Best Way to Teach Heel?

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by PixieSticksandTricks, Jul 9, 2008.

  1. PixieSticksandTricks

    PixieSticksandTricks Athletic Labs. They Exist

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    Since I plan to have Sawyer as a service dog I want him to have a good strong heel. I would like to train him without treats as well. So far I have him used to sitting at the door and waiting for me to walk out and invite him before stepping in or out of the house. I have him where he can do a slight heal but it needs work. He is only 10 weeks old so he's a bit bouncy but he is learning. I want to work on his heel and then once I feel good about it take him up the road to the shopping plaza and socialize him there a few times a week.

    Also anyone who has trained Service dogs im all open for tips and advice.
     
  2. Dekka

    Dekka Just try me..

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    Why without treats? Will you use toys? If you don't use treats you will have to use aversives. Personally I find food the easiest way to teach a really strong heel.
     
  3. PixieSticksandTricks

    PixieSticksandTricks Athletic Labs. They Exist

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    I was told to try and not use treats....I don't know. He doesent really care about treats.
     
  4. corgipower

    corgipower Tweleve Enthusiest

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    One thing I would suggest is to not wait for him to be able to heel before taking him to the shopping plaza. He needs to be out in public, seeing things, exposed to things and he needs it at the age he's at now.

    For the heeling, I think he's too young to really worry abou tit just yet start with teaching him to look at you (unless that's counter productive for the Sd training) and teach him a LLW - with a different command (with me, let's go).

    Play chase with him where you run away and he does the chasing. I do get that SD's shouldn't be dependent on treats and toys, but I don't think it would be a problem if you used minimal treats as rewards. I've seen a number of SD's that are trained with food. As they progress in their training, the use of food is minimized or eliminated.
     
  5. Maxy24

    Maxy24 Active Member

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    And if you use some marker (clicker training) you don't need to lure at all, simply click and treat when he falls in the heel position.
     
  6. elegy

    elegy overdogged

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    if he doesn't like treats, what does he like? what motivates him?
     
  7. PixieSticksandTricks

    PixieSticksandTricks Athletic Labs. They Exist

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  8. DanL

    DanL Active Member

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    At 10 weeks, you shouldn't be worrying about a heel yet. Work on getting and keeping his attention. Once you have focus, then you can start working on other commands. One thing I wish I had done when teaching heel- treat is as a position, not as an action. Heel means right here by my side. If I walk, you walk. If I turn, you turn. If I go backwards, you go backwards. If I move side to side, you move with me.

    I was a no treat trainer- using a ball or tug. Then I found that treats really did work because you can keep the dog training and treat as you go- not stopping to play as a reward. Now I use the ball or tug as a break out reward after a series of tasks is complete.

    Training with treats doesn't mean you have to treat all the time, and it doesn't mean you have to walk around with treats in your pockets for the rest of your life. Treat a lot while the dog is learning, then vary the frequency to keep them guessing, and you can gradually phase the treats out.
     
  9. borzoimom

    borzoimom Couch Pototoe City

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    Well having therapy dogs and not service dogs but at least I can tell you how I train heel.. You start walking with the dog on your left. Dogs name "heel".. and start walking at a good clip but not too fast. ie the speed of the breed you have.. As soon as the dog forges forward, I do an abrupt about turn, heading in the opposite direction.. This is the beginning- do not forge ahead or behind.. Once you get this down, then I add something to perfect the heel where they should be. IN a heel the dogs shoulder should be at your leg. Not only does this teach not to pull but also to watch you. As soon as the dog gets back in the right position- verbal praise ( calm to keep concentration- ie ' good boy..."..) Keep training sessions short- and always best to end on a good note.
     
  10. borzoimom, you describe a perfect way to teach your dog NOT to heel. I find it ridiculous to recommend Koeler jerk and puke "training methods" to be used on a TEN weeks old PUPPY. Heeling is a precision exercise that demands a dog know many elements before beginning movement and naming "heel".

    I'm pretty interested in exactly what the "something" is that you add in "to perfect the heel where they should be."

