"Tightening up" heel - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-14-2019, 06:14 PM Thread Starter
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Question "Tightening up" heel

Hello everybody.

My Shepherd is 8 months old. She's known heel for a while now, definitely since she was about 3-4 months. She pretty good with it but it's been more of a focus lately as I attempt to better leash and off-leash train her and attempt to remove treats and hand lures so she becomes responsive to only audible commands with minimal gestures.

My initial technique was by using a lure to put her in heal, by doing the large sweeping motion behind me to get the pupper to turn around behind me and line up against my hip. I'm trying to get her to away from this though because I want her to become more responsive to the command.

Without the lure and if I don't give some sort of handle signal, she will line up either perpendicular to me (facing me) or will be too far or too ahead of me.

Any advice on how I can get her to "tighten" up on me to where she understand the correct position is basically at my hip and touching me? I feel like maybe I should put some type of small mat down on the floor so she knows to stand on it. Thoughts?

Also, should I correct her by moving her into position or is it more proper to not reward and try again? I've tried both, giving her a "nope" and having her do it again seems to be more successful.

Thank you!
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-14-2019, 10:14 PM
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Make sure she fully understands what you are asking. People often try to move too quickly before the dog truly understands what heel means. Look at your own positioning. Our posture plays a significant role in how dogs will respond, things like turning or slouching shoulders can lead to issues with position. Presenting the reward from the right hand (dog on left) can cause dogs to "wrap around" and be out of position. Targeting and Perch work can help with correct position as well as develop hind end awareness. You might try googling Stonnie Dennis, Larry Krohn, Tyler Muto ect... They all have YouTube videos on heeling that are worth watching.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-15-2019, 07:37 AM
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I agree with Nigel.

Also wanted to ask if you are trying to teach a contact heel or just a heel in general? Leerburg has a few videos on contact heeling. Otherwise, depending on the venue, I'm not sure the dog is supposed to touch your leg. I was told AKC rally would penalize me for how Katsu's shoulder bumps into my outer leg while heeling.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-15-2019, 09:00 AM
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If the dog is having trouble staying in position it might be worth loosing a point or two for a touch.

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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-15-2019, 09:53 AM
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Well, first, the dog is not supposed to be touching you. Your dog is very young. Teach them correctly now so you dont get pushed diwn the field and lose unnecessary points. Then you have to use a correction to fix it. Second, if your dog doesn't understand the position then I would go back to stationary and work on bringing him in and rewarding for the position. There are NUMEROUS basic positions in a routine and all are pointed. You can lose a ton of points.

Does he know perchwork? Understands how to move his rear end?

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