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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
When should I move on...how do I know he truly understands.

I just started OB on my 6 1/2 mon. old YLM. He's been socialized, intro'd to gun, water, birds, fun bumpers. His drive is through the roof....literally to the point where it is annoying when it's just family time. I finally had to put the foot down with my wife to stop throwing everything he brings to the couch because it is non-stop.

I have a tritronics sport basic that he wears every training session but I have yet to nick him once.....mostly because I'm scared to do it too early. He has a lot of spirit but I've started to reel him in slowly. It's very hard to not get frustrated but I'm happy with the progress.

Anyways....we have been heeling for about 2 1/2 weeks 6 days on/one day off. I've been very strict on sit means sit and he is doing very well on that. My only concern is whether he's truly learned heel. Here's my reason. During his feeding I say heel and he will immediately look at me and sit. I'm now trying to condition him to come to my left side and sit. But he seems to heel well on the lead but I think that's just because I force him to stay at my side. I'm not sure he fully understands where his place is with heel. He is very anxious and wants to get out in front of me and I think I finally have him reeled in with that by continuing to do 180 after 180 after 180 after 180. but it's definately starting to take the wind out of my sails because of him not coming into the heel position and because after a short while on heel he begins to get out front.

I've heard some people say move on and don't be so picky about heel but I don't want to move on to collar conditioning the heel/sit until I fully know he understands what I'm asking for.

Edit: Some of you may say I started OB too late but there are differences in opinions on what to build on first...drive or obedience and it has always been told to me that once drive is lost you don't get it back. So please don't flame for the program that I am on because it's not the one you're on. But please any help with heel would appreciated.
 

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Get a stick and use it..... or a prong collar...... sounds to me like the dog doesnt really respect your lead. JMO
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I've thought about upping the discipline BUT...I just want to be sure. I don't want to discipline for something he doesn't understand. I don't want to punish the dog for something I'm doing wrong. I respect your opinion just hoping for more of an explanation as to why and possibly something I could do better. Any other opinions?
 

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Its simply action - reaction...... if he pulls ahead, and the resulting pressure isnt that big a deal, well, then he'll choose to deal with it. When he steps in front of your leg and recieves a stick across his chest, it might be unpleasant enough for him to realize that "hey, when I move up I get whacked" "I dont like that"..... and he'll stop. Eventually, you may transition to a collar, which is much easier to enforce with. But for now, you have to teach him where he needs to be to avoid such pressure. When he is at heel, he is safe..... he gets out of that "zone" and pressure occurs...... its really that simple. Not telling you to beat your dog, but what you are using isnt working. For most people, the prong collar is the easiest way to go. The dog teaches himself..... most of the time.
 

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What am I missing here? He's 6 1l2 months old, you've been working him for two weeks on heeling and you want him to leave his "feeding" and come to your side when you say heel? What????

How about if you mix up the things you're working on in a session so he doesn't get bored, keep the sessions short, praise him when he does things right, give him some time to learn things and let him alone when he eats?
 

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Have you taught place using a mat. This is where I would start. He knows sit so teaching him place should go smooth. When on the mat he should be at heel.
When he gets out ahead "heel" pressure "heel" don't accepted anything other than high standards.
Use a rope and short throws that way you have control of where he comes to command heel on his way back in and if you have to physically put him at heel. He'll eventually figure it out that when he heels he gets another retrieve.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
What am I missing here? He's 6 1l2 months old, you've been working him for two weeks on heeling and you want him to leave his "feeding" and come to your side when you say heel? What????

How about if you mix up the things you're working on in a session so he doesn't get bored, keep the sessions short, praise him when he does things right, give him some time to learn things and let him alone when he eats?
Excellent feedback here nothing short of what I expect from an online forum these days.......no i do not request him to heel mid feeding but prior to allowing him to go to his dish I want him to heel. The reward for action. He was first taught to sit and wait til released to go to his food dish. Now I'm re-enforcing heel at his feeding. I'm simply using this as an example of why I'm not sure he understands where heel is....

Training sessions never exceed 20 - 30 min. and he gets plenty of love when he does things right. I always finish positive and always give him some fun bumpers to lighten things up at the end.

The question wasn't that I have an expectation ......it was whether I'm going about it the wrong way. Heel isn't perfect at 2 1/2 weeks of formal OB and I'm not stupid enough to expect perfection but I am hoping for progression......
 

