Focused Heeling - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-26-2017, 06:32 PM Thread Starter
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Focused Heeling

Rocky and I have joined a club recently and we've started to try and work on his focused heeling for muscle memory. Thing is, luring doesn't work with Rocky, he doesn't follow the food. He instead switches into 'free shaping' and will offer me behaviours he's already learnt like sit, down, speak.

I was advised to use a small piece of a hot dog/sausage and walk along with him nibbling away at it while heeling. This does work but the problem now is that Rocky doesn't really nibble while walking but instead tries to grab at it really hard and I can only take so much of his puppy razors. I've tried to use gloves but doing so just makes him go even harder, it's like he completely forgets it's my hand once the gloves are on. He'll even try and jump and grab the gloves while they're on my hand and tug.

Videos I've been shown to help me get an idea of what to do with him at home:


and


The last video linked, I literally cannot get Rocky to follow me like that, he'll just stand there instead of following me and then offer me behaviours to get a reward. Any ideas on what I could do or what I could be doing wrong?
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-26-2017, 07:54 PM
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Can you post a video of you working with Rocky?

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-26-2017, 08:55 PM Thread Starter
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Can you post a video of you working with Rocky?
I'll try and record me working with Rocky tomorrow if I can!
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-26-2017, 09:22 PM
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Start very small, 3 steps of focused heel, then "good" and treat, then 5 steps, 3 steps, 2 steps, 5 steps. Always stop and "good" and treat.
Don't treat whilst walking as he needs to drop his head to eat the treat and as such you are teaching him that it is ok to look away whilst in a focused heel which you don't want.
When he gets better at it then increase the steps before giving a treat.

To stop the snatching play a game with him... hold a treat in your hand, every time he tries to grab it say "uh-uh" and move the treat away... when he eventually stops trying to snatch the treat, say "good" and give it to him. Play this often.

Another game that is good for helping with heeling is the "touch" game. Have a treat in your right hand, hold out your left hand, get him to touch it with his nose, then good and treat from the left hand. Once he has the hang of it start saying "touch" and then you'll be saying "touch" and he'll be spinning to find your hand. Its great fun... hand high, hand low, hand behind your back... whereever "touch" and he'll find it for that treat that is in your other hand. When doing "heel" have your left hand by your waist.. say "touch" and he'll keep by your side and touch that left hand and then you "good" and treat from the right.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-26-2017, 09:51 PM
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I taught my dog to follow the food and play the touch game that KaiserAus mentioned above, before I ever tried using it to assist in a heel. Sounds like your dog is food motivated. I would just take a couple steps back and work on luring .getting the pup to follow the food, Make the pup think a little. Then you can add sits, and downs with the food. Reward a lot. then eventually work it into the heeling.

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-26-2017, 10:19 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KaiserAus View Post
Start very small, 3 steps of focused heel, then "good" and treat, then 5 steps, 3 steps, 2 steps, 5 steps. Always stop and "good" and treat.
Don't treat whilst walking as he needs to drop his head to eat the treat and as such you are teaching him that it is ok to look away whilst in a focused heel which you don't want.
When he gets better at it then increase the steps before giving a treat.

To stop the snatching play a game with him... hold a treat in your hand, every time he tries to grab it say "uh-uh" and move the treat away... when he eventually stops trying to snatch the treat, say "good" and give it to him. Play this often.

Another game that is good for helping with heeling is the "touch" game. Have a treat in your right hand, hold out your left hand, get him to touch it with his nose, then good and treat from the left hand. Once he has the hang of it start saying "touch" and then you'll be saying "touch" and he'll be spinning to find your hand. Its great fun... hand high, hand low, hand behind your back... whereever "touch" and he'll find it for that treat that is in your other hand. When doing "heel" have your left hand by your waist.. say "touch" and he'll keep by your side and touch that left hand and then you "good" and treat from the right.
I haven't been using his treats while walking anymore as I was suggested the hot dog/sausage, which has worked and he can nibble away at it while walking but the thing is he's so rough with it instead of just nibbling away he's catching my skin over and over and I can only take so much of those razors.

The idea of not grabbing my hand he gets, well atleast only when I'm hand-feeding him his meal. I usually take a fist full of his kibble and hold it out to him and he licks at it at times but just immediately backs his head away from my hand and waits, I click and release his kibble and he eats it right out of my hand with no problems whatsoever.

