Attention heeling with a short dog - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-21-2010, 03:03 PM Thread Starter
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Attention heeling with a short dog

Does anyone have experience working with a short dog on heeling? I'm trying to start Dottie on formal heeling and her anatomy is proving to be somewhat of a challenge. For those who don't know Dottie, she is short! Very short. Ankle height short. So I've been doing mostly "watch me" from the heel position (static) and I think she has problem sitting close to my left leg and look up at my face at the same time. In order for her to look at my face, she needs to sit at least 1 inch or 1 1/2" away from my left leg. So instead of my face, should I try to teach her to focus somewhere else, somewhere lower so it's easier on her neck? (belt, pants pocket ...)

Any hints/tips/suggestions welcome!
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-21-2010, 03:37 PM
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Re: Attention heeling with a short dog

Try spoon heeling!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQSZO-pZNF0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkVkB...eature=related

A friend of mine teaches them to try to focus on her front hip, like at side of the pocket. She puts one of the squeezie black paper clipper thingies on her pocket the and a squishy treat on the little silver handle parts... like hot dog or cheese. She gradually raises her spoon up to that level on the spoon heeling at first. I myself have not trained a little dog.

My friend heels with a Sheltie and is on the board. I think she teaches focus on face or shoulder though. Maybe she will post.

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-21-2010, 04:00 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Attention heeling with a short dog

And then you just gradually move the spoon up? Or do you get a smaller and smaller spoon?

I think Dottie will definitely dig spoon heeling! Dottie says thanks!!!
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-21-2010, 04:12 PM
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Re: Attention heeling with a short dog

I've heard that some trainers will have a short dog focus on their hip/waist instead of looking at their face because it is difficult for them to look that high and stay in proper heel position.
I never had a problem with getting my 14" tall terrier mix to look at my waist, since that is where the bait bag hangs!


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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-21-2010, 04:22 PM
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Re: Attention heeling with a short dog

I've done spoon heeling but usually when the person cant bend or the puppy is eating their hand lol

Samba was talking about me (I think lol) since I am the friend on the board with a sheltie

With the sheltie I taught him the same a I start my shepherds, I just had to reach down a little more

I found in watching others with small dogs that they had the same problems you are running into, sitting too far out and/or really forging. So what I do is first build in muscle memory and rewards for where I want the dog with luring. I do luring for quite a while and gradually bring my hand up to my hip. I actually teach my dogs to forge a little because I prefer forging to lagging and I expect the dog to lag a smidge in compeitition due to stress and my nerves lol I don't really teach the sheltie to focus on my face, more my hip and as he grew to a barely within standard sheltie, my shoulder.

As I said, I start with luring the position. Exactly where I wanted him. I also make them reach up for the treat so they learn right off the bat how to walk with their heads up. I make sure to keep the dog in position and close to me. After luring for a while, I start to raise the treat between steps so that it is at hip level and I mark the dogs attention there and then reward.

When starting, I actually don't teach static attention at heel. *shrug* Just found it easier for me. I teach static attention once I have the dogs desire to be in heel position.

Next time Samba and I get together to train, I'll have to see if we can record a little to show you

Feel free to PM me to discuss further

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-21-2010, 04:29 PM
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Re: Attention heeling with a short dog

Oh forgot to add, biggest problem I have seen with spoon heeling is heeling wide. If you don't hold the spoon in the correct spot (easy to do because it isn't uncomfortable for you like bending and reaching is) the dog learns to heel wide. I like the dog close, very close. I find it easier to be done with food in hand rather than on spoon, but if you can hold the spoon in the correct position it works pretty well.

I have found in regards to the spoon size that really once your dog undertands more about position and where to be, you can take away the spoon and just use your hand (as long as you can bend) holding the treat.

The spoon is really to just teach the dog they can walk with their head up in a certain place and be rewarded, not so much to teach attention to you in heel.

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-21-2010, 04:35 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Attention heeling with a short dog

Excellent!!! Thanks!!

I'm going to try it and see how it goes with Dots. If you two make some heeling videos with the sheltie, definitely post it. I want to see it!
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-21-2010, 04:51 PM
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Re: Attention heeling with a short dog

Quote:
Quote:
With the sheltie I taught him the same a I start my shepherds, I just had to reach down a little more
That's what I've done with my 11" beagle. I'm especially diligent about using a clicker because it helps me to be clear to her about what she's doing well since it takes me a tiny bit longer to get the treat in front of her than my taller GSDs.

A trainer I know (who does competition obedience) uses a binder clip to clip a piece of meat or jerky to her waistband. (She treats with her hand however) Then when she has the dog heeling with the right head position consistently, she makes the meat smaller and smaller til it's faded away entirely.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-22-2010, 04:37 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Attention heeling with a short dog

A quick video of Dottie's beginner heeling. You see how short she is!!!! Poor girl has to really crank her neck to look up.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTQXkc1KdMU
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-22-2010, 09:41 PM
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Re: Attention heeling with a short dog

Oh my, Dottie gots short legs and a short neck. She does remarkably well. I see it does push her out a bit. Small dogs sometimes don't heel as closely as larger ones because of that. She is doing sooo great with her focus! Now you can show mixed in AKC so yikes here comes Dottie if you like!!!

Ike is doing super. He is already working real nicely. Puleeez don't let Ike jump out the window!!

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