Lets talk focused heeling, and maybe some more Front? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-12-2018, 03:19 AM Thread Starter
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Lets talk focused heeling, and maybe some more Front?

As some of you may (or may not) remember, I started Competition OB with my dog just over a month ago and we've been advancing pretty nicely. Our first show was suppose to be in may but due to some complications we are having to postpone, no big deal just gives us more time to work.

Well during the time we started OB training I also started to work with her on focus heeling at home. She knows how to heel and does it well, she's great at focusing when I ask it in an idle position, and she's been doing really great on the touch pad (Knows how to move the back end of her body very well). But for the life of me, her eye contact with me while heeling is just terrible.

The way I work with her, I treat her everytime she gives me her full attention both when being asked and when not. Any time she looks at me she gets a treat and we do this while heeling too. I try to hold out the duration of the focus for longer but can't always gauge when she's going to look away and not sure if treating her after she looks away is the best.

So my questions are: 1. How did you begin? We started on the touchpad and learned how to move her back end separate from her front 2. What were you next steps from the beginning and how did you get them to keep their focus on you. and 3. How long did it take for it all/how much time did you put into it?

OKAY, next thing.
I also posted about closing the gap during the "front" command. We got that closed and now she is spot on BUT, for some reason she ALWAYS wants to move into the heel position so she tends to always be off to the left a bit unless there are borders. I use borders off and on (so a few times with a few times without) and it still seems that she is drawn to the left side I do try to give her the chance to self correct and figure it out on her own but after a while she gets a bit frustrated and begins to offer other tricks in the place of the one she can't get. Some times she will be straight and I ask her to come a bit closer and she brings herself in but to the left, if I were to keep asking her to come in she'd probably end up in the heel position.

I'm guessing continuous work with the borders and only treating when its perfect is probably the way to fix it, but figured I'd get other ideas too as I'm unsure if she's just not quite understanding or its something I need to be doing different.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-12-2018, 06:17 AM
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I really like Micheal Ellis's Focused Heeling on Leerburg.com. You might find enough free videos on their site to find your answers. David Kroyer has a neat way of teaching straight fronts a friend was using.

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-12-2018, 06:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Curing View Post
As some of you may (or may not) remember, I started Competition OB with my dog just over a month ago and we've been advancing pretty nicely. Our first show was suppose to be in may but due to some complications we are having to postpone, no big deal just gives us more time to work.

Well during the time we started OB training I also started to work with her on focus heeling at home. She knows how to heel and does it well, she's great at focusing when I ask it in an idle position, and she's been doing really great on the touch pad (Knows how to move the back end of her body very well). But for the life of me, her eye contact with me while heeling is just terrible.

The way I work with her, I treat her everytime she gives me her full attention both when being asked and when not. Any time she looks at me she gets a treat and we do this while heeling too. I try to hold out the duration of the focus for longer but can't always gauge when she's going to look away and not sure if treating her after she looks away is the best.

So my questions are: 1. How did you begin? We started on the touchpad and learned how to move her back end separate from her front 2. What were you next steps from the beginning and how did you get them to keep their focus on you. and 3. How long did it take for it all/how much time did you put into it?

OKAY, next thing.
I also posted about closing the gap during the "front" command. We got that closed and now she is spot on BUT, for some reason she ALWAYS wants to move into the heel position so she tends to always be off to the left a bit unless there are borders. I use borders off and on (so a few times with a few times without) and it still seems that she is drawn to the left side I do try to give her the chance to self correct and figure it out on her own but after a while she gets a bit frustrated and begins to offer other tricks in the place of the one she can't get. Some times she will be straight and I ask her to come a bit closer and she brings herself in but to the left, if I were to keep asking her to come in she'd probably end up in the heel position.

I'm guessing continuous work with the borders and only treating when its perfect is probably the way to fix it, but figured I'd get other ideas too as I'm unsure if she's just not quite understanding or its something I need to be doing different.
Watch your own positioning as you call front. Body language is super important and it's easy to create confusion if we are not consistent. That confusion can lead to the dog throwing out other behavoirs hoping to eventually hit on the correct one. A little slouching to one side or how we hold our arms can make a difference. Have someone watch or video yourself and see if there's something you can clean up on your own end.

Last edited by Nigel; 04-12-2018 at 06:34 AM.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-12-2018, 08:16 AM
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I work the focused heel in pieces. The eye contact I work in one session, without any movement. I put the dog against a wall to keep it straight, and work on having it sit there and looking at me. Look at me, treat, let the dog off the wall, and then start over. For the movement part, I start with luring. Having the dog drive my hand for the treat. Once the dog is driving the treat well, and making good eye contact on the wall, I start fading the treat up to my shoulder until it's completely faded. This is a quick run down of how I do it. For me, heel position is just that, a position. The motion is secondary. The dog understanding where to be is primary. That's where the wall comes in. Then you can also start calling the dog into heel from various angles. No movement on your part. If the dog understands to get on your left leg and look at you no matter how you're facing or what your body position is, then the dog understands the position. If it won't, then it doesn't truly understand the position.

For the front, reward in the position more. If you're working heel a lot, or working the finish a lot, then the dog will always want to get into heel position, because that's where it always gets rewarded. So once again, you can have the dog driving the hand and move backwards. Then bring the dog into a front by bringing the hand into your body and up to your chest. Get eye contact and reward by making the dog come up to get the treat. As mentioned before, watch body position. If you're bent over towards the dog, that's going to push the dog back. When teaching it, I also have my feet spread apart. Gives the dog a little more room to work and get close. I try and get the dogs feet equal to mine.

