OB200: Precision Heeling

Posted in Skill Building Courses

Instructor: Denise Fenzi

Course Details

Many dogs lack precise heeling because they have no foundation – they do not understand how to use their bodies with accuracy, and their trainers don’t know how to fix heeling mistakes when they occur. This class will give you specific tools that you can use to develop your heeling foundation, without using a leash, special collar, or any compulsive techniques. We will use placement of food reward, platforms and discs, "pocket hand," and activities that teach you and your dog exactly where heel position is located. Static position (as opposed to movement) will be the primary focus. 

All of the techniques and skills will be provided in the first week of class, so you can select the level of challenge that your dog is ready for while skipping over skills that your team already possesses. This class will cover the details of precision rather than the “game” aspect of heeling. Because of this focus, the class can be taken even if you have no access to training grounds outside of your own home.

Please read the prerequisite and equipment tab before registering!

Check out this short informational trailer: 


Next session starts: August 1, 2017
Registration starts: July 22, 2017
Registration ends: August 15, 2017

Gold spots will be available by lottery; registratin for other levels will begin at 11:00AM PDT.

To enter the lottery for a gold level spot (NOT FREE), please go here.


Skill 1: Place front feet on a disc
Skill 2: Maintain a "front feet up" position on disc
Skill 3: Accept body pressure while on disc
Skill 4: Four feet on a platform
Skill 5: Tuck sit; platform or disc
Skill 6: Without dog, properly create a "pocket hand" in heel position
Skill 7: With dog, properly create a "pocket hand"
Skill 8: Pivot in heel position using pocket hand and disc
Skill 9: Remove food from pocket hand
Skill 10: Pivot on disc without hand help
Skill 11: Pivot off of disc with hand help
Skill 12: Pivot off of disc without hand help
Skill 13: Find heel position on a platform
Skill 14: Find heel position on a disc
Skill 15: Left finish
Skill 16: Begin forward movement with aids
Skill 17: Forward movement without aids; no halt
Skill 18: Heeling on a right circle
Skill 19: Rght turn – with or without help
Skill 20: Left turn – with or without help.
Skill 21: Stair step heeling – without help
Skill 22: About turn/left turn/right turn/backwards/pull right
Skill 23: Speed changes
Skill 24: Call to heel "In motion" – (beginning of heeling games)
Skill 25: Squish to heel (beginning heeling game)
Skill 26: You pick!

Week 1: Lecture: Why we want precision heeling
Week 2: Lecture: Reward for Position and "pocket" hand
Week 3 Lecture: When to use a platform, a disc, or simply fingers
Week 4 Lecture: Muscle Memory vs Conscious thought
Week 5 Lecture: Adding Movement
Week 6 Lecture: When does this get FUN??!!!

Prerequisites and Equipment

1.  Treats that will "magnetize" your dog (dogs must be food motivated for this course)

2.  A quiet working space without distractions.  (course  can be worked in a very small indoor space such as a bedroom)

3. A small disc for your dog's front feet.  Ideal size is the width of your dog's front stance plus a couple of inches.  Height is about 1" to 4" high.  Examples would be an overturned food bowl, a frisbee, or even a pan from the kitchen that lays flat!  Make sure it is round.  Some students buy flat foam pieces used for kid's bedrooms and cut them to the right width in a circle shape - stacking them as needed to give the desired height.  In the beginning, a slightly taller platform (3 or 4" is ideal) and that will be reduced over time.  If your dog is comfortable and willing to pivot on a smaller disc right from the start (1") then that's fine too.


4.  Small platform - ideally the final platform is the width of your dog's front stance plus about one inch.  Length is the size of the dog in a sit.  Height is approximately 1" high.  For a "learner" platform, it is helpful to have a larger platform which the dog can easily sit or stand on and wider than the final platform.  2" or 3" high is a good size.  For many dogs, a wooden plank (purchased at home depot or that type of store) is perfect - you can have them cut it down if necessary, but for this class better too large than too small.  

If you take a gold level space in this class, please have the disc before the course starts - we will introduce the disc work immediately.  The platform is optional and will be introduced later in class.

Course Testimonials


Precision Heeling has helped me get on the right path with my Pit Bull puppy. I have trained small dogs for the last 15 years. I was struggling with this big dog, Denise gave excellent instruction , we went from never heeling a step to heeling with Precision in four weeks. FDSA academy has improved my knowledge and skills as a trainer, the instructor are not only skilled in the art of dog training but they are supportive and kind to each student. I highly recommend the academy to anyone involved in any dog sport! ~ Chris J.           

This class was my first Gold, but it won't be my last. Denise's detailed, individual instructions were perfect and helped us to work at our pace and make a ton of progress. An excellent class for anyone thinking of competition obedience or rally! Diane D            

The Precision Heeling course has been a fantastic way for me to get started with a young dog again (8 years since I last started one!) and using a completely different way of training. He has learnt so much, so fast and is really keen to work. It has also been beneficial for my work with my older dog who is currently competing in Test C (top level of competition in NZ). Helen B            

As this was my first time with the Fenzi Academy I wasn't sure what to expect especially partaking at the bronze level. I was amazed and delighted at how easy the site is to navigate, how easy the course material is to follow and the general feel of the class is so positive. Thank you very much Fenzi Academy and I'll definitely be back again and again. Sarah A          

I think Denise brought out the best in the Gold students. Her comments were the right balance of encouragement and corrections. Her explanations were so helpful to me as a bronze student. My dogs have learned the heeling basics.            

As a first-time online training student, I was extremely impressed with the effectiveness of the training. Indeed the video analysis often proved to be more effective in isolating and correcting training issues than an in-person class would be without the video recording. Additionally, Denise seemed available around the clock for questions and feedback, as opposed to a one hour time slot per week. She is also the most gifted dog trainer I've met. Denise is excellent at breaking behaviors down to learn. Thanks for the excellent course.            

The Precision Heeling class was exactly what I needed to provide a solid foundation for my "green" dog. The instruction I received, tailored to me and my dog, was invaluable. Not only did my green dog emerge from this class with a thorough understanding of the heel position, prepared to move on to more advanced work, but I also learned how to improve and perfect my currently-competing dog's heeling. This class exceeded my expectations. -Sara M.             

This was my first time taking a class from the Fenzi academy. There was great instruction and detailed individual attention to each participant at the Gold level. Although I wasn't at that level, it was amazing to see the progress of each of the groups. Denise clearly is passionate about her craft and she encouraged everyone regardless of the baseline skill set. I would highly recommend this class. Ginger M