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A different heeling question

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I have taught my dog to heel. I was speaking with a Collie breeder friend of mine awhile back and she asked if I was teaching a head-wrap. I asked what that was, and she said that it was essentially teaching the dog to maintain contact with your thigh and the side of the its head. I said that I wasn't.

 

Actually, I can think of fewer things that would be more annoying than to have my dog's head plastered against my thigh (in anticipation of a treat?) as we walk down the street. I do expect my dog to keep track of what my left leg is doing when she is heeling, so she will know when she needs to alter her course and speed. But I'm quite happy with her looking where ever and at whatever she pleases, using her peripheral vision to track me, as long as she stays next to my left side.

 

I am interested in how the rest of you feel about an "everyday" sort of heel - how you interpret the command. I am as interested in hearing from non-professional trainers and/or obedience, agility or other sport handler/competitors as I am in hearing from folk who hold classes or have competition dogs with alphabet soup with a cherry on top after their names. This is strictly about comfort - for the owner and the dog, and convenience and safety for both.

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I just want my dogs to be able to stay with me in heel position. I don't care where they are looking just as long as when I stop they stop with me. :rolleyes: The instructor said if you want to keep your dogs attention walk faster. Cressa will get bored and "forget" she is suppose to heel if I am walking too slow of course when she missed the stop she gets this sheepish look on her face. Troy we are still working on his nice heel position and sit when stop. I have to watch out for him since he is more likely to do that head-wrap. He wants to work next to me as in touching me while working. Which I believe would be faulted in competitive obedience. Don't know since i am new to the whole training thing.

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My "ring" heel with my Border Collie includes a heads up heel position, but its not what I would call wrapped.

 

PA270058-1.jpg

 

Have you ever seen the difference between US obedience heeling and UK obedience heeling?

 

US: "heads up" but not a wrap.

 

 

UK: "wrapped"

 

 

Outside of a ring I ask for a loose lead, but I never ask for a real "heel."

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Not trying to hyjack the thread. But do you know how to deal with a dog that won't keep his feet still while in a sit?

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I use a different command for the casual walk. My casual walk command is "let's go" which means walk with me without pulling. Don't care if they are in front of me, in back of me or on the right or left, they just can't pull.

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For regular walks where I need my dog closeby (due to distractions, crowds, etc.) I use a different cue than my formal heel: Close. Close requires the dog to maintain a walking distance of no more than 3ft from my side, but nothing else. My formal heel has eye contact/head up and a more fine tuned position.

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Not trying to hyjack the thread. But do you know how to deal with a dog that won't keep his feet still while in a sit?

 

This goes without saying, but the first thing I would do is double and triple check to make sure nothing physical is going on with those feet.

 

Otherwise, when are the feet moving? During any sit? When dog is just sitting around the house and when the dog is sitting during a training session and in a start line? Or is it just in one particular context? Is it just the front paws, or is the dog moving back paws around, too?

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I am interested in how the rest of you feel about an "everyday" sort of heel - how you interpret the command.

 

I don't actually have a different "everyday" sort of heel. If I want my dogs to walk by my side on a regular walk, I use the same heel that I use in training, which is at my leg (left or right, depending on which I ask for) and with direct focus on me. Otherwise, when we are on a walk, they are "at ease". They are free to look around, explore, sniff, and just be dogs within the length that the leash allows.

 

I do live in the country, so I'm not walking them on sidewalks along busy streets, etc. If I lived in a town or more urban area, I might train a less formal heel because I can definitely see a need for it in that sort of setting. I just don't need it in our current circumstance, so I don't train it.

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I don't know about heeling...or head wrap? But I suppose this is similar.

 

I have my dogs stay behind me and within a few feet of me when not working. But I don't have an exact distance away. If that makes sense.

 

I just insist on this when they are young by growling a bit at them when they get ahead of me. I take my time teaching them.

 

They figure it out quick enough. When I am in doubt of their ability to do this. They are on a rope.

 

I do this on horseback as well.

 

For me it is really important they understand this concept.

 

I trip on dogs that are too close.

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When I want my dogs to stay close I tell them "with me" which means stay near me and don't pull on the leash if they're on one. When I say heel, I want them next to my left side and paying attention to me.

