Teaching your dog to watch you while heeling - Page 3 - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums
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post #21 of 27 (permalink) Old 11-29-2012, 11:43 PM
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Be careful rewarding from your right hand, it can cause a dog to forge and wrap. I only reward from my right hand on about turns. Also, if you only reward on halts then you are going to start getting very attentive halts but it can make your actual heeling start to decline because they are getting no reinforcement for that.

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post #22 of 27 (permalink) Old 11-29-2012, 11:47 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Loisiana View Post
Be careful rewarding from your right hand, it can cause a dog to forge and wrap. I only reward from my right hand on about turns. Also, if you only reward on halts then you are going to start getting very attentive halts but it can make your actual heeling start to decline because they are getting no reinforcement for that.
Good point. I'll start rewarding randomly. Thanks.

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post #23 of 27 (permalink) Old 11-29-2012, 11:50 PM
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I have a related question. How do you treat while heeling when the dog looks away when they chew? I have tried small and soft treats but she will not maintain eye contact when she eats.


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post #24 of 27 (permalink) Old 11-29-2012, 11:57 PM
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When I have a dog that can't chew and hold his head up at the same time, then I break off the exercise when I give the treat. So it might be midstride when I decide to reward, or halfway through a turn, but the moment I reward the exercise has ended. Then a soon as they swallow we resume heeling.

I do find that most dogs learn how to heel and chew at the same time with experience, but until they do I don't want them practicing bad habits.

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post #25 of 27 (permalink) Old 11-30-2012, 06:06 PM Thread Starter
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I've been doing the "watch" (I actually say "look at me" because that's what I've been saying for a few months) periodically throughout the day with hot dog pieces in my mouth, my arms extended out to the side, and Bella sitting in front of me.

When she makes eye contact, I take a piece of hot dog from my mouth and give it to her. If she looks at my hand as I'm moving it toward my mouth, I stop and say "look at me," until she makes eye contact again. She's to the point now where she ignores what my hands are doing.

In fact, she's sitting in front of me, staring a my face as I type this. LOL. The best part is, she doesn't know if there's a treat in my mouth, or not.

I did a few minutes of heeling a bit ago to try it out. Other than a little bit too much excitement about the hot dog pieces in my mouth, she did pretty well.


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post #26 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-10-2012, 12:06 AM
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I second what Jodie says...
I would avoid giving/focusing the dog on your mouth too much with the treats while HEELING -- if the dog is any good at it, she'll be wrapped around in front of you, tripping you, in no time
I do not give treats WHILE heeling, I say "YES" and to the dog that means game over, your treat is coming now. I actually give the reward either with my right hand behind my body (so the dog doesn't forge/wrap around in front of me) or I stand in front of the dog and let them jump and get the treat. Once he eats it I just start heeling again or do another set-up and start heeling.
I think if your dog is so motivated by the food in your left hand, you need to go back and heel with food instead in your right pocket, take 2 steps and if she keeps good attention, break and treat from the RIGHT hand. Repeat this and very gradually build up the distance. So the left hand is not so much of a crutch, she knows her food will come but she's not looking at it to lead her around like a carrot on a stick. Best of luck!

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post #27 of 27 (permalink) Old 12-22-2012, 12:45 PM Thread Starter
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I want to thank everyone for the great advice. Bella did great at her graduation and took first place. That was two weeks ago. Her heeling has improved dramatically even since then, and I don't have to lure her with a treat in my left hand. I know some here may disagree, but I keep the food (hot dogs) in my mouth. I use my left hand to get her attention when she looks away, which isn't often now. It's what works, and have not had any issues. She's even doing well with some limited off leash heeling in the house.

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