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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Normally when we walk, I keep Chi at a heel. I do this mainly to keep her close and her attention on me. But it does become tiresome, especially on days that the weather is nice and we want to cut up and run/jump around.
This morning was one of those mornings, she was happy and full of energy but I kept her right by my side pivoting if she got too far out front (if her shoulder is much past my knee I change direction). Trying to maintain that perfect heel is somewhat stressful on both of us.
This afternoon I changed tactics. I allowed her more freedom and only pivoted when the leash got tight, it actually became a game to some extent. Running was easier because I wasn't so concerned with keeping her "right there in that magic spot" - overall, the walk was much more enjoyable for both of us. I noticed that although she was infront of me, she frequently looked back to check on me and my position. Toward the end of our walk, I noticed a couple Japanese maintainance guys walking in and out of a house - I took it as a training opportunity to practice close down stays in that front yard. She did great but I think some of that has to do with the fact that 1. she was worn out from our walk and 2. our walk had been so fun and stress free.
In light of the fact that I'm working on her socialization and confidence, should I relax on the whole "heel" issue and give her more freedom and room for fun. We can still easily work on heel throughout our walks and during formal training sessions. Or should I stick to my guns and keep her heeling primarily all the time during walks? By not keeping her at a heel am I sending her the message that she is controlling and leading the walk? I could talk myself in circles on this one looking at both sides - so figured rather than dealing with that headache, I'd get y'all's opinions :)
 

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I do both. No, I don't think you're giving her any wrong message about being in charge if you allow to her to smell the roses or whatever and run around a little on your walk. To me, the walks are primarily for exercise, but dogs also enjoy checking out the sights and smells along the way. In fact, going slowly for this can make an excellent outing for an elderly or infirm dog.

With Monte, who is 10 months old, I let him walk on a loose leash and sniff what he wants to and hike his leg occasionally. I sometimes practice heeling and other obedience commands during the walk, and I think that is where you will maintain your training program with Chi, as long as she is still responsive when you want her to be, I don't see a problem, and I think she'll enjoy the walks more.

I usually tell Monte to heel when we cross streets and have him do the automatic sit when we reach the other curb, before I release him to go ahead of me again. He has really taken this to heart and now sometimes sits on his own when we reach the far curb even tho I keep on walking. I feel the leash tighten and turn around to see him sitting like a good boy, waiting for praise. :)
 

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My mom does that change direction when they start to get ahead of themselves with the dogs she volunteers with and walks at the shelter.

He has really taken this to heart and now sometimes sits on his own when we reach the far curb even tho I keep on walking. I feel the leash tighten and turn around to see him sitting like a good boy, waiting for praise.
Thats great! and how cute! its like "wait!!!look both ways and make sure its safe duh!!! gosh!!!! I need to put a leash on YOU!" monte says! what a good boy
one time I was walking coco and you have to be careful sometimes if your dog is walking kinda behind you cause one day I was walking into the house...was on my drive way...and next thing you know the leash was dangling at my side with his collar....no dog! I turn around and throw my body around coco so he couldnt get away lol now I have a habit to always keep a good eye on them when they lag behind me (and make sure their collar is tight enough ;))
 

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I don't think it is necessary to keep your dog in a perfect heel at all times. I certainly don't with Lexus. I do think it is beneficial to have a command for loose leash walking. Example, we have our heel command and when I let her out to walk in front of me and enjoy the smells :) I tell Lex - "Go Easy". And she immediately walks out and starts sniffing. When I recall her to heel (or the German counterpart I actually use), she comes right back and we heel on.

That way it isn't really an example of her taking "leadership" or however some may interpret it, but instead she has been granted the freedom to walk ahead of me by me.
 

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A tired dog is a good dog, no doubt about it =)

I also do both. Heel is a formal heel, beside me, not in front of me. We do this everywhere, not just in training classes. Comes in handy in stores or at crowded places and like Jessica comes in handy with crossing streets. The automatic sits at streets; crosswalks, etc. are also part of the walk and just come naturally now.

“With me” is a less formal heel; it is a very nice loose leash type of walk. Frequently the dog will semi-heel beside me a little bit, then do a loose leash for a while, look back and check on me, etc.

But in order to be in the lead and be allowed to sniff things/have freedom to do as the nose pleases, I give the command “go free”.

The “go-free” command doesn’t allow for any pulling, so basically it means as long as you are not acting like a wild monster and are walking nicely on a loose lead you can take the lead and/or sniff until your heart is content or until I say, “heel” or “with me”.

Sometimes that just means the dog is out in front walking me in a sense, taking in the sights and sounds, or that means the dog can take a potty break or sniff break or whatever else they want to do.

Makes for a nice peaceful & enjoyable walk for us.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
We've had 3 nice relaxed walks now by incorporating "heel" with "let's go". We're heeling while crossing the street. It's just amazing how fast they catch on, isn't it? By the third or 4th street, she started slowing to wait for me and then would circle me to get in the heel position right before we got to the curb. When she starts to get a bit too nutty, I have her heel for a bit and then release her and allow her to walk loose lead. It is just so much easier this way and much, much, much more fun!
This morning Jordan had Petri (she's doing it with him too) and I had Chi. We would race from corner to corner. The Dobe won every time but there was a close call when Petri tried to pass and we ended up with tangled leashes LOL.

