Dog Manual


Lesson Six - Finish


THE COMMAND—HEEL

The Sign—With his left hand the guide slaps the side of his left leg.

Recognizing this sign, the dog approaches his guide, sits in front of him; and at the command and sign HEEL, the dog swings around to the guide's left side and finishes in the original sitting position.

One of the snappiest of all lessons, this invariably attracts the attention of the spectator. A dog which thoroughly understands the meaning of the word HEEL should have no difficulty with this exercise because, no matter where he happens to be, the moment he hears the command HEEL, he will eagerly run to his guide and sit at his side.

The dog is in sitting position in front of the guide. Now, from this spot the command HEEL may confuse him for the simple reason that he has not yet learned how to get to the guide's left side, in the sitting position. Some dogs will walk around the guide as if looking for the proper landing place.  Thus the purpose of this lesson is to teach the dog how to accomplish the turn gracefully by swinging himself into position instead of by walking clear around the guide.

Begin with the dog leashed and sitting at the guide's left side. Issuing the command STAY, step about two feet in front of the dog, facing him. Change the leash to the right hand, holding it about two feet from the collar or other distance rendered convenient according to the dog's particular size. Giving both command and sign HEEL, grasp the leash with the left hand close up to the right hand. Slide the left hand along the leash quickly toward the dog. Repeat the command HEEL and swing the dog around to the left in a sharp sort of circle bringing him to the left side with the command SIT. The guide should then straighten up and stand erect. Thus both guide and dog are in correct position. Throughout this procedure the guide must not move his feet or change his position in any way.

CAUTION—This exercise ought not to be executed too slowly. Do not catch hold of the leash with the left hand too near the collar. Remember to start close to the right hand and slide the left hand along the leash toward the collar. Hold the leash in the right hand in such a manner that hand and collar are not more than two feet apart, for this would tend to bring the dog too far away from the guide facing him. It would then be necessary for the guide to step out of position in order to adjust himself to the dog, resulting in an awkward, clumsy execution of the exercise. This lesson, however, should entail no special difficulties if careful attention is paid to the rules, and full consideration given to the above explanation under caution.

 
FINISH
1. At the command Reel, the left hand gives the sign.
2. Starting close up to the right hand, the left hand slides down toward the collar.
3. Under Heel, the left hand then brings the dog around in a short circle to—
4. the guide's left side. The guide commands Sit.
5. The guide straightens up as the dog assumes the correct position.