BH Training Resources - Page 5

Pedigree Database


by ValK on 13 January 2018 - 17:01

i wonder why someone, who most likely will never participate in competitions, would need to teach "competition style" of dog's heeling?
leave alone that it is absolutely unnatural/fake behavior of the dog and have no practical use in daily life.


by Hundmutter on 13 January 2018 - 19:01

We do not know, ValK, whether the OP, if he gets his BH, will want to go further. He just wants to get it right. More power to his elbow, say I. It is surely better to have the intent to 'work' GSDs than not to do so, to whatever level ? I know I always have, even if (a) I didn't get very far, and (b) I personally can't stand modern focussed healing when it involves dogs constantly looking upwards, and prancing their front paws, rather than facing where they are going ! Would not work against others training for that, if its what they want to do.


by Jessejones on 13 January 2018 - 22:01

Valk, many reasons to do a tight focused heel... because it strengthens the bond to your dog.... Because dogs with a certain drive love this exercise and it fun for them as they never know when the reward/reinforcing ball/tug will appear which makes it very exciting for him/her....because it teaches control of drive....because it can be used anytime as a distraction excerise so your dog will break focus on wrong things...because it may save your dog one day...from whatever... traffic/other dogs approaching... as you dog will whip himself into place right away.
Centurian, agreed. Voices are so important, and many don’t even consider what message their voice is sending to the dog. I too often hear the voice of people with the threat tone. Or, in an asking tone...were the command goes up a notch at the end. Or, the constant repeater/nagger. I will always test with the whisper voice too. But during high distraction or worse, distraction and distance, sometimes I do have to use my loudest drill Sargent voice to shock him out of his wrong focus with a booming voice. Train in all tones.
About marker training with no story, when I realized how powerful marking a behavior is and how EXACT dog are in space and time, happened about 6 years ago. The dog I was teaching to look at me, kept doing the following: Looked at me...then instantly looked away slightly to the left and turned head about 10 degrees to left. A tiny movement. Exactly the same each time. I though the dog had a nervous tic...or a neuro problem. Until I realized that I was a few seconds late with teaching him the marker the FIRST time and gave the YES a few seconds too late...when he did exactly that...looked 10 degrees to the left each time after that.
It took a long time to get rid of this behavior, and., even now all these years later, she will offer me that behavior if I let her. Moral...usually 9 times out of 10, fault lays in our training and not the dog. But we all know that anyway LOL.

by ValK on 14 January 2018 - 02:01

"It is surely better to have the intent to 'work' GSDs than not to do so"

no objections but isn't better to start from something simpler and move up step by step, acquiring experience and applying it in the process?


Jessie i guess we have different perceptions on the handler-dog bond.
where you see bond between two of them, i see adherence of the dog to a treat, regardless who may provide it, in response onto shown of imprinted behavior.

by Centurian on 14 January 2018 - 14:01

Marker training ? People do that all the time with each other .....

Most often I train my dog without saying a word. Words .. Jesse ....... What I have found : many times training dog's the owner's/handler's mouth gets then into trouble ! Why do I most often teach a dog without a word being said is because our dogs like children are visually oriented. Your whole demeanor , your posture , your movements[ lack of movement] most often speak much more louder and clearer to your dog than your mouth . People don't realize that , yes clickers mark .. but so don't we ourselves no verbally mark the behavior ! All that a clicker is , is a sound that in a split second says to the dog " this is what I want you to do .[ or continue doing]. Our mouths , our bodies .. can give the same exact message to each other as well as dogs. . Power , Jesse that is an understatement... among people , you will be surprised what 1 kind gesture like a smile , a nod of the head ,... one kind word of encouragement , have as an affect on someone else's behavior . Working dogs is about your ATTITUDE expressed verbally or non verbally . [ it has a definite affect in and on the dog's learning ]

by jkuja913 on 16 January 2018 - 01:01

Hey guys. Thanks again for all the great comments and discussion. I've had a pretty busy couple weeks with work but I've still been finding time every day to work on some basic markers with the heeling. I think someone had mentioned they don't ever work past 1 step before they are completely confident that the dog will stand up, move 1 step and immediately sit back down in position. That's been a great help as I was originally trying to move things too quickly. Using food reward and the clicker has been working just fine for this. I think the touch pad may be a useful way to teach turning, but I'm not there yet. Maybe this week when I've got more time!

