Ok got the focus started..now to fix all the positioning lol - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-23-2018, 07:54 PM Thread Starter
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Ok got the focus started..now to fix all the positioning lol

Through a lot of work, we made the connection that "fuss" means focused heel. I think a lot of the confusion at first was because the first 4 months I had him ( I got him when he was 5 months old)I was very satisfied with a nice loose lead next to me. And we do like 2 1 hour walks a day so it was ingrained. We have switched casual loose lead to "with me" and the focused heel is "fuss"

He is smarter than I am... I finally put things in such a way that he knows what I want from him. This is huge for us, 4 weeks ago I couldn't do it in our livingroom let alone a busy street. We got it down in the house, then the yard, then our block. This is first day on a busy road. With each transition it was 2 steps, reward..then 5 steps..then 10 etc etc. I am now doing jackpot for dropping the tug. It is sloppy though. This poor dog, otherwise known as "the one she learned on".

His butt end is kicking out. I have zero pressure on the lead so he is keeping his shoulder next to my thigh without any pressure and without leaning on me (sorted that out).

2 possible reasons given to me he is kicked out in the rear-

My sunglasses..he is struggling for eye contact? I have super sensitive to light eyes but I will ditch them if I have to. I am always wearing them though and I feel like I don't want him ONLY doing it if my glasses are off. I need them even on cloudy days. I get migranes from too much bright.

Or

I am walking too slowly and leaning over him. Was more pronounced, I am learning to stand straight. And I agree I am walking too slowly, lack of confidence.

Sorry you can't see his nice sit...pole was in the way. At the end when it looks like I jerk that is actually me releasing the tug under my left armpit. Need to get that a bit smoother. That is where the height thing came into play. If I drop it without leaning away it was falling before he noticed lol So much to fix...so much. 6 months minimum to BH as he is 10 months old.

Any constructive criticism is requested and welcome. I know it is a short clip, will try to start taking decent videos. I think video and then studying them will help me a lot.


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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-23-2018, 08:11 PM
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You are causing most of that. You have your shoulder twisted back and you are looking down at him. You need to be straight and you need to be looking forward. And you taught him to make eye contact. All of that is contributing to this. most likely you never lured him into a proper heel position when he was younger.

Put a mirror up somewhere, start over with luring and look in the mirror...not at him. Get him back in position so he's not forging and wrapping.




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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-23-2018, 08:21 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, thanks. Pretty much confirmed what I though I was doing wrong. Did not notice the shoulder twisting.

Yes, I taught him eye contact with "watch me" and he really has it down. Previously Fuss meant loose lead on my left side nothing more. So I am having to kind of marry the two things.

When I got him at 5 moths old, 5 months ago, he knew sit, platz, and here. That is it. So a little late on OB to start, combined with an owner that has always had trained dogs in the manners department and basics department but who has never done any of this before, it will be a satisfying victory to accomplish these things.

I am noticing my body language is very tense. Thanks for the mirror idea that is great. It will allow me to see his focus without looking at him. Oh and i am partially blind in my left eye, there is zero low left left peripheral vision there, which contributes to really turning my head to see if he is looking. lol And my right shoulder is dislocated so wont dare do any lead work with it. Lordy this poor dog.

Can you elaborate on luring? Or point me to a good video?

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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-23-2018, 10:17 PM
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Luring is using your hand usually holding a treat or toy to get his head and body positioned correctly.His head follows your hand,his body follows his head.Rewarding for correct position and creating muscle memory.
If someone could lure me with a Cinnabon in front of me I'm sure I would make fewer mistakes
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-23-2018, 11:03 PM
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Tyler Muto has some great videos on YouTube for teaching competition heeling.

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It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog. Mark Twain

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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-24-2018, 07:12 AM
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wow, Tim. lots of good tips in that one video alone. I'd not seen this guy work before. Thanks!

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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-24-2018, 07:44 AM
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Thanks for posting this, @Tim. Very educational! Two quick questions: First, how much does the height of the step matter? (I realize that 2' might not be good for most dogs, but wondered if something slightly taller would work). Second, what about putting the step on a rug or something so that it doesn't slide about as much --- or does that not matter?

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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-24-2018, 09:17 AM Thread Starter
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This is all great! Thanks!

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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-24-2018, 09:44 AM
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I'd think about not moving out yet. He's going to learn crowding and coming around gets the toy. Tease him, lure him into a sit and cap him, then you step into position. Then reward him from your left shoulder so that he never gets the reward by being out of position. He needs to maintain that position and focus capped, for maybe 30 secs or so before you ever move. When you do move, its only 1-2 steps in the beginning to make sure he stays correct. With your dog, you're probably going to want to work to the left constantly to keep him back. Left circles, left boxes. Always think about keeping him back.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-24-2018, 10:26 AM
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Full disclosure, I just watched these (3 of them, not sure if there are more) a few weeks ago. I don't do dog sports, but I LOVE the look of the finish, so that was my interest As to the height, I know from personal experience that it can be too low because I tried targeting on a very large frisbee with very limited success. Ultimately, the idea is to phase out the target once the dog has learned the pivot and position, so if something slightly taller works for your dog it's probably fine, remembering that you'll be incrementally phasing it out later on. The goal, as I see it, is to have high enough that it's well defined for the dog, but low enough so that the muscle memory you build while using it transfers easily to a flat plane. I think a small rug to keep the target stationary would be fine too, but, and this is just my uneducated opinion, it should probably not be large enough for the dog to be stepping on it with its hind feet as that might lead to confusion later on in the process.

With my dog, in the end, I decided to "explain" what I wanted in a different way...

Steve, do you use a target like in the video?
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It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog. Mark Twain

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