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Old 07-24-2008, 08:14 PM
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CharlieDog CharlieDog is offline
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Default Some help needed and some questions

Okay, I have a few questions about heelwork and stays.

Ozzy will do heelwork, but occasionally he will forage ahead or lag behind, and he only makes eye contact when I'm looking down at him. His off leash work is slightly better in that he doesn't forage or lag, but he doesn't make as much eye contact and instead holds his head where it should be and looks off to the right.

I can't seem to walk and use the clicker at the same time, either, so I just say "Good boy!" and treat him for eye contact. However much I've done this, his eye contact is still sporadic at best. And I don't just reward eye contact during heeling, but all the time. Still, we have trouble with this.

His sit at heel is good, but not the best. He will sit everytime we stop, but normally he swings his butt out, and ends up parallel with me. I move forward a step or two until he's sitting correctly and then I treat him. Doesn't seem to help.

I know ways to correct this, but it is all old fashioned crank and yank, and I'm not doing that.

Okay, now for the staying problems we are having.

I can walk off up to nine hundred feet now (I do most of my heel and stay work on a football field) and he will stay there. However, if I'm closer and trying for a longer duration stay, he gets antsy and will flip back and forth on his sides and sometimes will rise halfway up out of a down. If he's in a sit, he will lay down.

If I walk back towards him to correct his position, he will get up and come to me instead of remaining in the stay. Dunno how to fix that without yelling at him. And I don't know how to keep him from flopping like a fish.

Occasionally he will break a stay and come to me. I usually down him before he gets to me, because he will take a mid-recall down, and then call him to me again and praise him. Especially if I'm doing a long recall. Other times I will walk him back to where we started, remind him that he is not to get up, and try again.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Questions?

Also, now his barking at other dogs has changed from ferocious barking to alarm barking. Not sure why? I've been stuffing his face whenever we see other dogs, keeping him in a sit and his focus on me as best I can. If I have a tug toy, I will stuff his mouth with that and play tug until he forgets about the other dog, should I stop doing this?
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Old 07-24-2008, 10:18 PM
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Some things for the heeling --

Work on exercises that teach him to find heel position ~ leave him on a stay, take a couple steps forward keeping your back to him, call him to heel. When he's good at that, you can try sideways and backwards also.

For the looking at you, forging, lagging, crooked, it sounds like when you look at him you're probably moving your shoulders out of position which is causing him to end up out of position. Can you get it on video?

With the stays, when he gets antsy, he's probably anticipating something - a recall, a reward, your return. Also, some shifting isn't uncommon and unless the dog is seriously becoming out of position, I allow it when he's on a down stay. I would work on the close stays with varying duration -- how long can he stay before he starts to get antsy? Try to return to him before that.

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Occasionally he will break a stay and come to me. I usually down him before he gets to me, because he will take a mid-recall down, and then call him to me again and praise him. Especially if I'm doing a long recall.
I would stop calling him to you after he has broken a stay. Put him back where he was. One thing that some people do - I've never tried it - is when the dog made a mistake and they are restarting the exercise, they bring the dog back on their right side. It's something of a NRM to the dog.

When you return to him, go back to heel position and praise him and give him a treat before you release him from his stay. Always release from heel position.

I hope some of that made sense - it's past my bedtime and I just forgot what else I was going to write.
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Old 07-24-2008, 10:36 PM
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"His sit at heel is good, but not the best. He will sit everytime we stop, but normally he swings his butt out, and ends up parallel with me. I move forward a step or two until he's sitting correctly and then I treat him. Doesn't seem to help."

My Lab has no connection between her brain and butt, so I have the same problem with swinging out... A couple of things that I've used that have helped are 1) heeling against a wall, fence, etc. so the dog has no choice but to sit right next to you. A lot of praise when they do it really helps. 2) Working on sits by themselves, generally against a fence, wall, etc. Take two or three steps and help the dog into a straight sit in heel position. Praise, then take two or three more steps, etc, etc. Make sure your shoulders are staying parallel, and that you yourself are walking the straightest line you can. I just found out last night that when I walk, I tend to "cut off" my dogs' path, so they both generally wanted to either walk slightly behind or slightly in front of me instead of directly to the side. It throws off where they know they are supposed to sit also. Hope this helps you out!
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Old 07-24-2008, 10:47 PM
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Kayla Kayla is offline
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Ou I just made some ground of a very similar problem that you mention. I also used to train my heel a bit more old school but have realised better ways and have been reteaching his fundamentals ( his sit down stays and heel) which were all taught with a mix of positive and corrections.

Because poisoned cue's **seem scientifically solid enough for my comfort I have been starting the whole shaping process over with new cues. For my heel I have had to shape everything you just mentioned seperately. I have found that I become too tempted when working on heel from old habits to correct out of position with the leash so I train naked ( No, not me) and took his collar off so there's no way I can even if Im tempted. Early sessions I just walked around clicking him when he looked towards me, walked up to me and then eventually only when he was on my left side. I made an effort to throw the treats away from me so he had to constantly find heel again to get a click

From there I broke down heel into these four things

Body position- Parallel to mine
- Not forged ahed
-Not lagging
Attention- Eye contact

Automatic Sit

Duration

Each of these things are being worked on seperately. It's great however as it's almost like disecting a behaviour, tweeking it and then stitching it back up and being really impressed with the result.

