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They get it
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So, if one has a dog like Dooley, whose heeling is a solid okay, but not great (checking out less than frequently but more than occasionally) would you back all the way up and start from scratch or go on from here but correct? He is basically ready for Novice but I am hesitant to enter because if I can't get consistant strong heel work at home and in training, I won't get it in the ring. If you answer correct from here, how would you go about it?
 

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They get it
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Biggest issue is focused attention. I can get it and he is stellar, but he does the checking out thing too often to be great in the ring.
 

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I love teaching heeling and I have a lot of newer people come to me asking for help with their dog. I usually show them how I get started with heeling, which is a very slow process working one step at a time. They might try it while we're right there, but as soon as they get home they are right back to full heeling patterns. So then the next time we are together I will offer suggestions on how to fix what they have the best that they can.

So to answer your question, I think that going back and giving it a whole new word and starting from the very beginning, work step by step, never taking an extra step if there's something you don't like, is the best way to fix overall major errors in heeling. However, you have to judge how worth it is to you. Sometimes it's easier to just work with what you have with one dog and vow to do differently from the start with the next.
 

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I have personally found that when dogs are stressed, they always stress back to what they learned originally. I think Loisiana has some very valid points.
 

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Kate
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I don't remember if you use corrections in your obedience training or not... but I would probably see this as need to proof the heeling vs teach heeling.

At class we have to heel around battery powered toys on the floor, barking-crazy dogs from the agility ring on the other side of the curtain, our instructor throwing dumbbells, wadded up paper on the floor, dots everywhere, or even half the class sitting on the other side of the fence playing with toys, clapping, making noises, or dropping treats or doing whatever they can to set up the training people in the "ring".

The teams in the ring are encouraged to train their dogs to the level of distraction where they can be successful. So they start FAR away from the distractions and work their way closer as the dog gets the idea that their eyes need to be GLUED on their trainer.

At home... like if I didn't have access to the four nearby (less than an hour away) training clubs, then I would go back to drilling heel inside the house in addition to proofing out on our street (when the neighbors are outside + kids are playing) and proofing in front of stores or in safe but public training spots.

I think that is the stage you might be at if he has his brilliant moments and has a general idea of what you want with heeling without distractions going on. He needs to learn that you expect the same focus and effort no matter where you are. And you need to be completely confident with him on leash or off that he will do his part.

I guess my only concern is that if your dog's attention ISN'T perfect at home, then you might need to start from the beginning to retrain heel bit by bit.
 

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where the tails wag
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What are your goals with Dooley? If you want Dog World Awards (do they still do those?), you should probably start from scratch. But this approach may well mean 2-3 more years before you hit the novice rings.

You could also try an attention program where all heeling work is discontinued while you teach and proof attention. This would probably take less time.

Or you can take your existing heeling on the road to proof and perfect.
 
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They get it
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My goals with Doo...Decent scores through Utility, not NOI or anything like that...Not with him, he is the most hard headed dog I have trained.

FYI, I do use corrections.
 

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where the tails wag
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I would just take it on the road then :) You can work and polish as you go and you might just be surprised when those moments of excellence start showing up in the ring :)

Even if you retrain from scratch, you still then have to take it out & about unless you have venues where the obedience rings are nice and quiet.

Just my ever so humble opinion :)
 
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Loving Flyball
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Do you have video of his heeling?

I would start with attention one step at a time making it fun, but holding him responsible for what he does. I know it would pretty much mean starting over, but you can lose a ton of points on heeling, and if you want decent scores, then it is definately worth putting all the extra effort into it. You can still train all the other stuff as you are teaching heeling one step at a time.

I must also add that what you learn from fixing what you have now, will make you a better trainer, and will improve your success with other dogs in the future:)
 
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My goals with Doo...Decent scores through Utility, not NOI or anything like that...Not with him, he is the most hard headed dog I have trained.

FYI, I do use corrections.
I do sympathize with you. Jonah is hard headed too and when he is on in heeling he looks beautiful but when he doesn't really want to give me 100% then it is embarassing. Like you, I've thought about going back to step 1 in heeling with attention. You can still train the advanced exercises along with the heeling as long as he is giving you attention doing the other exercises.
 

