I work the focused heel in pieces. The eye contact I work in one session, without any movement. I put the dog against a wall to keep it straight, and work on having it sit there and looking at me. Look at me, treat, let the dog off the wall, and then start over. For the movement part, I start with luring. Having the dog drive my hand for the treat. Once the dog is driving the treat well, and making good eye contact on the wall, I start fading the treat up to my shoulder until it's completely faded. This is a quick run down of how I do it. For me, heel position is just that, a position. The motion is secondary. The dog understanding where to be is primary. That's where the wall comes in. Then you can also start calling the dog into heel from various angles. No movement on your part. If the dog understands to get on your left leg and look at you no matter how you're facing or what your body position is, then the dog understands the position. If it won't, then it doesn't truly understand the position.
For the front, reward in the position more. If you're working heel a lot, or working the finish a lot, then the dog will always want to get into heel position, because that's where it always gets rewarded. So once again, you can have the dog driving the hand and move backwards. Then bring the dog into a front by bringing the hand into your body and up to your chest. Get eye contact and reward by making the dog come up to get the treat. As mentioned before, watch body position. If you're bent over towards the dog, that's going to push the dog back. When teaching it, I also have my feet spread apart. Gives the dog a little more room to work and get close. I try and get the dogs feet equal to mine.
I hope this makes a little sense lol. I didn't get much sleep last night and I haven't had coffee yet lol.
Yes! This was actually a HUGE help. her heel position is 100% solid, I can call her from any point and she knows where to be and I think she really loves doing it. She just has a hard time keeping her eyes on me while in motion, she can't help but look to see where she's going. We're pretty in tune so that helps when I make a sudden change like go faster or turn but that only goes for far. I'll definitely try working against a wall.
For the treat part, by driving I assume you mean having the dog have its nose in your hand with its head up? (I think ive seen a few videos that showed that) My question is: what do I do if the dog isn't very motivated? I don't feed on days we have training class, so that helps with engagement but for the most part, she's the type of dog who won't lure with food, she pretty much just thinks "well if you're not going to give it to me, doesn't really matter to me" she does have a pretty huge ball drive, but I have yet to master using that in place of treats without being awkward or fumbling (I think getting a ball on string would help). What would you recommend for a low food drive dog?
As for the front, I do have a trainer and I we watch my position I think I may treat to often on the right side and have worked to correct that maybe trying to get more attention on my left hand would help.
I never even thought about standing with my feet apart, it just makes so much sense thinking about it now. Most of the time shes on top of my shoes to be as close as she can lol. I'm defintiley going to start keeping my feet apart.