I've also have started teaching him touch because I felt like that's the only other way I'm gonna be able to teach him to heel without having to have my hand cut up by his razors, he probably touches my hand with his mouth closed probably 1/10 times right now but we're working on it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cdwoodcox View Post
I taught my dog to follow the food and play the touch game that KaiserAus mentioned above, before I ever tried using it to assist in a heel. Sounds like your dog is food motivated. I would just take a couple steps back and work on luring .getting the pup to follow the food, Make the pup think a little. Then you can add sits, and downs with the food. Reward a lot. then eventually work it into the heeling.
Yeah I've started teaching him touch for targeting since as I mentioned above I thought it'd be the only real way of me teaching him to heel. He definitely is food motivated, but ever since he was 8 weeks luring just hasn't worked with him and I read that some puppies just don't do it naturally and rather offer behaviours and vice versa. Is this true? Because as it is, he'll just try offering behaviours like sit, down, adjusting his position and speak to try and figure out what's going to get him the reward.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-26-2017, 10:37 PM
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Yeah, my female would do that. Just go through all the skills hoping to get the food. I would just say no. And use a lot of hand motions and body motions. Start small put the food in front of his nose. Once he smells you have food move your hand in a circle and when he turns around with your hand mark and give him the food. I'm assuming you are marking behaviors. Small stuff like this. Make it fun be pretty animated. Throw in the commands he already knows while training. So do a circle, mark treat, place a treat in front of you and step Backwards when he comes in mark treat, no commands. Then give him a sit command, mark treat. Do some more circles, mark treat, down, mark treat. Etc.. Short sessions crate afterward. Multiple times a day.
I don't really care for hot dogs or sausage. Too greasy for me. I prefer walkabout jerky treats, orijen biologically appropriate dog treats. Freeze dried liver, lung,
The walk about treats or something similar are great for heeling. It's like a jerky type treat that they have to nibble if you hold tight. And it's long enough that you have a couple inches between teeth and fingers. When. It gets close mark and release.
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Last edited by cdwoodcox; 07-26-2017 at 10:43 PM.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-26-2017, 10:39 PM
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Maybe watch your body language... perhaps you are muddling up the signals for "heel" and "sit" etc and confusing him.

Do you have a "no-reward" marker to let him know when he has done something wrong and he won't be getting a treat?
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-26-2017, 10:50 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KaiserAus View Post
Maybe watch your body language... perhaps you are muddling up the signals for "heel" and "sit" etc and confusing him.

Do you have a "no-reward" marker to let him know when he has done something wrong and he won't be getting a treat?
Not entirely sure what you mean by my body language but I haven't cued heel at all whatsoever, and I literally give absolutely no signals whatsoever when having the treats in my hand, it's just him trying to problem solve and figure out what behaviour is going to get him the food in my hand. So he basically just cycles through what has worked for him before as well as adjusting his position a little.

But yeah I haven't cued heel at all, I've just been trying to have him nibble away at food while walking to develop that heeling behaviour which I'd then cue later on but as I mentioned I can only take so much of his razors catching my skin since while trying to eat the food he'll catch my skin too. I've tried various different ways of holding it but so far everything I've tried still gets me cut up a little.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-26-2017, 10:55 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by cdwoodcox View Post
Yeah, my female would do that. Just go through all the skills hoping to get the food. I would just say no. And use a lot of hand motions and body motions. Start small put the food in front of his nose. Once he smells you have food move your hand in a circle and when he turns around with your hand mark and give him the food. I'm assuming you are marking behaviors. Small stuff like this. Make it fun be pretty animated. Throw in the commands he already knows while training. So do a circle, mark treat, place a treat in front of you and step Backwards when he comes in mark treat, no commands. Then give him a sit command, mark treat. Do some more circles, mark treat, down, mark treat. Etc.. Short sessions crate afterward. Multiple times a day.
I don't really care for hot dogs or sausage. Too greasy for me. I prefer walkabout jerky treats, orijen biologically appropriate dog treats. Freeze dried liver, lung,
The walk about treats or something similar are great for heeling. It's like a jerky type treat that they have to nibble if you hold tight. And it's long enough that you have a couple inches between teeth and fingers. When. It gets close mark and release.
I've got his treats too it's just the hot dogs have been easier for him to eat while moving. I've tried searching and I don't think the jerky type treat you showed is available here in the UK, but I'll still keep looking. I'll try and teach him the way you've mentioned above, in essence teaching luring. Really want to be able to interact with him the way the woman is in the second video I posted in my original post.
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