The heel command
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Thread: The heel command

  1. #1
    VTEnviro is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultThe heel command

    Both independtly and in our dog class, we are trying to teach Rupert to heal. He's so exuberant and excited to see and smell things that he often pulls on the leash. This is a problem because he's now big enough to yank on my shoulder and to really jump on people.

    The pet instructor has us use treats to return him to heel, and then to hold a treat by his mouth to keep his attention on you and stay close as you walk. It's fine at the pet classroom, but another story out in the park or on the street. He's not trying to escape but he's stubborn and resistant uintil he tires. Strangely enough, he's better off lesh than on.

    Does anyone have any advice for teaching heel? He's good at learning in general, but we're having a really hard time with this one. Thanks!

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  3. #2
    Jillyanthrax is offline Junior Member
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    DefaultRe: The heel command

    I'm far from being an expert but I found changing direction as soon as Chewy started pulling - ie making him turn away from what hes trying to get towards, and putting him back into the position of following me - worked really well. As soon as he was back by my side with leash loose I would say good boy good heel, and reward every time with a tasty treat at first, then reduced the frequency of rewards as he got better. I know I felt like a bit of an idiot sometimes when I was walking back and forth the same bit of path sometimes but it did pay off for his heelwork on leash

  4. #3
    Dani's Avatar
    Dani is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: The heel command

    If you want to try and teach a solid heel, teach against a wall. If you have a side of a house, a fence, anything that you can walk your dog right up next to, it will help. If you walk with your dog on your left, the dog should be between you and the wall....and you should almost be crowding up against the wall. It helps with keeping their attention, gives you the ability to nudge them with your knee if he pulls ahead, and helps to keep the tempo. Reinforcing by talking to Rupert in a positive way, "Good heel" or "AHHHT, AHHT! No, HEEL" and treats are always bonuses.

    On the other hand, I would caution about having them walk in a heel all of the time. When I do leisure walks, my boys are not required to walk in a heel. They can sniff and walk anyway they want to. However, when we come up on a busy area, or past other dogs, they are required to heel.
    Dani, Rider & Rookie
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    GulfCoast is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: The heel command

    Do like Dani said, teach heeling initially up against a fence. It makes it a lot easier. Put a lead on, and block the forward surge with a heeling stick or a push pole (don't wail on the dog, just use the stick as an extension of your arm to make a barrier to say "nope, back into position"). And teach BOTH forwards AND backwards heeling and left/right sided heeling at the same time. It does not take any longer to do it all at once, but it is a PAIN to go back and try to teach 2 sided heeling later to a "left only" trained dog. I learned that one the hard way!

    We have 3 commands. "Lets go" means stay close, come with me, but you don't have to be in "heel" position. "Heel" means head at my knee to whichever side I gave the hand signal. Once the dog is in "heel" position, the "heel" comand means "move backwards with me in the heel position" and "here" means move forward with me in the heel position. We use the "heel" vs. "here" to help push (heel) or pull (here) the dog (if on left/vice versa on right) in relation to the marks/blind for HT's. Sounds more complicated than it is, dogs pick it right up.
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    Canyon Labradors's Avatar
    Canyon Labradors is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: The heel command

    we use a pinch collar and treats. right now, the pups knock into my legs and try to sit crooked, but I figure they'll get it soon enough.

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    kaznalf is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: The heel command

    I have no advice i struggle..Alfie even pulls on a halti! he is getting better but the thing that annoys me if i stop and say heel he returns to my side he just doesnt get he needs to stay there! Ive done all types of training..clicker, treats and all kinds of contraptions haltis/harness/choke collars he still walks in front ANNOYING is what it is lol

  9. #7
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    imported_mom2emma is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: The heel command

    I am starting on this with Emma - last night was our first go. I found that every time she got ahead of me...I quickly corrected her back to my side and stopped. I would not move again. I would continue to walk telling her to "heal" then if she got ahead I would stop, correct her position to the side of me (left) (making her wait until I was ready to go)- when ready I would kick the leash forward with my left leg and telling her "heal" (which is the go command). After about 5 or 6 attempts she got the idea that every time she got ahead of me that the walk was going to stop abruptly - she would be moved to my side and stopped for some time until I decided it was time to go. She quickly realized this was interfering with her walking time and decided it was better to stay with me.

    We have used this technique with all our foster dogs in the past and it has been quite effective for us.

    (I hope I explained it clearly????) Her on-leash definitely needs "fine-tuning" ROFL! But hey she is only 8-1/2 weeks.

    Emma works great off leash and her recall is doing great! She definitely comes to "me" (her ALPHA) then anyone else but she does listen to the kids as well. She is working on "sit" and "wait" (as I make her do both when feeding).
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    DefaultRe: The heel command

    Labs tend to be more hyper than other dogs. Some of them are calm and gentle though (like my Bruno). Just be a little more strict with them during the training sessions and they'll listen to you for sure.
    When Innocence is Lost, Beauty is Lost Too! (Applies to us Human and them Labs too)<br />*pant* *pant* *pant* *pant* *pant* *pant* *pant* *pant* *pant* *pant* *pant* *pant*

  11. #9
    JoelSilverman is offline Junior Member
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    DefaultRe: The heel command

    Here are a series of 16 one minute clips on my website that should help you with that. They are all free.. Good Luck!


    http://www.companionsforlife.net/Onl...itor_home.html
    Joel Silverman<br />www.companionsforlife.net

  12. #10
    VTEnviro is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: The heel command

    Thanks for the link, I'll check that out at some point. I've gotten him to heel as well as wait fairly well with lots of work recently.

    I don't mind if the leash is completely loose and he's right next to me as long as isn't pulling my arm off one way or another.

    I live around the corner from a small college. There are town streets that mingle through the campus. I walk him by the dining hall and some of the classroom buildings and try to get him to sit as strangers walk by and to walk with me through a crowd. It's good practice.

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