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heeling


jilly
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My 7 month old BC does not heel well on lead. I'm using a gentle nylon choke chain training collar reccomended by my trainer. He still pulls...any ideas of what other collars would work better? Mine is placed just behind the ears and is short enough for the quick correction as not to hit him in the windpipe.

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First, I have some questions for you. How long have you been training your dog? What methods of training have you been using? What do you do when he is pulling you? You can try going in the opposite direction and then when he hits the end of the leash, he ends up correcting himself. Do you use food and motivation in your training??

 

Kathy

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Jilly,

Kat's suggestion is great. This is how I worked in the early days with my girls. If I could add though, the moment your dog reaches your leg again [because he will obviously run to catch up with you when he sees you're walking the other way]and his head is in the correct position, praise him. I know of someone who actually walks round during training with the dog's treat in her mouth. Dog knows it's there and doesn't take his eyes off her face. He prances beautifully.

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I have been "training" him from the first day he became part of the family. He has been in obedience class for 5 weeks. When he pulls ahead of me he is immediately corrected. He just doesn't seem to mind it. A snap of the lead gets his attention but he continues to pay no attention...I worry that his neck will become sore! Ironically he he is perfect with his sit and down stays, as well as other exercizes. Thanks for the advise.

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Jilly,

All I can say is that the dog's in the club I attend do execellent heel work and one of the handlers is competing at Crufts this year. I have never ever seen any of them snapping the lead. It is all done with treats in the early days then phasing them out, and voice. If you are going to continue snapping the lead, and you do seem concerned about it, can I suggest you do some research into it, as an American dog behavourist I correspond with has spoken about neck injuries caused by continually jerking and incorrect jerking. And remember that heel work isn't exactly a natural thing for a dog to do.

Regards, Val

 

[This message has been edited by Dynamite Tess Again (edited 02-08-2000).]

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I absolutely agree that heeling is not a natural activity- it is also a very precise activity, and therefore needs a training method that is very precise. Using leash pops tells the dog that it is doing something wrong- but doesn't really communicate well what the dog IS supposed to do. Using food and praise when the dog is in the correct position is a great idea, but is hard to time correctly and consistently. All this is leading up to the fact that I think clicker training is the best way to go for precise behaviours (see me ducking!). The basic idea is (once the dog understands what the clicker is!) that the clicker marks the exact behaviour you want, and you progressively shape the correct behaviour- and for each click, the dog gets a reward. For something as stressful and confusing as heeling initially is, this means a lot of click and reward, which is then phased out once the dog understands the behaviour.

 

This is not a quick fix! My suggestion would be to lurk on some of the clicker sites for a couple weeks, check out the sites and training tips, and see if this is a training philosphy you can embrace. If it is, many people are doing it without benefit of structured classes, but if you can find one in your area- great!

 

The following sites may be helpful to anyone wanting more information about clicker training:

clickersolutions.com

clickertraining.com

click-I.com

karenpryor.com

 

Hope this helps someone!

Susan

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You sure are asking a lot of a 7 month old pup! And five weeks is not a long time for instruction.

 

The reason he isn't paying a ttention to you is that you are no fun! He's a puppy! And he is a bc. Bc's hate repetition, especially in obedience, its soooo boring to them. You have to be more fun, and more interesting than whatever is going on in the class, or at home, wherever you train!

 

Using food is one of the best ways for teaching heeling. My older dog didn't have a training(or choke) put on her untill i was ready to compete. She learned to heel on a regular flat buckle collar, with food, fun and lots of encouragment.

Becarefull how much force you put on training. By the time i went into competition, my dog was so bored of obedience, she didn't want to show! I worked so hard with being precise, a doing it right, she hated it and boy she let me know. This wonderful, fabulousworking dog "fogot" how to sit during the heeling excersize, or thought it was much more fun to run paston the recall and stick her head throught the gates. I took the hint, and stopped pushing her. She doesn't(or won't)do obedience anymore,for competition,just for fun.

 

It was such a humbling experience, that i didn't forcefully teach my second dog to heel at all, and i hate obedience! We do agility and fyball, much more fun- say the dog and the people!

 

 

Kelli

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I'm more confused now than before! In order to do first level agility one must complete level one obedience...hence the need for teaching the heel. Food is very much apart of the training method. You put leash around your waist and treat in left hand in front of his nose. It works fine...for awhile...I know the choke is placed properly on the neck. It could be he's going through the teen years...he's brilliant with all other exercizes...thanks for the input all!

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The training's got to be fun and fast for Siena to enjoy it. I put a baggie of freeze dried liver (or some smelly thing) in my left jeans pocket. Then I run though figure 8's, about faces, spins in both directions and all out sprints/stops. Siena is right there, hugging my left side like she's stuck with glue. I try to trip her up and she tries to keep up with the liver and not lose it! It's not precise, but when you do slower precision heeling, she knows what to do. And she remembers that this exercise is usually fun.

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Jilly, don't know if this might help, you've had some excellant ideas given, I have never trained heeling as in what goes with obedience but have taught the dogs to walk with me. Our training consist for herding, but no one wants a dog to pull. Have you taken into consideration the personality of you dog. I have one that is so busy looking around, she gave me a daughter that is just like her, for me it's great they are forever searching, looking for livestock, or taking in their environment. One of the things that I did to get them to walk with me, and not pull was when they were ahead of me, moving etc. I just turned and went the other way, did'nt say a word to them, and hopefully they rolled themselves when they hit the end of the lead, which I would than laugh at them and ask them what happened. You use a long line, and the moment they aren't paying attention to you, you go another way. It took only a few times of them rolling(sometimes I'd run the other way just so they got a good roll)themselves and it wasn't easy to do it again, they were quite aware of where I was at. Another suggestion would be to go into a safe environment and once the dog isn't paying attention to you, go hide. Let the dog worry about what happened to you, once it's worried long enough than come out. It usually produces a dog that won't let you out of it's sight. Hope some of this helps.

