Snapping on heel. I need to fix this. - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-09-2012, 10:43 PM Thread Starter
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Snapping on heel. I need to fix this.

I've been working with Kira doing an off leash heel on command.

I started with two high value tugs.
I would throw one a few feet out, she would retrieve it, I would command a "heel". She would walk around my right side, around my back, and heel on my left.
As soon as I get her into a nice heel, I throw the other, and repeat. Sort of a game right now, but I intend to build on it.

Anyway, there were a few times where she was so revved up, she would go into the heel, then catch me off guard. She would jump for the tug, and accidentally bite me.
Today, she caught my armpit, and it hurt like a b*stard.

I would like some suggestions on how I could prevent her from lunging for the tug. She excited, and very driven by the tug. I feel that I have her full attention, but don't want her to lunge at it.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-09-2012, 10:51 PM
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tugs are made to tug, not so much throw. If you tug with her, she'll diffuse some of her stress and energy into that tug. Out her after a few seconds and tuck it away so she can't try to grab it. Karlo will jump up too, not something I discourage as his drive level isn't real high. Seldom does he try to grab the toy, but he does now and then.
IMO, throwing a reward isn't as valued as tugging/interacting. I want the reward to be me, not a fetch situation when we are focused heeling. It leaves the dog a bit unbalanced when you bring them back to obedience. Let the dog diffuse that energy into the tug, out, then go back into heeling in a smooth transition. For ending a session, I will throw a toy for retrieve and fronts. But heeling I don't want the dog leaving, it takes away from what we are working on.

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Last edited by onyx'girl; 09-09-2012 at 10:54 PM.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-09-2012, 10:56 PM
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Yeah, that does hurt when they catch you!

My suggestion would be to get a bit more serious, and work on positioning. Make sure she knows what "Heel" means, and work on holding in the proper position. You may need to use a short leash or tab for this. Make sure she doesn't break position until her release, and don't reward her until she holds in position for 3 seconds... then 5, 10, 15 seconds. Are you using a release word, or just throwing the tug? It might be helpful if she knows a release command, so she learns she has to wait for your word before just going straight for the tug.

How is her retrieve? You might want to try your exercise using one tug. That way her mouth is busy when she comes hauling back to you.

edited to add: What onyx'girl said about tugging.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-09-2012, 11:05 PM
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It's way worse when you get bit in the boob. Pretty standard high drive behavior, you learn to dodge the bite and give a correction faster to prevent it. I don't get after my dogs for doing this too much as I prefer them to be that drivey. They do back off on this with time.

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-09-2012, 11:07 PM Thread Starter
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OK, I see that I'm making quite a few mistakes here.

Not sure I know how to explain what I'm doing.

Correct me if I'm wrong:

1) Use 1 tug
2) Get her into the heel for a specific amount of time.
3) Start by rewarding her by "tugging"?? Then command to drop the tug, and command a heel again"?
4) Her release work is "OK". It's fairly solid. She won't go for the tug (if I throw it), without the OK. However, she WILL snap at it, if it's tucked under my arm (that's how she got me)

Question:
After giving her the tug, and roughing it a bit, how do I get her into proper tight heel position?
She knows the routine with two tugs, but I suspect, she may not respond to one tug yet.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-09-2012, 11:10 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elaine View Post
It's way worse when you get bit in the boob. Pretty standard high drive behavior, you learn to dodge the bite and give a correction faster to prevent it. I don't get after my dogs for doing this too much as I prefer them to be that drivey. They do back off on this with time.
Yes, that's why I didn't try to stop it, and came here instead.
Her drive right now, is sky high. I feel that when she's in that mode, I can teach her anything.
Problem is, ...I need to be taught first. It gets so frustrating, knowing that I have such a wonderful student, and don't know how to teach.

The trainers around here are weak.

Take a look at this video. I'd like to get to this point.
Is the handler saying anything to the dog?
Is she holding an endless supply of treats?
How can I do this with a tug?
She not that food motivated.


Last edited by Anthony8858; 09-09-2012 at 11:20 PM.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-09-2012, 11:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony8858 View Post

1) Use 1 tug
2) Get her into the heel for a specific amount of time.
3) Start by rewarding her by "tugging"?? Then command to drop the tug, and command a heel again"?
Something like that.

Are you going to be doing SchH bitework with her?
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-09-2012, 11:46 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freestep View Post
Something like that.

Are you going to be doing SchH bitework with her?
I'm going to get her evaluated at a local Shutzhund club, and go from there. Carmen suggested NOT doing bite work with her at this time.


Quote from Carmen in another thread:
as far as schutzhund , I would do not do bite work with this dog because then you will give approval to bite to relieve an inner conflict , bite to make it go away.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-10-2012, 12:32 AM
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How about getting a vest so that the tug is put out of sight when not using it? There was a thread not long ago about $20 vests, and I ordered one that day. I already have the waist 3 pocket thing, but the tug stuck out of it...and I was afraid of something like your situation happening later on. That back pocket in it could be a life saver (or arm pit saver) when trying to keep a tug out of view!

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-10-2012, 01:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony8858 View Post
I'm going to get her evaluated at a local Shutzhund club, and go from there. Carmen suggested NOT doing bite work with her at this time.


Quote from Carmen in another thread:
as far as schutzhund , I would do not do bite work with this dog because then you will give approval to bite to relieve an inner conflict , bite to make it go away.
If you work her purely in prey drive, it is just an advanced game of tug, so it is relatively safe--I would definitely not want to work her in defense drive right now, if ever.

I simply asked because I would probably alter my advice about the tug according to whether or not you want to do bite work. You don't want to do a lot of "out" or "release the tug" work too early if you want to start bite work; you want the dog to feel possessive of the tug/sleeve and learn that she can "win" if she fights harder for it.

If you just want to do obedience and not bite work, you can have her "out" all you want. If done properly, it should not decrease drive.
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