training a dog for competition or certain jobs, such as scent detection, where you will be heavily depending on the dog’s desire for reinforcement it may be a good idea to explore the limits of what the dog will work around, be desensitized to, and what may be a stronger competing motivator. Overall, I do think that phase 2 helps the dog in a good way by helping the dog find the path to rewards when confronted with a distraction. Therefore moving into phase 2 without too much delay can be practical and causes no harm in most business projects, especially when there is a problem behavior that needs to be addressed. The things about moving into phase 2 is not that it is bad in anyway if done with a fair trainer, it can sometimes prevent the trainer from appreciating what can be accomplished and add synergy to phase 2 and 3 in phase 1. This is most important for the client that will mostly be training their one and only dog and may get into the habit of relying more on punishment than anything else.

  6. Thanks guy 🙂 I’m just learning as I go. Recording my sessions to self review and allow others to give feedback definitely help speed up the learning curve. I’m glad it also benefit other people!