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by Nans gsd on 10 May 2020 - 21:05

Great idea TIG I will use "Foose". As he is trained in English which was not my choice but did not want to re-train Hubs in German. Tried the hall door thing briefly seemed OK as is sort of square and narrow with 4 doorways to manuever. Should work. Will work more tomorrow. thanks again.


by TIG on 10 May 2020 - 21:05

One more buttinsky suggestion. I'm sure there are many here that will disagree with what I am about to say but as I noted above I use the formal heel sparingly. I have always had high energy, high drive dogs and w/ 2 exceptions fairly biddable/willing ones which makes life easier. The coat I mentioned above thank God was very willing because he had no body sensitivity at all and without that willingness it would have been a disaster. But even with a biddable dog I have always found the formal heel one of the toughest things to master in part because I think more than most other obedience exercises we are asking a dog to cap both energy, drive & motion. Can it be done. Obviously since we see high drive high energy dogs successfully trialed at high levels though we also usually have no way of knowing how much compulsion went into that picture (tho the dogs body language sometimes gives it away). But I do feel that for many dogs this exercise is very stressful even when they are trying their hardest to please you.

That is my reason for only using it when you have to. So my suggestion again esp because your dog is 7, is to give yourself and him the gift of a relaxed walk command. Ultimately it is about our relationship and the question is how the conflict impacts that. Now it sounds like you may use heel due to the presence of other dogs on the walk and this is your control mechanism. That does not have to change. Start out relaxed & when the circumstances demand, call him back and request heel position. You might also consider just having him do a sit stay facing you and ignoring the other dog .

In my neighborhood the challenge is multiple littles behind fences saying I'm going to kick your a** and these stupidios want to fence fight and have eaten holes in the fence. We adjourn to the middle of the street and practice deafness. Could I make her walk by without reacting. Yes but it would be a struggle because she has been attacked twice in her life by dogs with intent to kill. You get older you get wiser. I pick my battles. Because I have mobility problems, these days I also do use a leash/ belt system just as insurance since it allows me to use my weight as an anchor if things were to get out of control plus leaves a hand free for a cane.

One last thought. Not entirely sure how you could use it with this problem but perhaps others can suggest ways. The idea is do it my way or everything stops and I walk away. If your dog loves to work and especially loves to work with you this can be a very powerful tool. Working my Remy in Sch getting ready for her 2 this worked well (secondary obed was not her strong suit & it was hard for her to cap the drives). When she was not correct, the helper slipped or dropped the sleeve and he walked away in one direction and I in the other. This was not a sleeve dog for her the game was the fight. So not correct -no game.

Wishing you luck.


by Hundmutter on 11 May 2020 - 05:05

What TIG says about the times you want to use formal heelwork, and those where you just want the dog to walk calmly and sensibly with you, in 'relaxed' mode, made me think back to my first Shepherd, Vida. She had been a Showdog, and we had trained her for walking ahead, to the extent of an 8 foot lead, as per the need to be ahead of the handler in the Ring (SV style). So I only ever 'reined her in' when we were walking through streets / traffic on way to the parks, so she'd Wait at kerbsides etc. [This was early '80s.]

After we had her (lousy) hip results, my mentor wanted to retire her. Long story short, we decided I'd have her as my personal housedog. She was by then 3.5 yrs and had never heard a Heel command (in English or German) in her life. I wanted an Ob Comp dog.

So I then set about teaching her Heelwork, and to forget what she had previously learned. [Its always a bit harder working with an older dog, puppies are often a dream by comparison, they have not had time to become habituated to doing things differently !]

Because she was an accomodating soul, not, I think, overly energetic !, and because I had put in some foundation with the Wait command, she made the adjustment - but I agree with TIG, she did not really enjoy formal Heelwork or find that easy, so she went on to drop a few points in Ob contests over the next few years. This was before the days when they 'had' to have their heads screwed round to look up at you while walking, but even then she often looked very untidy.

