Heeling And Sitting

Discussion in 'Training Challenges' started by jeanniecogan, Jan 30, 2013.

  1. jeanniecogan Well-Known Member

    It's a very basic instruction, i have trained many dogs to do that, however, old age and a couple strokes and bad balance are making this impossible. As soon as we got Bonnie (4 months old then. Dobie) i signed her up at the only place i could find. Pet Smart. there was one other dog in the class. we learned sit, down, leave it, and take it. she showed us how to walk on a loose leash. i told her it would be better for me to teach her to heel right away so i wouldn't get tangled in the leash. she said fine, but continued to teach the other. the other dog dropped out after 4 weeks. i went in for week 5 and she took it upon herself to play with Bonnie. i asked 3 times "shouldn't I be doing that"? she ignored me. so that class was wasted. 6 week class she didn't show up.

    to try and shorten this, i now have a dog that weighs twice as much as she did 2 months ago and she will not sit next to me, she insists on sitting in front of me as we taught them with the sit and down. heeling is out of the question, she drags me all over. i have tried all kinds of collars and harness'. i love this dog, she is wonderful and i don't want to hurt her, or myself. does anyone have any ideas???? please.

    jeannie cogan
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  2. southerngirl Honored Member

    First reteach her to sit beside you, simply have her by your side, have a treat in your hand and lure her to a sit.
    Leash pulling. I suggest a gentle leader, I have one for my dog it's great. I taught my dog not to pull by stopping every time she pulled called her back to me told her good girl and continued to walk. It can be annoying and a pain doing this, but the end results are great. Also(not sure if your trying to get Bonnie to walk by your side) I think that it's fine to allow your dog to have the whole leash, it's no fun for the dog to be stuck to your side. Every once in a while allow your dog to smell things.
    I hope this helps.
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  3. fickla Experienced Member

    I'm very sorry that you had a bad class experience. But remember, class is only one hour a week so training time needs to be done often at home and in as many new places as possible.

    Actual precise heeling takes way too much thinking and body awareness control to be done 100% of the time on walks. If you want the dog to walk close to you and stop when you stop that is still essentially loose leash walking, just with a short leash :) My dogs compete in obedience so they have excellent heeling skills, but I would lose that precision if I tried to have them do it 100% of the time, plus heeling would no longer be fun for them.
    There are many ways to teach loose leash walking but all essentially have
    1. Reinforcement for walking where you want (it sounds like your allowed "bubble of space" is only a foot or so)
    2. Punishment for getting out of the prescribed space allowed

    For my dogs, I prefer the penalty yards method for their "punishment." As soon as the dog gets too far ahead, BEFORE the leash gets tight, I start backing up 3 steps or so. This makes the dog realize that getting too far ahead of me makes them now further from where they wanted to be. I also make sure I back up before they reach the end of the leash so that way the leash being tight does not become the cue to pay attention to me, but rather the distance allowed from me. This is much easier to teach the bigger your "zone" of allowed movement is. You can imagine that if I have a 3 foot bubble, I have 3.5ft before I have to back up, but if you have a 1ft bubble, then you will constantly be backing up.

    Regardless of what method you choose to use, the key to training is being consistent. By following the dog as they're pulling, even if just for a few feet, you are rewarding the dog for pulling. I see this all the time as people let their dogs pull them from the parking lot into training class, and then try and work on their walking skills in class, and then let the dogs pull them back out once done. The dogs start to do great in class, but are still horrid outside.
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  4. 648117 Honored Member

    I had the same problem as you with Holly during puppy classes with the sitting in front of me. Our puppy classes were fantastic but I had already taught Holly how to "sit" and "down" before starting without realising/thinking about the fact I would need to get her to do it in heel position and for "stays" she would need to be next to me.

