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Okay, now that I am all excited about obedience I am looking into the Novice title requirements to see what we need to work on. Heeling-what is the best way to train this(on and off leash).

I have just been walking and when I start I say "heel" and just kind of leave the leash loose unless she veers and then I just give a little tug to get her back in check. Then, if I want to stop I say "stop". How do I get my dog to hug my leg and look at me and stay in stride. Any training techniques? Note: Kala works very well with a clicker.
 

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The very first thing I had to do with Billy was to say 'ready' while he was at the sit position beside me. As soon as he looked up at me, he was treated and praised. I had to repeat this several times over the course of days to get him to understand that he needed to look at me before walking off on the hell.

To get him to sit tight to me, I said 'sit' and then pulled up on the check collar while guiding his bottom into the correct position. When he did it right on his own....treats and praise. He is now sitting correctly almost every time. Takes a lot of patience with some dogs. Taffy is quicker at this.
 

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We just started learning heel in our class this past Monday. Our instructor taught to stand with your dog (on leash) on your left, then take a step forward while pulling the leash across your backside with your left hand and tapping the outside of your left thigh with a treat pinched between the thumb and forefinger of your right hand. When the dog moves forward and sits, he gets the treat. The sit command should not be used, but sit should be understood as part of the heel command.

What she told us made so much sense to me: heel is a place. I guess I never really thought of it that way before.
 

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Ok, I already taught Paris to heel through a bit of trial and error but it was messy and unfinished cos I didn't really know what I was doing! I have recently started over with a new great trainer we're starting from the start again to find my holes and fix 'em, and I'm learning soooo much more now!!

You need to break it down a LOT. "Heel" consists of a dog velcro-ed to your left leg anywhere you go, right? Ok, so like Marian said, heel is a PLACE, it's a position that needs to be taught. Duration of walking steps while paying attention to you is SEPERATE, and should be taught separately initially (why? Ok, think of it this way; if your dog is heeling beside you in the right PLACE, but isn't paying attention properly for a number of consecutive steps and you correct him, your dog is going to be mighty confused as to WHAT you are correcting for, cos you were previously praising for being in the right place but now it appears it's not right??? He has no idea it was the duration of attention you were thinking about!! Don't muddle it up, you need to separately work on location [beside you] and duration initially)

As well you need to teach them how to do a nice left turn (swing their ass end around to tuck in beside you) and a right turn (curl around and follow you closely as you turn) and also how to stop (a nice straight sit beside you). All these things, along with the heel position and the duration of attention, really need to be worked on separately to get them going well, primarily so that you can then also fix individual bits later that need some help! Like for me with my previous muddled training, my right turns are down-right SHODDY, but I had no idea how to go back and 'fix' them as they weren't really taught as anything except 'heel with me even when I turn around'... Where as now I have a separate 'game' I play that works great for my right turns, and if they go to bits again I can just work on that 'game' and bring them back up without wreaking other work on my heel.



Ok, so in saying all of that I started by playing the 'catch up game', where by I had a pile of treats in my pocket and a clicker.
Build the criteria first: Standing still, clicker and handful of treats in right hand, one treat in the left hand, dog looks up at me; click & toss the treat on the ground (so the dog looks away to find and eat the treat) where by the dog generally is pretty quick to look back up at you (TREATS!??? WHERE!??) and you can click and toss another treat. Work it up a second at a time (with-hold the click for a second) until they can stand there looking at you (paying attention) for maybe 10 seconds. Position is unimportant, you're just telling them what you want for now, and that is to look back at you for another treat.
Start moving. Walk along a little, dog looks at you ("whacha doing mom?"); click & toss the treat to the left and keep walking. this is where it starts becoming the catch up game. Walk slowly initially so you're only a couple of paces along when they've nibbled up their treat and they're quick to come back and look at you again; click & toss the treat and keep moving. Always toss the treat with your left hand, so they're getting the idea to stick around on the left side of you too. Up the pace to a brisk walk when they're 'getting it', they'll soon be racing up behind you to walk along by you for a few steps for that magic 'click'.
Start to tighten the rules. Figure out where it is you're going to hold your hands for heel work, and put them there. Rather than tossing your treat out to the side, start dropping it down right by your foot as you step (then turn at least 90 degrees away from the spot so you're not going to wobble into the dog who is now nose-to-the-ground after the treat you dropped!) to encourage them in tighter to your leg. Start being a bit pickier on when you click; you want them closer and tighter in to your leg, and when they are there, click and drop the treat down your leg and turn away to continue moving. Your hands in the heel position by your leg (my left hand is on my hip for Paris, lower for a shorter dog) as well as dropping the treat down your leg encourages them in closer, your clicker timing reinforces that. Play it lots, but don't go more than a few steps with them beside you before clicking and treating. Don't go for the duration yet, work on them 'finding heel' really well for now! You want to be able to turn away anywhere and have them racing back up to your left side to 'find heel' for the next click & treat.




Duration of attention, for me, has worked really well being done separately. You can of course carry on with the above method, building it up step by step for duration, but it's useful to have the duration as a separate exercise as well, so that if it needs help to improve, you can improve it without risking ruining the work you put into the right position.
I am doing this with Paris both with static work: standing beside me in 'heel' along side a low seat-bench that's at chest height to her, she looks up at me, I click and place the treat on the seat bench beside her head [so she looks away but doesn't have to move out of position] where by I can click the looking BACK at me again. I build this up second by second too, until she can stand beside me [I'm NOT worrying about sit for now, that's separate, I'm just standing there!] and stare up at me [while she 'happens' to be in the general heel position cos the bench is also preventing her moving away very easily, thereby creating somewhat of a 'muscle memory' to look up & to her right] for X amount of time.
As well as while moving :I've taught her to 'nose target' my hand, which I progressed to following my moving hand, which then progressed on to following my hand as it was held above her head, until I can walk along with my left arm out [straight out, but forward of my body a bit so I can see her easily without twisting!] for X amount of steps while Paris has her attention riveted to my hand.



I could go on with right turns, left turns, sits etc as well as of course the 'front' you'll need for the recall stuff too.... but I'll leave it there for now or I'll be here all night and it's already a book! LOL
 

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we just started doing the 'aside' command in our obedience class last night. she starts off sitting in front of me, then i lure her around the back of my legs with a treat so she's at my side. once she's in the right position, i make her sit and look at me when she's by my left side. then we're in the right position to start 'heel'! we haven't started heel yet. i'm guessing that's the next class, but so far so good!
 
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