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where the tails wag
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Oops - I should also have asked what you consider decent scores?

Dooley is 5? Is he still training in field? Tag & Breeze are also training? How much time can you dedicate to working on Dooley's heeling? Are you happy with his attitude and heeling in general?

Sorry for all the questions, but I think they can help you decide which options fit your goals the most :)
 
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It is up to you. When I got Scout I didn't think I was going to be a high shooter (first dog) but she was smart and had somewhat of a natural tendency to some attention when she was in the right mind set. So, when I switched to a new trainer I started almost over again. For me though, Scout was still a young dog and she is my only dog. That is certainly something you want to consider.

It has been a lot of work to go back and retrain. It is harder to retrain something than it is to do it right from the start. I will be smarter in so many ways with my next one. Isn't that how it always is though? You don't make the same mistakes with your next dog--you make new ones!
 

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They get it
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Oops - I should also have asked what you consider decent scores?

Dooley is 5? Is he still training in field? Tag & Breeze are also training? How much time can you dedicate to working on Dooley's heeling? Are you happy with his attitude and heeling in general?

Sorry for all the questions, but I think they can help you decide which options fit your goals the most :)
I would be happy with scores in the low to mid 90's. Yes, Doo is 5 and this year am going to concentrate on obedience, putting field mostly on hold until he gets his CD. In most of our training sessions the emphasis is on heeling, especially when we are away from homebase. His attitude is fine, but he does get destracted, hence the checking out. I think as you said earlier, I need to do more proofing. Parking lots and shopping centers is a good idea. With the shop/garage, I can train as long as it takes, but I find the shorter sessions have a more lasting affect on him. Long sessions he zones out.
 

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They get it
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It is up to you. When I got Scout I didn't think I was going to be a high shooter (first dog) but she was smart and had somewhat of a natural tendency to some attention when she was in the right mind set. So, when I switched to a new trainer I started almost over again. For me though, Scout was still a young dog and she is my only dog. That is certainly something you want to consider.

It has been a lot of work to go back and retrain. It is harder to retrain something than it is to do it right from the start. I will be smarter in so many ways with my next one. Isn't that how it always is though? You don't make the same mistakes with your next dog--you make new ones!
With Brandy and Tucker, I didn't have this much trouble. Doo has been a challenge from the get go. I can already see I won't have this problem with Tag.
 

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Loving Flyball
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Lots of little sessions is a great idea for him. That is actually all I do with my dogs. My poor Hank had to do marathon heeling sessions:(
 

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I would spend time training focus. I started with the word “watch”. You know it’s the second most used word in dog training (LOL). The first is “leave it”. Just break it down into smaller parts … make it fun. :)
 

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Where The Bitches Rule
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FYI, I do use corrections.

Seeing you do I will offer what I do as per my instructor.

It sounds as if he know what attention is. If that is the case I would never use a word to get attention other than what ever your set-up word is. That being the word you use to tell him to get in heel position and look up at you. Once he is in that position his eyes should not come off you. At the beginning if they do, tell him "no" give a pop straight up and when he is looking tell him "good". After he is looking for three seconds (1001, 1002, 1003) tell him "yes" and reward with a treat or toy or game. Once you say "yes" game over and he can drop his head leave heel position, whatever. Then set back up again and do it again. It is critical that when he is looking up you tell him "good" here and there as you are heeling. Once he understands the game then the stakes are raised. When he looks away/drops his head do a step away without saying anything. When he looks at you say "oops" and then start again. And of course keep the heeling to short spurts most of the time, no marathons. I found Oriana really got better doing this.
And as others said, and you know, if it is not perfect at home and in training you know it will be far from perfect at a trial in all likelihood.
 

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Hank I do the same thing, I do not have a watch word, attention is part of the exercise and whatever command I give implies give me attention when you do it. I do not want my dog waiting for me to tell him to watch me, it should just be done at all times when working.
 
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