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Old 07-14-2008, 11:37 PM
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lizzybeth727 lizzybeth727 is offline
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I think Dekka's just thinking that it's hard to give a quick reward while teaching heel if it's not a treat - toys won't be very efficient, praise is probably not motivating enough, petting is difficult to do while you're moving, etc.

I"m still waiting to hear about the classical conditioning. Are you basically relying a lot on life-rewards??
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Old 07-15-2008, 06:12 AM
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Dekka Dekka is offline
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hmm well you seemed to be promoting a poisoned cue by labeling the behaviour before it is learned. I am sorry I assumed you also didn't use rewards.

But if you do use rewards why would you discount the easiest reward that pretty much all dogs (with work) will work for.

What do you use? Do you have any vids of your dog heeling? Do you compete?
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Old 07-15-2008, 09:40 AM
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Lissa Lissa is offline
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Originally Posted by DanL View Post
At 10 weeks, you shouldn't be worrying about a heel yet. Work on getting and keeping his attention. Once you have focus, then you can start working on other commands. One thing I wish I had done when teaching heel- treat is as a position, not as an action. Heel means right here by my side. If I walk, you walk. If I turn, you turn. If I go backwards, you go backwards. If I move side to side, you move with me.

I was a no treat trainer- using a ball or tug. Then I found that treats really did work because you can keep the dog training and treat as you go- not stopping to play as a reward. Now I use the ball or tug as a break out reward after a series of tasks is complete.

Training with treats doesn't mean you have to treat all the time, and it doesn't mean you have to walk around with treats in your pockets for the rest of your life. Treat a lot while the dog is learning, then vary the frequency to keep them guessing, and you can gradually phase the treats out.
Excellent post - I originally only wanted to emphasize heeling as a position but couldn't bring myself to remove the rest because it is all well said!

IMO, for a service dog you need a dog that knows heel as a position rather than having a competitive type heel... While "eyes glued to your face" has a time and place, it should not be what you need/expect from a service dog all the time (its an unnatural position to start and causes a lot of strain but depending on what you are expecting from your service dog, its better that he knows to stay at your side and be aware of his environment).

My Mum has a pretty serious hearing loss so originally, I was going to train Dodger as a hearing aid dog BUT he's just not built for it (I need a terrier!).. Instead and more out of boredom than anything he learned service dog behaviours to help with mobility (opening/closing doors, switching on/off lights, retrieving and carrying various items by name, helping with laundry, acting as a brace, getting help, delivering items, targeting buttons/items out of my reach etc...)

Certification is the tricky part - I know a few people who have simply ordered a vest and sewed on patches without any kind of accreditation... Training service dog behaviours is one thing but your dog also needs to have a perfect temperment, not to mention be in perfect health and UTD on shots... Traing your own service dog is easy - its being accountable when out in public that is the bigger responsibility IMO.
We are shaped and fashioned by what we love ~ Goethe
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Old 07-15-2008, 08:00 PM
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lizzybeth727 lizzybeth727 is offline
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I train service dogs, and the organization I work with will administer a certification exam for anyone who wants to certify their own dog. But unfortunately, most people don't pass the exam. If you're not certified, you're not supposed to have public access with your dog, but of course, most businesses won't ask to see proof of certification.

I agree with what Lissa said about a "perfect" or "competition" heel not being necessary with service dogs. And, FYI, that's even more important for hearing dogs, as their job in public is to look at sounds so that their partner knows what's going on around him/her. The hearing dogs I train, I don't even reward them when they look at me while loose leash walking, I only reward when they respond to their name.

Pixie, feel free to PM me if you have any questions about service dogs specifically.
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