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Puppy has started offering a heel when we go on our walks. We've never "heeled." I've never had a dog heel before. I mostly grew up in the country, and our dog training was much less formal.
They went where we went, or they stayed home and watched the property.

Puppy is an urban puppy, though, so I want to encourage this - it seems like it would be very handy.


Normally we go for our walk (thank goodness for the prong, our pulling issues are almost completely gone!!), I say "lets go" and we go, with time for sniffing, etc. I've never had her stick right by my side.

The last week or so, however, she's been offering that prancy, wrap your head up toward mom (aka Bearer of Yummy Treats) thing.

Do I just say "Good, heel, good" and so on? Because so far she is not picking up on the English involved. Is there something I can do to speed up that process? Secondly, she is very much looking at the hand/pocket that holds the treats, not trying to make eye contact. I'm not sure if this is good or bad - don't they actually need to look where we're going?


Thanks in advance!
 

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Thaliasmom - thanks for asking these questions! I'm in a similar place and hadn't even thought that it's probably the perfect opportunity to teach. I carry treats with me whenever we go for walks and hand them out freely whenever he looks at me or stays close (though I avoid doing it when he asks - figured I'm should dispense treats on my terms not his). And he's a pretty good on the 4' leash at 4 months (although, other dogs can be the WORST distraction, but I want him to like other dogs so if I can get ANY sort of obediance response from him first I go to the other dogs.)

I look forward to reading the response from 'the pros'!

Thanks in advance!

~L'aura
 

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well ill join u in the quest for the answer...i've been getting this same behavior..heeling. i dont know how to put words with the action tho. other than when he gets excited bc of other dogs/ppl he stays fairly close to me on a 4' leed
 

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Originally Posted By: thaliasmomThe last week or so, however, she's been offering that prancy, wrap your head up toward mom (aka Bearer of Yummy Treats) thing.

Do I just say "Good, heel, good" and so on? Because so far she is not picking up on the English involved. Is there something I can do to speed up that process?
Absolutely!! I would also follow this up with treats. If you wish to speed up the process say it a lot!! It's important that she understands what you want and the only way to do this is repition.

When she starts to wander off, give her the heel command and see if she will come back on her own, if not a gentle tug and a reverse of direction should get her back into heel position. If I am after a heel and I have to do this I always praise the heck out of them as soon as they hit heel position.

If she does come right back to you, PRAISE PRAISE PRAISE. (because of this I am the neighborhood nut job!!lolo)

Originally Posted By: thaliasmomSecondly, she is very much looking at the hand/pocket that holds the treats, not trying to make eye contact. I'm not sure if this is good or bad - don't they actually need to look where we're going?
As long as mine are walking without pulling the could be looking at the sky. I do think it wonderful that she is so focused on food, this helps greatly when you are training. I had one who is not so food motivated.......

does this help?
 

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Originally Posted By: ThreeDogs
(because of this I am the neighborhood nut job!!lolo)
Become neighborhood nutjob - check!


fwiw, I've had to *train* my dog to be food-motivated - it is possible!
 

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I would also take big advantage of this behavior :))..

I definately believe you should be praising the dog for GOOD behaviors, using whatever you wish ,,when I was 'teaching' a heel, as soon as the dog was in the position I wanted, I would be saying 'good place!"..(you can use whatever phrase you want:))

And treat as well, when they are in that "place" you want them.

I also tended to keep food in my mouth,,pointing upwards to my mouth, to get a good watch, and then 'spit' the treat to them..
Of course this does take some 'spitting' practice :))))))..
Diane
 

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IMO, there seems to be a wide open range of what people consider heeling and what not. Some people seem to consider a walk as quality one on one time with their dog. That's fine if that's your purpose or you care about what others think about how he looks when he's heeling. But sometimes you may be walking and talking with another person. I find it a bit of a barrier to communication to have to constantly return attention to the dog. In my experience, when a dog is fully focused on you, he expects some attention in return.
I would suggest that a dog doesn't know that he is heeling if he never hears the command. In his mind he's simply walking next to master. Everything is cool. If he decides he wants to go check something out then we have a bit of a conflict of interest. If you want to let him have a sniff, then he can lead you there, if not, he has to hear something or get some input from you that you want him at heel.
All I ever want from my dog, at heel, is to start, stop and turn when I do without any input from me. After I was convinced that my dog knew and understood what the command of heel meant, if he disobeyed then it was a matter of focus and was to be corrected. I was taught to get this by utilyzing the self correction method. That involved lots of turns, stops, starts, about faces, varying walking speeds etc. If my dog wasn't paying attention to what I was doing and where I was going after an appropriate amount of verbal commands and thigh slapping then we went to a longer leash and started doing right turns and about faces with no input whatsoever. If he's not where he's supposed to be when the leash runs out he basically pops himself. The cool part about it is that you had nothing to do with it, you weren't the bad guy. You don't turn around and look at him, you don't say, "Heel, No" or anything else, you just keep walking. When he comes back to heel he gets no praise because you didn't know anything about it, he was supposed to be there in the first place. You basically have plausible deniability of the whole thing. It was amazingly effective for my dog. Some of the other dogs didn't need it.

As a bit of a disclaimer, this obedience level was for a K9 dog where you could simply not devote any more attention than absolutely necessary to your dog when you were working. You just had to know he was at your left side at all times. That was what heel meant.
 
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