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A prong collar may help you out and get you there quicker. It did with my pup. go to your local pet supply, we got ours at PetSmart
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you for some of the feedback.....I'm going to try some different things other than what's taught on my program if things continue to stagnate. I think in the end he's smart enough he'll figure it out through repetition...I just want to see what people think about my situation and also when to start applying some E-collar pressure.

Video's and books don't always show realistic problems and solutions. But then again they are pro's too.
 

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You might want to watch Stephen Durrence's It's A Wonderlead Life on www.waterdogtv.com under eClinics. You have to buy it if you are not a member but it covers the basics of obedience including heel and is the way I plan to start my next pup. btw 6 months isnt too late to start just keep going slow and keep the dog balanced and you should make progress. I think heel is one of the hardest basic commands to teach a pup. Imo its better to go too slow than too fast, if your in doubt if your pup knows the command I wouldn't use the e-collar yet.
 

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I hear you on the not knowing when to increase the pressure and by how much. It's very hard to know that when you have as little experience as I do, for example.

What program are you using and what does it say about where your pup is?

Some of you may say I started OB too late but there are differences in opinions on what to build on first...drive or obedience and it has always been told to me that once drive is lost you don't get it back. So please don't flame for the program that I am on because it's not the one you're on. But please any help with heel would appreciated.[/QUOTE]
 

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I have done my share of doing obedience on labs “200 or so” over the last few years and have done it with a choke chain and 4 foot lead, this method has worked well for me. My main goal is to have the dog paying attention to me, if you have the dogs attention you have control. I try to make the picture as clear as possible for the dog so the dog understands what I am asking them to do. HEELING: When the dog is setting at my side and I want the dog to heal with me, the first thing I do is get the dogs attention by saying set until the dog looks up at me. I will then do three things simultaneously, I will say heal, I will jerk forward with the lead and I will step off with the leg closes to the dog. If the dog starts getting to far ahead I will say heal and then jerk the lead across my body and bump his head against my left knee. It does not take to many of them and you will have your dogs attention. As most of us know dogs are not created equal, so it is very important to read your dog. If you watch your dog close enough he/she will tell you when they have had enough, when to back off the pressure or when to apply more. Best of luck to you
 

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Another thing you could try is a power bar. 100% control and very little pressure till he learns the command. Its very effective and gets your command across.
A power bar is a piece of pipe about 36" long with a 5' lead threaded thru it and pulled tight against the clasp and other end folded and taped to the pipe. Hook to your dogs collar you can move the dog anywhere you want.
 

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I hear you on the not knowing when to increase the pressure and by how much. It's very hard to know that when you have as little experience as I do, for example.

What program are you using and what does it say about where your pup is? ...
Yes, not knowing what program you are following prevents folks from offering advice that would be consistent with the methods you are now, and will be using as you move forward. Not a good idea for the average Joe to mix methods from differnt programs IMO.

I follow Lardy and wouldn't start using all of these devices power bars, prong collars, place mats, etc. Reminds me of the movie Tin Cup when Rene Russo's character had all those golf contraptions...

Not that there is anything wrong with using these dog training tools, its just not something that is a standard procedure in the Lardy method and I've not needed to do any of these things with the few dogs (including three very high drive males) I've put through TRT.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I'm using Duck Dog Basics right now. There is a local dog trainer but he is more of an upland trainer. I used him to help with intro to gun and birds.

Update: Tank did well this morning with heal....I really think that making him heel before feeding helped him understand exactly what I wanted. This morning I picked up his food dish and he was sitting at his mat waiting for me to put his food down and release him. This time I stepped back 5 steps commanded heel. He darted to my left side, sat down. I kept him at sit while I put his food on his mat. He waited perfectly until I released.

LOL what a wonderful thing dog training is......you think you are really doing things wrong and then they surprise you. He did real good on the leash also. So good that I decided it was time to start with a few small distractions. It took just a few walk bys with a bumper laying on the ground for him to understand heel means heel. It's still not perfect but it's progression. Lots of love for my boy today.

I still haven't used the collar......still kinda nervous...I've always trained them the old school way but then again they were never great either. This one I'm putting far more time, effort and money into so I'm hoping to get some good results.
 

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sounds like you have a high-drive dog who is going to test you on many levels. You need to realize that if you give an inch, he's going to take it and probably try for even more. So, if you let him get by with moving ahead just a little, he's going to figure that its ok to move when he wants.

So, as frustrating it is for you to not see as much progress as you would like, you have to remain consistent with your corrections. I also think, if the dog is as highly-driven as you describe, that you can up the pressure and it's not going to cramp his style.
 

