Teaching the sideways heel - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-05-2011, 10:52 PM Thread Starter
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Teaching the sideways heel

What is the best way to teach this? Dante heels great and turns great - but if I simply step to the right, he stays put and stares at me. How do you help them close the connection in their mind that sideways is the same as going forward - stay to my side?
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-05-2011, 10:59 PM
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It's hard to go from straight to sideway. Try taking a diagonal step instead. Imagine if you are standing in the middle of circle and 12 o'clock is straight ahead and 3 o'clock is the side step that you want. Then start teaching the dog to keep heel when you take a diagonal step forward, towards the 1 o'clock position (in the beginning, LOTS AND LOTS of help and encouragement). Once that diagonal step is good, then start making the step more and more sideway instead of diagonal.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-05-2011, 10:59 PM
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Are you on facebook? I have a couple of videos of how I started to do that with mine.

I used my hand as a target (still do in training) and taught them to bring their rear around and worked on the rear awarness. It was pretty rocky in the beginning but it improved with every single day and once they had that they did the side-heel too. It came naturally out of the mini-steps.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-06-2011, 10:44 AM
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Does Dante know to pivot with you in a stationary heel position? I would start there, and then as Jason suggested, start taking little steps in the diagonal before moving to a side step.

With Gryffon, because he is as long and flexible as a noodle, I used a touch stick (a short horse crop) to lightly tap his hinquarters in, so that he did not just move his front end over, but his whole body straight.

I also did some diagonal heeling with him using the stick to encourage straightness. These exercises are demanding mentally and physically, so need to work up slowly, and not ask for too much.


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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-06-2011, 11:07 AM Thread Starter
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Castlemaid, I have been working on that with him, and will keep practicing and then start with the diagonal step. The heel stick may not be a bad idea, as he does tend to want to move the front end first and let the hind dwaddle behind.

I just don't want him to shut down on me with the stick, because he's weak nerved and very sensitive to correction/training aids. Have to keep it positive positive positive with this boy.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-06-2011, 11:56 AM
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That's sort of like the side step in Rally. Balto has a command, sort of, "Get In" means to get closer to me, and it developed from Rally and all the heeling configurations. I just worked in some diagonals as mentioned above, as long as he's paying attention, he will stay glued to my side.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-06-2011, 04:34 PM
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How about perch work?

I am sure the seasoned rally and obedience people will chime in and let you know if this technique carries over. But this is how I teach body to leg connection, or the "get close" command.

Here is part 3 of a video showing the connection, but part 1 and 2 are listed as well for reference:

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