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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok so I have a bit of a situation that I would love some opinions on. So Comet is doing really really well with loose leash walking training. My problem is I also want to teach him a tighter more "formal" heel command for times where we walk through heavily crowded areas like when we go into dc in the spring and summer, but I already used the command "heel" to mean going to stand at my left side from the front of me. What kind of command could I use for formal heeling and will it confuse him if I use formal heel sometimes and loose leash walking other times?
 

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You can use whatever cue you want...

"by me"
"side"

I have never taught multiple heels, so I can't really say anything on confusion. I'm sure there are dogs who can do both without confusion over it.
 

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My boys can walk nicely on longer leashes, walk nicely beside me on either side, and have/ actively work on a focused competition style heel (both sides as well for freestyle/rally free). They really don't seem confused at all. Much of it is very contextual....

I don't really have cues for polite walking. I do release to sniff and explore (''go sniff'') when allowed to go the length of the lead. When needing the close, I generally call them or cue ''let's go'' and then keep the leash shorter.

My formal focused heel cues are ''heel'' (left side) and "strut" (right side).
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I use 'Let's Go' for LLW and 'With Me' for heeling. My biggest change between the 2 is with LLW they have more control over their pace. With heeling I want them to stay at my pace no matter what. I practice this by going from all speeds of walking and jogging and they are expected to stay with me. They hate this game though.
 

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The actual commands really have almost no significance verbally, unless they sound similar/the same. Dogs don't have an understanding of speech, so you can have your dog heel on the command "kumquat" and to him that will always mean "walk close to owner's leg". Sometimes giving original or different commands can be fun, (like Stella's "play dead" command is "Avada Kedavra") or can also assure you that your dog will not follow commands of strangers and get stolen.

However I'm sure suggestions like "side" "by/with me" and "strut" would probably get you less stares in public! Either way it's great your dog is a good leash walker. Did you know how to train the close heel or did you just want suggestions for a command word?
 

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Rereading your first post, when you cue ''heel'' that means find heel position?

If so you can likely just use ''heel'' without issue. Teaching ''heel'' position and finding the position is normally the first steps to a focused comp heel. Though most people (unless competing) never take it much further (normally just ''walk close at my side'') because a focused competition style heel is super complex with a ton of components all encompassed in that single ''heel'' cue....
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Rereading your first post, when you cue ''heel'' that means find heel position?

If so you can likely just use ''heel'' without issue. Teaching ''heel'' position and finding the position is normally the first steps to a focused comp heel. Though most people (unless competing) never take it much further (normally just ''walk close at my side'') because a focused competition style heel is super complex with a ton of components all encompassed in that single ''heel'' cue....
yes I use "heel" to mean find heel position. I have heard people use the command "finish". Would it confuse him to use "heel" to mean both find the position and walk closely and pay attention to me?
 

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I use a leash with a traffic lead that makes it very easy to hold my shepherd at heel when in high traffic areas. He is still slowly learning not to pull, but this loop makes it so much easier and more comfortable.
Here is a link to see one similar to what I use.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/251272344/leather-leash-with-handle-loop-right-off?ref=shop_home_feat_2

As for training him to keep at heel without pulling, I simply stop and have him wait next to me till I am ready to go on. If he starts pulling again, I pause again.
Or my trainer just told me turning around, away from the dog, then coming back to facing front and pause; acts as a "reset" for the dog's mind. It has worked well with getting him to calm down before we even go through the door or gate to begin the walk. - this has helped wonders!
~Scott
 
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