The original idea of "The Walk" was developed by Julie Knutson.
The above page is a modification of a page from many  
        years ago and "adjusted" for my use in the Hillmann program.

Using a check cord to later teach “here” is the usual sequence, but read this interesting perspective on check cords. The check cord is a useful tool, but it can be “slapped on” for the wrong reasons. In addition, a check cord requires a pup to be wearing a collar, use to being restrained by it and conditioned to the use of a leash. The idea is to progress without fixing things. "Here" should be done seamlessly during the development of "The Game" (not because of a command, but out of desire). I realize this may not be the present universal choice, but “here” means more if it is imprinted properly without being totally initiated by the handler. The concept is to imprint the action passively in "The Walk". 
Young pups can be greatly influenced by passive introductions to the various actions which
eventually will be formally taught and reinforced......when they are more mature. Early, passive
control should be a game and fun with minimal constraints. One of Julie Knutson's regular training thoughts is "Always do what the dog needs."

Without a pup knowing it, the first stages of a dog becoming a team player are established in the fields where puppy bonding was taking place. Allow the pup to be free and discover how much fun
it is to be with her trainer. By presenting exciting, seamless "game like" retrieving sessions, a pup learns his days are all exciting...forever.

Take a walk.  

                                        "It is better to have a puppy passionately want to be near
                                             you......before expecting it. Very early is easier."

                                      The Seamless “Engaged!” Puppy- Adapted To Hillmann

Most can find a myriad of material about what to do with a pup the first few months. However, the most fascinating event seems to be those first retrieves (or lack there of). Since there should be no timetable for this, it helps to accept the fact there are many other things to do which are equally as important. Bonding and establishing general social rules set the tone for a rewarding and meaningful lifetime. When retrieves do start happening, the inevitable issue with “getting it back” may surface.

As a rule, puppies come with few things to “fix” because they don’t come broke. If the early focus is on puppy bonding (which is what it should be), by imprinting the “joy of here”, a solid sequence can be established which requires no “fixing”. Therefore, “here” must become immediately significant to a pup.......not an after thought or nuisance and more like a desire rather than obeying a command.    

How does this happen? The key is regularly taking a pup for “free walks and romps” in large, isolated, safe places. This is one of those irreplaceable puppy “windows of opportunity”. It is important to remember the walks are for the puppy to discover how much fun the trainer is. 

"The Walk" (original description by Julie Knutson) has been modified to adjust for Hillmann's program.  Engagement in the field remains the primary focus.

The "window of opportunity" is a "puppy thing". Once passed.......that time is more difficult to replace. During the early training with Hillmann, "The Game" represents a very significant portion of the total awakening.

What I have taken advantage of is that most pups will eventually venture out and then decide to check back in (usually in full flight) when on "The Walk". During these well spaced, unique occasions, a pup learns by your excited actions just how great she is for paying attention to you (being engaged). A big, safe area is a prerequisite and the pup needs to be on these “free runs” often....early on.

The short, outdoor retrieves in "The Game" quickly become very special. Thrown in a familiar place like a backyard (or indoors) is not the best choice when establishing "Here". The area should be one where the pup is not as secure. The focus should be on you. An outdoor natural "hallway" is useful. For example, in the following photo, the pup has ventured ahead on the trail and up a hill. If this were the time, tossing a bumper in between would have her running downhill toward me with high grass barriers on both sides. With the "joy of engagement" right in front of her. Coming to me with the bumper is something she wants to do. Once (maybe a few more) with plenty of time in between each

toss during a full "Walk" session keeps it very special.
                                                                The Natural Hallway

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