German Shepherd Dog > Does anyone use a choke chain on WL puppy/dog for heel work? (20 replies)
Does anyone use a choke chain on WL puppy/dog for heel work?
by Smiley on 18 October 2011 - 19:22
|I know this sounds stupid. But, it has been a long time since I have trained a puppy into adulthood. Last time I did it (about 17 years ago), I was taught in class to use a simple choke chain in teaching heel. It wasn't harsh. We were taught to give a correction and then priase when they came back into position. German shepherds seem different. My instructor has goldens.|
Fast forward the clock, I am in a group obedience class that is a "positive training method". I am ok with positive. I don't mind starting with food and weaning off and always giving lots of praise.
But, I am getting frustrated in our heel work. She is 5 months old and heels good at home with food or a toy. But, outside of the house, she can be challenging (I know normal). So, I am being taught to try to get her attention and reward with eye contact. It works until she doesn't want a treat but would rather go play. So, she has started to pull a lot on lead. If I give a strong verbal correction she will stop but then forgets and pulls again in a few minutes (also normal puppy attention span). A physical correction seems useless as she has on a standard collar. Of course, I do it and the instructor says I need to stop jerking her. *sigh*
Now, mind you, she is rock solid in eye contact; downs; sits; stays and recalls with ALL KINDS of distractions. It's just the heel that is killing us right now.
We are taught to teach them heel by having a piece of food directly in front of them. Of course, she heels great but without the food she doesn't which tells me she is not understaning exactly what I want.
Am I stupid to think about using a choke to teach the initial heel? Will I "kill her spirit" like people have said.
I just do not feel like we are making progress in the heelwork and am a bit frustrated. So, the instructor had me buy a easy walk harness which prevents pulling until she is "trained to heel".
by YogieBear on 18 October 2011 - 20:11
I think you need a little more patience. The pup is only 5 months old. I do feel that a choke collar is not necessary. Don't ask for more than the pup can give at this point.........Why would you want to choke your puppy into the action?
I couldnt imagine choking a human child based on the fact that their maturity level was not what I expected. Try to keep that in mind when you are training your pup....
I don't believe in corrective collars until the dog is pulling me down the street and my lips are flapping in the wind............... You just need to be more animated in your training - as well as patience........ Sometimes advise is easier given than received - for I fill your pain with training puppies and thinking they should be working like a 4 year old dog instead of a young child "aka puppy".........
Just my opinion though........
by goodwink on 18 October 2011 - 20:54
I just had a visual of your BIG beast dragging you down the street and your gums flapping in the wind....bahahahaha.....that made my day!!! :)
I needed that!!!!! :(
by YogieBear on 18 October 2011 - 21:20
|Goodwink, I can provide video footage if you like............lol|
I was kinda thinking about Zorra dragging me down the street currently and she isnt 5 months yet.........haha but the beast still has his moments...........!
by Detroit SchH on 18 October 2011 - 21:23
|How long/ how many paces are you asking this 5 month old pup to Heel?|
If you are asking for focused heeling, with eye contact, you can only expect a limited amount of
paces/ time. You cant take her for a walk around the neighborhood and expect a puppy or dog
to do focused heeling for 30 minutes.
If you are walking her for exercise, I would let her walk on a loose 4-6 foot leash and be free to
enjoy her walk.
As for the collar - I would only use a "choke chain" or fur saver on the dead ring. If the dog/pup
is still over powering you, go to a prong on the dead ring, and lastly a prong on the live ring.
To teach loose-leash, walking (for exercise/ enjoyment) I correct for pulling with a pop/jerk and use the word
"EASY". it means enjoy your freedom, but DO NOT pull me.
To teach Heeling, I use motivational methods you described above like food and/or toys. And, at 5 months,
would not use a collar correction for momentary loss of focus.
Teach the two things separately.
by Detroit SchH on 18 October 2011 - 21:26
|throw away the stupid "easy walk Harness".|
by Ace952 on 18 October 2011 - 21:30
|The most important question is, "What are your plans for the pup?"|
I honestly wouldn't do any heeling at this age. Right now it should all be about foundation work. Sit, Come, Down. That in itself takes a long time. And I mean teaching it everyday for a short period of time 2-3x a day (depending on your schedule).
I wouldn't even be doing heeling at all. If you want her to heel some.....take the path of least resistance, shorten the leash.
Otherwise again, sit, stay and come. Make those reliable and just work on them. At 5 months you shouldn't being using a choke or pinch. Use only food and keep it positive. With food there is no correction, either earn the treat or they don't.
by ronin on 18 October 2011 - 21:41
|Personally my pups only do schutzhund heelwork when they're in drive for food and toy, but be careful with too much toy as the raised drive reduces the ability to learn and accuracy goes to pot, this comes much later.|
As said by Detroit ScH; when I am casually walking my pup or adult then it's off duty, 3 or 4ft leash, or I use a 24ft extendable leash, and I rarely speak to the dog let alone give any commands.
