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Discussion Starter #1
I want to work on heeling with my dog and was wondering if anyone had any tips on videos I could watch to learn how to teach it? He will heel and give me his attention pretty well, but he's often too far ahead of where he should be and his head tends to wrap around in front of me. Can someone point me in the direction of some material on how to correct this?
 

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If you're training with treats and using your right hand that is the reason he's wrapping around front.Position the treat pouch under your left arm and retrain yourself to keep your hand close to your arm and left side,never in front.If you train with a toy,hold it in your left armpit.
 

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Dave Kroyer's site is inexpensive.

I suspect it's your reward placement. You want the reward above the dog's head and always reward backwards or up. I just hold it in my hand so I can take in and out of the picture as I choose and reward how I choose. And I'm not fond of getting bit in the boob when I release the toy from under my arm.

The crabbing and forging will probably need a correction at some point. I would describe how to do that but then people on this board would lose their minds and I'm way over that. Fix the reward placement and see what you get from there.
 

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If you are using food, the dog needs to be hungry, the food needs to be of high value, the food should be delivered from the left hand, and the position of the hand should be at least where the outseam of pants should be or even a little further back. You should hold your hand so you are funneling the food from the bottom of your fist and teach the dog to push up into your hand. It is harder than it seems to lay a correct foundation for heeling. That does not even get into teaching the static heel position, which, IMO, should be taught first.
 

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Stonnie Dennis has a good video on YouTube on teaching the static heel position. Teach that first! Then gradually begin moving...
 

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I have seen a number of trainers use a toy that they hold in their left armpit.
Then from time to time they drop the toy when the dog is in the correct position.
This teaches the dog to look up and to be in the correct position and to be focused on you.
 

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A lot of people put it in their armpit. A LOT. The ball is in perfect position in your armpit. It's just not what I do.

The only time I've place the ball in my armpit was in the about turn and left turn. Seger kept dropping his head so as I turned I would drop the ball on his head. I didn't care if he was looking up. Eventually he was like "Omg Shaggy. There is a ball that keeps falling on my head. Where is it coming from?!" and started DRIVING into the corner in anticipation.

So there is benefit to that as well. The first time I was told to do it, I thought the person was crazy. Reward the dog when he's not looking? What kind of sorcery is that? But it works!

The about turn was to get him closer without my hand in the picture, his head was up but he was wide looking for the ball in my hand.
 

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It is best to start with food because you can provide continuous reinforcement. Then go to a toy and fade the toy so that is behind the dog’s head but still available as a reinforcer. Presentation and timing of the toy is important. You want release the dog to the toy when he is absolutely correct and tops it to the side or behind the dog or present above his head and back to the left some or teach the dog to come around and behind you to get the toy from your right hand. Adding an e-collar will get even more precision. The dog will need the correct level of drive.
 

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I never liked holding the ball under my arm because it felt uncomfortable and unnatural since I like to hold the leash and correct with my left hand. I held the ball in my right and began bouncing it behind me for forging. I also worked without the toy. I turned the prong around so that the leash connected under the chin and corrected for loss of focus. I used progressive leash pressure to fix the forging. Crabing is a bit harder to fix. You can try to heel along side a wall, or fence, but it is likely that they will go back to crabing after you move away.
 

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There are many ways to teach a focused heel. You don’t ever want the dog looking away or dropping his head. IMO it is probably the most difficult exercise to teach and get good results because the behavior is so constant and there are so many “opportunities” to screw up. Timing of the reward is critical and it is a behavior you have to put hundreds of hour in and there is always room for improvement. I am referring to competition heeling. When I just walking I let and want my dog to walk in front of me pulling a bit. This helps the dog to learn competition heeling from walking.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks for all the information! I tried moving the ball to the left side of my body and it seems to have fixed his forging and crossing in front of me - I'm not stepping on his toes anymore! Seems like such an obvious thing to do now that's been pointed out to me. I probably should have worked more on the static heel position first, so I will get to work on that.
 
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