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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have been using the command "wait" for heel position, and I know my dog knows it pretty well. The main problem I have is that I have to tell her to "wait" pretty damn constantly when she's at all excited for her to stay in heel, and even then she strays some and to get her back I have to strongly reprimand her by raising my voice. I would rather not have to do this. Even if I could just tell her in a normal tone of voice to "wait" every few minutes I would be quite pleased w/ that.
One area I'm sure I am going wrong in is that since she has not been a puppy I rarely use treats, instead I praise her w/ voice and pets, I'm sure some use of tasty treats could greatly improve our heel. Once she is back in Florida w/ me (I will be in Massachusetts for another 2 days, she will be here w/ my family for another month, enjoying the beach. I'm jealous.) I will work on heel using treats, for certain. Aside from that, what do you suggest?
 

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I start with Tessa sitting next to me. When she looks at me I praise her, tell her 'heel' and start walking. When she starts to push ahead, I just stop. I don't say anything at all, I am not pulling her back on the lead or anything. I just stand and wait. Eventually (initially that could take up to 15 minutes lol) she will turn and look at me. Initially I called her to me, made her sit next to me and waited until she looked at me, then the 'heel' command and off we went. Even if only for a few paces.
Now, a few months on, she will turn and come sitting next to me as soon as she looks at me and realises what I am waiting for. - It takes time, in particular difficult to do when I actually need to go from A to B, so in these cases I do use treats to keep her focused on me. Hope it helps
 

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Look up choose to heel. The idea is to teach your dog that the heel position is the most rewarding place to be. I think there are videos in an older thread about heeling...let me go look.
 

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Here are links to two posts in another thread with videos:
post 1
post 2

posburyfan, what you describe isn't exactly what I know as choose to heel. What I've done is start with my dog generally near me, toss a treat behind me, and start walking. Most dogs will try to catch up. As soon as the dog is in heel position: click, stop, reinforce. Repeat several times, then take a break. As all of our instructors have said, heeling is hard mental work for the dog, so we don't do it for long periods.

As soon as the dog is reliably walking in heel position, you can start reinforcing as you walk. Start with quick reinforcement (every 2-3 steps), then slowly start increasing time/distance. Verbal cues aren't added until the behavior is very, very solid.

I'll just note that my older dog and I have take two 6-week classes that focus entirely on heeling and we're not even close to competition level. If you're looking just for loose leash walking (LLW), that's different and much easier to train. There's a sticky for that: "Loose Leash" walking
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks so much! I will look at those videos. I am not looking for loose leash walking, I am looking for a true heel both on and off lead. Can't wait to get started, boy will I sure be missing my dog this next month. =(
 

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For precision heeling, I recommend Denise Fenzi's online course by that name (offered through the Fenzi Dog Sports Academy). Or Silvia Trkman has a good DVD that teaches these skills called Heeling is Just Another Trick.
 
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