Hi! My girl doesn't seem to really get the idea of all this focused heeling thing. She is very enthusiastic when it comes to training and we practise the heeling thing almost every day for the past maybe 5 months. I've been working a lot on her position rewarding her with treats that she really likes or with a ball she's crazy about. We practise a lot next to a wall so it's easier for her to get into the right position. She is great at focusing on me, maybe this is the first thing she learned when I rescued her. We would still practise focus with her from time to time. She heels focused as **** between the wall and me. In this case she is in the right position, doesn't get forward and she seems to get the idea. When there is not a wall she won't always sit where she should when I tell her to heel. In this case I help her to get into the right position with the leash. When she feels the slightest pressure on the leash she gets in the position. I always reward her when she is in the right position, I don't know why she keeps sitting away from me or even sometimes almost in front of me. We have a working line GSD. He learned heeling from scratch when he was maybe 6 years old. We were working in the same way with him step by step. Before that I wasn't interested into IPO at all. I'm not a fan of the idea of using a prong or an e-collar because I can't correct her for something she doesn't understand how to do. When there isn't a wall next to her and we start walking she would get too forward,start getting in front of me or her butt would be wandering everywhere expect where it should be. I make sure to reward her only when she is in the right position. If I reward her with the ball I don't toss it forward(when I was teaching my boy to heel there were some owners in our class who would toss a ball forward for reward and their dogs' front legs and head were getting in front of them). In this case I would stop and help her get into the right position with the leash. Recently she started dropping her head while heeling from time to time. I tell her to watch and she will be back to her focused self, I would reward her. But she continues to drop her head sometimes...
There are times when she would heel like a pro
. But this is not so often... I make sure to reward her and help her understand that this is what I want from her.
The trainer because of who I fell in love with IPO doesn't live in my country anymore. In my area I know trainers who solve different behaviour problems. There is one trainer with whom people train to get their BH. But the dogs do just heeling, no focused heeling. I would like to go further with my girl after getting the BH. I don't believe she's some kind of retarded as this trainer suggested without seeing my dog. She was able to learn a lot of things since I started training her. She doesn't have a problem with "outing" during bitework, she would always retrieve the dumbbell over the jumps(when I got her,her back end was so weak that she wasn't able to get into the car by herself), she will do tracking or pay attention to me and our work when there are plenty of distractions.
If you've read some nice books about competition heeling, please let me know about them. I would like to know why I'm messing things up. At the moment the nearest clubs where I could learn something are about 300+km away.
I thought she might be bored with the heeling so I gave her a 1 week break. After that break she started dropping her head more and more... But on the other hand she doesn't seem bored with training, she always wants to do sth for you and working is more interesting for her than playing with other dogs or stalking squirrels.