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Old 01-02-2013, 10:52 PM
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Meaning of heel

It's been two days after my training class with my dog, Diego. We are working on heeling, and she told me that heel means to slow down. I've never heard of it before, but what does it mean to you? She's spent over 30 years of training dogs and horses, and used to be a dolphin trainer in the Bahamas. She trains with positive reinforcement. What I've been doing is jerking the leash every time he pulls in front of me, and clicking and treating when he's walking next to me. How did you train your dog to heel? Diego is 6 years old, and I feel that training him this is going to be difficult. Advice? Usually I feel really stressed until I can see him start to learn.
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Old 01-02-2013, 11:00 PM
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I used treats in my left hand that was straight to my side to get my dog in the heel position and when he was in the correct position (nose at my left knee) I would loosen a treat so he could get it. He figured out that being in that certain position whether we were still, walking or running was good for him because he was rewarded verbally or with food.

Heel to me is when a dog is locked with your position on your left side at your knee no matter the pace. It doesn't mean slow down to me but it does make the dog focus on you and pay attention to what you are doing. If the dog has to run to maintain the heel position then that's what he'll do. If I ask for a heel-sit while I'm standing in the living room talking to guests, he will do it. The dog just knows that heel means to be in a certain position in accordance with your body no matter the pace. It is useful when on walks and runs and for obedience in general. I LOVE heel!
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Old 01-02-2013, 11:29 PM
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I have found that the hardest part is getting the dog to watch you. With the help of many knowledgeable people on this forum and a great trainer, Bella is finally getting it. Actually, let me take that back....I am finally getting it. I had no clue what I was doing. The trainer took the leash and had Bella watching her all the way around the ring. Boy did I feel humbled by that.

A bit of advice. If your dog is new to heeling, keep the sessions short for now. I made the mistake of expecting her to maintain heel position for far too long.
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Old 01-04-2013, 09:04 PM
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Heel doesn't mean slow down but if the dog is forging (moving out ahead of the handler) it needs to slow down to get back in heel position.

I was taking obedience classes with Zoe for awhile before I realized that I didn't understand what "heel" means. I think it's generally considered to mean that the area between the neck and shoulder of the dog is in line with the handlers left leg, whether the handler is moving forward or standing still, and neither touching the handler or too far too the side. I used to think it meant dog moving forward with handler in heel position. To deal with our lack of understanding I introduced a "place" command which for us means get in heel position.
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Old 01-07-2013, 01:52 AM
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Heel doesn't mean slow down but if the dog is forging (moving out ahead of the handler) it needs to slow down to get back in heel position.

I was taking obedience classes with Zoe for awhile before I realized that I didn't understand what "heel" means. I think it's generally considered to mean that the area between the neck and shoulder of the dog is in line with the handlers left leg, whether the handler is moving forward or standing still, and neither touching the handler or too far too the side. I used to think it meant dog moving forward with handler in heel position. To deal with our lack of understanding I introduced a "place" command which for us means get in heel position.
Ahh, yes, I see what she was meaning now. Basically, slow down and get your butt back in a heel! Lol. I like Diego's front legs to be in line with mine. No more ahead than that or else he thinks he can just keep going.
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