Instructor: Nancy Gagliardi Little
There are no scheduled sessions for this class at this time. We update our schedule frequently, so please subscribe to our mailing list for notifications.
Registration will begin at 12:00 Noon Pacific Time.
Enrollment limits: Gold: 12 students, Silver: 25 students, Bronze: unlimited.
Gold Level includes access to all course materials and the ability to post questions and videos to the course forums. Students will receive instructor feedback on written and video assignments.
Silver Level includes access to all course materials and the ability to participate in the discussion forum. Students may ask GENERAL questions about course materials and may submit two, one-minute videos for instructor feedback. Any questions specific to your dog MUST be accompanied by a video.
Bronze Level includes access to all course materials and the ability to read all questions and answers posted in the class forums. Students will not post questions or submit written or video assignments.
For more details, refund policies, and answers to commonly asked questions see our FAQ page.
This course is designed for experienced handlers as well as new obedience handlers that know nothing about the finer points of handling during heeling in obedience.
Dogs make mistakes in heeling when they are not properly cued with smooth, consistent, and clear movements by the handler. This class will help you identify the areas of potential confusion in your handling and also help you develop better handling skills. Once you clean up your handling, your dog's heeling will improve.
Many people struggle with handling during heeling. Do you find yourself on the wrong foot at the wrong time? Do you focus so much on your feet that you are late in executing turns? Do you have trouble getting your feet to behave properly during heeling. If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this class is for you. I have a unique way of incorporating handling which shifts your focus away from your feet.
This class is also for you, if you are a Novice handler and you have no idea what it means to handle turns, starts, and stops in heeling. In fact, as a new handlers, you might even have an advantage because you have not developed bad habits yet.
You will focus on handling without your dog. If your handling is perfect, you have been successfully challenged, and there is time, you can add your dog.
Nancy is a creative, detailed oriented instructor. She is able to apply her knowledge from agility to help obedience handlers navigate through the heeling pattern (same concepts, just a different application). Nancy has a unique way of helping the handler - take their mind off of their feet and help clarify cues during heeling.
If this sounds interesting to you, come and join us!!
General Points & Terminology
Rhythm, Normal Pace & Straight Lines
Prerequisites - Gold students should be familiar with all the heeling elements in AKC obedience. You can be at any handling level - very experienced or inexperienced in the ring.
Some students will benefit from using a metronome.
You will need enough room to be able to heel in straight lines (at least 20'), large circles (12-15' diameter), turns after straight lines, and figure eight patterns.
Masking tape or painters tape - it will help to have a contrasting color to the color of flat area you are working on (pavement, concrete mats, etc).
If you are comfortable with your handling or parts of the handling you use when you are heeling with your dog, stick with it. I don't want to change anything you are doing successfully. You have figured out how to communicate with your dog and you are probably already handling in a similar manner to what I will be describing in this course. But, if you are struggling with any part of handling, then this course will help you relax and focus on handling in a totally different way.
There are experienced handlers that readily adapt to the “footwork” needed to help their dog's performance. However, it is my experience that the average handlers struggle with "footwork" during heeling. They get paralyzed in thinking too much about where each foot is supposed to be placed. When focus is placed on spatial awareness and upper and lower body movement, there is no need for specific “footwork” in heeling.
When you are heeling with your dog in a trial or match, you listen to the judge and translate those commands into movement and rhythm changes. It is much easier to do this by "feeling" instead of translating commands to individual steps or foot placements. My goal is to present a different way of performing the handling where footwork is not important. Each handling maneuver can be done by starting on any foot. You don't have to panic when the judge calls a command and you are not on the correct foot.
Handling practice will be done without the dog. It's important that you do not incorporate any of these handling maneuvers with your dog until you are comfortable with them and feel the difference in your movement.
What I want to help you learn is how to feel your way through handling instead of thinking through it so much. We will analyze specifics of handling and break it down, but the important part is getting you into a “feeling” or zone state of mind rather than a “thinking” state of mind. When you get into a more feeling place, it will focus you internally which helps your movement - instead of externally on more specifics which will cause stiffness and over thinking. It's not easy to explain in words, but when you feel it yourself, it becomes easier to apply.
One thing I want to note is that the handling I am describing in this class is for heeling performance in a trial. There are many training maneuvers and handler movements that we do with our dogs to counter heel position mistakes (for example, moving away from the dog – fading to the right - when the dog is heeling wide). I use these movements all the time when I am training my dogs. I want to emphasize that its not wrong to use them as part of training.
A Sampling of what prior students have said about this course ...
In Healing your Heeling, Nancy shares her unique approach to heeling. Her video observations are very astute and her feedback is targeted for each gold team. The level of detail in her demonstration videos and student comments is amazing! She also has the wonderful ability to help the handler re-frame their thinking in a positive way. This is a terrific class! Clarissa B
This class is just essential to heeling teamwork. I realized how much time I was spending on teaching my dog to stay with me in heel position without giving much thought to my responsibility to be a good leader in this dance. Breaking down every aspect of heeling and learning to feel it is making me more confident every day. What is amazing is that when I do my part right, my partner is right there with me and he clearly finds heeling so much easier. So very glad I took this course. I find myself practicing the feel and rhythm everywhere I go. Thank you, Nancy, for incredible tools. Mary Ann
The attention to detail in this class was phenomenal. Nancy's knowledge of body posture and movement is incorporated into every lesson. The course provided structure and allowed each handler to create a successful plan to improve their heeling. Highly, highly recommended for anyone who has heeling issues. Ana C.
We all teach our dogs how to heel, but this is the first time anyone taught me how to heel! That sounds funny, but every instructor of heeling I have had emphasizes their footwork - and all of it is different. But this class stresses what works for us humans in heeling. I has already made a huge difference in a problem I was having and I think I will be much more relaxed when I am heeling with my dog because I am so much less worried about me feet. I LOVED THIS CLASS!
This is a great class to break down the mystery of heeling. I loved the help of eye and upper body cues do that the feet follow. Another outstanding class taught by an awesome instructor. Ginger M
Over this past winter, I took your "Heal Your Heeling" course at the bronze level. I actually took it at the last minute and sorta on a whim....lol. I found the course to be so insightful. Living in Montana, Competition Obedience classes are nonexistent. I wasn't too sure that I would be able to transfer your concepts to my dog but we got busy and practiced for a few months. We competed a couple of weeks ago earning our First Utility A title 😊. Our heeling was the best it's ever been in competition! Thanks so much for your help, Jean Norderud
Very precise handling instruction. The best handler handling information I've had.
I only took this at gold because Denise was so certain that I should. I LOVED IT! Nancy, you have so thought through the issues we all have in our handling, specifically our feet, that you presented ideas and issues clearly and made it is for us to follow. This is in my top couple of favorite classes off all time! Thank you!