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Thread: heel training

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2007

    Default heel training

    It was pointed out to me at a picnic hunt this weekend that me letting my dog run a circle around me when she heels is not a good idea as it can mess up her remembering where marks are. Tonight I started correcting the bad habit I let happen. I put her on a leash, stood with my back to a fence so she could not circle behind me and then told her to heel. At first she instinctively tried to circle me but hit the fence and could not. So I pulled on the leash trying to direct her where I wanted her to go and gave the heel command again. After a few tries she got it right on her own and I got real excited with my good girls and pet her a lot trying to make it obvious I was really happy with what she just did. After a few more tries of it she was not trying to circle me anymore when she heeled. My problem is every once in a while she will heel looking at me instead of straight forward and with her but sticking strait away from my right side. Her butt compared with the direction I am looking would make a 90 degree angle if you were to draw the lines. When she does this and I tell her to heel she does not understand that she needs to swing her butt back in line with the direction I am looking and just folds up when I keep saying heel and try to move her butt for her. I found a blown down empty plastic trash can and put it at my side with just enough room for her to be heeling properly next to me. My thought was if she tried to heel looking up at me with her but way off to the side the trash can would prevent her from doing this. It worked a bit but the can was light and she could move it out of the way. Anyone have suggestions on how to fix this?
    "A dog has no use for fancy cars or big homes or designer clothes. Status symbol means nothing to him. A waterlogged stick will do just fine." Marley and Me

  2. #2


    To break walking around you after the retrieve.
    Stick your leg out to block her or step out in front of her and signal with your hand as to which side to come to.
    In certain cases you may have to use a heeling stick or similiar to stick out to block her from going to your back side.

    Sitting improperly at heel:
    A great drill to use is a wagon wheel drill. Using "Here" and "Heel" to get the dog to move right and left as you move from one bumper position to the next. Having a destination directly in front of them for them to retrieve helps to line them up. In extreme cases I may use the lead and sling it around there waist to pull the rear into position. Or I may use the heeling stick to tap the dogs rear over into proper alignment.
    The dog ,over time, will learn to key off your leg and line themselves up in the direction your foot and leg are pointing.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2007

    Default here and heel

    When I am trying to align a dog to me and/or a line, I use here and heel. If I want the dog to pull their shoulder toward me (clockwise) I use "here". So if I am trying to "pull" the dog, we use "here".
    If I need to "push" the dog, or turn counter clockwise, I use "heel". If their butt is away from me, and I want them to essentially move it toward me, that is a counter clockwise move. I tell them "heel".
    I do this training on a lead, with a stick. I do "spinning" drills, both directions. For counter clockwise, I tap them on the hip. For clockwise, I tap them on the shoulder. Clockwise I also tug the lead in to me.
    I will also do walking drills that have square corners. For left hand corners, where I tend to push or "knee" the dog, I use "heel". For right hand corners, where I move away from the dog, I use the lead to pull to position, and tell them "here".
    When the dogs are up to it, I rarely walk more than 5 or 6 steps without a change of direction from 90 to 180 degrees. I do lots of sharp turns and quick adjustments.
    To get a dog to come to heel on the same side, I use the lead and a stick. I try to lead them into place with the lead, and if they come to the off side, then I touch them with the stick. That side is uncomfortable, the "on' side is not. My "on" side is my left, so anything to my right gets a correction.


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