    The word "heel" should be spoken only when a dog is in exact heel position and moving with attention and head up, as you don't want a dog to hear the name of any behavior unless they are DOING IT, when they are learning.

    For the OP:

    There are many basic elements of heeling you can work on in bits with your puppy.

    You can work on attention. Start with the LOOK GAME. :D I call this No Lookie No Cookie.

    You can start this game VERY young. Puppies will quickly learn to make eye contact to get a reward. Start by showing the pup you have delicious bait in both hands. Then close your hands, and stand naturally with your arms by your side. Ignore anything the puppy does as far as getting the food out of your hands, and wait for the puppy to look at your face.

    At the FIRST GLANCE at your face, SMILE VERY BIG, say YES!!! and dish out several treats, alternating hands. (left, right, left, right...as the puppy is taking the treats, contniue praise. Then start again. Most puppies will look again QUICKLY. After just a few reps, most puppies will learn that what is getting the cookie is eye contact.

    When you get to this point, the game is on. :D Once they learn this, I begin various distractions, such as holding the treats out with my hands where they can see them, or turning to make the puppy come "find my eyes" to get the treat.

    No lookie, no cookie.

    We work up to stronger and stronger distractions.

    No lookie, no cookie.

    When the puppy is really working to make eye contact with you, start saying the puppy's name each time he looks.

    You can also shape or capture heel position in much the same way. Any time you can, get in heel position with the puppy, and mark with YES, and treat. Anytime the puppy comes up to you and sits anywhere close to your left side, mark with YES and treat.

    Meanwhile, look for a good positive reward based training class. Nothing will be more important for your puppy's future as a working dog than intensive socialization during the first 18 months of life. By the time your pup is 5 months old, you want him to have been EVERYWHERE and, and have him interact with as many different people in as many different places as possible.
     
  11. Dekka

    Dekka Just try me..

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    Here is my take on training heel (or any other thing actually) Either you train the dog to want to heel for the chance of a reward. Or you train your dog to fear NOT to heel by way of corrections. Both methods you will 'wean off' rewards/aversives but will still need them occasionally. Neither method creates a dog who will never need 'help' again.

    At that age most pups will work for praise.. its social interaction, and pups CRAVE that. But while the odd dog will truly work for praise (yet to see it, but have heard about it) most that appear too are aversive trained-and praise becomes a no punishment marker.

    Would you work for most of your life for a pat on the back?

    I would get your dog into working for food, toys etc. This heel (same vid I always post.. its my only footage of Dekka heeling :) )was trained with food. Now I can reward every now and then with ball, tug or food. I don't need food on me, nor even near me.

    Actually it was training heeling that got me to stop using ANY aversives as even gentle leash pops were making Kaiden's lagging issues worse. (strangely enough when I stopped all aversives his lagging went away)
     
  12. PixieSticksandTricks

    PixieSticksandTricks Athletic Labs. They Exist

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    Thanks for all the info Redyre. Also thanks for not making me feel stupid for asking.

    To everyone else I am not expecting this to happen at 10 weeks. I was just asking for general advice. But since I got what I needed thanks again Redyre.
     
  13. Dekka

    Dekka Just try me..

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    I am sorry if I made you feel stupid.. I was only trying to help :(
     
  14. Yeah, Pix, I think everyone who posted on your thread was trying to help. :D Just like with your puppy, sometimes you just gotta FOCUS ON THE POSITIVE, as hard as that can be. :D
     
  15. blackcat

    blackcat New Member

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    I got this in a hand out at my class. For my pitbull it worked in about an hour. After that I didnt even need the leash for the rest of the walk. As for my Dobe I try to work on it with her a few times a week. She can do perfect heel around the yard and in the house but we still have distraction problems that I need to work on. I'm going to type it out as my typing is much better then my ability to use the scanner and photobucket thing.

    Teaching your dog to heel is often much easier if broken down into separate steps (criteria) and taught one step at a time. Your dog ends up with a much more reliable behavior which is important if you are planning on competing with your dog.
    criteria (steps) for shaping the heel​

    1. dog at left side
    2. dog close to left side without crowding
    3. dog facing straight in line with same direction as handler (not crabbing)
    4. area between dogs head and shoulder in line with handler's left hip
    5. sit at heel (a) promptly and (b) straight

    Step 1. dog at left side.