I hope this makes a little sense lol. I didn't get much sleep last night and I haven't had coffee yet lol.

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-12-2018, 12:18 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mycobraracr View Post
I work the focused heel in pieces. The eye contact I work in one session, without any movement. I put the dog against a wall to keep it straight, and work on having it sit there and looking at me. Look at me, treat, let the dog off the wall, and then start over. For the movement part, I start with luring. Having the dog drive my hand for the treat. Once the dog is driving the treat well, and making good eye contact on the wall, I start fading the treat up to my shoulder until it's completely faded. This is a quick run down of how I do it. For me, heel position is just that, a position. The motion is secondary. The dog understanding where to be is primary. That's where the wall comes in. Then you can also start calling the dog into heel from various angles. No movement on your part. If the dog understands to get on your left leg and look at you no matter how you're facing or what your body position is, then the dog understands the position. If it won't, then it doesn't truly understand the position.

For the front, reward in the position more. If you're working heel a lot, or working the finish a lot, then the dog will always want to get into heel position, because that's where it always gets rewarded. So once again, you can have the dog driving the hand and move backwards. Then bring the dog into a front by bringing the hand into your body and up to your chest. Get eye contact and reward by making the dog come up to get the treat. As mentioned before, watch body position. If you're bent over towards the dog, that's going to push the dog back. When teaching it, I also have my feet spread apart. Gives the dog a little more room to work and get close. I try and get the dogs feet equal to mine.

I hope this makes a little sense lol. I didn't get much sleep last night and I haven't had coffee yet lol.
Yes! This was actually a HUGE help. her heel position is 100% solid, I can call her from any point and she knows where to be and I think she really loves doing it. She just has a hard time keeping her eyes on me while in motion, she can't help but look to see where she's going. We're pretty in tune so that helps when I make a sudden change like go faster or turn but that only goes for far. I'll definitely try working against a wall.

For the treat part, by driving I assume you mean having the dog have its nose in your hand with its head up? (I think ive seen a few videos that showed that) My question is: what do I do if the dog isn't very motivated? I don't feed on days we have training class, so that helps with engagement but for the most part, she's the type of dog who won't lure with food, she pretty much just thinks "well if you're not going to give it to me, doesn't really matter to me" she does have a pretty huge ball drive, but I have yet to master using that in place of treats without being awkward or fumbling (I think getting a ball on string would help). What would you recommend for a low food drive dog?

As for the front, I do have a trainer and I we watch my position I think I may treat to often on the right side and have worked to correct that maybe trying to get more attention on my left hand would help.

I never even thought about standing with my feet apart, it just makes so much sense thinking about it now. Most of the time shes on top of my shoes to be as close as she can lol. I'm defintiley going to start keeping my feet apart.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-12-2018, 12:21 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by dogbyte View Post
I really like Micheal Ellis's Focused Heeling on Leerburg.com. You might find enough free videos on their site to find your answers. David Kroyer has a neat way of teaching straight fronts a friend was using.
I've watched some of the clips (all the ones I could find for free!) And really thought about getting the full video. But I couldn't make it seem worth it when I could be putting the money through more training classes or a gym (doggy gym) membership. But his methods are gold!
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-12-2018, 12:26 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Nigel View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Curing View Post
As some of you may (or may not) remember, I started Competition OB with my dog just over a month ago and we've been advancing pretty nicely. Our first show was suppose to be in may but due to some complications we are having to postpone, no big deal just gives us more time to work.

Well during the time we started OB training I also started to work with her on focus heeling at home. She knows how to heel and does it well, she's great at focusing when I ask it in an idle position, and she's been doing really great on the touch pad (Knows how to move the back end of her body very well). But for the life of me, her eye contact with me while heeling is just terrible.

The way I work with her, I treat her everytime she gives me her full attention both when being asked and when not. Any time she looks at me she gets a treat and we do this while heeling too. I try to hold out the duration of the focus for longer but can't always gauge when she's going to look away and not sure if treating her after she looks away is the best.

So my questions are: 1. How did you begin? We started on the touchpad and learned how to move her back end separate from her front 2. What were you next steps from the beginning and how did you get them to keep their focus on you. and 3. How long did it take for it all/how much time did you put into it?

OKAY, next thing.
I also posted about closing the gap during the "front" command. We got that closed and now she is spot on BUT, for some reason she ALWAYS wants to move into the heel position so she tends to always be off to the left a bit unless there are borders. I use borders off and on (so a few times with a few times without) and it still seems that she is drawn to the left side I do try to give her the chance to self correct and figure it out on her own but after a while she gets a bit frustrated and begins to offer other tricks in the place of the one she can't get. Some times she will be straight and I ask her to come a bit closer and she brings herself in but to the left, if I were to keep asking her to come in she'd probably end up in the heel position.

I'm guessing continuous work with the borders and only treating when its perfect is probably the way to fix it, but figured I'd get other ideas too as I'm unsure if she's just not quite understanding or its something I need to be doing different.
Watch your own positioning as you call front. Body language is super important and it's easy to create confusion if we are not consistent. That confusion can lead to the dog throwing out other behavoirs hoping to eventually hit on the correct one. A little slouching to one side or how we hold our arms can make a difference. Have someone watch or video yourself and see if there's something you can clean up on your own end.

I think one of the problems I had was treating too often on the right side so she was focusing more of that hand. Ive since started treating more equally and tried to put more emphasis on the left.

I feel like that plus the fact that we work heels and finishes alot more made her confused. I do have a trainer i work with and she watches my position and gives me pointers while I'm there, but I think I'm going to start having my partner do the same as well so im being consistent.
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