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Discussion Starter #1
I have a dog here that was fairly soft and handler sensitive when we first got her. Because of this, I didn't push her as much in her heel as I should have. As a result, she now has a gorgeous heel position ... only her shoulders are about 8" past my hip. Understandably, this is forging ahead a bit. However, can we still get qualifying scores in Obedience so long as she doesn't crowd me? At this point, it would be a hge hassle to retrain her. I'd prefer not to if possible, so thought I would ask around first before doing any drastic changes.
 

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you would probably qualify, but you will take a big hit in points. In Novice, the Heel on lead & Figure 8 is worth 40 points, you cant loose more than 20 points or you fail. Same thing with Heel Free exercise.
 

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Why not try to fix it? Do several turns while you bump her-it may show her where you want her. Praise/pay her when she is in position. She may just need to be shown, and as she is handler sensitive will get it quickly.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Why not try to fix it? Do several turns while you bump her-it may show her where you want her. Praise/pay her when she is in position. She may just need to be shown, and as she is handler sensitive will get it quickly.
I have tried many methods to fix it. She will correct herself for a few feet and surge forward again. Any sort of harder correction (jerk on the leash, or bump her too hard with your leg, etc) and she just can't tolerate it at all. As long as she is slightly ahead of me she is happy and animated, though. That's why I felt it would take some drastic work (ie: hair pulling on my part) to correct the issue. She is not quite as soft anymore, but can still shut down if pushed too far and she's just hard enough that positive reinforcement, praise, or treats only go so far before she ignores it. She's an interesting one.

My next step would be to just bite the bullet and do a mixture of bumping her, applying pressure to her leash (as needed), and then trying to mix in enough positive reinforcement to keep her from shutting down. Of course, it would be a very fine balancing act.

In my dream world, I could get by as is ... but I guess that won't work out like I had hoped. I don't want to lose major points over it.

Edited to add: by jerk on the leash I do not mean yank her off her feet. I mean a mild to moderate bump.
 

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Start at the beginning and reteach her heel position. After that, work on moving in heel position, but only take one or two steps at a time. If she's forging ahead, you're taking too many steps and you need to slow down. Try to set her up for success so she's never in a situation where she'll need to be corrected for messing up!
 

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You can also change her heel command as you work to fix it. It may make the change more clear to her.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Start at the beginning and reteach her heel position. After that, work on moving in heel position, but only take one or two steps at a time. If she's forging ahead, you're taking too many steps and you need to slow down. Try to set her up for success so she's never in a situation where she'll need to be corrected for messing up!
She has a perfect basic position a majority of the time. Would I be moving too fast if I start right into working on the moving heel (by taking small steps)? I hadn't thought of trying that.

She will come around behind me and sit with her shoulder at my hip, but then forges as we move out. From then on, her basic position is usually correct but can sometimes get crooked (another thing we're working on). :blush:

Andaka - thanks. I might try that.
 

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I agree about changing her heel command and starting fresh. start by rewarding with a stationary position with her in correct position, using the new command. I would use food luring to keep her in position while in motion, only a few strides at a time rewarding and feeding while in motion and then release. This is how I trained my dog when he was 8 weeks old, he had a nice attention heel and nice position by 12 weeks, and I was able to take the lure away that soon as well.
 

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Frank likes to forge alittle too when on lead but not when he's off lead, giving him a leash correction didnt' seem to be working because he would get wide then, so what i've been doing is holding an extremly high value treat in my left hand back at hip level so he has to be back to see it, and run the leash behind me to my right hand I leave it loose, I then do lots of heeling short distances with tight left turns, the leash isnt' for corrections but just to be on him, since I noticed it was only on lead he forged. Frank's heeling is improving it's like he's learning where his rear end is and how to move it and at the same time getting the right spot to heel.
 

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I agree with the retraining too. Only taking a couple steps, then stop, she will not have a chance to forge ahead. Increase your steps one at a time. If she starts forging, go back to only a couple steps. Have you also tried putting the leash behind you and holding in your right hand? Holding her back in the correct position. If she moves ahead, she corrects herself. Are you rewarding her infront of you and her? or releasing and rewarding backward. The anticipation of release/reward to the front can sometimes encourage the forging.
 

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It's very difficult to do halfway decent turns when the dog is very forged. Like others have suggested, I'd retrain it from the beginning and would stop any forward motion the second the dog is out of position.

Put the reward (food or toy) in your right hand and release your dog with a specific cue to the reward that's held behind your back. The dog has to move BACK to get the reward, she doesn't get anything in front of you.

It's very possible that when you actually show your dog she might not forge as badly as she does in training, because she'll be less sure of herself. OR it's possible that she'll forge WORSE! Hard to say. But why continue practicing something that you already know is a problem?

I bet she's not as soft as she has led you to think she is. I've been around many dogs who train their handlers to back off on any pressure by "shutting down."
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I bet she's not as soft as she has led you to think she is. I've been around many dogs who train their handlers to back off on any pressure by "shutting down."
She's very smart, so I can see that this could be the problem.

Also, I have been rewarding from the front. Never knew to reward from the back, but it sure does make sense. She is ball crazy, so she works for the ball. I can use food, but she's not quite as animated.

Should I test the soft theory by giving a few corrections and seeing if I can push her through it? Or is that too risky? I'm more than willing to restart her ... just got to thinking about her possibly having me trained, like you mentioned.
 

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The trick to effectively correcting your dog is, the correction should lead the dog in the right direction, so you can REWARD when she's right. It's important that your praise/reward have more energy than the correction. At first you need to make sure you reward EFFORT.

Harsh corrections aren't needed, especially when the dog doesn't really understand where she's wrong.

The idea in Bridget's videos is that corrections can be partly a game....a game that pushes the dog in the right direction.

Hope this makes sense!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I just wanted to update.

The issue was solved and it was amazingly easy. I put her on a prong collar and wrapped the leash behind me, so she could self correct. As her reward, I threw her ball BACK and behind me. I only did this a few times. The next day, I brought her inside and used treats only. We worked off lead for a few feet at a time with her in the correct position.

Since then, she's had NO forging issues. :laugh:
 
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