Im amazed at the difference between our old heel work vs now, we always did heel with games ( heel for me for 30 seconds and then you can go chase your ball) but even using the same reward he is just so excited to heel and it deffiently makes a difference.

The same for your stays, you may find either changing the cue and working from scratch though may take a bit of time initially is WELL worth the pay off down the road.

This way you never have to correct your dog, your dogs going to be enthusastic to work and in general is going to look alot better over all.

Recently some people have been training their dogs to self stack shaping it the same way, apparently it looks alot better in the ring.

Good luck
Kayla


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Old 07-25-2008, 05:33 AM
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As promised :

You have got some great advice so far. I would work on clicker and walking "good boy" takes to long to say. Or make a new marker sound. Like "T" or something. If you want mark really precise criteria you will only be as successful as your tool.

Finding heel is great. All my dogs can find heel. My cue for heel is left hand on left hip (elbow IN... lose marks in obed from some judges if elbow is out). It also means you don't have to specifically teach a finish as you will a flip finish. Teach him to back up so you can pivot left and he swings his bum into you.. that will fix the swing out trick. Also don't walk a head...or he will think the exercise is "stop like this, walk a few steps, stop like that... get cookie"

If you are looking for comp obed.. eye contact is not nessessary-you don't get any extra marks for a dog who heels along looking at you. I prefer it, but it makes no dif in competition. Small dogs often have a hard time craining up to see faces. In the future I am going to have them 'target' my left wrist. (lots of very successful obed people do the wrist thing, it still looks really good and is easier on the dog) But if you WANT eye contact....

Keep eye contact with him at this stage. If you have trained him to look at you when you are looking at him.. you will have to retrain having him look at you when you are not looking at him. I look at my dogs... nasty little things get into trouble if you take your eyes off them If he takes his eyes off you-swiftly about turn, maybe run a few steps. Make him learn that you will be unpredictable and he better pay attention. (I do this lots with the JRTs) If he knows how to heel backwards run backwards too.

For stay. Some people say they don't like clickers for stay... this is the exact reason I DO use clickers for stay. I have had some JRTs with low impulse control. Clickers really helped. It was trying to fix Kaiden's out of sight sit that convinced me clicker training was the way to go. Start with shorter stays. Click after 30 seconds (or how ever long he can stay still) of immobile stay. Gradually lengthen it. DON'T call him out of stay for a while. Can you put him in a stay and walk around him without him spinning or moving to follow you?
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Old 07-25-2008, 01:39 PM
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I can get about thirty feet or so out, and walk in a circle around him. He will swing his head to keep his eyes on me, but other than that he usually stays still. Farther than thirty feet or so and he flips around a lot.

I can sort of walk over him, sometimes that makes him nervous, so I've been going slowly with that. I DID try the running around and yelling like a manic to see if he would break his stay. He did at first, thinking this was something else, but I convinced him it really WAS a stay excersize and he stayed put.

I tried the wall/fence thing, and his rear end doesn't swing out, but now he's putting his front end over my left foot when we stop. His rear is correct, his front isn't.

I will try to get a video of us working, and the shoulder thing may be what my problem is, because thinking back, I do tend to drop my left shoulder back when we stop. I will have to remember to keep it square.

Also, I noticed today when we were working, that if I leave him in a stay, and walk forward confidently, with my shoulders square, he doesn't flip around as much. So I've been practicing that. Not easy, when I'm used to walking with my shoulders slumped forward. The only time I really walk with my shoulders back is when I was in ROTC and marching.

Thanks guys! I will try some suggestions tomorrow since it's going to start raining here any minute.
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Old 07-25-2008, 02:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieDog View Post
I tried the wall/fence thing, and his rear end doesn't swing out, but now he's putting his front end over my left foot when we stop. His rear is correct, his front isn't.

I will try to get a video of us working, and the shoulder thing may be what my problem is, because thinking back, I do tend to drop my left shoulder back when we stop. I will have to remember to keep it square.
Yea, sounds like you've trained him to a crooked position. Think about this - if you stand facing forward and then drop your left shoulder back, your dog sees a different image from what he sees when your shoulders are square and facing forward.

Then when you do keep your shoulders square, he has to go crooked (in front of you) in order to see that same visual, which he's been taught is correct. Also, herding breeds are very cued in to body language and they will go where your shoulders go. Experiment with shifting your shoulder position and see what your dog does.

Now...if it's just a matter of the dog is following your shoulders, it might be fixed simply by you learning how to keep your shoulders square. If it's that he's looking for a more frontal view of your torso, it will take a bit of retraining him to a correct position.
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Old 07-25-2008, 02:14 PM
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other thing I thought of for dogs who halt crooked.. when feeding a treat feed it off to the left of your dogs face. It really helps with some dogs.
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