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Hi! My GSD, Keeli, is 8 years old. She knew the basic commands since she was a pup and I recently taught her some new tricks like, play dead, circle, do a figure 8 through my legs, etc. but I was hoping I could teach her to walk by my side and heel when we're walking on a leash. She likes to walk ahead of me and stuff and I don't want her to do that. She will occasionally pull but other than that, she is calm. She stays pretty well too, I tell her to sit and I put the leash down, tell her to stay and walk away. Then I tell her to come and she'll run towards me. Another thing she does is sometimes, when I tell her to do something on a walk, she ignore me and look away. Not even looking at anything. Then I try to get her attention, she still won't look at me. Its very frustrating. Anyway, my question is, is it possible to teach an 8 year old GSD to walk beside me and heel? And why does she sometimes not want to look at me? Thanks!
 

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Anyway, my question is, is it possible to teach an 8 year old GSD to walk beside me and heel? And why does she sometimes not want to look at me? Thanks!
(1) Yes BUT a formal obedience Heel, if that's what you're talking about, is difficult and exhausting for a dog to sustain over long periods of time. The dog has to match its movements very precisely to yours; it's constantly making tiny adjustments in pace, position, even body alignment to stay in the correct orientation. It's a significant mental and physical effort.

I don't think it's fair or humane to ask dogs to maintain a formal Heel for the entirety of their regular leash walks (and my dogs love Heeling!). It would be like if you had to tap dance constantly instead of being able to just stroll down your own sidewalk. Exhausting and, even if you enjoy dancing sometimes, doing it constantly soon becomes no fun at all.

They're dogs; let them be dogs. What's the harm in allowing them to sniff things and look at their environment and enjoy exploring the world a little?

(2) Not wanting to look at you could be a lot of things; without more information it's impossible to know what is going on there.

The most common reasons a dog will look away, IME, is because either (a) it's distracted by something else in the environment; or (b) it's stressed and the gaze aversion is meant as a calming signal. It can be both of those things at the same time, too.
 

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No, I mean't just walk by my side instead of in front of me but good point. But, with the looking away, its just whenever I crouch down and ask her to do something, example- "Keeli, sit." then she looks away. Sometimes she'll be looking at a cat crossing the road and other times she'll just be looking at a tree. Lol. I've heard before though that its a calming method and I've tried not show it whenever I was frustrated and keep a cheery voice then when I do that, she sit and then I ask her to "lay down" and she'll continue to look away. Its hard to explain but I've looked it up everywhere. Nothing on google says anything about a calming method. Just that she is distracted. But the thing is, when my mom tells her to do something, she'll look at her and do it automatically. But my mom always uses a harsh voice and I just can't do that to Keeli, I always use a sweet voice. Is that possibly the problem? I'm not stern enough so she thinks she can push me around? Just confused is all. 'Sigh.'
 
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