Heel position question/help
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Thread: Heel position question/help

  1. #1
    3TailsWaggin's Avatar
    3TailsWaggin is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultHeel position question/help

    I am working Remington on obedience. I am finding that I am much more demanding of him than I was with Magnum or Ruger. I've done it before, and now I want higher scores so I'm a bit more driven.

    Anyway, my question/problem is... I am working to teach Remington to find heel position on his own. He is beginning to really understand, and is really trying. The problem is, getting him close to my leg... you know, snugging him right up beside me. He just can't get it right and I have to make at least 2 corrections (either with my hands, motioning him to get back and get in, or physically putting him into position). He is not necessarily swinging his butt out, but often times just sits off about five or six inches. I want him in close.

    On the recall when he comes in, he also prefers to sit about six inches away from me. I make him come right in to my crotch. I know this is overkill but am hoping at a trial we will reach a happy medium.

    I think his stand-offish behavior is linked with his ADD (I'm serious, he is a bit like an autistic child in that he doesn't want to be close or be held... I know that's not the same as ADD... he suffers from both

    I am using mostly clicker for marking correct position. Sometimes I do a leash pop when he's really off or lagging.

    Any ideas on what else we can try, or is it just repetition, repetition, repetition?

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  3. #2
    ZRL
    ZRL is offline Senior Member
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    Well, I am pretty sure Zeke is basically an extreme version of Remington. At the age of 7.5 we have progressed to him accepting head-pats politely, and enjoying a moderate amount of contact. He will never be snuggly or anything like that, but he used to actively avoid ALL physical contact so I think we're doing OK. Honestly he didn't even wag his tail in response to human contact until he was close to 5 years old. Edit: not that he was ever unfriendly but he prefers to run and play and is not interested in "bonding" or anything of that sort.

    Plus I believe everyone knows his attention span...and if you don't remember...he's the 7.5 year old dog who has an RN and nothing else. He did finish TWO agility courses this past spring though (no Qs though...stupid bars!).

    Anyway, we have the same issue with close sits/close heeling (yes, I do actually train him contrary to popular belief ). I don't know how Remington responds to things, but physically placing Zeke in the right spot is a big no-no because he doesn't like being handled and he gets totally out of focus and it makes everything 10X worse. With him I have found that I really just have to start low and keep increasing my expectations over time. Sitting a foot too far out on a recall? OK. He came. Reward. I'll take that a few times, but soon we go down to 11in and then to 10 etc. I have to slowly whittle down the space. Frustrating and time consuming, yes. Effective (for me)? Yes.
    Last edited by ZRL; 02-04-2010 at 11:11 PM.

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    AngusFangus is offline Senior Member
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    I love Zeke!

    Linda, you know I am certainly no expert, but one thing I have been told by trainers is to deliver the treat practically on the leg. The other thing I have been told when Angus is forging is to put the leash behind my body and take up the slack. Those two things are about all I can offer.

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    3TailsWaggin's Avatar
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    but physically placing Zeke in the right spot is a big no-no because he doesn't like being handled and he gets totally out of focus
    I SO understand this! I don't think Remington is quite that bad, but it definitely is a problem. See my siggy pic below, look at how Remington is leaning AWAY from me. That's what he does... he is not Mr. Get Close guy (he is on the far right)

    Although, I will admit that since I've been working with him lately, he has become a bit of a snugly bud for his afternoon nap or when I'm home he wants to sit right next to me on the couch, that NEVER happened before, so maybe, just maybe, in his little mind he is bonding with me. Woot!

    Connie, I have been dropping the treat from my hand held close to my face to get him looking up at me. I just can't put food in my mouth and spit it at the dog, am in awe of trainers that do that, but it doesn't work for me at all.

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    debjen is offline Senior Member
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    A couple of ideas

    For heeling ..when having him find heel have some objects around the room like chairs and when you call him to heel be next to the chair with just enough room for him to get in to position.. or just move along a wall or fence line calling him to heel again with just enough room for him to get in...so he has to be close to you..

    For calling to front..make a reverse chute..have you ever used bars or boards to make a chute to have them come in straight..well reverse so that the small end of the chute is at his rear so he has to get in far enough so that he doesn't sit on it..or make a square out of PVC big enough for him to sit in..first teach him to find it and sit in it..then put it in front of you in the position you want him to sit in and call him to front...or when calling him to front instead of having him sit have a treat or toy ready and throw it between your legs so he gets use to running up and through you basically then every once in awhile when he is running in good have him sit in front.

    I can't touch Cedar to position him..not because he doesn't like to snuggle..he is a great snuggler..but you touch him and he melts..teaching him a stand was extremely hard...LOL..anytime anyone touched him he would just melt down...but lttle by little he got..
    Last edited by debjen; 02-05-2010 at 01:15 AM.

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    AngusFangus is offline Senior Member
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    haha! He *is* leaning away from you! I never noticed that before. Funny! Angus does this too. In just the last year or two, he has started to consent to (and even enjoy, I think) snuggly time on the floor at night. When we're done with everything we're doing for the night, he will sometimes lie against my leg while I watch TV. I love it! But, it's only on his terms. He still dances away if you try to pet him when he'd rather be doing something else. I've never been able to physically position him either. Totally makes everything worse!

    I did a lot of spitting while heeling for a long time, but I had to stop it - it was making him forge. The down side is, now that I'm not spitting anymore I have less heads-up attention...but he is in better heel position. While this seems like it would be the most desirable of the two, I think I actually miss the attention more than I care about perfect position. Because without attention, I'm screwed.

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    3TailsWaggin's Avatar
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    I think I actually miss the attention more than I care about perfect position. Because without attention, I'm screwed.
    Yes, this is one thing I'm really working on with Remington. I have to keep his attention, which is very hard for Mr. ADD dog. He is so pretty when he's heeling with that head up looking at me. Maintaining it is hard though. I know we've just really started, so we have a lot (and I mean a LOT) of repetitions to do yet.

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    some good ideas Deb. I will try it along the fence (I work outside with him).

    No way will he go between my legs, that's way too 'scary' for him. I've worked hard at making him stay in a down position while I step over him, he's finally doing it but it took a long while for him gain that trust. And actually, I don't want a big dog like mine running between my legs... one wrong move and I'm flat on the ground, LOL! My legs aren't all that long.

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    debjen is offline Senior Member
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    LOL Riley is pony size..LOL..he didn't go through my legs alot either but then he is use to ducking down to get through a tunnel..

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    ObedienceLabs4Me is offline Senior Member
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    Oh Linda, I do wish we were closer! Ok, on the front bring your hands to your face, around your mouth so he comes in and looks at you. Caleb has more of a short neck so he does sit out further from me on the fronts than Micah does. Mic has a longer neck and gets right in and tight. So, some of that might be structure. Caleb also will sit out further from my side, again due to structure.

    Now having said that with heel position I did a lot of marking with the clicker. Do not correct for lagging--most Labs the more you correct the more they lag. Don't hurry them either--the sound of the hurry and encouragement can be taken as praise. I don't do a lot with Mic's lagging but praise and click when he's in heel position. Has helped Caleb a lot, too with his fasts. Also, clicking on the about turn has helped both of them on that.

    Also with heeling and turns it's important to be aware of our body shifts, too. Even with fronts you can breath in to bring the dog in closer
    Susan
    UCDX GRCH Dunn's Marsh Caleb of Waltona UDX3, OM3, RAE Canadian UD, RE
    FallRiver's Micah of Waltona GN RAE, Canadian CD, RN

    www.labmed.org


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