Teaching a strong heel - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-29-2011, 06:38 PM Thread Starter
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Teaching a strong heel

Im working on teaching Cyrus to heel and Im really struggling. He is VERY toy driven and moderately food driven. Any suggestions?!?! We start slow.. a few steps and reward with food. Ive never done it with a toy before so not sure on the process with this?? He seems to lose focus very quickly so I try to keep the trainings short and to the point, always ending on a positive note.......

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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-29-2011, 06:39 PM Thread Starter
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I forgot to mention that I ultimately would like a heel where the dog focuses on your eye contact. He has the "watch me" command down very well...just trying to connect the two is where Im lost

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-29-2011, 06:43 PM
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I'm training with someone (world level SchH) who doesn't like to use a toy at first because you can't keep the momentum in the training. When you're starting out and constantly rewarding every few steps you don't want to do it with a toy because it ends up being a process--reward, tug, let go, get toy back. She uses a toy reward down the road when the dog is heeling for a longer time.

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-29-2011, 06:45 PM
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Just keep the short footsteps/rewards going. Eventually you can lengthen it. If you want to transfer to a ball or tug, carry it under your chin, but like Justine mentions the rewarding is drawn out longer, defeating the purpose.
THe book Training in Drive by Sheila Booth is great for teaching heeling. I would get a copy, it is easy to follow~even if you aren't training in SchH.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-29-2011, 07:04 PM Thread Starter
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That was why I wasn't sure about using the toy. Thanks guys. I actually was trying to figure out the name of that book Onyx girl THANKS!!! I will definetly pick that up ASAP.

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-29-2011, 10:33 PM
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Madix is super toy-driven. So, I started with food first and lured. I was totally against this because he has good eye contact, but it was VERY difficult for me to get him to look at me while walking. So, I held treats in my hand, by my arm pit and treated when he was in proper position (I countered his tendency to forge by having a leash drawn behind me and in my right hand - so I could lure, pull forward with my left hand and check the leash with my thighs/butt, while holding the end in my right hand. It really cleared up for him what position was correct). Then I transitioned to the toy to give his heeling a little more pop. I still use treats when I'm in my obedience class (b/c the toy tends to put him into drive and then he barks...which is disturbing to the other dogs hahaha), so now I'm treating when he's not looking at my hand but is looking at my face. I've also started to put the hand with the treats other places - behind my back, next to my leg, behind his head, next to his head - and still ask for eye contact while we're walking. Now, I also do this with his toy
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-29-2011, 11:55 PM
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Have you checked out Michael Ellis on leerburg.com? He has a dvd on focused heeling and you can see a clip from it there
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-30-2011, 01:10 AM
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I love teaching heeling It's my favorite exercise.

I suggest Michael Ellis (Leerburg | Michael Ellis) and Joanne FLemming Plumb (Training Plumb-Style) whole-heartedly.

My own personal training consists of lots of luring in the right place in the beginning, then fading out the lure later adding a toy (if the dog likes them). I believe in muscle memory and I do a lot of holding the dog in place with food. I go slow and do not rush. Heeling takes years to perfect (IMO).

Find a competition trainer (Obed/SchH) and start observing them training their dogs (see if you like their style of heeling) then sign up for lessons!

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-30-2011, 02:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onyx'girl View Post
Just keep the short footsteps/rewards going. Eventually you can lengthen it. If you want to transfer to a ball or tug, carry it under your chin, but like Justine mentions the rewarding is drawn out longer, defeating the purpose.
THe book Training in Drive by Sheila Booth is great for teaching heeling. I would get a copy, it is easy to follow~even if you aren't training in SchH.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-30-2011, 10:36 AM
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how old is your dog? i used treats to teach my dog heel.
i taught him to heel or either side with or without a leash.
my dog wanted his shoulder to be beside my knee as opposed to his head.
i taught my dog to heel so i don't know the correct head position.
i figured it's better to have his head beside my knee rather than his shoulder. when my GF are walking together holding hands or side my side
our dog will walk/heel between us, ahhh.

when my dog is heeling i can do figure 8's, circles and weaves. he'll aslo do these things wehn my GF and i are walking together.

Last edited by doggiedad; 01-30-2011 at 10:38 AM.
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