How long are your training sessions? and Heeling. - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 02:38 AM Thread Starter
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How long are your training sessions? and Heeling.

I went for my first training session with my trainer last weekend. It's not a class, just one on one at her home. I really didn't know what to expect being that it's my first time doing this.

She stated because my dog knows most of the basic commands already, we'll work on a proper heel. The trainer said the ideal positioning for your dog should be on your left side. Her story was that in the military, you held your gun with your right and your dog on the left. Made sense i guess... Since Abby was a pup, she's been on my right but the trainer said it's fine. I've started walking Abby on the left from that point on.

The entire training period started from 8:00 am to 10:00 am and she advised me to train Abby atleast 10 to 15 minutes a day with what we went over. How long are your sessions with the trainer and what about when it's DIY?

Another question I had, the trainer's method of introducing the heel was using the commands of "Look/focus", "walk/let's go", and calling their name. Abby failed miserably on the look and calling her name, though I do practice it at home. Because she failed, the trainer told me to get a high value treat (hot dog) and place it in front of Abby's muzzle/nose and start walking but at the same time, hold her muzzle from underneath to keep Abby in the proper place. We took one step and treated. Then after a few rounds, 3 steps and treat... What do you think about this method?

Abby - Jan. 1, 2011 to Dec. 27, 2013
Bandit - Sept. 17, 2012
Rogue - Feb. 14, 2014
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 03:45 AM
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Danni's competition heeling was taught this way, one step at a time with food. I still go back to one step at a time every so often, or if we have a problem (ie. crowding or forging). Danni is HOT but I did get a lot of advice from other people in the sport. My training sessions with her last as long as I can tell she's able to perform. I keep them short, 15-20 minutes. You want to finish on a high note with your dog before she/he gets tired or loses focus/motivation. You'll start to learn as you work your dog how long they'll be able to go on a given day. It varies. I generally don't set a time frame, just go by my dog.
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 04:11 AM
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with the trainer it was a 1/2 hour session. when i was training
it was in sessions. each session last 5 to 10 minutes. there were
many sessions in a 24 hour period. with "heel" my dog was taught
to heel on either side with or without a leash. he was also taught
"other side". no matter which side my dog is on (leashed or unleashed)
if i say other side he switches sides. if my dog is sitting on my left
ans i lead off with my right leg he heels (walks with me). if i lead
off with my left leg my dog stays.
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 08:53 AM
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I do short sessions...5 to 10 minutes and throw in retrieves and recalls, not just formal heeling. I also don't expect more than a few footsteps of focus when beginning. Only mark what you like, don't reward when the dog is not focusing on you.
I go to private lessons too, and we work up to more steps, more endurance, but it can't happen over one or two sessions. It is forever ongoing!
Look at this site, There are some helpful video clips on it.

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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 09:02 AM
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You are being too harsh on yourself and your pup - neither of you 'failed' at anything - all those behaviours you are expecting from Abby are learned behaviours (even looking at you when you talk to her or call her name is a trained behaviour), so she can't fail at an exercise she does not know.

Focus on you is the foundation of everything, including heeling. 2 hour is extremely long for even an adult dog. How old is Abby? Nor sure from the signature if she was born in Jan or in November.

For a one year old dog, I would not expect more than 10 to 20 minutes of focused work.

For a five month old, 5 to 10 minutes at a time. But work within her ability, when you see her 'checking out' you have been doing too much.

The techniques your trainer is showing you are common ways to shape focus and positioning. It does start out very slow with small increments of improvement, so don't get discouraged.

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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 09:32 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for the replies. This is my first dog so I've got much learning to do. My girl was born in January. Sorry for the confusion.

The focus and name calling I've been doing since she was a pup. I guess I had too much expectations from her being that we're both in a new environment. Thanks for the encouragement. So the 2 hour session was a bit too long for Abby then...

I forgot to mention that the trainer had some agility objects set up and we tested Abby if she would like to do Agility. It took a trail of treats to get onto the one shaped like /----\ but once she did it. she didn't want to stop! We also tried the C-saw, the trainer told me to catch the other end before it fell so Abby doesn't get scared. I think I found her sport. She was scared of the tire though. Eventually she jumped through quicker. I praised like it was a party every time. I wish I had some photos to share. We're going back this weekend so I have my wife take some pictures.

Abby - Jan. 1, 2011 to Dec. 27, 2013
Bandit - Sept. 17, 2012
Rogue - Feb. 14, 2014
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 09:35 AM
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For me, it's not about length of time but how many focused steps have we taken. I might spend 20 minutes in a session but it is not all heeling. I'll throw in sits, stands, downs, stays. If today she gave you 5 focused steps, then tomorrow ask for 7.




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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 09:41 AM
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2 hours? I would be bored out of my mind let alone the poor dog.

Elena is in a class that is 55 minutes, but we are not working that whole time. The heeling work is very short, 2-3 minutes done twice. When younger we worked in short spurts with focus in front and basic (heel position) and slowly introduced in other components needed in obedience. When I work at the club or at home I do about the same amount of time of heeling, maybe a hair more. Flashy focused heeling work requires a lot of conditioning (mental and physical) so I don't ask for long stretches before rewarding. Elena is not yet 11 months.

With my older dogs their obedience sessions vary in length depending on what I am working on that day. Because of their age I can do longer stretches of heeling before a release. Some days we work just heeling and the first part of the routine (I do SchH). Other days we might do some quick heeling and then work on retrieves. Their sessions can run from 10-15 minutes easily. Then we have the really quickie sessions that might last 2 minutes where I work on one small component of an entire obedience routine (i.e. fronts, finishes, sit/down/stand, or hold, etc).

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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 09:49 AM Thread Starter
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Here's another good question. When you guys say your session, is that full on training and no breaks?

I forgot to mention we took breaks in between so she can have fun with the agility objects. I'd say total length of training was probably 1 h 15m.

Abby - Jan. 1, 2011 to Dec. 27, 2013
Bandit - Sept. 17, 2012
Rogue - Feb. 14, 2014
"A tired dog is a happy one
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 04-18-2012, 12:37 PM
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That entire training session would include exercises and play.

Lisa Clark

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Vala SchH3 AWD1 FH2 CGC B/HOT, Donovan IPO1 TR2 AD, Nike SchH1 OB1 TR3 AD CGC HOT, Treue SchH3 CD CGC HOT



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