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Old 11-17-2008, 06:18 PM
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lizzybeth727 lizzybeth727 is offline
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Originally Posted by Tazwell View Post
For some dogs, the heel becomes their normal walk, only a bit sloppy. That's not something we really want, right? Should heeling become something only done on cue?
I agree, it really depends on the person and what they want their dog to do. Personally, with my dog, she's good at loose leash walking (walking at my side with the leash loose, but free to look around and move a little bit out of heel position), but heel would be more for competitions and "showing off" - nice tight position, eyes on me the entire time, automatic sits, etc. I started to teach her heel, but in the four years I've had her I've never needed it. For loose leash walking, her cue is "let's go" (although it's pretty automatic by now and I only say "let's go" out of habit, I think), and if I want her to heel I would cue "heel."

With my service dogs, though, heel (or truthfully, a loose interpretation of heel) is the only thing they are expected to do. They must stay in a tight position close to the handler, with automatic sits when we stop, not sniffing the ground or anything else; but they don't necessarily have to maintain eye contact. When they are walking a distance on a short leash, they must be in this position. Their cue to walk is "let's go," but again, the cue is probably not needed.

Originally Posted by Tazwell View Post
It's very difficult for Archie, because of his age, to get in and out of the sitting position on the slippery floor at work. I think I might get rid of the sit in the heel altogether... He won't be a very good demo dog anymore
In the three years I taught heel in group classes, I never once used my dog to demo. I explained what the position should look like, in detail, and then used a client's dog to demo what I wanted the class to practice. I did this because: my dog doesn't do a good heel; being a chihuahua it's very hard to see exactly where the dog needs to be, an inch or two makes a huge difference; I'd have to bend way down to hand her a treat..... which is fine in training in the privacy of my own home, but not something I want to do with fifteen people staring at me (inevetably, many of them behind me ). Get rid of the sit if you want to, but maybe try doing the demo with one of the dogs in class and see how that feels for you.
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