 

Linda

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Hi I am new here and have 3 border collies. Always I have raised them from small puppies but my newest is 7mon old. I got her about 3 weeks ago. A girl at work had her and realized that she wasn't going to be the sweet,loving,cuddling, wait patiently for Mom to get home from work kinda dog. She had started jumping out of the yard to visit the neighbor dogs. Anyway she now lives with me and is settling in well. She is a small HIGH energy BC. I can see why she drove her previous owner nuts. I have enjoyed this post about heeling. I have been doing the right thing it seems with her. Before I have always worked with them from tiny puppyhood. She luckily doesn't really have bad habits but she is a very dominant and assertive little dog. Luckily I have a 10 year who is also an Alpha type and she puts this one in her place. Thanks for listening and I am enjoying this board. I have been reading it for awhile and really like the tone everyone has on it.

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Our BC, Brie, just turned seven months old and I finally have found time to go out and work on heeling with her. I think most of my procrastination came from a bit of dread I was feeling after reading about how difficult it can be to teach your dog to heel. I should have know better, especially after she has picked up everything else so quickly. I was inspired, after reading numerous training books and researching heeling in particular, by the Monks of New Skete and the Art of Raising a Puppy.

Brie has been a puller from the beginning, and we curbed it a bit, but didn't teach her to heel. Using the techniques discussed in that book, and taking her out to a large field, she learned it in five minutes and continued to do an almost perfect heel for the next ten, including "gliding" into the sit down as I stopped. I use what is called a prong collar, which, from what I've read and been told, is one of the safest AND most effective training tools for teaching your dog leash manners. However, I wouldn't recommend it for very sensitive dogs. Instead of choking your dog or jerking her little trachea like choke chains do, when used properly it pinches the skin but doesn't do any damage. Part of the teaching technique called for a "pop" of the leash with a "no" at the same time.

They don't use treats in their training, but we will periodically use them with Brie (to keep her guessing I suppose, it's working). I like the idea of holding the treat in the mouth so the dog is looking at you.

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I understand what you mean about your BC not doing well with heeling, I had the same problem. My BC, Thunder, started his training in a puppy class when he was 6 months old and did great with everything BUT the heeling. I started with the buckle collar, went to a nylon slip collar, then a chain one..nothing worked. Thunder would pull and bark and just go nuts, totally ignoring the "pops" I would give him. As a last resort I put a Prong collar on him. It worked wonders!! I know a lot of ppl don't like them and think they are "cruel" but I did my research first, believe me, I even put it on myself! They are a lot less traumatic on a dog than any other training collar. In a study of 100 dogs, 50 trained with slip chokes and 50 trained with prong collars only 2 trained with prong collars showed signs of neck,back or trechea damage, compared to 48 that showed damage from a slip choke. I would suggest that you talk to some peaple about it and do some research for yourself. It's VERY important that they are used properly! Thunder was only on the prong collar for 12 weeks, he now heels wonderfully on a buckle collar. Another thing that I am doing now to help his heeling more is Attention Training, teaching him a "watch" command and treating and praise when he looks at me. Thunder is now 11 months old and at the end of Feb. will try for his CGC and then on to a trial for his first "leg" towards a CD in May. Two months ago I would have laughed at the thought of putting him in a trial he was so bad. Good Luck with your training!

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I'm always a bit hesitant about telling people I use a prong collar for training because I can remember the first time I saw one (not on a dog, it looks even more sadistic) and thought no way. After reading quite a few training books and understanding how it works, and trying Brie on a buckle nylon collar first, we went to the prong for training. I'm glad that I'm not the only person out there that sees the advantages if you don't have a dog that works on a nylon collar, and sees that it is a safe alternative.

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The thing about prong collars, is the size doesn'tmatter,its how you use it, and if you use it correctly. Most big name obedience people use prongs for fine tuning in heelwork. And most of them use micro prongs, which have to be special ordered from an obedience supply company.

To get the bestuseout of a prong, they have to be close fitting and worn right behind the ears, like a properly fit choke chain.

And i did read that articlecomparing the two colaars, its truemore damageisdone by choke style collars- from the popping and jerking. The prong- or pinch(i like to call them pinch)does just that, it pinches,the dog learns real fast- i pull,i get pinched! And the smaller the link the better result. The big huge "manly" pinch collar you see on big "manly" dogs serve NO purpose and if you watch the dog still drags them where ever it wants!

The latest thing is a head collar, there area few brands but the one that works the best is the Gentle leader. I usedto go tothe pinch for pulling, but with the younger dogs i have worked with, i used the gentle leader. I've even used iton the older dogs. The gentle leader gives you more control, where the dogs head is, his body has to follow! It also gives you more of that fancy heads up heeling. Most trainers that work with gentle leaders are also clicker trainers, which someone suggested already. CT is also a fabulous way to happily train your dog! The club i used to be with had more people getting out of begginer classes, and WANTING to go on with Obed using the clicker method. You have to find someone that really knows how to train with the clicker to get the most out of it.

 

kelli

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