She still pulled on the lead when walking ordinarily, if she wanted to chase a cat or squirrel while on lead; but most of the time she was not difficult to walk with, she didn't do the lunging forward stuff normally. Since those days I've had a few more re-homed GSDs to train, of varying ages, and varying levels of basic training. (Trained a few BEFORE Vida, but was not trying to do 'formal' heelwork in order to enter competitions until her !) Some of these have been a complete pain re: lunging. My current boy, taken on at 6 years approx. (he's now about 7.5) was okay when it came to just walking reasonably sensibly, MOST of the time. If he started to surge forward he could be stopped by making an 'uh-uh!' noise at him (discovered by the rescue worker) so the previous owner had put in SOME work; but he was still more lively than I really wanted, me also being cursed with restricted mobility these days. I'd deliberately taken on an 'older' dog !

Well 18 months later I have got him to walk at a much more sensible pace at my side; and have cut his reactivity to cats down by 90% or more. Don't know whether my methods can help you, Nan, 'cos I can't meet you & see how you are with your boy; but I find what TIG says is true: If you stop and don't move when the dog does what he shouldn't, he does get the idea (some faster than others) that it isn't worth the candle to pull because he's not going anywhere.

If you can build in other 'steps' / commands, like the relaxed walking or the halt at the roadside, that can give something to work with in shaping behaviour. And on occasions when he does get it right, be very quick to always mark that with praise &/or a treat. Good luck.


Added: Oh, yeah ...and I second what TIG implies in the first post, about stopping the dog rushing through doorways ahead of you, if he does that too.  Use that as another training 'step'; a dog that lets you calmly lead it out of the house or through a gate is a dog that (eventually) becomes less keen to pull you everywhere else.

by apple on 11 May 2020 - 08:05

Regarding the forging during the focused heel, do you use a prong collar? How do you call your dog to the static heel position? Do you use a service/flip recall/finish or an AKC/around the back finish? I prefer the service finish. I would work on the static heel position, and after a while, move on to one or two steps of heeling and stop. Do quarter turn pivots to the right and left. Don't just do one quarter turn to the right or left. Mix it up and do one quarter turn, two quarter turns, three, etc. Use a prong on the live ring and with the leash in your right hand and a little slack in the leash, pop up repeatedly to get you dog's head in the position you want while in the static heel. The pops don't need to be severe, but should be rapid and with enough force that it gets your dog's attention. Then one step, stop, two steps , stop, one step, stop, pivot, pivot, etc. Releasing the ball to the side or behind is good. Have you used food? When people use food they often hold the food in the wrong position. It should be in line with the center of your hip or where the outseam of your pants would be and even back a little further. It should actually be uncomfortable to hold the food in that position. If you have used food, have you taught your dog to push up into your hand for the food? Doing that while keeping your hand where I said can help with forging. The more you let or inadvertently teach the dog to forge, the worse the problem will become.

by Nans gsd on 11 May 2020 - 11:05

Makes sense apple; will do some practicing. Will use pinch as well. Have used pinch collar previously and has not really made a whole lot of difference nor the e-collar. Bull headed dog I believe. and now a bull headed dog -- set in his ways. Have tried to change his ways to no avail in the past. So appreciate the information . Will give it a try. Thank you Nan


Edit:  usually a recall finish.  

by apple on 11 May 2020 - 12:05

How is your dog's food drive?

by Nans gsd on 11 May 2020 - 12:05

Apple excellent as he is on a diet right now and probably forever. A very easy keeper (too easy) so had to cut some things out. Want him extra lean due to arthritic changes. " So will work for food." May be my saving grace. Huh.


by Sunsilver on 11 May 2020 - 13:05

Just wanted to get my 2 cent's worth in here. Temperament DOES play a role. When I am walking my 2 girls off leash and they've run off the zoomies, and are getting a bit tired, the older one (showline) is ALWAYS about 15 feet out ahead, and the younger (working line) is either at my side, or slightly behind me.

The older one has always had this stubborn streak that's made teaching her a bit of a challenge. When on leash and being trained to heel, she really did need a prong, as she'd ignore corrections from anything else. And yes, she was ALWAYS wanting to forge!

by Nans gsd on 11 May 2020 - 17:05

Thank you Sunsilver he is WGSL both parents Germany/Netherlands. Figured it was "Lack" of new knowledge of training to progress into next stage. Maybe that is just not going to happen. Will consider prior posts with new thought behind it. Fingers crossed. Thanks again, Nan


by Sunsilver on 11 May 2020 - 20:05

Just remember each dog is an individual, and you need to work with that, and figure out what works best for him.


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