I think I'm confused. Do you demand a perfectly straight, balanced sit at heel the first time from a dog who is just learning what heel means, or they don't get a reward? What if they go to heel quickly, and then sit a few inches crooked? Is that rewarded, do you correct the postition, or do you just ignore that, and make them do it again and again, until they are absolutely straight? Isn't there the risk of the dog thinking "well, I never get rewarded for anything, so why bother doing it?".
Ilka is 3, and still gets goodies for going to heel, or for coming in to a front.
ive had a couple of members message me here and on facebook. and the gist of how i train is, i make my dogs right as often as possible. my dogs learn how to be wrong, believe me - making mistakes are not big deals. but in terms of heel position and how i want them to be - i make that right. i dont work incorrect position, i dont let them be wrong in the beginning.
yes, i want perfect heel position from the very start. my dogs learn how i want it from day one, and thats the way to earn a reward. if they go crooked, sit too far back, they learn how to fix themselves into heel position.
being wrong isn't a terrible thing - i lure them into the correct position, i break them out with a "touch" to retry, i restart. my dogs learn that its ok to keep trying, and its ok to keep working on the same behavior to get it right.
but for me, i try as hard as possible to NOT REWARD ANYTHING BUT EXACTLY WHAT I WANT. and for setting up in heel position, as i said, this is something i reward heavily for life. in part also because i want a very animated heel position and a very animated set up (i call it "get close")- so i need to practice that repeatedly until its second nature - my dogs think there is an invisible leash that when i put my hand up, they jump. and 9 times out of 10, there is a cookie there! i reward for just jumping up and back still too, even in dogs that have been setting up since they were 8 weeks old (5 weeks for chill).
it might be easiest if i should you how i train.
but to answer your questions - Do you demand a perfectly straight, balanced sit at heel the first time from a dog who is just learning what heel means, or they don't get a reward?
yup What if they go to heel quickly, and then sit a few inches crooked?
i teach them to tuck their butts in. i break them out and try again. i draw them out of heel and start over. Is that rewarded,
never do you correct the postition,
- i correct the position -by fixing it. not a correctio. or do you just ignore that,
it is ignored, simply because its not rewarded. why do things i dont reward? and make them do it again and again,
i just trained my dogs for 20 minutes on one single behavior. in fact, you can hear the others barking to work in the background, and cherry's two videos are first and last respectively in the order - she actually got HAPPIER in the second video, IMO. until they are absolutely straight? Isn't there the risk of the dog thinking "well, I never get rewarded for anything, so why bother doing it?".
i have multiple ways to reward my dog, and the lack of a tangible food reward isn't a problem for my dogs once they learn that if you KEEP TRYING, you will get the reward. in this video my dogs get verbal praise, physical praise, chill gets a toy (they are all over the floor, he chose to play), as well as food.