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I would agree with the exception of the prong collar. I used this on my dog at the advice of my trainer and it seemed to work well. If you hold the lead steady (and learn to put it on correctly) the dog will correct himself both ways.

Dog training is something else. Some days they are great, and some days they remind you that they have 4 legs and a tail.

Not that there is anything wrong with using these dog training tools, its just not something that is a standard procedure in the Lardy method and I've not needed to do any of these things with the few dogs (including three very high drive males) I've put through TRT.
 

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You can do a lot of initial steadiness training with a bowl of dog food, especially if your dog is as anxious to get over to it as mine is. He learned the first lessons about sitting until released over his food bowl, all at the cost of a little drool cleanup.

It's good to have a healthy respect for the collar, and perhaps even a little fear, if you've never really used it. I made sure I got lots of instruction on how to use it before I ever started with it, and I would encourage you to do the same. Used correctly the collar is a great tool. Used incorrectly, at best you get a scared dog with little style, and at worst you get a ruined dog.

Update: Tank did well this morning with heal....I really think that making him heel before feeding helped him understand exactly what I wanted. This morning I picked up his food dish and he was sitting at his mat waiting for me to put his food down and release him. This time I stepped back 5 steps commanded heel. He darted to my left side, sat down. I kept him at sit while I put his food on his mat. He waited perfectly until I released.

I still haven't used the collar......still kinda nervous...I've always trained them the old school way but then again they were never great either. This one I'm putting far more time, effort and money into so I'm hoping to get some good results.
 

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I'm using Duck Dog Basics right now.

I still haven't used the collar......still kinda nervous....

I’m going to step out on a limb here, being a newb trainer myself and give you my mere newb opinion of your inquiry, being that I have DDB and have watched it a few times. 2.5 hours is a LOT of video for just Basics(w/ no handling) and spending $20 to listen to Chris Akin talk about dog training for those couple hours is worth the Jackson IMHO.

Have you watched the entire program?

Chris tells you when to move on and what will be cleaned up during CC. He speaks fast so you might have to pay more attention to the audio than the video when playing it again. Many on here know very well too, that when 'watching' a video program you have to watch it over and over....and over and over again. You'll miss subtle little things like correction timing while staring at the dog instead of the handler. Plus as you mature as a trainer, you'll see things in the program that you didn't see first time around. Chris gives how many days a dog should be working on certain commands and then at the end of each segment their is an average timeline for how long it should take. Some take longer, some shorter.

I'm putting my current pup through Bill Hillmann's 'Starting a Retriever Puppy'. I've watched the entire thing about 4 times already. My 15 week old is ahead of the puppy(Nick) in the training video by [age & experience] since he's a little older, but I'm still not going any faster than what is outlined. No need to rush. However, everytime I watch it, I see something I didn't see before. Something Bill corrected, the timing of it or just his body language from reading what 'Nick' did or was about to do etc etc.


On to Duck Dog with Chris Akin;
You should go HERE(Click) and Copy/Paste the outline and print it as a sort of 'Flow Chart'.


From the sounds of it you're on schedule with what Chris recommends. Remember the Black Female he uses when he demonstrated what it was suppose to look like finished? She had been on Basics(Heel/Sit/Here) etc. for 17 days or close to it. To be sure were on the same page here,
'HERE' means to come towards you
'HEEL' means to get to your side until told to do otherwise

Might be confusing to a young pup to hear 'HEEL' out of the blue (While eating)when he's just learning what that and 'HERE' means. His thoughts could be "What do yo mean 'Heel' you just told me to 'Eat', did you say 'Here' I'm confused so I'll 'Sit' ...and keep eating lol

Don't add distractions until AFTER the dog KNOWS the commands in which the distraction will attempt to erode.

If the Collar concerns you that much, have you not put it on your hand and nicked yourself? You should. Most lowest level on any collar is barely felt in the palm of your hand. Do it and it'll provide you with a perspective and then remember you don't have fur and a double coat on your palm ;)








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I'll admit to not reading every word on this thread so I may have missed it but are you asking your dog to do something you command without any way to show him or correct him if he doesn't do it right? It sounds to me like you are doing the equivalent of taking a dog thats in the middle of FF training to the field, telling him to "hold", and not understanding why he drops the bird. I personally wouldnt expect a dog to understand or obey heel real well until I'm through CC.
I can probably get you through this pretty easy over the phone if you want. Pm me if you're interested and I'll pm my number to you.
 
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