Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Re: Heads Up Heeling
Haven't look at that site much, but I got Kenya heeling pretty straight, head up all the time, but not totally wrapped in front of me and crowding me. Now that the snow is not waist deep we are using our foundation and working on longer periods of heeling and proofing it in different locations. She is not super food motivated, not the slightest bit toy motivated. I'm trying to get away from luring behaviors and wanting to focus more on capturing them when they are offered by the dog. So with Kenya, because I started out in rally where "chatter" is OK, I basically praised her into the position I wanted with the up, flashy attitude I wanted to see and rewarded that. As she figured it out, I put on a prong to really clean up any forging or lagging. I did not let it correct for just being a little flat/lacking attitude, rather I would use my encouragement to bring her back "up". Her favorite "reward" is the "yes...OK...up!" game. Yes is my marker, OK is my release, and her "reward" is getting to jump up on me and me rubbing her down and praising wildly. This keeps her motivated more than and food or toy, so I use this "reward" after longer periods of heeling, practicing changing paces, etc. For some things like reinforcing sits in the correct position, cleaning up tight left turns, etc I will also give her a treat as a reward and that is good enough for those things but when I want her head up and focused AND her attitude really turned on it seems that the "OK up!" game at the end is her favorite reward. We just did some heeling today and did some longer patterns. She is almost to the point where we are doing a BH type pattern (not exactly THE pattern, but with similar turns, paces, amount of steps, stops) I only have to encourage her two or three times along the way. Sometimes she even rears up along side me and as long as she keeps focus and stays in position I actually praise that b/c I'd rather have a little too much excitement than a really flat dog.
We're currently polishing up for the SDA's FO and OB1 which is like BH heeling and then some different practical exercises. Again I started out in rally so what do I know, but this is working for us. I have to work really hard to motivate her, she will not tug on a piece of raw meat!