Whining During Obedience (Heeling) - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-14-2018, 08:46 PM Thread Starter
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Whining During Obedience (Heeling)

I was wondering if anyone has some advice about cutting down on whining during heeling. She does not really whine on the static positions, only sometimes a small "chirp" while changing. Same when coming to front, sometimes,

With heeling, it is becoming quite a challenge to continue without having her almost scream, like a whine from her throat, more deep than high pitched. It is almost like since it is a movement, she cant' come "down" like she does in between doing positions. Does that make any sense? The worst is when turning and stopping/starting and when she had to come into heel position from another position, further away means more chance of being vocal. While in motion, left turns on a pivot and about turns seem to load her up much more than right turns.

It is mostly when I use a toy. The toy can be hidden, in armpit or held in either hand. There is not really a difference. I feel like it might be coming from the conflict between higher arousal and having to concentrate more to remain in position? I do not feel it is purely excitement based, based on her behaviour otherwise when excited. I do not feel it is solely having to keep control, as she does not whine while in static positions. Is my train of thought way off base?

I am resorting more and more to working without toys. But I would like to have some ideas, if possible over the internet, on how to reduce whining like this? I try to stop, talks calm, praise calm while she is heeling. It helps a little sometimes, but more often than not does nothing. I try to talk calmly while in sit while stopping. I try rewarding sooner, which works on that run itself and maybe the next, but she will build on the next. Should I shorten sessions, like only do one short run at a time? And if so, how would I build on having her go longer or know when it is time to try?

Is this what they call "drive leaking"? Thanks for reading, this is my first very vocal dog like this.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-15-2018, 07:39 AM
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That is a sign of drive leaking. The only thing I have seen done with a vocal dog is to immediately stop, remind them that whining doesn't make anyone happy (usually with a non-reward marker and a glare) and then as soon as quiet returns they back to work. Keep sessions short if it is difficult at first. You probably won't get much done other than showing your dog that quiet is the way to go.

My dogs may give a short outburst, like we would say ,"Oh gee". But if they do I stop and use a non-reward marker like "uh-uh", then on with the game when they get their heads on straight. Worked for me so far. If it is casual play I ignore it because the more attention I give it the more they can get stressed the bigger the issue gets.

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-26-2018, 04:32 PM
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My pups mother leaked drive badly. A real screamer at times. But did get her IPO 2 last year despite it. Enough of an issue that i was hesitent on taking a pup, the daughter. Both parents and 4 pups belong to my IPO/schutzhund. Only the mother was a whiner could I.D. why the mum leaked drive. It was clear that the handler was creating/maintaining the whining. Prior to stepping onto oval would wait n wait with intention of training: quiet = u get to move. But despite good and logical intentions... the dog simply loaded up higher n higher becoming increasingly frustrated with owner / handler. I videod it n showed my friend the effect this method was actually having. She stopped loading her dog up. Added in a few drive satisfying moves into the routine like spin n bark n touch. And did bite work first. Obedience secondly. Cured of whining. Which i had been listening to for 2 yrs! For 8 hr stretches. Now we follow her tracking in silence. Sometimes i follow simply enjoying the peace n rythm of her silent movement. My pup is 18 months n clearly whining is not handed down 🙂
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-26-2018, 05:05 PM
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We have a dog in our club like this, it is genetic and the handler really has to remain "dead inside" lol!
Being calm, quiet praise and food reward over toy is excellent, though it isn't always going to cure that leaking. Many times the drive state ramps up if the handler tries to wait out the dog.
I would not use a toy at all, but food only and see if that helps. Maybe track the dog before doing obedience so the brain gets exercise.

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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-26-2018, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by onyx'girl View Post
Many times the drive state ramps up if the handler tries to wait out the dog.
This made me laugh......because I'm not a particularly patient person.

In certain instances....my dog is "leakier" than a sieve when she's shifting into or in drive mode....and at times I am building the anticipation intentionally....as I am making things take on a higher level of intensity.

Don't know if this will make any sense to the OP or anyone else.....but over time and testing my patience and calm to the nth degree....I believe that my dog has learned that all the leaking in the world only prolongs the inevitable learned release/continuation of the process at hand.

I'm guessing it was harder for me than my dog.... it did teach me patience....however I still believe nothing ever happens fast enough for my dog.....but she has learned what will make it happen faster.


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