maintaining focused heeling - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-05-2012, 08:46 PM Thread Starter
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maintaining focused heeling

Benny is very good at loose leash walking but in the past few months I have been trying to get a competition heel so we can try for our Basic Novice. The criteria for basic novice is so easy that when focused Benny does it all even off leash but I would love some tips on keeping focus.

I get him focused and ready but sometimes after a few great steps he is like "look a butterfly, a leaf, a dog,.... He is 3 years old and absolutely knows what I want and when 'in the mood" does great even in very distracting situations. He is sometimes very food and toy motivated, and eager to please ( either himself, me or both). BUT, other times, in the middle of heeling he will suddenly start rolling in the grass with a goofy look. Sometimes when I am trying to get him to look at me to get started he refuses as if to say "Not now, I am busy and this competition heeling is silly! Why should I focus on your left leg when there is a whole world beckoning. Isn't it enough that I stay by your side?" Maybe I just think this is what he is saying?

I think he thinks I take this all too serious because today he got his training certificate and while I was hunting for a frame he pulled it from the table and ate it!
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Benedict GSD 4/13/09
Pippin GR 2/6/14

Waiting at the Bridge
Eli GSD
Chopper APBT
Raphael GSD



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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-05-2012, 10:00 PM
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in class we use string cheese for heeling. a small piece of mozzarella in the left hand to entice the dog and more hidden in your mouth, so after 4 steps i reward, take a piece out of my mouth and another 5 steps or so, etc... i never reward with the exact number of steps, otherwise lexie expects her treat after 3 steps, 3 steps, i always shuffle the amount. good luck
post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-05-2012, 11:14 PM
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I would ask for some effort through circles/turns/ups before you begin.
Reward when the dog offers three behaviors and use a key word when beginning.... example: '' Are you happy, hungry, on fire", etc. I'd discourage barking as one of the offerings.

Then when you are heeling, use the key word to keep engagement, ask for 'ups' while heeling and reward after 3 ups. In the beginning, you can get the dog to do the behaviors by luring with food saying the behavior(circle/turn/up or any parlor trix he knows) so easier to understand what you want.

Extend the reward time, but still communicate ups/and key word so the dog will stay engaged. When you reward have the dog drive into it or jump up for it. Don't just feed in position or bring the food or toy to the dog, make the dog come to you, or drive the dog back around, depending on what you are working on(about turns)
Leash attached under the chin and collar jingles/ pops will keep the head up too. Free the dog now and then and then start the work again....mix up the fun with the focus.
These are methods I've learned from going to a few Bridget Carlsen workshops and I see such a difference in the dogs and handlers who are using her methods, it is really amazing, and has shown in the ring where they are placing.


When he starts rolling in the grass, that would be time for a clear correction, so he knows it is time to work, not play. He isn't the one who decides when it is time to quit.

I laughed when I read he tore up his award.....silly boy! Maybe they can have another one printed for your frame!

Jane~
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Last edited by onyx'girl; 08-05-2012 at 11:17 PM.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-06-2012, 10:04 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onyx'girl View Post
I
E
These are methods I've learned from going to a few Bridget Carlsen workshops and I see such a difference in the dogs and handlers who are using her methods, it is really amazing, and has shown in the ring where they are placing.
Thanks Jane. I just watched some of Bridget Carlsens heeling videos. They are good. Bridget Carlsen - Competition Obedience Training

Benedict GSD 4/13/09
Pippin GR 2/6/14

Waiting at the Bridge
Eli GSD
Chopper APBT
Raphael GSD



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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-08-2012, 04:20 PM
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I'm sorry he ate his certificate!

~ Dori ~

Koda: 14 yr old Samoyed
Nita: 7 yr old GSD
Ryder: 5 yr old Samoyed
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