Anybody have any favorites? Ones that have worked well for you in building your dog's enjoyment or precision in heeling?
I've just started practicing with Pongu specifically with an eye toward increasing our speed in trial environments while retaining precision, so we're starting to incorporate a lot more structured heeling games into our practice sessions. Previously I'd just do whatever seemed fun and relaxing, because the focus was more on coaxing scaredypants dog into functioning at all
in unfamiliar and distraction-filled environments. Now we've accomplished that to a semi-satisfactory degree, so we're beginning our slow shift over to the pursuit of perfection.
Also, I need something new to teach him to break up the potentially boring repetition of stuff he already knows but needs to polish. Cue heeling games!
Yesterday I introduced Pongu to Denise Fenzi's "Fly" game, in which the dog is sent out to circle a stationary object (I'm using a cone). In this clip he's still developing fluency in the behavior so it's not particularly smooth or fast; Pongu had never previously been asked to go around an object and this is just our second session.
(That slanted Down makes me laugh. Pongu has an issue with slanted Downs anyway, but in this instance it's really my fault because I have my shoulders turned toward him to keep him in the camera's view. Since I'm twisted, so is he. Poor nerdpuppy's just following my crooked alignment.)
I'm teaching the "Fly" go-around as a right turn initially because Pongu's right turn is slightly slower and tends to go wider than his left turns at trials, so I'm hoping that I can use this exercise not only as a fun motivator/pattern break but to build up his muscle memory for a tighter, faster right turn. Hopefully once he gets familiar enough with the behavior that we can practice outside, I'll be able to get it going at speed, and with any luck that will prove useful down the road.
What else have people found useful in building good heeling?