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I think that the heads up and head wrap both look rather uncomfortable/unnatural (except for breeds that normally carry their heads up that way). Of course, I don't really train a heel, and I'm enough of a klutz that I don't want the dog that darn close to me--I'd be forever stepping on or tripping over it! :rolleyes:

 

I have a "with me," which means stay close(ish). With pups on leash going to stock, I encourage them not to surge past me and pull, even though I'm glad they have that enthusiasm. But for most of my needs as long as they aren't running off to the back of beyond, I don't even bother with a heel.

 

When I lived in town, heel meant by my left side and no pulling, but beyond that, the dog was free to do what it chose. In any case, I prefer the dog to be looking forward or around and not up at me. I prefer both of us to be looking where we're going (that klutz thing).

 

J.

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I for the most part ask my dogs just to stay at my side or within a certain distance. Works well.

But I also have worked with some of mine on focused heel for ob. As such, the beauty of the beast is that I am not looking to do much competing. More a matter of seeing if I can. And as such, I found that it is entirely up to me on where and how I want to shape their position. I free shape. I use motion and play. I never lure. Does not work well for me.

And I would rather loose a few points than constantly bumping into my dog. Having said that, my GSD was started in ob for mondio ring. Partially because I had a preconceived notion about the terrible wrap that I saw the Schutzhund people teach their dogs. Which by the way keeps changing as well. Anyway, mondio ob requires to be within a meter of the handler. What shape...they don't care. As long as he stays there.

When I switched and one weekend just decided to do a BH (Schutzhund) I found out in a hurry the difference and why folks maybe have a tendency to push the issue. The tighter the more attention from the dog, the slighter the commands, the quicker the response, the more impressive to watch and in a point oriented sport, the more effective!

So I on my own, decided to tighten up my ob a lot.

So for me, moral of the story, work it out, experiment, find the pros and cons and enjoy the trip!

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I think that the heads up and head wrap both look rather uncomfortable/unnatural (except for breeds that normally carry their heads up that way). Of course, I don't really train a heel, and I'm enough of a klutz that I don't want the dog that darn close to me--I'd be forever stepping on or tripping over it! :rolleyes:

 

I have a "with me," which means stay close(ish). With pups on leash going to stock, I encourage them not to surge past me and pull, even though I'm glad they have that enthusiasm. But for most of my needs as long as they aren't running off to the back of beyond, I don't even bother with a heel.

 

When I lived in town, heel meant by my left side and no pulling, but beyond that, the dog was free to do what it chose. In any case, I prefer the dog to be looking forward or around and not up at me. I prefer both of us to be looking where we're going (that klutz thing).

 

J.

 

This "with me" and MichelleS's "let's go" are probably closest to what I mean when I say "heel" to my dog. She gets it. When I was growing up, those I knew who had a dog trained to heel, placed the dog more like where Tea describes - the person walking the dog would have to turn their head slightly back even to see the dog.

 

I have a very reactive dog, and I want to be able to see how she's coping with what she sees in my busy city environment, so I have taught her to heel with her head at or a tiny bit in front of my knee, but not touching me with her head/ body. If I am not being properly attentive to her, I know if she is concerned about something she sees, because she will move closer to me and make very light physical contact.

 

If it's a slow day in town and there aren't many people about I just walk with a loose lead and let her set the pace, stop and start, sniff, etc. She has been (is being?) trained to keep a loose lead at all times, but being very reactive, she will sometimes go out to the end of the lead and turn to eye whatever is disturbing her. I do not correct for this, because I don't want to stress an already stressed dog any more. But she is getting better - both with the reactivity, and with keeping a loose less in general. With such a sensitive dog, I figure "easy does it " is the best route.

 

Watching the AKC heel, and the Cruft's heel was interesting to me. The dogs were certainly well trained, but this sort of formal heel looks unnatural to me, being a non-competition person. I would be uncomfortable with that proximity and that much attention! :D

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I believe Cerb uses the onset of tension on his collar as the cue to where he can be. He'll walk out to the point where the lead just starts to tighten up and stays there. He never pulls even enough to move my hand. His usual walk position is with the back of his rib cage at the front of my leg. I really don't worry about his heel, as long as he doesn't pull on the leash.

 

You could water ski behind our last pooch. :rolleyes:

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You could water ski behind our last pooch. :rolleyes:

 

One of the most comical experiences I've had walking a dog was walking our former foster. I used to take him for a lot of walks because he had weight to lose. He would go right out to the end of the leash, but would not pull in the least. He walked, eyes forward, straight line, right at the end of the leash, but not pulling. He meant business when he was out for a walk! No meandering, sniffing, or taking in the scenery for him! He changed directions any time you wanted and never pulled in the slightest. But he was walking, darn it, and that was that!

