Lately I have been getting really tired of burrs on my Layla when we go hiking so I have been putting her in a heel. This has worked remarkably well as far as burrs are concerned. The heel though isn't really what I taught as a heel in that instead of walking on my left side with her shoulder lined up with my leg she walks behind me. She can't actually walk on my left side most of the time while on trails because I use trekking poles. Is using "heel" in two contexts going to screw up my communication with my dog? Do I have to use another word for walk behind me or should Layla be smart enough to figure it out?
Yes, using "heel" in any other context (if you truly want that to mean on your left side in a very specific manner), will degrade the meaning of the word. I would choose another word, like "close!" or whatever to mean "stay within 1-2 feet of me, I don't care where you are however".
Karen and the gang
BBI Kodi's Journey To Anotch (Journey)
BBI Kodi's Blackpowder Striker (Flint)
I'd assign a new term for walking behind. In fact, I'd just use "behind", rather than heel.
I would use another word. Heel means heel at my side. We use "come around" & they know it means stay close but not at heel. Heel means heel at our side.
Yep.. I agree with the others. "Heel" for us means that we are working and I want the dog moving with me on my left side with their head up, watching me. I would use another command, "with me," or something similar.