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Discussion Starter #1
As the title says, both Ava and I need need some help with heel. I can get her to heel but she has a very annoying habit of walking into my legs as we go. She watches me the whole time and she'll start out real well but within a few steps she's got her legs tangled with mine. It's like she's so focused on me that she's not paying attention to where she's going. Sometimes she'll get her paws stepped on by doing this and I feel awful every time it happens but she never learns.

A trainer had suggested using my knee to gently 'bump' her when she gets too close but this doesn't work with her. I'll bump her and she bounces right back. :boldblue: I know these dogs are considered velcro dogs but geez I need my space when walking!

Any suggestions would be most appreciated!
 

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Yeah, the more you work in quickening the pace and lots of turns, the better attention they have to pay..... Hopefully it will work it self over to just regular walking too.
 

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I'm happy to report that our heel work is going a bit better. :) We've been changing directions and pace which seems to work a little. She's much better with heel after exercise but before it's a struggle to get her to pay attention. Is this a normal thing with a young dog or am I always going to have to run her before I can anything from her?
 

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I know some dogs like that, that work better after exercise, however try carrying a morsel with you, give it to her occasionally. Tell her to "watch" or "look" and hold the treat kinda in front of you so she is looking up at you, reward her frequently for "looking" at first so she gets the jist of what you are asking for. You will find with that her attention on you will get better and better in time.

Another great attention exercise is to sit your doberkid in front of you facing you and hold morsels in you hands BEHIND your back, give her the attention command, and every time she watches your EYES give her a tidbit out of alternating hands, (so she doesn't watch the hands because it's different all the time.

When you are first teaching her the attention command I find that it is easiest for them to learn by combining it with a hand signal, point at your eyes and tell her the command, she will naturally watch your hand, and that will shift over to looking at your eyes. Once she gets it (and it won't take long, I mean after all, she's a DOBERGENIUS) when you give her the command she will look at your eyes. Another tidbit, don't ever where sunglasses when you work her.


Hint for treats make sure they are small and something that is not everyday like a regular dog biscuit, I use snipits of chicken or steak (whatever is leftover!) for work, so they don't have to take time to chew them up. If you are antitreat, try it with her Fav toy if she is motivated by that.

Just a little advice! The key to everything is her attention and making sure she is watching you. If needbe make your sessions Very short in the beginning and just do them a few times a day and gradually work up to longer sessions as her attention gets better.

Good luck!
 

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Trinity use to do the same thing so all I did was take her for a walk around the block and when ever she would start to do this I would put my hand on her side and gentle push her away. I would keep my hand on her side and just lock my elbow so she couldn't get back against my legs. I no longer have to do this put when I was doing it after a while she seemed to understand that I was there and that I wasn't going to be going anywhere without her because she did have seperation anxiete(sp). This might be why she is doing this because she has sepearte anxiete(sp) and wants to be close to you. This was the reason trinity did it to me.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I no longer have to do this put when I was doing it after a while she seemed to understand that I was there and that I wasn't going to be going anywhere without her because she did have seperation anxiete(sp). This might be why she is doing this because she has sepearte anxiete(sp) and wants to be close to you. This was the reason trinity did it to me
I don't believe it's SA. I've delt with SA in our dog Scoob so I'm well aware of it. It's funny because he's a real insecure needy dog but heels beautifully. He's always right with you, no matter the pace and manuvers and he keeps just the right amount of distance between us. In his obedience classes he became the star pupil because he heeled like a champ. lol

Ava on the other hand..... I think it's an attention issue. Either she's too focused or not at all. Sometimes she's all over the place and other times, she's so focused on me that she manages to trip us both up.

Jessie, thank you for the attention exercises. I'll have to incorporate them into our routine to see if it helps.
 

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something you need to consider is --
1) you have a young dog, and your expectations on how long she can focus, and how well, may be too high.

2) this also may be a reflection of training. is she in over her head, and are you asking too much for what she can offer? bowie can heel at dog shows, in classes, and at my house, in our yard, etc -- but its too much to ask him to heel through a park with kids and bikes all over for too long, because hes just overstimulated. i havent TRAINED in that situation, so he needs work - remember, dogs do not generalize.

3) personally, i train attention work without a command - i dont want the dog to have to be reminded to look at me, i want it as a backup. i dont want the dog to stare elsewhere until i tell it to look at me - when we are working, i want her eyes on me, and paying attention. ive taken attention classes specifically to accomplish that, you may want to look into it. LOTS of attention games, lots of working and making lookinat YOU the default behavior. word of advice - teach a RELEASE command so she knows she can stop looking at you, otherwise it gets too hard and she will feel defeated.


the easiest way i have started this is sitting there with the dog in heel, and the minute they look up at you, click/treat. they look away, and when they look back, c/t again. the clicker has worked wonders for both of my pups.
 

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oh and as for heeling position -- thats another thing you may want to retrain.

part of it may be body language and the position YOU are in - does it encourage her to forge, heel wide, or heel too close, to lag?

part of it may be, if shes giving you attention heeling, where she is focusing and how that forces her body to bump yours.

part of it may be shes young and doesnt have much hind end awareness - this you can work on and train to encourage her to control her entire body.

my dog used to bump me very badly, and i realized that my heel position for him had by default become incorrect- so i broke it down and retrained from the bottom up and reinforced NOT touching me and bumping me. we encourage the dogs to get closer to us to heel, so he just took it one step further.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
1) you have a young dog, and your expectations on how long she can focus, and how well, may be too high.
You probably have hit the nail on the head there. Ava is the first dog that I've had since a puppy so a lot of this is new to me. She's so damn smart and because of this I'm surprised heeling hasn't come easier to her. I guess the problem lies within the big dummy holding the leash. ;) Doesn't it always?

Every other dog I've had, have had the attention span of a nat but not Ava. I think she's so egar to please, watching me, bumping me, but I'm not giving her clear enough signals so I'm sure she's just as confused as I am.

so i broke it down and retrained from the bottom up and reinforced NOT touching me and bumping me. we encourage the dogs to get closer to us to heel, so he just took it one step further.
I think this will be our next homework assignment. Thank you Doberkim.
 

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doberkim said:
3) personally, i train attention work without a command - i dont want the dog to have to be reminded to look at me, i want it as a backup. i dont want the dog to stare elsewhere until i tell it to look at me - when we are working, i want her eyes on me, and paying attention. ive taken attention classes specifically to accomplish that, you may want to look into it. LOTS of attention games, lots of working and making lookinat YOU the default behavior. word of advice - teach a RELEASE command so she knows she can stop looking at you, otherwise it gets too hard and she will feel defeated.


the easiest way i have started this is sitting there with the dog in heel, and the minute they look up at you, click/treat. they look away, and when they look back, c/t again. the clicker has worked wonders for both of my pups.
Actually, just make Lexy's work clear, I trained attention as a command and in the beginning when I taught her the command for it and what it was she would frequently look away, as time and training has progressed, now her attention is on me. Periodically she will get distracted, at which point I remind her to "watch" and she focuses back on me again. At the end of the workout I release her and we play.

Just didn't want people thinking that my dog goes around looking at eveything else and I have to keep telling her to look at me. It is like any training, with time and progression she's learned all along to extend her attention span on me longer and longer.

It's especially useful as a command, when we are in distracting curcumstances, she sees everything going on and I command her to watch me, and she focuses on me rather then everything else.
 
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