Oh, that was so good Karen and Panda! She is heeling beautifully! If you don't mind me asking, did you use a certain technique (book, video, persons) to teach her? I'm kinda stuck with Layla off leash and would really like to continue with Rally, but she's just not solid enough.
We start using "chin heeling", which is BRUTAL on the back with little dogs, but DOES produce about the prettiest heeling I've seen. But you really need to start it when the dog is a puppy. It's harder for older dogs to really internalize. We also use Denise Fenzi's "pocket hand". This takes some bending initially, but with little dogs, they pretty quickly get the idea of lining up under your hand. We do LOTS precision work on position, fronts, finishes, pivots. and heel one step, click reward.
We keep heeling training VERY short (only a few steps to start) mixed in with LOTS of play. We also spend a lot of time reinforcing the dog's ability to ""find heel" from anywhere. We send them away to circle a cone or fly pole, then turn and move away, so they need to hurry to catch up, then reward big time when they make an effort to get back.
Once they are more confirmed, and understand the game, we STILL keep it short. (remember, even a rally run is rarely more than 2 minutes of heeling, and that is all broken up. A formal obedience heel pattern is typically well under a minute) We also make it fun and unpredictable. Heel fast into a halt. Do a recall, and instead of a formal finish, immediately heel off. In the middle of heeling toss a cookie to the side, tell the dog "get it" and run away. Have a party when they "catch" you...
Here are "Pocket Hand" set-ups when Panda was well under a year: https://youtu.be/bP--Xqu4dz8
Here's starting "Chin Heeling". once the dog is confirmed with putting their chin in your hand, you start taking it away for more and more steps. It's a FANTASTIC tool with big dogs, that can be used to navigate through crowds throughs their lives. With the little ones, it's so back breaking that I wean away from it as soon as I can... sooner than is optimal, but my back can't take any more!!!
Here's a short bit of "motivational heeling in class with Kodi one night: https://youtu.be/2DbHgfPc0TQ
Of course he's a much more experienced dog, but this gives you an idea what I'm talking about. We virtually NEVER work on "training" heeling on leash. If the dog doesn't choose to stay with us, it's our job to reinforce that desire by making heeling the most fun thing EVER!
Kodi loves heeling so much at this stage that in training, I can use heeling as a reinforcer for getting something "hard" right.