    Begin informally. Simply walk with your dog on leash. When your dog moves with you at your left side, click and treat. (or yes and treat) Try not to be too much of a cheerleader. Let your marker signal (your yes or click) and your reward do their jobs. Sometimes if we chatter too much we actually distract our dogs and slow down the learning process.

    Work on step one until your dog is doing well through level three of the variable reinforcement schedule on the last page of this handout.

    Step 2. Dog close to the left side without crowding.
    Now lets make sure the dog understands the close part of out heel criteria. Your dog should be walking close to your left leg without bumping into your left leg. If you can fit another dog in between your dog and your left leg, your dog is too far away. Go back to level one of your variable reinforcemnt schedule (back page) and start clicking (or yes) and treating when your dog is close, but not bumping your leg. Build up to level three on your schedule before you go to thte next step.

    Step 3. Dog facing straight in line, same direction as handler (not crabbing)

    If you dog is crabbing out, this is the time to fix it. Crabbing means your dog's nose is close to you, but his rear is far from you. He may be trying to see the treat in your hand or knows where it is coming from and wants to be ready. Temporarily relax your close criteria (don't worry about it while we work on crabbing) and just click and treat your dog when he is straight and not crabbing. Start with level one on you schedules and work through level three before moving onto the next step.

    Step 4 Area between dogs head and shoulder is in line with the handler's left hip.

    Now lets see if we can get your dog to align the area between his head and his shoulders with your left hip. If he is walking with his nose in line with your hip, he will lag on the right turns and if he is walking with his shoulder in line with you hip he will forge, or be to far ahead on the left turns. A good target area to aim for is your dogs ear. We need to relax our last criteria or step , which was crabbing, and just concentrate on clicking or treating for the dogs ear in line with the left hip. Begin at level one on the schedule and work through level three.

    Once you have worked though the level three on all of the steps we can start to put every thing together. Once you begin to put everything together. Once you begin to put everything together you may find that one or two of the first steps fall apart. Go back and work that step or steps and then try again. Also, when you put all the steps together it may be that you have to start at level one on your schedule and build up from there.

    Variable reinforcement schedule for heeling. (how many steps before you treat)

    Level 1 (5 step average) 2,6,3,7,3,5,1,7,4,3,5,1
    Level 2 (7 step average) 3,10,5,8,4,7,2,5,10,3,7,2
    Level 3 (10 step average) 5,8,4,12,6,10,3,7,10,5,12,1,10,3
    ECT until level 8 which is a 30 step average.


    Source: Clicker training for obedience by Morgan Spector
     
  16. mrose_s

    mrose_s BusterLove

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    I trained Buster with a clicker. I started in the backyard with 2 small steps and clicked when he stayed at position, I slowly extended that distance till I was happoy enough going from one end of the backyard to another.
    Than we moved outside, I started with the 2 steps again but he progressed much faster this time.

    Now, if he decides he wants to wander ahead I just turn and go the otehr way. He's starting to learn to keep an eye on me.

    By all means though, his heel isn't perfect. My only aim with his is to keep his focus on what I'm doing, keep the leash loose by my side and hopefully one day be able to walk him and my next dog together.
     
  17. GREAT POST!!!!

    :D

     
  18. noludoru

    noludoru Bored Now.

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    GOOD posts in this thread, you guys.

    I'm planning to start teaching heeling once we have a few other commands down better and his loose-leash walking gets better, but I'm definitely using these methods. :D Q - to teach the heel, do you use a leash or no? Like if you were to teach it in a back yard or something....
     
  19. corgipower

    corgipower Tweleve Enthusiest

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    If you're in a controlled area, you can do it without a leash. If you clicker train the position, then off leash works well. If your dog is doing well with LLW, then it shouldn't matter much if you train formal heeling on or off a leash.
     
  20. borzoimom

    borzoimom Couch Pototoe City

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    In rereading my post this morning, I realized it could very well give the wrong impression than what I meant. The posts that followed it summerized it well.
    To OP- follow the advice given afterwards.
     

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