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Teaching the command heel.

Daisy's Owner
April 10th, 2005, 08:12 AM
I am looking for other peoples methods for training heel.

I am currently training Daisy by capturing the heel and praising. (I am not sure if that is the right terminology or not.)

I have found in the past when training her, that she seems to need something a little more specific. ie say the command and put her in position, as in sit or down.

I'm just wondering how everyone else has had success with training heel.

Thanks

Eleni
April 10th, 2005, 09:36 AM
I carry a cookie beside me and if he walks well beside me he gets the cookie.

my dog is very food motivated so it works really well,

so far he heels beside the stroller when im walking him, wich is perfect since 99% of our walks is with the stroller.


and he heels beside me when we are alone,

its funny when me and my husband are walking him together, my husband will tell him to heel and he will heel to me and go nowhere near my husband. guess its still a work in progress hehe


Eleni

Beetlecat
April 10th, 2005, 10:31 AM
I've taught it two ways. One is where you shorten the leash just enough for them to have enough slack to get out of position, then when they do forage ahead, tug on the leash to put them back into position, praising all the way.

The other is to simply carry a good piece of food in a closed fist by your leg and let them follow and nose it while you say "heel! Good boy. Good heel. Good boy. Heel..."

Soon the food won't be neccesary as the dog will just follow your hand and be rewarded by praise. And since dogs pick up on gestures right away and often remeber them better than words, it's good to say heel as well as use a gesture. I pat the side of my leg.

If you don't plan on being showing in obedience, just getting the dog to follow at your left (in approximitly the right position) is all you need and (in my experience) dogs usually pick it up really quickly with the food method. I'd only use the leash method if the dog knew how to heel but had to follow in exactly the right position. Unneccesary for anything but showing.

Daisy's Owner
April 10th, 2005, 01:12 PM
One is where you shorten the leash just enough for them to have enough slack to get out of position, then when they do forage ahead, tug on the leash to put them back into position, praising all the way.

This is what we are doing now.

The other is to simply carry a good piece of food in a closed fist by your leg and let them follow and nose it while you say "heel! Good boy. Good heel. Good boy. Heel..."

I bet this would work. I'll have to try this later.

it's good to say heel as well as use a gesture. I pat the side of my leg.

I never even thought of a gesture for heel. I use signs for everything else, a sign for this would probably be a good idea.

its funny when me and my husband are walking him together, my husband will tell him to heel and he will heel to me and go nowhere near my husband. guess its still a work in progress hehe

I can see this happening here as well. There is no doubt, Daisy is a momma's girl.

Thanks

tenderfoot
April 10th, 2005, 03:07 PM
Before you can be successful at heel you need to teach the dog not to pull or cross your toe line- then heeling comes more naturally and easily.
As you know we don't use treats in our training. I have been watching my neighbor (to my horror) use a jar of cream cheese to lure her, now 9 mo lab, to keep heeling. She has been doing this since the pup was new and I am amazed she thinks it works. The pup roams everywhere unless she has her jar and is leaning (in a painful looking position) with it under his nose. Sorry, I had to get that off my chest - some people's ideas of a trained dog frustrate me no end.
Heeling is a matter of the dog not leading the way - you are the leader. He should not be in front of you at all. When he takes 1 step past your toe line then you can turn into him and go the other way....you can go quickly backwards 5-10 steps until he is by your side again and then progress forward with a loose leash, or you simply go in the opposite direction he wants to. It is not where he wants to go it is where you want to go - and for now you always want to go in the opposite direction he does. Then as soon as he figures it out you will continue to walk in one direction for longer and longer periods of time as long as he is being good.
There is a great drill we do called the 2-step dance, which we use a prerequisite to heeling. Have your dog on a loose leash beside you (in the house to start), and you are going to take 1, 2, or 3 (no more) steps away from him, giving him a cue with your leash and your words inviting him to join you. Then make an abrupt stop (you can even stomp your foot a bit), and see if he stops with you at your side or does he blow past you? If he stops with you then whisper - 'good job' and count to 10 slowly before you do it again. If he blows past you then IMMEDIATELY turn a 180 and go 1,2 or 3 steps in the opposite direction he wants to go - and start again. For awhile you might be darting all over the room as you attempt to get him to understand the rules of the game. But then a light will go off for him and he will stop and look up to you. PRAISE! *If he looks at you and creeps to sit in front of you that's okay so long as he is looking at you. The object of the game is to get him to care where you are going and to watch you and not cross your toe line. He is going to think "what is this crazy lady doing? - changing directions every few seconds?" Then he's going to realize that it is related to his actions. If his brain is everywhere else but on you then he gets to keep moving and moving and moving (the pressure) in a thousand different directions, but if he is paying attention and doing well then he gets to relax by your side (the release).

When you are successful in different rooms of your house then take it to the back yard and then the front yard and then down the driveway. Working until you are successful at different more challenging locations.
From there heeling should become a breeze.