By Heel and finish commands - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-21-2011, 03:01 PM Thread Starter
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By Heel and finish commands

I'm looking for some tips and various ways of teaching the By Heel and Finish commands. For By Heel I mean for your dog to return to heel position. And Finish for them to go from in front of you around behind you into the heel position.

At training classes, we were mostly told to lure the the dog into the position with food while saying the command. I think this is as in depth as he went, but then I've missed classes both during novice and now with the advanced club style classes. Its very easy to get Emma to heel off lead or make these movements with food, because she's so food motivated... But I don't think she is paying any attention to the movement/position, just following the food. So I'm unsure how to get from luring with food, to knowing the command. But then I taught her sit, down, stand, etc by luring with food so maybe I'm just making it more complicated in my head than it truly is...

Any suggestions? A big part of the problem I know is I haven't been working with her enough the last few months. Everything was so crazy, and when we did train I had a tendency to just refresh easy things she already knows. So totally my fault we haven't advanced in a while! I hope to get back to daily sessions and weekly classes in the next week.


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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-21-2011, 03:17 PM
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For the finish command we were taught to say 'around' if he was going to travel around your back to sit on your left side, or 'get back' to turn in front of you and finish on the left. I step back with my left foot and say get back so he follows that way, and step back with the right to lure him around to the right side then behind my back.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-21-2011, 03:42 PM
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For by heel i've been using perch command and shaping the position that way. I don't have advice on the finish since I don't want my dog crossing behind me in agility. Go search youtube for 'teaching heel as a trick.'

Here's the video:

By the way- this video is being commented on here: https://www.germanshepherds.com/forum...uppys-too.html

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-21-2011, 03:57 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stosh View Post
For the finish command we were taught to say 'around' if he was going to travel around your back to sit on your left side, or 'get back' to turn in front of you and finish on the left. I step back with my left foot and say get back so he follows that way, and step back with the right to lure him around to the right side then behind my back.
You didn't explain HOW you taught it though? How did you lure? How did you break away from a lure to the dog understanding the command without it?

Thanks Wildo, I'll look at those!


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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-21-2011, 04:15 PM
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It takes a bit of skill to teach them "around" because you have to siwtch the treat from one hand to the other behind your back! But I used a small treat and guided London on a short lease to finally get him to figure it out. Just keep trying, I am sure your GSD will learn it quickly.
Once they learn "around" you will no longer have to move, just give him/her the command and watch him/her DO IT!

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-21-2011, 04:15 PM
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Luring is a good way to teach a position but I think it's important not to get stuck on the lure for too long. So try passing the food behind your back so they have to concentrate on you and the food comes from over their head. Once they are taking some steps looking up at you, start to reward every second step instead of every step. Then move to reward every third step. I tell them they are a gooood dog when they are taking those unrewarded steps so they know they are doing right. Then move to random reward.

Also I feel it is important to have drive and focus before you do too many steps of heeling, at least if you are going for competition heeling. Practicing correct behavior is important. So if my dogs focus is such: heel heel heel peek heel peek heel heel peek (you get the idea) then I am not practicing good behavior.

So I do short amounts of straight away heeling but concentrate mostly on focus, drive and position before I do any extended lengths of heeling or turns. A toy for a toy motivated dog brings more drive into the training. I make sure to use my voice to let the dog know it is doing right and to encourage.

I also like to work on quarter turns and saying the heel command for each change of position and reward for them moving into the position. In my opinion it helps build the drive to get in position.

I spend a lot of time on the small parts of the big picture that makes up heeling and feel the foundation is focus. Kind of a simplified description but I hope it helps.


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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-21-2011, 04:22 PM
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Sorry, just noticed you meant going to the heel position not heeling. Geez. Anyhow, I break them both a part.

Teach a finish. Teach the heel position. The quarter turning can help teach them to come into position.


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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-21-2011, 05:25 PM Thread Starter
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Ok so I'm glad that others have used food lures and its worked... But no one is telling me HOW to use the food lure, or how you went from the food lure to not using it?

I can use a food lure to get Emma into position, its easy with her. I can hold food in my hand and have her heel off leash, she sniffs the food and when we stop I give it to her. But I don't think she's learning anything at this point, other than "if I follow the food I eventually get to eat it." So I don't know how to get from follow the food, to heel is a position and not just walking at my side.

I'm not doing any competition obedience. Emma will hopefully be my next service dog. So along with that, there are differences in our heeling. I don't focus on her following when I step off with my left foot, and staying when I step off with my right foot. If I want her to stay, I tell her to stay. If I'm standing, I need to be able to put my left foot forward to rest that leg and keep my weight on my right leg. So I can't have her walking off just because I stepped my left leg forward to rest it. Also, we don't do automatic sits. I keep her standing when we stop, because as a service dog she will need to remain standing when we stop so that I can use the handle of the mobility harness for balance.

Quote:
Teach a finish. Teach the heel position.
Yes, but HOW? I need it spelled out to me. I need to understand the why and the how, thats why I'm struggling now. Just "lure with food into the position" isn't enough for me.

Haven't watched the videos yet, I use my phone for an internet connection at home but I have horrible reception here so its not fast enough for loading youtube videos.


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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-21-2011, 06:05 PM
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Okay, next get the food out of your hand. You can make like you have food, so the dog follows the air cookie. If you get stuck on that lure it can get to the point that the dog thinks it is part of the exercise. I see some dogs in classes that can not do the behavior withoutnthe learn becuase in their mind it is part of the exercise!

I like to teach yielding to leash pressure. Michael Ellis has good explanation of teaching it. Once my dog knows what the leash pressure means, I lead them through the behavior and into the position. This is not a corrextion thing. It is a showing thing. There is subtle compulsion to it, of course. My dogs learn really well with this more phyical technique. It is old school, in a way but I came to appreciate this approach. I do luring also, but make sure not to carry that too far. I like hands on work, leading and placing the dog in the learning phase.

Last edited by Samba; 07-21-2011 at 06:09 PM.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-21-2011, 07:38 PM
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I have done what Samba describes

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