 

Even if we took one of our dogs with him and that dog was sniffing, looking, etc., he never changed his modus operandi on a walk!

 

I rather missed the interaction that I get from my own dogs on a walk, but watching him take a walk was very entertaining. He had such purpose!

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I have my dogs stay behind me and within a few feet of me when not working. But I don't have an exact distance away. If that makes sense.

 

My Kat is trained to stay behind and it drives me crazy. If I look over my left shoulder, she slips to the right, and vice versa. I'm always "losing" her, though she's always right behind me! I know I've told this before, but many's the time I've said "I can't find my dog," only to have someone reply, "She's right behind you!"

 

I prefer for my dogs to be off to the side or even a little in front, as long as they aren't ranging too far. At trials, I don't care if they go ahead to the post and wait for me, preferably looking up the field for their stock (this would be my trained dogs; I'm a little more careful with the youngsters).

 

I trip on dogs that are too close.

Amen sistah! And I don't need any extra help in the tripping department. (And that goes for dogs walking behind too--I don't know how many times I've had dogs following me and step on the back side of my clogs and nearly trip me.)

 

J.

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I cant walk with a dog that close to me lol and I have taught them NOT too touch me at all while walking, it drives me nuts otherwise! while casual walking I expect Misty, Electra, Happy and Rusty to walk in a heel, Happy on my right the rest on my left, they are about 1 foot away from my legs, I will kick my legs out at them if they come any closer because when they are closer I get really uncomfortable and it effect my ability to walk lol. as to where they look? I dont really care, as long as I they look at me when I ask for it. the only difference for me between a compition obedience heel and my dogs regular heel is that I require my dogs to watch me in the obedience ring. if for whatever reason I need them closer to me while on a walk, I just tap my thigh and they will move in closer.

 

Ladybug is allowed to walk however she darn well pleases so long as she doesnt pull. she's old, she's living our her last few years with me, I dont care what she does as long as she behaves lol besides I love it when she trots out ahead, she has that bouncy rolling gait of a sighthound, she looks so pretty prancing out ahead of me lol

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Otherwise, when are the feet moving? During any sit? When dog is just sitting around the house and when the dog is sitting during a training session and in a start line? Or is it just in one particular context? Is it just the front paws, or is the dog moving back paws around, too?

 

Paws are fine. It just his front paws he moves. He can sit still going away from him. generally if I am walking towards him generally when I get about 3 feet from him he will start to picking his feet up. I think it has to deal with me putting too much pressure on him from walking up... I have tried not looking at him when walking up. Walking slightly away up to him. He also doesn't get the treat till both feet are planted on the ground.

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Paws are fine. It just his front paws he moves. He can sit still going away from him. generally if I am walking towards him generally when I get about 3 feet from him he will start to picking his feet up. I think it has to deal with me putting too much pressure on him from walking up... I have tried not looking at him when walking up. Walking slightly away up to him. He also doesn't get the treat till both feet are planted on the ground.

 

That's really interesting!

 

One thing you might try is to go back and re-build what he does when you approach him. You could put him in a sit and walk just one step away, turn toward him, and reward before he starts to pick his feet up. I gather he might not pick them up if you haven't walked that far away. Repeat a couple of times and then take just two steps away, return to him and reward. Then increase to three, etc. I would move really slow, keep the sessions very short, keep the rate of reinforcement high, and build the distance gradually. The main thing I'd be looking for is paws on the ground the whole time as you move forward from a short distance. If he were to start picking them up, I"d probably ditch this approach and try something else.

 

I'm thinking that if he is doing this as a response to the pressure of you walking toward him, stepping only a step or two away and rewarding him on the approach might show him that, in this particular situation, that pressure means nothing.

 

If he's got the idea that he doesn't get the treat until both feet are planted on the ground, you have that to work off of. You can build that to - he doesn't get the treat until both feet are on the ground as you take one step in toward him. That way you will avoid creating a behavior chain of - feet move until you are right up next to him where he will get the reward. Does that make sense?

 

It's an idea, anyway. :rolleyes:

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Paws are fine. It just his front paws he moves. He can sit still going away from him. generally if I am walking towards him generally when I get about 3 feet from him he will start to picking his feet up. I think it has to deal with me putting too much pressure on him from walking up... I have tried not looking at him when walking up. Walking slightly away up to him. He also doesn't get the treat till both feet are planted on the ground.