I think I've just decided that I will get further and have more fun if I say "good" more often than "bad". You know? Why tell her no, you can't do that - like walking with freedom - when I can praise her for handling her freedom well? Also, I'm finding (could be a fluke or wishful thinking though) that she is paying closer attention to me when I'm not constantly asking for it and forcing it upon her - AND she's not nearly as reactionary.
 

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Holly is still pretty young and she gets freaked out by things easy. when I take her out we just go for a normal walk shes infront of me looking all over on the way back on the bike trail i stop and work on heel with her for 10-15 minutes she can heel decent sometimes when we just walk she also is semi in the heel postion she stays at my side then she goes ahead looks at me comes back and ect. i have tried to keep her in the heel on entire walks that goes alright but she stops paying attention to me which isnt good when she sees a bird or a rabbit or someone coming up from behind us its funny holly will stop and stare up at a bird and watch it and jump up at it lol i think ive said this once before the thing that i dont like is holly always looks back on the bike trail and when she spots someone she looks and looks and looks and starting walking in cricles around me stareing at them usually i stop and let her watch them go by is that a smart move? or do i just keep walking ignoreing her?
 

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heres what i have to add to this -

i have a different definition of heel and LLW than you guys, i think.

heeling, to me - is not just a dog being in a position, but means attention on me. eyes on me, checking in with me constantly. it means we are working. it means no distractions, no paying attention to anyone else.

LLW means you have a radius that is fine with me, as long as you dont hit the end of the leash. you can be next to me, you can be up to 18-24 inches in any direction near me - but you are walking with me in the general sense, and still responsive, but you are free to look elsewhere, you are free to sniff, etc.

Then i have total freedom - pull, run, pee, do your thing.
 

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I wouldn't stop and let Holly stare them down. I would keep on walking/working with her, when people/dogs walk by, it isn't a big deal that requires that you stop walking or stop your training.

If you have trouble getting her to focus on you during those times you can use extra enticement, like special treats or a special toy. I talked about what I did with my boy who loved to go up to people and dogs during walks and outings in the Barking Mad thread by Diesel.
 

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heeling, to me - is not just a dog being in a position, but means attention on me. eyes on me, checking in with me constantly. it means we are working. it means no distractions, no paying attention to anyone else.
I don't want my dog's eyes on me. An occcasional glance is ok, but he can pay attention to me without constantly staring at me.He can still see me from his periphal (sp?) vision. He shouldn't have to look at me for guidance. I want him to be able to think for himself and know by my movements what I want from him.
 

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agree. It looks great in the obedience ring but in real life I don’t want my Doberman totally focused on me and nothing else.

I like for him to watch me out of his peripheral vision as well as always be alert and very aware of his surroundings. He can heel with the best of them, always scores high in on & off leash heeling in shows and heels well at other places in that manner.
He does follow me, my movements, and pace, letting me take the lead and tell us where to go, without having to stare at me with full attention. His 100% attention with me is there for sure, he is very reliable and we are in tune with each other, but his focus isn't constantly on my face or eye to eye contact. I have sometimes had to request he look at me, if the attention wanders too much back in the puppy months.

But each person has their own thing, what works for best for them and their dogs, and their own ways of doing things. I know Kim worked really hard for Bowie and his attention heel and I am really impressed with what they have accomplished.

The seminar we took back in October at the Doberman National explained heeling and what works best for each team and what motivates each dog, etc. The demos were awe-inspiring, to see a team so in tune with each other was a wonderful experience.

Yes, in competitive obedience, you are aiming for a certain way, a certain look of perfection, and there is a definite heel position for the dog in regards to the handler and certain paces to walk depending upon the heeling pattern but from observation in classes, the actual classes, time with instructors, and other events I have learned heeling can slightly differ with each dog/person team and that is okay. Each person has their own preference, what feels most comfortable to them and their dogs.

In the obedience ring, you see various correct ways to heel, the full attention heel and other variations of heeling between the dogs and handlers. Some dog’s focus at the leg, some focus at a place on the arm, some the person’s face, other’s peripheral vision, and so on.
Some handlers look at their dogs more often than other, some look straight ahead, some glance at their dogs occasionally, some slouch, some keep their back straight, and so on. As usual, I have found our behavior makes a difference in regards to our dog’s behavior when doing heeling and sometimes things need to be changed depending upon the temperament and personality of the dog.

Any way you look at it, a nice heel is a beautiful thing to watch between a handler and dog or be a part of with your own dogs. The respect and communication between the two species during a nice heel is a wonderful thing IMO.
 

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I think I've just decided that I will get further and have more fun if I say "good" more often than "bad". You know? Why tell her no, you can't do that - like walking with freedom - when I can praise her for handling her freedom well?
sometimes I remind Duchess if she is starting to get ahead of herself and she starts to speed up a little and break the heal...I say "Where's my good girl?" and she backs up and looks right at me....like saying "Im right here! sorry I forgot"
 

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lots of good advice from everyone again. pollo listens much more than he looks at me when we are walking/heeling. I can see where his attention is by his ears. if he is a bit ahead of me but still paying attention to me I can see the whole inside of both ears (can almost tell if they need to be cleaned;) )

TracyJo the way our instructor teaches us - she really is terrific - is that you do what ever works for you and Chi - but you are the one in control. if you are running around and playing on the leash you initiate and finish the play. if you are doing a proper heel same thing. Chi will figure it pretty quick that if she does what you want, she will get to have some fun or get a treat.

cc
keep up the good work and keep up the fun - it's good for both of you - and for your future dog owner, Jordan.

cc
 
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