If the dog has great food drive, I love this method....
Starting when the dog is very young (2-3 months if possible) we teach the foundation with food. I've taught it to older dogs as well. With the food in the left hand (leash over the right shoulder) you get the dog to lick at the food/nibble it (praising of course). You manipulate the food so that the dog is in a correct heel position, head up looking at you. I don't wait too long before I start taking steps...if the dog is really keen on the food, you can do several steps and introduce the sit as well. The important part is that the hand position keeps the dog correct and that the handler keeps praising the dog. I also introduce the command \"fuss\" at the same time. I haven't had trouble throwing all the behaviors together because usually the dog is so intense on the food, it doesn't realize its moving or sitting! Dogs with less intensity for the food, I go slower and don't require as much.
This teaches the heel position. When the dog is nursing on the food for several steps and coming to a sit (food is given to reward the sit) .... then I start moving the food alittle further away. So the dog takes 1-2 steps with the food an inch away and then stop, sit, reward.
Then you come to a point where you have to bridge the absense of visible food with corrections.
Usually when the food disappears, the dog wants to look away or do something else. At this point the dog has had several weeks of learning the position so when he looks away, you give a jerk on the leash and a \"fuss\" command. If the foundation is correct, the dog will look at you because that is the position that resulted in praise/food/etc. When the dog makes eye contact,... \"ah, good boy, good fuss\" ... everything is happy again.
Some dogs resist the corrects and back up. A few good corrections and the dog will eventually realize that backing up doesn't work ...so they jump forward. When they jump forward and make that eye contact (compulsion = trying the last successful behavior which was their foundation of looking up and everything was happy) .... when that eye contact and position is hit, you give praise and all the corrections go away.
Its basic escape training but its not as bad as negative as it sounds. Most dogs don't need all the corrections. I taught a 3 month old Rottie puppy nice happy, upbeat attention heeling with this method but he had a lot of drive for food/praise. Same thing with a GSD puppy .... 5 months old he was making beautiful attention heeling.
Dogs that don't have the drive or attention for the food, I use a toy in place. Food is better because you can manipulate the dog more. With dogs that have high prey drive, their position tends to go out of wack when they go into drive.
Anyways, this is what has worked well for the dogs I've taught it to. My only complaint is that after the bridging with corrections, like my competition dog's head position isn't as high as when she was getting the food. She attention heels but she more looks across my body with her eyes up, versus her head straight up. May be handler error or maybe because she is a lazy Rottweiler