 

This may or may not help, but in addition to avoiding eye-contact with the dog when returning, try making a continuous sound, like an imitation of a fly buzzing or clicking your teeth together. He might be so curious about the sound that he will forget to fidget. I used to do that with horses that were fidgety when being groomed. They would tip one ear at me and stand as still as a stone. An undulating, soft hiss worked best on horses. It just needs to be a sound you don't make a lot to capture their attention. For some dogs I use the various sounds a cat makes to get them to be still. I photograph animals a lot - my own and others, and this helps me get them to hold a position I like long enough for me to get a few good shots of it.

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When I want my dogs to stay close I tell them "with me" which means stay near me and don't pull on the leash if they're on one. When I say heel, I want them next to my left side and paying attention to me.

 

 

This.

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My "ring" heel with my Border Collie includes a heads up heel position, but its not what I would call wrapped.

 

PA270058-1.jpg

 

Have you ever seen the difference between US obedience heeling and UK obedience heeling?

 

US: "heads up" but not a wrap.

 

 

UK: "wrapped"

 

 

Outside of a ring I ask for a loose lead, but I never ask for a real "heel."

 

Speaking of the difference of AKC and UK, In the UK they teach a drive "up" heeling, if thats the right term for it?

 

http://www.youtube.com/user/mad4dogzz#p/a/u/1/D2OhWsTcf_M

 

Anyone have any tips on how they do that? and is that "legal" in AKC?

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You DO loose big points for the dog "bumping" your leg while heeling in AKC competitive obedience. I also find if you ALLOW the dog to be taught a heel while touching your leg they will become dependent on touching your leg when heeling instead of finding a focus spot which will eventually lead to exessive bumping.

 

Ideas for the feet. This can be applied to "dancing feet" while on the sit stay or stand or to learn to "re-adjust" a crooked sit.

 

Dog who "fidget" with there feet often have NO idea that they actually are, you just need to help them be aware of what they are doing, and help show them what you want or expect.

 

I teach my dogs to be aware of there front feet. It's really easy to teach and you can work on it just about anywhere. I have my dog on leash, in a sit. I put some tension on the leash a little, then lightly take my toe on touch one of there's until it moves a little, I say the command "feet" immediatly and treat. You progress from there with both feet, until you can say "feet" and they will re-adjust there feet. sometimes doing this alone will help them be more aware of there feet and can help the problem. You can say "feet" when they are fidgeting and it CAN help. I know quite a few trainers who use this,

 

Another thing you can try is putting bells on your dogs paws, other than being quite cute :rolleyes: you can make some straps with bells and put them around your dogs feet. When the dog moves a paw and the bell jingles, use a verbal correction, go back and re-position the foot where it was. Reward frequently for the dog keepin there feet still or where they belong.

 

You can also put quarters ontop of the dogs feet with the same principle applied. Quarter falls off when dog moves it's feet "uh oh" reposition the foot, quarter goes back on. Reward for being right.

 

AND last but not least!!! The method I used for getting my first dog to do a perfect non fidgety stand-stay and sit-stay. TUNA CANS!!! I taught her to put her front paws on tuna cans! Worked like a charm!!! You of course have to get them to accept standing with there front paws on cans(lots of treats and praise, or some shaping work), which can be a feat in itself. But this worked beautifuly!! Everytime she moved a paw and it came off the can, "uh oh" put the paw back on. She caught on really quickly :D

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I teach my dogs to be aware of there front feet. It's really easy to teach and you can work on it just about anywhere. I have my dog on leash, in a sit. I put some tension on the leash a little, then lightly take my toe on touch one of there's until it moves a little, I say the command "feet" immediatly and treat. You progress from there with both feet, until you can say "feet" and they will re-adjust there feet. sometimes doing this alone will help them be more aware of there feet and can help the problem.

 

This is sort of how I taught the command "fix yourself". Odin used to get caught up in his leash and not seem to notice. Because of his OCD surgery, I would always fix him because I didn't want his shoulder getting re-injured. I finally got the idea to just remind him gently by touching his feet with the leash, then rewarding for movement. Now I say fix yourself and he nimbly steps out of it no matter how badly he's tangled, front or back legs.

 

We have loose leash (anywhere but no pulling, and I will usually stop for him to sniff), walk behind, "with me", and lately I've been teaching him more of a "parade heel" - the snappy kind, but just for fun, not for normal walking. What's amazing to me is how he's been so responsive to my progressively declining speed lately - I am SO SLOW anymore. He is such a good sport. :rolleyes:

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