Best Way to Teach Heel?

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

  1. I don't think anyone summarized you.

    Where I have done my little bit of training, beginning heeling is taught generally with exercises done IN PLACE, teaching the dog heel position, attention and focus BEFORE MOVEMENT.

    Heel position is anywhere from the head to the withers of the dog.

    The AKC defines heel position as:
    Most people train for the ear to be at the side seam of your pants. The dog should be about 4" from your leg, parallel to you and your direction of movement.

    So a just a few questions if you don't mind, since you have asserted you are a licensed trainer, Borzoimom.

    How does doing abrupt turns (which result in the puppy hitting the end of the leash) teach a dog not to pull and to look at you?

    Do you feel that training attention is important? If so, how do you go about teaching this to a puppy?

    How does saying "HEEL" to an untrained puppy result in that puppy learning to heel?

    What is this something you are talking about?

    With your level of experience with training drug detection dogs, and your many years of training and showing dogs, if you can find the time to go over these questions, maybe we can all learn from you.

    Thanks in advance! :)
     
  2. DanL

    DanL Active Member

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  3. iwantmypup

    iwantmypup New Member

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    I seriously wished I knew about different methods of training when I had Pepper. The jerk thing didn't work at all for us.

    Pixie, I have no advice more than what anyone else has said. But I think that is SO cool that Sawyer will be a service dog. :D
     
  4. MericoX

    MericoX Roos, Poos, & a Wog!

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    I'm wondering this too. Still baffled why'd you suggest yanking around a 10 wk old puppy..:confused:
     
  5. How are you coming along with the pup, Pixie?
     
  6. Angelique

    Angelique New Member

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    Wow Red. Really going in for the kill, huh? :D

    I don't use treats to teach the heel. Saying the word "heel" during the exercise works through classical conditioning. Dogs are great social and associative learners, not lemon-brained idiots only motivated by selfish greed.

    Changing directions - moving into the dog to get them to yeild space, moving away from the dog to get them following you, or zig-zagging - doesn't have to be done "Koehler" style. It can be done slowly and gently (especially with youngsters who are learning). This is more about getting them to watch and follow your changes than to jerk them around or step on them, for not.

    Lighten up! :)
     
  7. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    I really wish you would explain a little clearer how you teach heel through classical conditioning. Very curious now.
     

  8. I'm interested also in your definition of classical conditioning and how you use it to teach heeling to a dog.

    And I can tell you right now, almost every dog I have ever trained is highly motivated by selfish greed. ;) All dogs are innocently selfish. Dogs work for food because food is survival, and taps into that basic drive. Same reason those big mammals at Sea World work for bites of fish.

    I gave my training advice. If you would care to offer some, you have the floor.

    :D
     
  9. Dekka

    Dekka Just try me..

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    well if you don't use rewards... then you use punishment. Those are your only two options.

    So if you would rather your dog works for you out of fear of punishment then by all means don't use treats or toys. (or life rewards)
     
  10. Angelique

    Angelique New Member

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    Where did I say I don't use rewards? :yikes:

    Unless, one believes treats are the only item a dog finds rewarding.
     
  11. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    I think Dekka's just thinking that it's hard to give a quick reward while teaching heel if it's not a treat - toys won't be very efficient, praise is probably not motivating enough, petting is difficult to do while you're moving, etc.

    I"m still waiting to hear about the classical conditioning. Are you basically relying a lot on life-rewards??
     
  12. Dekka

    Dekka Just try me..

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    hmm well you seemed to be promoting a poisoned cue by labeling the behaviour before it is learned. I am sorry I assumed you also didn't use rewards.

    But if you do use rewards why would you discount the easiest reward that pretty much all dogs (with work) will work for.

    What do you use? Do you have any vids of your dog heeling? Do you compete?
     
  13. Lissa

    Lissa New Member

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    Excellent post - I originally only wanted to emphasize heeling as a position but couldn't bring myself to remove the rest because it is all well said!:D

    IMO, for a service dog you need a dog that knows heel as a position rather than having a competitive type heel... While "eyes glued to your face" has a time and place, it should not be what you need/expect from a service dog all the time (its an unnatural position to start and causes a lot of strain but depending on what you are expecting from your service dog, its better that he knows to stay at your side and be aware of his environment).

    My Mum has a pretty serious hearing loss so originally, I was going to train Dodger as a hearing aid dog BUT he's just not built for it (I need a terrier!).. Instead and more out of boredom than anything he learned service dog behaviours to help with mobility (opening/closing doors, switching on/off lights, retrieving and carrying various items by name, helping with laundry, acting as a brace, getting help, delivering items, targeting buttons/items out of my reach etc...)

    Certification is the tricky part - I know a few people who have simply ordered a vest and sewed on patches without any kind of accreditation... Training service dog behaviours is one thing but your dog also needs to have a perfect temperment, not to mention be in perfect health and UTD on shots... Traing your own service dog is easy - its being accountable when out in public that is the bigger responsibility IMO.
     
  14. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    I train service dogs, and the organization I work with will administer a certification exam for anyone who wants to certify their own dog. But unfortunately, most people don't pass the exam. If you're not certified, you're not supposed to have public access with your dog, but of course, most businesses won't ask to see proof of certification.

    I agree with what Lissa said about a "perfect" or "competition" heel not being necessary with service dogs. And, FYI, that's even more important for hearing dogs, as their job in public is to look at sounds so that their partner knows what's going on around him/her. The hearing dogs I train, I don't even reward them when they look at me while loose leash walking, I only reward when they respond to their name.

    Pixie, feel free to PM me if you have any questions about service dogs specifically.
     

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