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Thread: Heeling on Both Sides

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    Senior Member Stephen Whitley's Avatar
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    Default Heeling on Both Sides

    Is there any secret(s) to teaching a dog to heel on both sides? I have always trained my dogs to heel on my left. I thought it would be a good idea to have this puppy learn to do it on both sides. I started him out on my left and now I just alternate each side when I am training him or just out for a walk. He is a little confused when I want him on my right. Should I just keep doing this and let him figure it out through reps? He will be 5 months old next week.
    Stephen

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    Have a cue word like switch or something.Others will give you some good advise.

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    Senior Member msdaisey's Avatar
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    He shouldn't be confused if you have used both sides from the beginning.

    Try doing a remote sit and calling him in. Stophim when he is closer to you, and put out one arm. Teach him 'here' (toward you), then 'heel', (swing backwards), then 'sit.'

    Just do this with both sides.
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    Senior Member ducksoup's Avatar
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    Check out article on Evan Graham Smartwork's website -- really covers this very well
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    Senior Member Bruce MacPherson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msdaisey
    He shouldn't be confused if you have used both sides from the beginning.

    Try doing a remote sit and calling him in. Stophim when he is closer to you, and put out one arm. Teach him 'here' (toward you), then 'heel', (swing backwards), then 'sit.'

    Just do this with both sides.
    I really like this way of getting the dog to go to either side.
    If your pups only 5 months just keep doing what your doing he'll get it. The benefit of having a dog that will heel on either side, in my opinion, is that all sight lines are not created equal sometimes the right side is the better side for a dog to see the marks.
    "The longer you let a dog go in the wrong direction the more they think they are going in the right direction" Don Remien.

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    Senior Member Evan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heeling on Both Sides

    Quote Originally Posted by DownEast
    Is there any secret(s) to teaching a dog to heel on both sides?
    No secret! It's done the same way on one side as another. There is, as ducksoup pointed out, an article on the "Feature" page of my web site that outlines how to teach it, and the principles for practice. A link below will take you there. You can then scroll down to the article titled "Two-sidedness".

    http://www.rushcreekpress.com/page5feature.html

    Evan
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    Senior Member Stephen Whitley's Avatar
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    Thanks! Evan, I read that article lastnight but I was almost asleep...not that your article was boring or anything! So, other than holding out the arm on the side I want him to heel to there is no other cues I need to use to help him out? Thanks a lot for the help!!
    Stephen

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    Senior Member lablover's Avatar
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    Use the side of a house, a truck, a tennis court.

    Position yourself next to the above on your left side. Toss a bumper a short distance, or have it tossed.
    When pup fetches the bumper, call pup in with yout right arm extended out, waving it if necessary, to direct pups attention to that side.
    Now that pup cannot physically cannot get to your left side, it will try to come to the right.
    You may have to have your 30' check lead on the dog and "reel him in" to the right side. Lots of praise when pup does this correctly. NO PRESSURE!

    You should see pup understanding this within a week, I think.
    Don't forget to work in some left sided heeling also with your arm extended out to that side.

    Heeling and walking on the right side will get pup used to being on that side too.
    When I do heeling drills, I walk pups around the yard on my right side, and then on the left side so they are comfortable on each.
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    Senior Member Evan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DownEast
    Thanks! Evan, I read that article lastnight but I was almost asleep...not that your article was boring or anything! So, other than holding out the arm on the side I want him to heel to there is no other cues I need to use to help him out? Thanks a lot for the help!!
    I have formed the habit of commanding "Heel" with a gesture to my left side as the dog returns, and "Here" with a gesture to my right side as desired.

    The teaching of this is very easy for most dogs, and even for those that have been one-sided for a while. Simply drill the dog in the yard on a short rope, and get him used to the gestures and commands.

    Then run some Wagon Wheel lining drills to get him used to positioning from either side. Praise for compliance!

    Evan
    "Prepare your dog in such a manner that the work he is normally called upon to do under-whelms him, not overwhelms him." ~ Evan Graham

    “People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.”

    ― George Bernard Shaw


    The Smartwork System for Retriever Training (link)
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    Senior Member KwickLabs's Avatar
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    A long time ago in a dog OB class the instructor taught me the "rotation to a sit" position by having the dog sit in front (facing you). By stepping back with the left leg while at the same time saying "heel" you can use the leash to swing/rotate a dog into the correct side "sit" position as the leg steps back foward. The hand motion on the leash becomes the cue for that side. Do the same thing with the right leg, and the pup can easily be manuvered to the opposite side heeling position.

    Gradually, the leg motion is phased out, the hand cue becomes more subtle and the leash becomes unnecessary. Also, this technique imprints a standard for greater distances on remote sits and helps to eliminate the habit of blowing by you on "here" exercises and/or retrieves.

    Edit: This is an ideal time to introduce a Flexi-lead.
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