Need some "Tricks of the Trade"
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Thread: Need some "Tricks of the Trade"

  1. #1
    Baloo317's Avatar
    Baloo317 is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultNeed some "Tricks of the Trade"

    Long story short: Baloo is doing soo well in his training. He is really eager to please, highly motivated, and for the most part seems to be having an absolute BLAST with it, and it shows.

    BUT. Heeling is quickly becoming our achilles heel. (HA! ;D) He just doesn't seem to really like it, and on top of that I'm not sure I'm doing a very good job in helping him to make the connection between the verbal cue and the desired action. Our instructor just kinda says "it's OK, it's normal for him to be easily distracted..." which at this age is obviously true, but in most other exercises a bomb could go off ten feet away and he'd continue to stare at me with that "I'm mentally willing you to drop food" look.

    I've started to work up to spitting food at him (more accurately, drop it right above his head and he catches it - sometimes. :-\) It's helping his fronts a lot, and when he actually catches it, it helps his heeling a TONNE as well. Problem is that he only catches it maybe 1 out of 5 times, so I started noticing him starting to root around on the ground as soon as I went to spit the cheese, meaning he's starting to anticipate it falling. So I stopped that. :-[

    Basically, are there any specific ways that you guys teach/work on heeling? Is the spitting food thing a good idea, and we just have to work on getting his "catch it" ratio up, or should I scrap that idea? Any ideas on how to motivate him a little better, as well as help him to make the connection between the word "heel" and the desired action...??

    Thanks in advance!
    Kate
    Baloo - 5 year old black lab
    Peanut - 7 year old minpin
    Monster - 3-ish year old frenchie/jack, rescue
    We're Superdogs!


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  3. #2
    ObedienceLabs4Me is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Need some "Tricks of the Trade"

    Quote Originally Posted by Baloo317
    I've started to work up to spitting food at him (more accurately, drop it right above his head and he catches it - sometimes. :-\) It's helping his fronts a lot, and when he actually catches it, it helps his heeling a TONNE as well. Problem is that he only catches it maybe 1 out of 5 times, so I started noticing him starting to root around on the ground as soon as I went to spit the cheese, meaning he's starting to anticipate it falling. So I stopped that. :-[
    Because I can't spit and Caleb can't catch I will take both hands and feed from my mouth. So the visual he is getting when he comes to front is still with my hands to my side but rather than moving to get the food I will take both hands and feed with both hands. That way he isn't looking to one hand or the other.

    One drill we do for attention on the set up is to rock on the balls of our feet to see if the dog learchs forward--telling us they are cueing off of our body movement which dogs do more than the verbal. Then after a couple I'll say heel and then step off with my left foot but a shorter step than my normal stride.

    I work on him watching me initially for about three steps then break him out and let him jump up on me (something he can do in the ring) if you dog likes that. In getting ready for competition I don't use a lot of food but do stuff I can do in the ring. I use Sandy Ladwig's "up/sit" a lot in heeling and set up. In fact in the Utility ring this weekend was the first time I was able to get Caleb to do the up/sits before the exercises. Usually he's so stressed he can't. Thus not only do I have a play type of thing but I now also have a barameter as to how stressed/relaxed my dog is in the ring. If he's really distracted in heeling I'll d some ups with him and get him focused back on me. Heeling is boring so we have to be creative in what we do. I'm mean, too--I'll go to a park and make Caleb do some heeling, signals, go-outs before he can sniff and pee. Mean Mom! :P

    Just a couple of ideas. But don't feel bad--even the best have heeling issues. That is part of what makes this sport fun--always working on things.


    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

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    imported_Belles mom is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Need some "Tricks of the Trade"

    I do the same as Susan. LOTS of doodling and short heeling spurts.
    Karen and<br />UAG1 SHR UCDX GRCH Tracker Belle of Bedford RAE JH CDX TT WCX WC CGC (Belle)<br /><br />UCD SHR GRCH BIMBS BBI Belle&#39;s Kodiak Dreamweaver JH UD RAE TT WC CGC (Kodi)<br /><br />SHR UCH BBI Ponderosa&#39;s Big Blond Guy JH RE TT WC CGC (Hoss)

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    rottnlabs is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Need some "Tricks of the Trade"

    Use the rally exercises in your heeling practice. It keeps it fun an interesting for both of you. Also, don't drill, drill, drill heeling. It gets really boring really fast. Work in short bursts and on specific things then break off and do something else then come back to it. Remember, in competition you are only heeling for about 1 minute. No need to heel for 30 min in practice.

    I practice getting the dog up and moving with a "get it". I sit the dog at heel and hold a treat (or small toy) in my right hand. I say "heel" step off with my left foot and as I step with my right foot I swing my right hand out in front of the dog and say "get it" releasing the food or toy. They think this is great fun and you will start to see the dog jumping up from the sit on your first heel command. Then I add a couple of more steps before the "get it" then I try a couple of steps and an about turn with the "get it" as we finish the turn (speeds the dog up on the turn). I heel with a small tennis ball under my arm so when we are doing straight heeling, I will occasionally grab the ball, toss it ahead while releasing the dog. There are so many games you can play to keep it interesting. Be creative.

    <br /><br />Lydia, Murray &amp; Essy in AZ<br /><br />Clear Creek&#39;s Mad About You CDX RE NJP OAP OFP ASCA CDX GSN RSN NGC TGO TNO OAC NJC HPN PS1 JHE<br /><br />Larkspur&#39;s Essence RE NAC TNN JHE

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    ObedienceLabs4Me is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Need some "Tricks of the Trade"

    We do something similar, too that Lydia! They love it!
    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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    henrysmom is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Need some "Tricks of the Trade"

    I use Sandy Ladwig's "up/sit" a lot in heeling and set up.
    Susan, can you explain this?

    Kate, my trick to you... don't watch us!!! LOL!!! Laggy laggy laggy. Actually, Marie has us doing something similar to what Lydia was describing, heeling only a few steps and then "get it!" only I use "take it" instead because I use "get it" for Henry's retrieves. I'll use either a treat or a toy (tennis ball) and it really gets him motivated because he doesn't know when the "get/take it" is coming! I toss the treat/toy ahead.

    Rally seriously helps too.

    Gorsebrook Jackson Triggs, CD, RN, WC, CGN<br />Kelrobin A Twist of Fate<br /><br />

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    patm's Avatar
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    DefaultRe: Need some "Tricks of the Trade"

    Susan - what are up/sits?

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    ObedienceLabs4Me is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Need some "Tricks of the Trade"

    Ok, I'll give it a try. With my dog in heel position, I have my hand above his nose (about six to ten inches away) and have him sit up and touch my hand as I say "up" and he has to sit right back down in heel position. I also teach the "up" to get more energy on finishes. I'll have him up when heeling when he's getting laggy or looking around too much. I also am working on the return to heel with the moving stand to get more commitment to the finish rather than walking in. Does that make sense?
    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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    henrysmom is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Need some "Tricks of the Trade"

    That makes sense.

    How do you teach it? I was thinking of clickering Henry, as he already knows "touch".
    Gorsebrook Jackson Triggs, CD, RN, WC, CGN<br />Kelrobin A Twist of Fate<br /><br />

  12. #10
    patm's Avatar
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    DefaultRe: Need some "Tricks of the Trade"

    Does that make sense?
    So does he sometimes do it from a stand too? I am getting a picture of his front feet coming off the ground to do this - is that correct? This sounds like something Emilu might like and would give her some energy with heeling.

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