Heeling: Dealing with Forging and Sidewinding

heeling Jun 27, 2021

If you've spent much time with me, you know that I believe dogs make two kinds of errors; effort errors and lack of effort errors. Forging and Sidewinding are typically effort errors and they are closely related. A dog that is forging is far enough ahead that his head is wrapped around your leg and his rear end is flaring out, more commonly called sidewinding. These mistakes are typical of dogs that enjoy their work and are trying hard to pay attention and anticipate what you might want next.

There are numerous techniques available to communicate to a dog that he is out of position. Typically, the first technique I try is to pull up on the leash to guide the dog into the correct location. This can feel like a constant battle as you repeatedly move your dog into heel position and he tries to race ahead. 

This video demonstrates some additional techniques to try. Keep in mind, that you are most often dealing with an effort error so a correction is not appropriate. You must find a way to show your dog where the correct position is. 

For more information about effort errors and lack of effort errors, read How Dogs Learn

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