Proofing the Heel Command

I listened to an episode of Ron Boehme’s The Hunting Dog Podcast the other day with his guest dog-trainer Justin Mcgrail of Black Creek Dog Training Center.  He talked about “proofing” a hunting dog’s training.  Rick Smith of HuntSmith.com teaches a similar concept in his seminars; raising the distraction level while training.

What they are both getting at is that a dog might respond well to a command in the training yard but he might not in another different and more stressful environment.  For example, he might be steady in the yard but bolt when a bird flushes.  As trainers it is our responsibility to give our dogs plenty of opportunities to experience lots of distractions.

When a dog demonstrates a successful response to a command in many different situations, you can say that he’s proved himself and the trainer has proofed the command.

I like the proofing concept a lot so Patty and I have been working down that path.  We work on obedience commands in all kinds of situations.

For this post, we’ve focused on the heel command.  Patty is an adult dog so he already understands it but proofing the command means we’ll have to experiment with some different distractions and go to some new locations.

Of course by definition proofing is an ongoing process.  There is always another place to test and another distraction to try.  So Patty and I will always have work to do.  For now, we hope you enjoy this video documenting some of the yard work and field work that we’ve been doing lately.

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