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Discussion Starter #1
Hi there. Newbie taking it VERY slow, so don't laugh. Okay, you can chuckle.

1 yr old lab, still focusing on obedience. In obedience CLASSES we're just starting to practice pivoting and remaining at heel, and although I've tried this/I'm aware of it while we're retrieving I haven't had much success. It's surprisingly hard. :oops: (An aside--I know what wagon wheels are but we haven't done them--I know we're "behind" but I've given up on being "on time"--I take it NOW is a good time to start working on them???)

Anyway, the OB instructor suggested using "over" as a verbal cue for the dog to reposition itself. This won't work in the long run, right?

I remember a retriever person saying most use "here" to get a dog to reposition into you/toward you, and "heel" to help get a dog to reposition itself away as you nudge over into it.

Or...was it the other way around?

Also, is this standard? If not, should it work? What does a handler usually say, if anything?

Thanks.
 

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You are correct, use "here" to move the dog's front end toward you, "heel" to move the back end.

teaching it in obedience is a different matter. There, having the dog's entire spine, head, and eyes lined the same way is not as imperative. If your instructor is allowing you some leeway to teach your dog using your own methods, then go for a compromise.

Use a heeling stick, and hold it aganit the dog's left back leg. Walk in a square, about 6' on each side, all left turns. As you get to each corner, give your cue word (I use "heel" for field, "in" for obedience) and tap that left hind leg. Your dog should scoot its rear end toward you and back up slightly to get out of your way as you make that left turn. Contuinue to make your square, doing this with each turn. As your dog "gets it" about backing out of your way, you will be able to make smaller and smaller squares, until you can turn in place nad the dog will back out of your way.

Now do the same for right turns, making your square, but using the heeling stick to control the dog's front end. In the field, I use "here", in obedience competition training, I use "wrap" for that tight, tight, right about turn. I use the stick to block the dog from going too far forward on the right-angle turns. Eventually, you should be able to turn in place and have the dog wrap tight to your leg. When you stop, the dog should be lined up.

Another useful skill is to teach the dog to walk backward. Again with the heeling stick, and a long wall or fenceline, have your dog sit at heel between you and the fence. Now start walking backward, saying "heel" and lightly tapping on the dog's chest. The dog learns to be more aware of what both front and back ends are doing. They cannot turn around if they are wedged between you and the wall or fence.

Use treats and make it a fun game.

Lisa
 

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luvalab wrote:

Anyway, the OB instructor suggested using "over" as a verbal cue for the dog to reposition itself. This won't work in the long run, right?
You're right-"over" won't work if that's what you decide to use eventually when running blinds. But remember you can choose the words you'd like to use. If the dog is conditioned to "guitar" & a hand signal for an over-that's what you're going to get.

The main thing is to be consistent with the commands you use whether it's "Sit" "Down" or "Back", etc. make sure the command always calls for the same action.

M
 

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As Miriam said, words are insignificant. It's the actions associated with the words used that are important. As my friend Fred Hassen says "Chinese people don't say heel."

Jerry
 

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Jerry said:
As my friend Fred Hassen says "Chinese people don't say heel."

Jerry
I was in China once. They say heel over there. It just sounds different. It sounds like you just dropped a hand full of silverware. ChingChangBoingTing if memory serves me correctly.

P.S. Every thing they say sounds like they just dropped a hand full of silverware. IMHO
 

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Lisa, I liked your post on using a heeling stick. I've never been very good with a stick. I tried heeling tonight, the way you said to do it with the heeling stick on the dog's left hind leg (dog heeling on left). We did a couple of minute drill doing this on our way to the line. I liked it and the stick was where it was supposed to be to guide the dog. (Other than some confusion on the dog's part on which side I wanted her to heel on)

Anyhow, where does a person learn how to use a heeling stick? I've been training dogs since I got my first one in '73 or '74 and have never learned how to use a heeling stick. Is there a book that describes it?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the replies! Starting in a square was very helpful.

It is time to get that heeling stick. And I have no idea to use it.

A funny thing... Someone showed me how they use one, and this is my recollection of the encounter...

"Can I show you with your dog?"
"Sure, go ahead." (hand over dog)
"You just give a little tap. Just a tap, like this...'HEEL!'" (THWACK!) (dog yips) "You see? Just a tap, you don't have to be real harsh."

All I could do was laugh, because dog's expression said "Yes SIR! Where do you want me now, SIR! Hit me again please, SIR!"

I thought, Hmmmmm. There's a tool pup responds to! :shock: But I just just don't think I can do it that way.

Book recommendations on heeling stick would be a good thing. :D
 

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:oops: Can't recommend any books. I just devised this stuff by my ownself. :oops:

It's an outgrowth of my ADD. Since I do competition obedience with my dogs, and Chessies tend to walk "sideways", I needed to create a way to fix the root cause of crooked sitting, which is crooked heeling. Now, even if I am at a dead run, if I look down and Gopher's ass is swinging wide, I can say "in" and she will scootch her ass back into line (thus the need for a word other than "heel").

Upside is, last night we did our 3-peat blinds, and she moves easily on line without my having to direct the push/pull. Wherever I move my left leg, she aligns herself straight. I say "dead bird" and then back. Don't even have to put a hand down to send. Kinda trippy. I knew these long winters would be good for something.

Lisa
 
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