The biggest thing I've gathered is I need to break it down into steps. What those steps can be are obviously pretty debatable. Just like anything else, it's whatever works for you and your dog I guess. So far, the one step at a time approach has been working for us and I've been able to introduce his ultimate reward, a Flippy Flopper Frisbee, into the game and he's totally on board with whatever this stupid heeling thing is.

And to respond to the, "why am I doing this?" question, just for fun. I am already fully satisfied with what I've managed to accomplish with my dog in the SAR realm; he's been certified for 3 years in Wilderness Trailing by 2 separate nationally recognized certification organizations. We've been deployed on live searches over half a dozen times leading to successful finds of missing people. Even though I continue to learn about my dog and how we work as a team on EVERY single training track, It is fun to take on a new challenge and explore something I've never attempted.

Taking a tangent off of that, the voices discussion is huge in the SAR stuff as well. During a track, the only method of encouragement or correction you really have is your voice. Other's might have different opinions on this, but when I've got my leash attached to my dogs trailing harness, I NEVER (Or absolutely try not to) give corrections with the leash. If they learn that, they'll never know during a track if they are being corrected or if you just fell on your face tripping through the brush. The only tool you have is the tone and content of your voice. I've found that I am not real good with consistency when doing this so I have had to force myself to use only a few words and really stick to tone rather than key words. That's why I always use a clicker with everything else; it's pretty difficult to screw up the sound of a clicker! (Even I can manage that!)

Thanks again for all the great discussion and comments. I am certain I'll have more issues in a week or so once we manage to get past the baby steps. AKA once my dogs dope on a rope finally tells him what exactly I want him to do.

Jim K.


by Hundmutter on 16 January 2018 - 07:01

First message I ever got when starting out to do Tracking was "Do NOT use the line to 'correct' your dog, the less you tug at that line the better." Good advice, but hard for a klutz like me who can't run as fast as I'd wish, behind a tracking dog !

I never thought to mention a clicker when I first responded to your question Jim; I do not use them regularly myself (although have done on occasion, with certain dogs) - and hesitate to mention that particular 'tool' on here as it has always attracted a certain amount of scorn What Smile.  But you give an example of exactly when it can be useful - and a long way from the popular image of using clicker training on spoilt house pugs or dancing collies.

So glad you continue to enjoy your training, even where the exercise you are training for seems over-dressagey (is that a word ?) and of little use to the dog itself.  You just never know when it, in itself, may prove to be one useful step towards training some other outcome, also !  Your responses to our comments have been well-considered, and useful in themselves perhaps to other people reading posts here who want to start training dogs too but have questions as to where to begin.  It's all good; it's all a learning process.  Do hope that you find a suitable Club and somewhere to take your dog's BH, (and go on beyond that in IPO, if you find it grabs you !) but however it pans out, I wish you the very best of luck.  And I hope you will stick around, come back to PDB from time to time (I know its harder to spare time for the internet when you are actively training), because when people express what they are doing well, as you do, and/or have experience with training dogs in particular disciplines, e.g. SAR, they contribute a lot to the topics.




