Am I expecting too much from my dog? - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-25-2013, 10:54 AM Thread Starter
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Am I expecting too much from my dog?

I've been training my one male Golden to heel lately. My dog trainer wants him to be walking at my side so when other dogs come by I have control. Anyways, some days are great, others not. Today I didn't think he did very well. It sometimes seems he's always got to be a little in front of me. I don't need a perfect heel, just by my side. His shoulders are usually a bit in front. It annoys me, so I take extra long outside training. Then I can tell we both get frustrated. Am I expecting too much?? When I just allow him to walk with his shoulders in front, he doesn't end up pulling. What would you do? I'm a little upset, mainly because I spent 20 min. outside, ran out of treats, got a headache, and now it's raining so I didn't get to walk my other female Golden. So she's just sitting under our carport looking sad and it's all around a big mess to me. Am I making a big deal out of nothing? I've always had a problem with perfectionism, so I struggle with not wanting everything just so.

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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-25-2013, 11:03 AM
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I don't have any good advice. But if it makes you feel any better, I WISH Rocket would walk loose leash, whether his shoulders were ahead or not.

No matter what, he just pulls and pulls! The only way I can get him to walk without pulling is to hold a really high value treat right in front of his nose and let hiim lick/chew on it as we walk. And after a minute or two he loses interest in that anyway. And we've been through puppy obedience, tweenage puppy obedience, and are almost through our 6 week basic obedience course. Ugh!

I'll be watching your thread to see what others have to say.

Tina
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-25-2013, 11:04 AM
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My normal walking pace is too slow for Bella too...

I'm not looking for a perfect heel for our casual walks. I just want her to walk next to me. I don't really mind if her shoulders are a little bit in front, as long as she's not pulling ahead even further. However, I do reward her with a piece of kibble when her shoulder is even with my left leg.

It's getting a little better, but it's taking longer than I thought it would. I guess I'm just too slow....

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-25-2013, 11:09 AM
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Maybe I am just lazy, but for me, if my dog was walking basically next to me without pulling, and I would not be training my dog for obedience competition but just teaching him to walk nicely, I would be very happy...
I think you must work out for yourself what you find most important: the fact that he is exactly doing what the books say (and you ending up frustrated if he is an inch off...) or the fact that he is walking without pulling, not really in front of you but next to you...I practice heeling with my youngest, Liza. On the whole she does very nicely, but no way is it perfect. But she walks way better then Tess ever did at that age, so I am glad we took it up.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-25-2013, 11:14 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by inge View Post
Maybe I am just lazy, but for me, if my dog was walking basically next to me without pulling, and I would not be training my dog for obedience competition but just teaching him to walk nicely, I would be very happy...
I think you must work out for yourself what you find most important: the fact that he is exactly doing what the books say (and you ending up frustrated if he is an inch off...) or the fact that he is walking without pulling, not really in front of you but next to you...I practice heeling with my youngest, Liza. On the whole she does very nicely, but no way is it perfect. But she walks way better then Tess ever did at that age, so I am glad we took it up.
It makes me feel better that I was expecting too much from him. But bad at the same time. I don't want to be too hard on him. I mean, good grief, he used to drag me out the door and down the street. I guess it's just this weird thing about me. Then I feel I need to take him back out and do it over, but I think I need to make myself just chill and move on. Right now I'm cuddling with my boy, apologizing. hehe...

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-25-2013, 11:16 AM
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Heeling - as I define it - is something I expect from my dog when I myself am committing myself 100% to keeping his focus and rewarding him. Heeling when you have a dog in training is 40% the dog and 110% the trainer working their butt off to keep the dog in position and reward the dog for being in position to maintain a proper pace and to avoid stepping into or away from the dog.

That's easy to do when you are just expending effort for 1-5 minutes tops.

And if it's not downright impossible while going for a walk with the dogs (most people walk 10-30 minutes average, sometimes more), it still makes what should be a relaxing and "escape" time for both you and your dog become stressful and MONOTONOUS.

So I guess the short answer is I never ask for heel unless I myself am prepared to commit the time, focus, and hard work to help that dog. If I want to enjoy my walks, that's NEVER going to happen. And besides, I've seen enough people around the block who are harping on their dogs to heel and you see the dogs are very tight looking with their ears pin backed about the world.

When I look down at my dogs during a walk, I want them to be doing their best husky imitation (you ever seen the absolute JOY on these dogs' faces when they are out running?) side by side and just taking the smells and sights in.

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-25-2013, 11:22 AM
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I'd be happy if the dog's on a 6 ft. leash and not pulling for casual walking. If you really like precision heeling you should think about training for competition obedience if you haven't already. But even dogs that are trained for comp. obed. don't walk in perfect heel position when they're not working. Generally it's a good idea to cut the training short when you're upset with the dog. They pick up on that and it doesn't help.


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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-25-2013, 11:52 AM
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" I don't need a perfect heel, just by my side. His shoulders are usually a bit in front. It annoys me, so I take extra long outside training. Then I can tell we both get frustrated. Am I expecting too much?? When I just allow him to walk with his shoulders in front, he doesn't end up pulling. What would you do? I'm a little upset, mainly because I spent 20 min. outside, ran out of treats, got a headache, and now it's raining so I didn't get to walk my other female Golden."

I think you need to decide exactly what you expect your dog to do. You need to reward exactly what you want consistently or he will be confused.
IMO, polite walking is keeping a j shape in the leash. On a walk out in about I wouldn't expect my dog to have to heel.



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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-25-2013, 12:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CStrong73 View Post
I don't have any good advice. But if it makes you feel any better, I WISH Rocket would walk loose leash, whether his shoulders were ahead or not.

No matter what, he just pulls and pulls! The only way I can get him to walk without pulling is to hold a really high value treat right in front of his nose and let hiim lick/chew on it as we walk. And after a minute or two he loses interest in that anyway. And we've been through puppy obedience, tweenage puppy obedience, and are almost through our 6 week basic obedience course. Ugh!

I'll be watching your thread to see what others have to say.
Shouldn't have named him "Rocket"...

Woody is pretty good now but when I first got him he loved to pull...maybe I should rephrase that, I think what he really wanted was the freedom to run and check absolutely everything out - pulling was just a means to and end.

With my back pulling on the lead a 73 lb bull (Woody) could lead to problems. Now I use a long lead 50 ft and have two commands. One is "with me" which is your normal heel command and the other is "stay in" which means he may roam but is limited to the length of the lead.

It's worked pretty well so far he gets some of that freedom he's after and I get to enjoy a nice walk.

Pete


Sonny, the black lab, ran ahead to make sure there were no gophers or jackrabbits in the way. If you don't give a dog a specific job, he'll improvise one for himself and it will invariably be fun. There's a lesson there.

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-25-2013, 12:19 PM Thread Starter
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I'm going to write some things down and get everything straight in my head before our next session. My dog trainer has told me before that I don't reward enough, so Diego doesn't know exactly what I want from him. It makes so much sense, I know I need to work on that. I'm more pumped for our next training session now, I'm ready try again. I think I'm slower than Diego at this. Hehe... us humans. ...or maybe it's just me.

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