L1 Exercise 2: Video Examples, Details and Judging Criteria

Exercise 2 – Find “heel” position from 6 ft (2 m) away (three different angles) AND pivot 180 degrees with foot target

(1) Following a cookie toss or circling a cone, the dog is expected to “find heel” position from three different angles using a platform/foot target/box and

(2) Demonstrate a minimum counterclockwise 180° pivot in heel position using a front foot target.

Purpose: Demonstrate strong foundation skills for precision heeling which is a hallmark skill of competitive obedience.   Demonstrate dog rear-end awareness.

Equipment: Target for two front feet or platform required. Height of target optional.  Cone for alternative to cookie toss.

Exercise set-up:  Handler and dog start in stationery heel position with dog on target or platform.  Handler will repeat this exercise three times (right angle, left angle and send straight ahead) using either a cookie toss or send-around-cone to send the dog away.  The handler must be stationery with a neutral body position with hands at sides OR heel side hand may be held at the waist with elbow close to the body as the dog begins the return path.  Each “heel” repetition may be cued.  If using cone straight ahead for all three, instead of cookie toss, it must be at least 6 ft (2 m) away from the foot target or platform and handler will have to rotate his/her position next to the foot target by 45 degrees for the right and left angles.  For the cookie toss (to the right, left and straight ahead), the handler remains stationary facing forward for all three components.  The tossed cookie should travel at least 6 ft (2 m) away from the platform/foot target.  Each repetition begins when the dog is on the return angle and ends when the dog “finds” heel with the foot target.  Dog may either sit or stand in “heel” position but must be parallel to the handler and in line with the handler hip.  Any external reinforcement (excluding reset food toss) may only be given at the completion of all three angles.

After completing the three components of “find heel”, the handler then proceeds directly into the pivoting portion – it is acceptable to move to a front foot target if the first part of this exercise was done with a platform. The second part of the exercise begins when the handler cues heeling and begins to move slowly counterclockwise 180° around the disc. The exercise ends when the dog finishes the full 180 degree pivot.  The handler may verbally praise their dog between each repetition of the “find” heel behavior and at the end of the pivot.

Scoring:Pass/Not yet!

Dog is unable to find heel position within 30 degrees on one cue when returning from the cone or cookie toss. Dog does not show an understanding of pivoting in a counterclockwise position as the handler moves. Dog’s body does not remain parallel to the handler. Dog requires multiple cues to pivot on the disc.  Handler does not maintain a normal, upright position. Handler uses shoulders to “pull” dog back, rather than moving feet around the disc. Handler does not complete a full 180° pivot. Video does not permit the exercise to be adequately judged.

Tips: Be careful not to hold your hand signal when you cue your dog to heel position.

Video Examples:
Find Heel (food toss):

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180 degree pivot video

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Find heel and pivot

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