Teaching Basic Position for Heeling - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-01-2013, 08:27 PM Thread Starter
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Teaching Basic Position for Heeling

I'm currently entrenching myself in theories and methodologies of Schutzhund. I am what we'd call a newbie to this all but I feel I'm grasping most of the concepts well.

The only thing I'm having trouble with is teaching the basic position for heeling. Being as obedience plays a huge role in every aspect of Schutzhund (IPO) I'd like to get some thoughts and maybe some pointers to as how you got your dogs going with this and what a good way of teaching this would be.

Any help would be greatly appreciated

Nitro- BH TT- GSD 7/2/11
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-01-2013, 08:34 PM
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I think there are probably a few hundred different ways to answer this question. Personally, I started with my puppy with food and a combination of shaping/luring exercises. In the beginning, I would lure her into the position that I wanted, click and treat. Then eventually I started asking for her to move into the position on her own and faded the lure. We also spent a lot of time with perch work to teach rear end movement, and it greatly helped with teaching the basic position.

You can check out my youtube channel. It has all the training videos from my puppy at 8 weeks until now.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-01-2013, 08:57 PM
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The command "Heel!" you should pronounce like "Cheese!" with a slice of good Cheddar in your teeth. Pat yourself with your left hand on your left thigh - that is a supporting gesture for heeling. Start moving and make a few steps together with your dog looking at your mouth. Then kneel and feed your dog that piece of cheese mouth to mouth. Take a piece of cheese in your right hand next time, say "Heel!" and start moving, make a few steps. Use a traffic lead to train in the street, your puppy will get use to its length and will understand its limit. The leash should dangle down freely while your dog walks beside you, but only he pulls - 1) command; 2) stop; 3) make a little jerk on his collar and pull your dog to your side. Sometimes this needs to be repeated numerous times. The dog always want to move forward and will obey only to avoid such stops. Train alongside a long building wall on your left to keep closer distance between you and your dog. Start training from five minutes, and make your sessions longer with time. Train to heel without the leash. It is important your dog looks at you while you are walking. Make turns of different angles and turns round. Keep that cheese in your fist close to your chest - your dog should know you have it. I used a ball for this reason.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-01-2013, 09:28 PM
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find a trainer or join a club would be the best way to go.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JRZ91 View Post
I'm currently entrenching myself in theories and methodologies of Schutzhund. I am what we'd call a newbie to this all but I feel I'm grasping most of the concepts well.

The only thing I'm having trouble with is teaching the basic position for heeling. Being as obedience plays a huge role in every aspect of Schutzhund (IPO)

>>>>>I'd like to get some thoughts and maybe some pointers to as how you got your dogs going with this and what a good way of teaching this would be. <<<<<

Any help would be greatly appreciated
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-01-2013, 10:02 PM Thread Starter
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find a trainer or join a club would be the best way to go.
I do train with a club and they have given me great steps in learning this. Just thought I'd like to hear other views of how other people did it

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-02-2013, 07:35 AM
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Luckily I didnt have to lure much. I simply started walking with berlins ball in hand. As soon as he was in proper position I marked "yes" and tossed the ball. After a few days of this I began waiting until he went 4-5 steps in the proper position to mark "yes" and toss the ball. We've been doing this a few weeks now and I can consistently go back 10-20 steps with curves and he's in a good position head up looking at me.

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-02-2013, 10:52 AM
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I've been taught to train focus in the basic position first. So, dog in a sitz, next to my left leg, shoulder blades lined up with my knee, ask for "foos" the second I get eye contact, "yesss" and a treat...over time I increase the amount of time(seconds) I get focus, and treat with "yess" as marker. I don't take a step forward until I get focus through distraction, I don't test distraction until it's clear the dog knows "foos" means "look at me." Once that's clear, people around me cough, clap, smack a chair, anything to try and distract the dog....when he looks, he gets a pop-pop on the collar, a repeat of the command, and treat/mark as soon as I get attention back. Once we've worked through distractions I take one step, maintain that eye contact and treat/toy the second the dog moves in position, maintaining eye contact...do that a bit...then work up to three steps, four, ten, etc....I like this method because it tends to (at least from the three dogs I've taught and others I've watched use the method at my club) not create that forging (dog too far forward), or crabbing (dog wrapping around my front)...treats and toys always come from left hand...pop-pop correction for looking for the toy instead of me...

Like others have said, I'm sure there are a 1000 ways to try and teach the basic heal position. I like this one more than luring, because I've seen several dogs (all taught be luring) that forge(I think I am spelling that right?) or crab as a habit, that default to it at trials/under pressure, because their baseline/foundation, wasn't on that focus and correct position. I'm a newb too, only been doing SchH for just under a year...and this is by NO means "my method" or anything that I can take credit for....just something that's worked so far with me for three dogs (my two dogs, including the one that just passed, and now I'm training another members "young" dog until I get my next shepherd)...so I like it :-) But I would have to make adjustments if I couldn't even get the dog to sit next to me...probably teach the dog "sit," step into basic position myself, do this with treats/praise to have the dog allow me to do it...and then continue on the other way....
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-02-2013, 05:54 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by DaniFani View Post
I've been taught to train focus in the basic position first. So, dog in a sitz, next to my left leg, shoulder blades lined up with my knee, ask for "foos" the second I get eye contact, "yesss" and a treat...over time I increase the amount of time(seconds) I get focus, and treat with "yess" as marker. I don't take a step forward until I get focus through distraction, I don't test distraction until it's clear the dog knows "foos" means "look at me." Once that's clear, people around me cough, clap, smack a chair, anything to try and distract the dog....when he looks, he gets a pop-pop on the collar, a repeat of the command, and treat/mark as soon as I get attention back. Once we've worked through distractions I take one step, maintain that eye contact and treat/toy the second the dog moves in position, maintaining eye contact...do that a bit...then work up to three steps, four, ten, etc....I like this method because it tends to (at least from the three dogs I've taught and others I've watched use the method at my club) not create that forging (dog too far forward), or crabbing (dog wrapping around my front)...treats and toys always come from left hand...pop-pop correction for looking for the toy instead of me
I just bought a 22" training lead, should I keep that on him while doing this? Also once the focus is established do you gradually start taking a couple steps?

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