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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am having trouble with Josh on heeling. I must be doing something wrong. I constantly have to pull him back or back to my side. When we stop he sits in the heel position but when we start again he gets out in front or walks side to side. He also has a fear of walking past sewers he will actually jump behind me at times. I'm more interested in getting the heeling corrected at this point though. Could someone give me a step by step I think I must be confusing him somehow. Thanks
 

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He seems to not understand what to do, he openly shows a lack of knowledge on the subject when in motion but not when he isn't moving.

I taught my last dog, as well as my current and some other various puppies by starting out walking, and if their not with you just keep making turns and saying "name" come on, lets go, or heel in a nice happy tone, at first you sort of jerk them since you turn but they don't, but I usually have a buckle on instead of a choke or prong so it's no big correction, just a tug, until they start paying attention, and they're watching you and where your going, and the second you get a solid step where they are with you its big praise, (i clicker train, so it's click treat) Be sure to do it in motion! If you stop and he sits you're rewarding that not the heeling. Just keep working it like that progressing to 3 or 4 steps and treat for a week then adding another 3/4 before you treat and praise the next week and so on and so forth. Short sweet and to the point and always upbeat and full of praise for all the right choices is the key!
I usually practice it 3-6 times a day randomly on and off leash for about anywhere from 2-10 minutes and no longer. I do it on walks when she forgets or gets distracted/uppity at other dogs, just turn around walk a few feet then turn around to your original direction, and repeat the loop if necessary.

It works well for off leash too if you use like cheese or a high value treat and just keep turning, it's one of the best ways I've found for them to realize if they aren't watching and heeling the food and you are suddenly half way across the room.

As far as the sewers, my previous dog a lab was the same way. I worked for weeks with the one in front of our house, click treating glances, causal interest, and any confidence shown towards acknowledging it and just kept going and working her closer and closer to it until she was to the point I could point and have her nose touch, after that we could walk past one with her between me and it, and she understood it wasn't a black hole I was about to shove her in! Lol You could also try walking past as far to the side as possible, back and forth in short condensed walks right around it and working closer and closer with praise and reward the closer you get and the more he displays trust in you to not let him be harmed by what he perceives as a horrible thing.
 

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That was a great explanation!
I did the same as above, and also used a high reward treat right by his nose
(was a chore considering how small my pomeranian is)..i just did it in a small area
Made him follow the treat follow the treat then i say heel and lift the treat up but not so
He goes into sit just so he stops walking and focuses on the food, soon as his looking and
Heeled he gets the treat and go again... This worked for me so its just a suggestion!
Would definitly do the opposite directions!

:D
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I start from day one on two behaviors and reinforce them over the life of the dog. One is the basic heel position with head up and focus on me. The other is coming to me in the front and sitting. We'll focus on the one that applies to you. To start put your dog in the heel position next to a fence or other solid structure. Continually reinforce, when the dog looses focus or moves, walk away, and come back to that same position and start over. (dog should be on a leash so you have control, but no corrections are needed this is all positive)The dog over time will realize that it needs to be in that position to be rewarded. From their you start walking, while still next to the fence or solid wall. When you put the focus on a the position everything else in heeling seems to never become and issue(pulling, slowing down, the speed being walked, getting side ways, ect..) Doing it this way your dog will know to be at that position on your side, you can be running, tip toeing, riding a bike, whatever the dog knows where you want them to be.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I will try some of this tonight. I had a huge blister ob my toe last night and didn't feel up to walking.
 

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So, when he has grasped the heel position, when you start moving forward, do you reward him constantly as he is by your side? If he strays, do you turn away or walk another direction, then back to the starting position?
 

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Yes, once you have established the position you start adding in the walking. You respond the same way as you would if you were standing still. Reward for being in position, stop the game and start over if not in the position.


One thing I did not mention was that this does take time. Also when you stop the game and restart you will start building frustration in the dog. Depending on the dog this can be good or bad. Some dogs will want the reward enough to push through the frustration, other will not see it as worth it and shut down. If you have a dog showing the sign of the latter you need to make it VERY rewarding, VERY fun, VERY short.

ETA: the question rewarding continuous reinforcement when walking. this will depend again on the dog. But initially you should be rewarding the dog continually. This will be weaned off over time. The theory is you are first teaching your dog where to be. Then when you start walking you are showing the dog you want him their while in motion. I will say this is probably much more than the average person wanting to be able to walk a dog on lead would need to do. It takes time and lots of reinforcement. But it is still a means of teaching a dog to walk at your side.

Disclaimer: Their are many ways to teach the basic obedience behaviors. The style people use will vary depending on their skill level, the dogs desire to please, and the venue if any they will be working in.
 
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