Originally Posted by gamermouse0213 View Post
Ok so I got the webinar and am about halfway through. I don't think this is what I'm looking for as I want Zeus to walk at a heel at my side, not ahead of me (even if he isn't pulling). But! I do think it will be helpful for the times where he's allowed to be free and sniff around during a walk! He gets a "break" command to know that he can leave the heel, so maybe I'll incorporate that when doing the circle method and reinforce heel with treats.
I have tried the "turn around and walk the other way" method that you mentioned
, which usually gets him back in the heel position once he's gotten in front of me .. until he sees something ahead that interests him! And then I turn around again. I know people probably think I'm crazy with all the back and forth I do!
Random picture from today in obedience class. Zeus on Place next to a friend, working on working around other dogs and minding his own business! Zeus Place
by Crystal Robinson
, on Flickr
So, a couple of thoughts I have, and I'll just share and you can take them for what's useful or not useful.
When I walk my dogs out "in the world" - around the neighborhood, or the park, or whatever, I don't ask them to walk RIGHT next to me in heel position. I think that's tough for a dog, because the walk is for them, and what's interesting to them is to explore the world with their nose, to wander a bit, to have a different pace, to pause, etc. A walk isn't actually a ton of exercise for most dogs, unless you go MANY miles, because they never actually get their heart rate up, so what a walk is for a dog is enrichment, and they don't get enrichment unless they get to smell and explore. What I ask of my dogs is simply not to pull me - give me a loose leash and you get to smell, etc. - I don't care what position you're in.
That's different than if we're walking somewhere where they need to be in tight next to me, or in competition, where they need to be in a more formal "heel". We have different commands for that, and they know the difference.
It's just my two cents, but I prefer not to ask mine to walk in that "right next to me, heel position" type of walk all the time. Certainly I can (and do) train for it, because it's a skill to have, but I also like to let me dogs have casual exploring walks most of the time, because it's a lot more fun for them. They easily discern the difference. It doesn't require a change of equipment, simply two different commands - "let's walk" verses "heel" for example.
I consider loose leash walking and heeling two very different things.