    So I had to teach her to sit next to me, if I stood next to her and asked her to sit she would move around to face me again, so what I did was tell her to sit and then slowly started to stand next to her before giving her the reward. I couldn't do it in one step or she would move around so I had to do it in smaller steps.
    Once she realised that she could sit next to me and get treats I started to hold the treat at my side so she could learn to find the "close" position (sit next to me in heel position). This might not be the best method, and I didn't know as much about training back then, but it worked for us. And when we moved up to the next class and the other dogs were learning the "close" command Holly could already do it :)

    I'm sorry I can't help you with the pulling, I've never owned a big dog but I would imagine it would be very hard to stop and stand still with a Dobie pulling (I held the leash of a lab at agility once, he lunged and I got pulled forward a step and I'm reasonably strong and the dog is trained).
    With Holly I taught her to loose leash walk at home without a leash first, so maybe you could try that to get the position you want using treats without risking injury/as much frustration.
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  5. jeanniecogan Well-Known Member

    Thank you so much for your good advice. i will try each way and see what works for us. thanks again. check back and i will let you know how we are doing. jeannie
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  6. Linda A Experienced Member

    Here is a very good video on loose leash walking!

  7. Linda A Experienced Member

    Here is an excellent follow up.

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  8. jeanniecogan Well-Known Member

    Well , im back, Bonnie has learned to sit next to me. Please understand that i practiced at least once a day with her , usually more. she sits, downs, shakes paw, watches me really well, and just learned to roll over, that was fun, and sits by my chair while my husband (Mike) fixes her food very patiently and waits for him to tell her she can have it.

    i took her to the class last week (last one) and she dragged me into the store just like someone said. i try to have control of her. but i wonder if i should get a real trainer to put in a couple hours with her. what do you think?

    I really got a lot out of the videos, i know how to do it now, the weather has warmed up a little, so i will try her outside tomorrow. she is fine in the house. Our big problem is that she is enthusiastic and used to running outside and i am not strong enough to give her a good jerk to get her attention. oh by the way, i used the easy walk harness and she grabbed the chest strap and bit it in two. hehe. so much for that idea. hehe. jeannie
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  9. jeanniecogan Well-Known Member

    :) i understand about the 1 ft. bubble, but she just wraps herself around me because i am slow and clumsy:ROFLMAO:. if she could learn the 1 ft bubble then i thought i would be able to move on to 3, 4 or 5 ft bubble(y).
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  10. raymond upton Well-Known Member

    I would recomend a head collar for your dog they give you total control over your dog but they take some getting used to by your dog he will try to get it off of him until he gets used to it. but once he's used to it he won't try to pull any more you'll get good loose leash walking
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  11. jeanniecogan Well-Known Member

    Thanks , i will try that. jeannie
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  12. jeanniecogan Well-Known Member

    OK now you will probably ban me from the site, but i found something that works for walking on a loose leash. im afraid it is the collar i never wanted to use. i tried for 4-5 day each suggestion, none seemed to work. so i bought a choke collar. she didn't even notice. I had an old prong collar that someone had given me a long time ago. never needed it. i decided to put it on her. i did and before we walked outside with it and before i put a leash on her, i let her know very gently what it felt like. then i walked around the house with it and her on a leash. she is much quieter in the house. anyhow, we walked out the door and i thought she would hurt herself at least once , but she came to the end of it and slowed right down. we walked all over with it and she was very careful not to pull. it was the first decent walk i ever had with her. my plan now is to teach her to walk on a loose leash with it and then when she figures it out i will drop down to a regular nylon collar. wish me luck, we had a great walk this afternoon. oh i praised her and gave her lots of treats on our walk.
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  13. Pawbla Experienced Member

    Hmm, that isn't quite needed. Have you tried the Walk your dog with love harness? It's better than the easy walk and that most harnesses. My mom has a husky x that used to pull like crazy. She had a choke chain on him as per suggestion of her trainer and needless to say it didn't quite work. Yes, it slowed him down, but it was cruel and he pulled anyways. I made him a harness based on the design of the WYDWL and he doesn't pull anymore. You'll only hurt your dog's neck, eyes, and back, and you're creating a negative experience for your dog on walks and predisposing him to leash reactiveness.
    Also, 4-5 days is not enough time to test if something works or not. You need to pick a method and stick to it for at least 3 weeks.
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  14. jeanniecogan Well-Known Member

