Can not train heel! - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-16-2019, 11:52 AM Thread Starter
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Can not train heel!

Hey everyone, hope the holidays were relaxing (as can be with family members) for everyone! So I’ve decided since I can not get as much exercise I’m with Ellie do to school and work that I need to really sharpen her obedience, so back to the clicker we go! Her sit is solid, stay we are working on to get super solid, down is getting worked.. but what she will just not tolerate or learn is heel! There are a few techniques that I have tried. From the treat in front of the nose, to short leash, a few other things. She is so resistant on this! When I adopted her she was really well trained (still is) with all the basic commands, she did not know heel so I would like to teach her! They say you can’t teach an old (middle aged) dog new tricks, but I know it’s wrong!!!! Any recommendations?

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-16-2019, 12:03 PM
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Is there something she is doing when you are trying to train the heel - such as staying a short distance away from you? I remember a member of my training group had a dog that really respected her body boundaries (if that makes sense) and wouldn't come up close to her front for the dumbbell retrieve. He basically had to be retaught that it is acceptable to be this close for the routine.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-16-2019, 12:21 PM
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I assume you are trying to teach her basic heeling as opposed to a focused heel for competition. How is her food drive and drive for a ball on a string. There are many different approaches. One is to start by teaching her the static heel position which is with her sitting at your left heel. You can lure her into position with the food. Use good food, smalls pieces and make sure she is very hungry. Reinforce the correct position continuously by marking it with praise and immediately giving food. Hold several pieces of food in your left hand with your hand about where you pant's pocket is and above her head. After a short time of correct position of the static heel, give the release command and praise her up and repeat. It can take many repetitions of this training. Once she learns the static heel, start out with the moving heel only doing one step and then having her sit, luring and reinforcing with food the whole time. Then slowly progress to two steps, three steps, etc. If food doesn't work you can use a ball on a string if she is motivated for it. Tie her out on a long line to a tree, get her in drive for the ball, step into her and make a quarter turn to the left with ball above her head on the left. If she offers the correct behavior try to drop the ball so she will catch it. Then proceed starting with a single step walking in an arc around the tree. If her food or drive for the toy is not working, you basically have compulsion left. You need a correctly sized and fitted prong collar and have to know how to use it.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-16-2019, 03:21 PM
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If she will let you lure her into position great.

Here is a trick I use on lots of dogs that are not wanting to heel. Use a figure 8. Walk in a figure 8 pattern, let the dog do what it's doing and keep walking. You need to keep a loose leash, I use a 6' leash anyway. If the dog gets in front of you walk into her and keep going. If she hangs back keep going. It does not usually take them long to figure out that beside you is the best place to be. Anytime she falls into the correct position reward her but keep moving. If she is staying in position walk straight and as soon as she moves out of position go back to the figure 8.
It won't give you a focused heel but it will give you a nice walkable heel in correct position. But do remember that a walk should be enjoyable for both of you and your dog is not likely to enjoy a forced march at your side. I only ask for heel when we are in crowded or populated areas or while crossing roads. If Shadow starts pulling on me or ignoring me I will ask for a heel just to bring her back, but for most of our walks she is free to sniff and wander.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-18-2019, 01:41 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sabis mom View Post
If she will let you lure her into position great.

Here is a trick I use on lots of dogs that are not wanting to heel. Use a figure 8. Walk in a figure 8 pattern, let the dog do what it's doing and keep walking. You need to keep a loose leash, I use a 6' leash anyway. If the dog gets in front of you walk into her and keep going. If she hangs back keep going. It does not usually take them long to figure out that beside you is the best place to be. Anytime she falls into the correct position reward her but keep moving. If she is staying in position walk straight and as soon as she moves out of position go back to the figure 8.
It won't give you a focused heel but it will give you a nice walkable heel in correct position. But do remember that a walk should be enjoyable for both of you and your dog is not likely to enjoy a forced march at your side. I only ask for heel when we are in crowded or populated areas or while crossing roads. If Shadow starts pulling on me or ignoring me I will ask for a heel just to bring her back, but for most of our walks she is free to sniff and wander.
I’ll have to try this! I want a doable heel while we are in stores and crowded public places. What exactly do you mean by walk in to her?
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-18-2019, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by mburitica181 View Post
Iíll have to try this! I want a doable heel while we are in stores and crowded public places. What exactly do you mean by walk in to her?
Exactly what it says. If she gets in your way walk into her.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-18-2019, 07:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sabis mom View Post
If she will let you lure her into position great.

Here is a trick I use on lots of dogs that are not wanting to heel. Use a figure 8. Walk in a figure 8 pattern, let the dog do what it's doing and keep walking. You need to keep a loose leash, I use a 6' leash anyway. If the dog gets in front of you walk into her and keep going. If she hangs back keep going. It does not usually take them long to figure out that beside you is the best place to be. Anytime she falls into the correct position reward her but keep moving. If she is staying in position walk straight and as soon as she moves out of position go back to the figure 8.
It won't give you a focused heel but it will give you a nice walkable heel in correct position. But do remember that a walk should be enjoyable for both of you and your dog is not likely to enjoy a forced march at your side. I only ask for heel when we are in crowded or populated areas or while crossing roads. If Shadow starts pulling on me or ignoring me I will ask for a heel just to bring her back, but for most of our walks she is free to sniff and wander.
This really helped me out. Shasta was always just a little too far forward. No matter how many leash corrections I used, eventually she would creep ahead. I started doing a quick left turn when she got ahead, and ran into her. It made her pay a lot more attention to where I am at, and where I want her.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-18-2019, 08:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Custom Billet View Post
I started doing a quick left turn when she got ahead, and ran into her. It made her pay a lot more attention to where I am at, and where I want her.
I do this too. I added the cue "turn" (I use a different cue for right turns, this is only for lefts) right before I walk into the dog. It doesn't usually take long for them to figure it out and move out of the way, turning with me, when they hear the cue.
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