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Old 03-28-2012, 04:27 PM
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Default *sigh* Re-training heel position

This time it's not for Demon Seed, it's for Macky the Good Girl.

When I initially taught Mackenzy to heel, let's just say I didn't exactly know what I was doing nor did I have a specific picture in mind. I didn't know I would be competing with her, etc etc etc. As a result, she tends to heel wide and lag slightly. Grrr. Totally not her fault, and I'm having a really hard time getting her heel to where I want it.

Part of it I think is physical for both of us, she's physically sort of... "fussy" and thinks I'm going to knee her in the head, or something, and I tend to drop my left shoulder towards her, which pushes her behind me.

She has all the skills necessary for good heeling - hind end awareness (her left pivots in Rally are excellent - even the judge commented on them), good attention, etc. Really it's just that we've both gotten into a weird funk and we're both accustomed to doing things incorrectly.

She also does not have the head position she should for heeling - instead of high and straight, she sort of... ducks her head down and then around to look at me. I think part of that is also physical, since she's built a bit downhill.

I guess my inclination is start by teaching her something she won't even recognize as "heeling" so she doesn't start throwing old behaviors. I was thinking of starting with head position only along a wall, and really reinforcing for keeping her head up and driving into my treat hand. (The thing about that, though, is that she doesn't particularly like being stuck between me and the wall, and will either sit slightly behind me or slightly in front of me to avoid it...)

Thoughts?
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Old 03-28-2012, 04:35 PM
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I played "find the right spot" with Arnold who sounds similar to Macky, he was trained to head hang heel. I spent some time with treats in hand walking away from him and rewarding when he "caught up" and was on the right (left) leg with head up. Then when he was consistently following I would stop and start while holding position. Then I started adding a word while starting. I had to and still have to remain his cheer leader but that's a drive issue.

Does this help a bit? I may be misunderstanding what you're asking.
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Old 03-28-2012, 04:35 PM
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I'm pretty sure I've seen you recommend Michael Ellis stuff here before.....do you have his Heeling DVD? I think that your idea sounds great, it sounds like going to back to basics the way ME teaches it. The thing with luring though I find is that people try to progress too quickly. I wouldn't be scared to keep luring along a wall for quite a while until she really "gets" the new idea.
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Old 03-28-2012, 04:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emily View Post
Part of it I think is physical for both of us, she's physically sort of... "fussy" and thinks I'm going to knee her in the head, or something, and I tend to drop my left shoulder towards her, which pushes her behind me.
Izzie is the same way except it's with me stepping on her which has actually happened a couple times. I'm not terribly good at walking and she has itty bitty paws.

I also drop my shoulder too. It's a work in progress right now so I'm of no help, just wanna say you're not alone and I'll be watching this thread too lol.
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Old 03-28-2012, 04:50 PM
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I incorporated a lot of play for effort and c/t for correct position. I started each and every "new heeling" session as play and asked for animation with my hangs, body movements, etc. It seemed easier than trying to trick the dog, and it worked well with Bailey.
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Old 03-28-2012, 05:06 PM
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i would probably start how you are, if she doesn't like the wall, she'll get over it imprinting reward expectation is pretty big and something you always need to address periodically once the behavior is "trained" otherwise the expectation becomes something else and the heeling will change. Butt out, head wrapped, lagging, forging, something always happens when people don't address that intermittently after imprinting. I use just slight leash pressure, if it is taught separately from that behavior and they have an understanding of what it is.
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Old 03-28-2012, 05:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Panzerotti View Post
I'm pretty sure I've seen you recommend Michael Ellis stuff here before.....do you have his Heeling DVD? I think that your idea sounds great, it sounds like going to back to basics the way ME teaches it. The thing with luring though I find is that people try to progress too quickly. I wouldn't be scared to keep luring along a wall for quite a while until she really "gets" the new idea.

I agree, lure and lure until she forgets she had an issue with the proximity. The fade slowly, so you maintain the position you wanted.
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Old 03-28-2012, 06:02 PM
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I was just discussing heeling with one of my friends today! I'm thinking about adding some targeting to Aeri's heeling to get a more defined criteria - we've been using choose to heel mostly and I am seeing some lack of attention that I'm not liking. I'm also considering using the Silky Leash technique to help with on lead heel and thus positioning in general.
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Old 03-29-2012, 02:55 PM
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Thanks so much for all the input, guys!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Panzerotti
I'm pretty sure I've seen you recommend Michael Ellis stuff here before.....do you have his Heeling DVD? I think that your idea sounds great, it sounds like going to back to basics the way ME teaches it. The thing with luring though I find is that people try to progress too quickly. I wouldn't be scared to keep luring along a wall for quite a while until she really "gets" the new idea.
Yes, I do have his heeling DVD! I'm doing Keeva's training based on that DVD and it's going very well.

I think the bolded part is what I knew but didn't want to have to do. LOL

I think everybody who said I just need to go back to heavy luring for a while hit the nail on the head. Especially since she is a bit downhill, I really, REALLY need to build that muscle memory in her neck/shoulders of up up up!

We did some work today at a local club (I looove instructorless drop-in training, it's like cheap ring rental!) with heavy HEAVY luring along the wall, and it worked really well. She pretty much got over whatever proximity issues I thought she had. Now it's just a matter of time and imprinting that positon.

The thing that sucks is that we are otherwise pretty much ready to trial in Open. I know we could get by with our current heeling skills but... better to do it right than do it quickly.
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