by Jessejones on 16 January 2018 - 21:01

I do teach my dogs to heel and find it is not hard, I dont feel it is “advanced” training. As everyone says, break it down to steps. 5 to 15 min sessions only.
The following is what I’ve done and it is collected from lots of different people. No need to reinvent the wheel and there are lots ways to do this one.
What worked for me:
Depending on if you want the dog to touch your leg with his shoulder or not....If you do, first thing I do is to use marker training every time my dog touches my (left if doing left) leg with his shoulder by accident - with or without clicker- personally I don’t use one because I don’t want my hands full of stuff, so I mark with a verbal ‘yes’) They get that step fast...then start adding the word Fuss (if using German) each time. I also pat my left thigh with my left hand once to help prompt him, in the beginning days. I usually use food for this given with left hand, bent at elbow, so he won’t get the tendency to start walking in front of you at an angle to see your right hand. I do this a lot during the day, weeks and months... as a separate exercise. It only takes a few seconds. I don’t relate it to walking yet.
Next step is to have him walk next to you. To do that take a few seconds to charge your toy to build his drive, or, get him to see you have a treat and make him want it.
After he is in a bit of drive and focused on your doings...take the toy (ball/tug...better a smaller thing) and hold it in your right hand. Place your right hand on your left front chest, between shoulder and heart where he can see it (dont allow jumping up, stop the fun if he does by turning away like not interested).
Once he is focused on it, give the Fuss command (maybe pat your thigh if still needed) Once he is in position, make a slightly exaggerated step forward and hope he follows. Keep you eye on his face and when he is watching you and taking that step or two or three, in the moment you like his look up at you, open your fingers and let the ball drop directly where his face is, which should be right under your hand on your left chest area.
Start in a straight line, sometimes it will be only one step. Make sure to reward quickly before you dog breaks rank if he is doing well but you feel he will break out in the next second. Stay in tune with the dog. Best leave him with a win, not a loss.
Then take right corners first. I just pat my thigh again when making the right turn and say again Fuss, so he knows to stick with me.
Go slow, only a few steps at a time.
Eventually you will hide the ball under your left armpit so he cant see it, but will hope it is there. Anticipation is key. Slightly open armpit to release ball when walking if you are teaching the Fuss walking.. or if teaching a (Fuss) Sitz, wait until he sits after you stop...or/and if the exercise is over by releasing him with an ok, ball and praise and laughter, letting him parade the ball/tug around. Soon you can do this without a ball, but use one now and then so it keeps him guessing.
I do this all off leash. If you want to use corrections once the dog knows the drill, I attach a pinch collar, not tight nor high up, mid neck, ring on inside of neck toward my thigh, and hold the leash with left hand loosely but close to dogs collar, by craddling leash in my curled fingers with no grip at all, and using my thumb to stop leash only if the leash starts sliding forward because dog is creeping forward. This light tug is so minimal but will correct dog usually. I also will stop walking at that exact moment and give the dog a split second to get back in position, and they usually snap right back into position. Stopping the walk is also a correction for the dog. If dog is a very hard dog and in super drive, you may need a helper with leash walking behind you for stronger corrections, but Ive personally never needed this.
I hope this helps some readers.
Some might wonder...Why I’m writing all this here.
Well, because it is helping me organize my mind. I’m currently training a 6 mo old. The mind has to be organised before a training session to give a clear signal of what you want the dog to do. No one looks through a disorganized mind as fast as a dog! If one is not mentally organized, step by step, the dog will become frustrated and lose interest quickly.
Centurian- I too wonder when the first book will be published “train you kid/boss/ wife/husband (fill in the blank) with dog training methods” we are no different and most principles work on people too. I guess it wouldn’t be pc though to admit it...

by jkuja913 on 19 January 2018 - 22:01

“train you kid/boss/ wife/husband (fill in the blank) with dog training methods” we are no different and most principles work on people too.

My wife and I just moved our garbage can to the corner of the kitchen to a cabinet under th counter. 3 weeks ago. I still walk halfway to the corner of the kitchen to throw something out before I remember we moved the can...

Here’s a real short video of us working in a short hallway in my house.

This is using his toy, when I’m using food reward I’ve been working on trying to keep him closer to my leg. I don’t really want to be stepping on him so I’m not worried about keeping him velcroed to my thigh I guess but I would like him a little closer than in the video. The hallway was a great way to get the turn down since I could kind of block him in and he had no where to go other than to the correct position. I’ll try and get another video up of using food to keep him closer. It’s been fun so far and he seems to like learning something new!


by Jessejones on 19 January 2018 - 23:01

I can’t seem to access the video.
Yes, a hallway, wall or fence is great because you can use the wall to keep him between you and the wall. It seems dogs have a natural tendency, or a personal sphere, to keep at least a good foot or more distance from ones body. So getting them closer can be a challenge. This is why the dropping of treat or tug directly down from your left shoulder will get him closer to begin with and break that natural barrier they have. Touching the thigh, can be a way, but if you are going for akc heeling, it can give minus points if they touch ( I think). It’s probably a good idea to read the standard of whatever you are training for to avoid mistakes in form.
It is fun! I really like heeling work. I’m currently working on getting a clean left turn with a ball on string carried to the left of dogs head. It is like putting together a ballet...and as with everything, the beginnings are easy. It’s cleaning it up, noticing the details and getting the crisp form, that is the challenge right now. Filming is a great way to see where the weak points are.


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