    (n) I guess i will make a harness based on the WYDWL and in 3 weeks everything will be fine.
  15. Pawbla Experienced Member

    You could actually get a WYDWL, it's very good but I can't import things in my country.
  16. Woof Folks,
    Dan at Walk Your Dog With Love here. Yes please simply get a harness from us - we have a 100% Guarantee. I like it because it is off your dog's neck. Check us out at http://walkyourdogwithlove.com Our new Zen Hipster walking belt is pretty cool too. And Pawbla - I am not sure why you can't get a harness in Argentina - we ship worldwide. When we ship internationally we make sure customs knows it is a gift!
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  17. jeanniecogan Well-Known Member

    Ok, the crisis is over. We have found a happy medium with no pain to the dog. Bonnie just didn't understand. i didn''t get her until she was 4 months old, and she obviously had no lead training. she just knew how to dive out the door and run and bark.
    a couple weeks ago ups delivered part of her brain and we are all one happy famiy, will ad some pictures soon. She does quite a few tricks for her age and she loves it. it was only outside we had problems. She sits, downs, shakes paw and rolls over, she also sits up,we are learning how to play tug of war and starting fetch also and now i can ad that she loose leash walks. She is only 7 months old. THANKS FOR ALL YOUR HELP. WE LEARNED A LOT HERE. I am here to stay though, i love reading about other tricks.
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  18. MissyBC Experienced Member

    I didn't get my BC Missy until 4 months old either. All she knew was sit and get down - now off. :) So I had my hands full and my work cut out for me... positive reinforcement is really starting to pay off... -- she's two years old now, almost 2 and a 1/2. She now knows 47 tricks in total, including her basic obedience. *she chases cars but if she didn't she would be off leash!! :) I'm working on that though. So, training just takes time, consistency and tons of patience!

    Glad Bonnie is doing so well with walking and with all of her tricks. :) Keep up the good work!!
    southerngirl likes this.
  19. kcmetric Well-Known Member

    First, don't take this the wrong way, I have nothing against prongs and choke chains being used correctly and while I wouldn't use one myself they have their place.

    Sorry, maybe it's just because I'm a lazy reader, but are you still using a choke chain? I frankly find it a horrible idea to use a choke chain or prong collar on a dog that's only 7 months! It can cause tracheal damage especially if used incorrectly.

    I know people on this site may disagree with me but I am more of a balanced trainer though I stick to rewards based 95% of the time -- I'll do a leash pop with a flat buckle collar (it's what we walk with) now and again when the time comes as a correction. Choke chains and prong collars, though I personally do not use them, have their place in this world but not as teachers, only as correctors. No one should ever be putting one on a dog that doesn't already know how to walk on a leash in a prong or choke; that's when the damage is done, especially at only 7 months.

    The reason she pulls sometimes and not others is because you haven't taught her to walk well enough. It's easy to walk next to you with low distractions. Petsmart though has so many smells and it's so exciting that she can't help herself. Practice makes perfect, get it 100% solid in a low stimulus environment and slowly work your way up to higher ones. Don't put your dog in a situation where you know it will fail and you can't correct it. It's like telling your dog to come even though you know they won't -- it teaches them they can get away with their bad behavior.

    So please, if you're still using the choke chain I hope you'll teach her to walk without one in all environments. As said before, my dogs walk on a flat-buckle. Baby learned on a flat buckle and Chaplin learned on a front clip harness and graduated.

    If anything, just to spare her trachea.
  20. Pawbla Experienced Member

    I've had thousands of problems trying to get things into the country, even with companies that ship as "gift" (like DealExtreme and so). I don't order anymore online because it's just a waste of money, I never get what I order :(. I wrote to you some time ago to buy one, but then I ordered a couple of cheaper things in different companies to see if they arrived, none of them did.
    Still, it's not the same design, I crossed over many designs until I found one that suited my dog. I still refer to similar to a WYDWL when referring to it, but it's so different you'd barely recognize it haha. The angles are different (three straps with equal angle) and the front-strap doesn't hang, for example. It is, however, a front attached harness with the same idea in mind, so I still refer people to the WYDWL when they need a harness.

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