Heeling, what can I do better? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-28-2010, 04:32 PM Thread Starter
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Heeling, what can I do better?

Even though Yukon and I are not doing Schutzhund actively I still want to keep training the heeling part.

So I've never done this kind of work before. I pretty much did research on the internet, looked at pictures and videos and tried to copy it. Also I've been thinking about "collecting" the dog and his rear. So the past couple of days I concentrated on his rear and trying to collect him. I've been reading a lot about the collection and watched a lot of videos on it. It's hard without somebody who can't correct you right there and then so I figured I'd ask you guys. I am also about to upload a video on Zenzy. I don't know if I ever compete with any of the two but it's still fun to train them and they actually demand more than just the basic obedience and training the same thing (re-call, sit, down, stay) over and over and over again...

This was yesterday.

And this one is from today.

I do think that in the second video you can see an improvement on the heeling part. I guess I am getting better in using the hand a s lure BUT I am still lacking the skill to put him into the right position. I've been trying to mark him as soon as he bumps my leg but I've been focusing so much on using my hand the right way that I didn't focus on his positioning. I tihnk I did better with Zenzy but I have to upload the video first.

You can also tell the difference between Zenzy and Yukon. They are completely different type of dogs. Also, as you can hear, there is lots and lots of distraction out there. So I think their overall concentration and focus isn't all that bad.

The videos are about ten minutes long. So I do apologize for the length already and I truly appreciate every advise I can get.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-28-2010, 06:11 PM
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Overall I think he looks very nice! The heeling doesn't have to be the prancy gait with the neck craned up. I like a bit more power and drive from the dog, but if I'm not mistaken this dog has had some mistreatment in the past? If so, I think you're doing very well with what you have to work with. He may not be *that* sort of dog that's super pushy and powerful in heeling. When you get here I think you could score very well doing Rally and regular Obedience with Yukon.

I have the opposite problem with my dog lately, he can get pretty amped up even heeling and I sometimes need him to settle in a bit more and focus more on precision/position.

One thing you could do is try being more animated yourself. Move a bit faster with more power and attitude coming from YOU. Try to give off the vibe that you want to see form your do. Do more pace changes and turns. It looks like he understands the concept and is willing to please you. I notice the second vid is 10 minutes. Maybe work shorter periods and work on making the heeling itself more fun. I don't have sound on so I can't hear but often when I'm training I'm constantly praising and giving verbal feedback to make sure the dog is enjoying himself and knows I am happy with the performance.

One thing I've been doing a bit with Nikon to get more collection in the rear is heel him between my legs. I saw Jason doing this with Ike so I've been doing these tricks between my legs and some heeling that way just for something new and fun but it helps the dog be straight and push in his rear.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-28-2010, 06:24 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you Liesje.

Yes, Yukon is the one that's been abused in the past and underwent a remarkable recovery. I was thinking yesterday if I could maybe compete in Ralley. I'd love to go into herding with him at least try it since he's so much interest in sheeps.

I noticed that as soon as I am outside on the field I don't praise the dogs as much as if I was working inside the house. Maybe it's because I am concentrating on the other things too much. And yes, I definitely need to be more powerful myself. I have the feeling that if I walk fast I'd become too hectic and I'd push him away from me but you are right, I need to get more attitude
He doesn't have to dance like a horse, I like it when it looks natural but I want him to be somewhat collected. Somewhere in the middle.

I've never tried the heeling between the legs. I'd have to see if I can do that with him.
I will try and then post the video

Last edited by Mrs.K; 10-28-2010 at 06:32 PM.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-28-2010, 06:37 PM
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I would totally agree with ALL of Lies post.

I also think if you upped your pace somewhat, walk like your on a mission) keep your head up straight, that he may get more amped up in the heeling.

I really think to, he'd do good in obed or rally here in the states Something you can work on to,,see that fence in the background?? I would use it as a barrier to work on walking straight lines/corners,,,fence/him/you..it's a good tool to use to practice working straight lines..

I think he's looking great)

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-28-2010, 07:10 PM
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The only thing I'm gonna add is more verbal praise! Especially when he is correct and making an effort/working hard (I couldn't hear anything coming from you).. I know your using a clicker, but I think if you used your voice it might animate him more..


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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-28-2010, 07:46 PM
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I agree with Leesa. I also use clickers and marker words but also use verbal praise. The click or "yes" is my mark but I also am saying things to keep the dog motivated.

If he heels like he does in those videos you will not lose any points in Rally. Also it is easier so you can talk to the dog and use whatever commands you want (verbal or hand signals or both). It would be a great thing to try with him, to see how he does in a formal trial.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-28-2010, 08:19 PM
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Yukon looks good. I like all the little micro movements that you do with him. He looks like he has nice rear end awareness when doing left turns and side steps. He loses a bit of collection when you are just heeling straight (not really pushing off from his back legs). If you want him to collect more, try doing lots of stop and go, stop and go (make sure he sits when you stop) so he is almost scooting. Basically the same thing you are doing in the video when you make those small tight turns and side steps, except now you are going straight.

Also, if he can do side steps and left turns, then he has enough rear end awareness to heel backward. So that might something you can work on with him. Heeling backward really teaches the dog to push off with their back legs.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-28-2010, 08:28 PM
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I think he looks GREAT,lol I don't compete with any of my dogs but like them to walk nicely on lead. Mine heel much like that and that is really all I need
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-28-2010, 09:43 PM
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The best improvement I see in the second video is that you walk with a more briskly pace. It is like you are more relaxed working with Yukon, having more fun and it reflects in your dog's work

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-28-2010, 11:53 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you everybody. So the main issue is me. More praise, walking like I am on a mission and working on the backward heeling. I will definitely work on that.

Zenzys video is up as well.
With her I am walking much slower as well but the reason I am walking so slow is that I can practice her heeling directly next to my leg. I am trying to start off slow and then increase the speed as soon as I feel more secure about the two of us

Can you see the difference between the two dogs? I mean the difference in their personalities but one thing they both have. A strong will to please.

Thanks again for all the advise.
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