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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Did you know forging affect 4 out of 5 dogs in competition heeling? Well, it's true! Actually, not really. Anyhoo ... :crazy:

So what are some of the techniques you use to fight forging? Please share!
 

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Young and enthusiastic dogs sometimes forge. They are green and haven't learned the fine tuning of heeling. It takes time for heeling to be really good. I don't like to discourage the young and green, so I work at helping them learn where the rewardable position is.

Overloading in drive makes mine forge. I have to adjust to keep the drive level workable.
 

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Left turns. Left turns push into the dog, and can help get them back. Left turns also ask the dog to slow down, because you are the one who has to move more, not the dog. Avoid a lot of right turns with a forging dog since they ask a dog to speed up.

Only reward in the correct spot and pay attention to the location of your reward. Most people inadvertantly reward forward. The dog in anticipation on the reward will move forward. I will throw the reward behind me and usually off to the left on a dog that's forging. Also, if you find you have a problem with crowding you're probably rewarding too often from your right hand.

I will use collar corrections, but the trick is to mark and reward the instant they are in the correct position. I also won't sacrifice enthusiasm for position though, so I won't beat the dog down. I will use my body to help them adjust to the correct position and then reward there.

I will also play with the drive level I am using. My dogs are more likely to forge for their toys...so if that's a major problem I might go to food. And within food you can adjust too. Kibble is probably the lowest.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Great advice indeed. Thanks Samba and JKlatsky! We'll be doing lots of left turn and move back to food in the next few weeks. I think we are definitely looking at a case of overloading. Today at training I had Ike sitting in heel or at least I thought I did and then I heard someone said "He is not sitting". I looked down expecting to find the hover butt sit. Nope, his butt was down. It was his front two feet that were off the ground and he was just "sitting" there holding that kangaroo-ish position, waiting for his next command. So I guess add the new "kangaroo sit" to the list of things we have to work on lol.
 

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When Nikon forges I stop heeling forward and start skipping backward, "tapping" him a few times like a wake up call, "hello dog, where were you?" and then break back into heeling. This kind of doodling in general has helped him pay more attention to turns and changes in pace.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks Lies for the tip. That's similar to what my TD suggests. Move around, spin, turn, back up, keep him guessing.

Details, details, details ... getting the big picture in place was easy. Getting these little things right ... not so much!!! :)
 

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I like it because it's a correction but also a wake up call. Instead of just yanking on the dog to get him to be here or there, I start moving backward and correct so it's more like, "Hey, I am back here going this way, where are you?" than constantly nagging the dog to keep the shoulders aligned. More of teaching the dog to pay attention than being super nit-picky about position. For position I "take it inside" which means food instead of toys, less drive but more thinking/learning from the dog and taking it more slowly but being really precise.
 

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Those more precise movements do wake the dog up and require more attention. When I get the attention, I help the dog find the right spot. I may guide, I might use my hand to draw attention to the focal point. As soon as the dog is correct, I mark that. If the dog is more accomplished and I feel that we can get several steps of correctness, then I really let the dog know that it is in the right place. "that's it! really nice! good job!" in a very happy and admiring tone of voice. The manuevering makes them engage more and then the praise of correctness... they seem to understand this is what is wanted.

I am not saying this is what you particularly are doing... but I do see this often. People work to get the correctness and then when the dog gets it right they seem to take it for granted and keep going. If I am struggling for particular picayune position (to the dog), like in heeling, once we achieve it I really do make a marked change in my interaction with the dog as we are moving. Stopping to mark it each time results in very little heeling practice, so the bridge communication is very important.

If the dog is not "finding" the right place, I might even just hold physically hold them there. Sometimes I am phooey on shaping.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hmm ... I think you have been spying on me? How do you know that is what I've been doing!?

I definitely need to praise more while heeling. I usually praise when we stop but then stopping at heel position is not his problem. I had my TD and a few others watch the heeling the other day and their conclusion is he knows the heel position very well ... WHEN YOU GUYS ARE NOT MOVING. And because he is pretty good with his rear end awareness stuff, he can back into heel position very fast from anywhere - as soon as he stops and he realizes that he is off, he flies back to heel. So at the beginning he is correct and at the end he is correct (or he makes himself correct), it's the middle where he is all over the map.

Of course, it also does not help that he is still hopping ... hard to keep heel position when you hop instead of walk ... I think there it is just a matter of too much drive for the exercise. I just need to tone it down for him.
 

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Left turns, Left pivots.... and the biggest of all- reward from the left hand! I have started rewarding from my left hand and dropping a ball a little bit behind me. It has worked for Eris! If you give the reward from the right hand, you are only drawing the dog into you, asking for crowding.
 

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Yes, when Hogan is bouncing, pouncing along like a trick pony it is hard for me to tell where his position is exactly. It is a bit of work balancing drive and correctness. Sometimes you have to kind of go back and forth between the two in different sessions. One time allow more drive, the next work on correctness with less drive... back and forth until the two come together.
 

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Nothing to add but... when I read those threads all I want is to take my dog and work! Too bad it is 00:11 AM, there is a storm out there and I still don't finish my Pathology homework...
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Dianna, so far I have been giving him the ball right above him, slightly to the left side of his head but I like the idea of dropping the ball behind him. I may even try throwing it behind. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
This is from this morning. It was meant to be a lower drive session - hence the use of a tug instead of a ball but as you can see Ike had other ideas lol. It's hard to tell whether the forging has gotten better or not because Ike's wildness. I think I see a slight improvement from last month. Any critique/suggestion welcome.

 

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Jason, you are a natural and Ike is a kangaroo!
I think his exhuberance will do both of you just fine. I wish Karlo was so bouncy, you can always snuff it, to bring it up is much, much harder.
What about that ball video? I bet it is full of energy!
 

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I WISH Stark was that enthusiastic about heeling and OB work!

WOW.... I am soooooo loving Ike!

Seriously, I agree with Jane, your a natural!

There's a reason you don't see any video of me doing OB work with Stark... lol.
 

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He looks good, maybe forging and crowding you a bit at times but he really responds well to your body, like left turns, and you're so good with the reward I doubt it's really a problem. He's such a bouncy puppy! I bet he will settle in and look super!

Right now I'm kind of what Samba describes, drive vs. correctness depending on the session and my goals for that session. Any time my dog sustains the level of drive I want for some time, I always reward. Like, say we're just going from the van out to the field and he decides to offer really nice prancy heeling along the way. I didn't ask for that or really care, but I reward that.
 

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I like his enthusiasm.

Having had a couple bouncing dogs (especially at fast paces) all I do to fix it is issue a downward directional correction a couple of times followed by a quick reward when they get it right. I don't know how it would work for you, but I would just hold the lead and lock it by my left leg, and then when my dog would bounce it would be an instant correction. Seemed to be very effective and fix the bouncing within a couple sessions. I don't like to let it go on because it can become a habit- so almost as soon as they show that behavior I will give a negative for it. The Mohnwiese site on heeling addresses the importance of correcting the bouncing pretty early on, apparently it was a problem with Ellute- just so you don't think I'm making it up!
 
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