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Old 06-27-2013, 10:13 PM
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HayleyMarie HayleyMarie is offline
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Default Teaching a puppy a kick a$$ heel

So one of the first things I want to teach Pup Pup is a nice heel when we are walking. And a nice look at me. So you wonderful people who have these wonderful obedient dogs, how did you go about Teaching them a heel.


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Old 06-27-2013, 10:23 PM
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Do you mean like a heads up focused heel? Or LLW with good cued attention?
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Old 06-27-2013, 11:49 PM
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Ask them nicely.

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Old 06-28-2013, 01:36 AM
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HayleyMarie HayleyMarie is offline
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Originally Posted by Aleron View Post
Do you mean like a heads up focused heel? Or LLW with good cued attention?
Either or. What I really want is to train a good heel, but have a dog that has a good focus on me.

Actually probably for right now a LLW would work, but I want the dog to eventually have a nice heel when I ask it. If that makes sense.

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Old 06-28-2013, 01:45 AM
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This is how I teach heelwork:

I find my bad video a little embarrassing, but many people have told me that it helped them. (and it actually has 12,000+ views on YouTube. Woah.)

If you want more, I did a sequel with some more advanced tips:
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Old 06-28-2013, 03:26 AM
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Focussed heel is different to loose lead general walking.

I've heard the silky lead method is good, but never tried it myself... I probably should.

Fred will do a focussed heel when I ask for it, but general walking continues to need improvement!!
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Old 06-28-2013, 07:16 AM
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I have a bunch of videos of Carma learning competition heeling over the last 4 months in the link in my siggy. We work every single day.

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Old 06-28-2013, 07:49 AM
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I have a bunch of videos of teaching Kastle to competition heel and the "final" product...which in general means he also walks very nicely for LLW too, probably a side bonus
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Old 06-30-2013, 07:13 PM
rockdogs rockdogs is offline
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However you do it, you want to create a solid understanding of heel position before doing much forward walking or especially, duration. Pivots, finding the leg/whatever target you want to use, with attention without bribing. I have seen (myself included) lots of people rush the process and get mediocre results and spend years fixing things. Good rear end awareness is helpful for smooth corners and helps with finding position.

I teach attention and engagement and build duration attention separately from heel work before i ask for it with heelwork - reward in different positions, having nothing to do with heel position, just generalize happy energized attention. For actual heeling, I like starting puppies with 2 front feet on a perch, get fluent rotation in both directions, if you lure get to the point where the lure is faded. Then when they have this understanding, step from 6 o'clock position to 9 o'clock (straight beside) and have them rotate to the leg, then move around the clock, ideally I like them moving with me and some leg crowding is fine, can easily clean up by rewarding earlier - unless you want contact heeling (ringsport dogs who need to heel with vigilance on the decoy), then you can build on this and reward the dog pushing into your leg.

This is what I do to start..

This was my 3 month old toller pup Slice on her 2nd heel lesson - she learned how to pivot 360 degrees relative to me in both directions before I did this. From this I will fade the perch (use a container lid for a tactile/visual cue), then just the ground. I will do a bit of proofing before I get rid of the perch - she can do this around my other dogs, around people, food on the ground, etc. From there I don't walk forward until I get good side steps in addition to my pivots - and no dropping the head when moving. My first heel steps are something like a side step right, slight foward side step to the right, side step sidestep, slightly straighter step, pivot left, side step(shuffle- I want to feel them respond to my leg like a magnet before I take bigger steps) . When all that is fluent and good I might add in more forward steps, just a few at a time. and usually ending on a pivot - no head dropping at all. Sounds like a lot but you can get a lot done in a few sessions if you don't ask for too much at a time!

The placement of your reward is super important, and you can use it as your primary tool to fix the precision.

Also... train your preferred hand position for formal heeling (AKC/CKC hand on the stomach, arms at side) from the beginning because this becomes a huge cue for heeling. Always keep your shoulders square and relaxed and don't create a posture dependence. Try to never use your shoulders to "fix" position, this can be a mess to clean up later.

Also it is important to be realistic about what you are asking, good heeling is exhausting and needs to be built up gradually. Loose leash walking is entirely different, part of manners and honestly for the dogs I've raised as pups all I do is stop walking, or walk sideways opposite to them if the pup pulls, the only way they are able to go anywhere on leash is when it is loose from day 1. I also try to keep them off leash as possible, where safe to do so utilizing that super strong pack drive they have until they know better. I also never ask for heeling on a walk down the street unless we are training. Heeling, to me, has nothing to do with the leash. If habits are instilled and you can't get anywhere, to me the best thing to do is get a tool to manage it (MOM - management over modification) while you are working to modify the behaviour.

Good luck, have fun, post a vid :-)

Last edited by eddieq; 07-01-2013 at 11:48 PM. Reason: fixed youtube embedding
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