That said if the dog goes beyond the accepted behavior boundaries and starts to pull or lunge then the correction is; a firm "NO" and 3 fast tugs on the lead, not hard, the goal is to be really annoying and irritating.
We use this when playing with the pup for short periods; you have the toy when the pup gets distracted and looks elsewhere then 3 tugs.
If you feel you must use a choke chain then double it back and lock it off, this way you maximise your tugging, literary wrist power is often enough, and you reduce the high levels of force into the neck and vertebrae.
by vonissk on 18 October 2011 - 21:50
|Great post Ace and I totally agree. Sometimes I have found at this age they start going through what I call a stubborn stage where they are testing you. When I have pups that do that, I focus on the things they are really good at, as Ace said, 2-3-5 times a day and make a big todo out of it. The thing I am having the biggest problem with, as heeling, I just don't do. If when you are walking her and she does pull you, I would turn around and go the other way. This teaches her hey I will play your game but only by my rules and one of them is you don't pull me. When she comes back and is with you then I would treat her. But no chokers or pinches or anything like that. Keep everything happy and positive and if you feel you are getting frustrated end things with something she does really well, lots of praise and a treat and then play and be happy. In my experience when they get thru the stage I am talking about, you'll be shocked at their attitude because you have laid a good positive foundation. Just my 2 cents worth!|
by Judy P on 18 October 2011 - 22:56
|I generally use a flat nylon collar with puppies. We do sit, down and come. For walks we use 'come on' rather than heel at this point. that means walk in the same direction as I am going. We also play a game called 'this way' in which I use a flexi lead and once the puppy gets to far in front of me I say 'this way' and turn in another direction. By the time they get to the serious obedince training they have figured out they need to stay with me and turn when I do.|
by Ace952 on 18 October 2011 - 23:42
|As a side note I would't put that pup on a collar and leash at all. Everything should be off leash. Build that foundation by them doing it on their own and not with a leash on and your hand at the end of it.|
Let them figure it out that they get food once they do what you calmly ask if them. They will get it. It is a lot easier to go from off leash to on leash than it is to go on leash to offleash.
At this age work on sit, down, come & focus.
I hope duke1965 doesn't mind me posting his video but here is a excellent video. If you teach this correctly you won't need a leash. I wish I would have done it this way when I first started out. Live & learn.
by dogshome9 on 19 October 2011 - 00:07
|Ace, fantastic video thank you. The puppy's not bad either actually it's a beautiful puppy.|
by jra on 19 October 2011 - 00:43
I don't mean to hijack the thread, but just had a question about this:
by Smiley on 19 October 2011 - 00:51
|Thank you so much everyone!!! I am going to take all the suggestions and I REALLY REALLY appreciate everyone taking the time to respond.|
I sure do have a lot to learn!!
Ace, thanks also for posting the video! It was fantastic! The visual was extremely helpful to me. That is a bit what I am being taught now with the food down in front of them. I guess I am just trying to jump ahead too much and should stay at this level to really buid a foundation.
My mistake as her trainer. I will go back and keep her happy and motivated with food for short periods and not expect perfection or for her to jump ahead of steps. Nor, will I set her up to fail by expecting her to listen in very distractable situations. I will use the retractable leash as suggested on public walks. At home, I will practice the "heel work" off leash like the video showed for short periods and keep it fun.
Thanks again, everyone!! You guys are awesome!!
by vonissk on 19 October 2011 - 00:52
|Judy what a good post. Ace thanks for sharing the video--very nice and nice pupper. I just wanted to add one more thing in response to what you said about the leash. I forgot to add in my post above when I am doing my things 2-5 times a day, I never use the leash. I only leash break puppies for socialization purposes--I take mine to a lot of offices and they have to be somewhat controlled. Also we have a National Park here where we play dog show and do some training--because of the wildlife they have a very strict leash law. My masin focus is on come, sit, down, and focus....................|
by Smiley on 19 October 2011 - 00:58
|JRA- I asked my instructor that very question tonight. She told me to stop walking; slowly walk backwards; and if my pup is still ignoring me then say her name *happily* and when she looks praise her and lure her back towards me with a treat. Then, keep her attention with "good girl"- "yes"- treat and repeat.|
My instructor did say some of what everyone wrote above. Of course, I read all the comments here after our class tonight. So, looks like everyone knows what they are doing but me..yikes!!
At least, I am doing a good job with the sit, stay, down, and come and keeping her happy with that. I do use a lot of play.
But, I guess I am too impatient and expect too much from her right now. So, my mistake. I'll go back and correct that.....
by Dog Bum on 19 October 2011 - 04:13
|A video is worth a million words. Thanks to Ace92 for the Lacey clip. Suggestion. Work up a giant bowl of popcorn and view DVD :Focused Heeling with Michael Ellis. Will probably answer your question.|
by vonissk on 19 October 2011 - 04:30
|Hey Smily, you take care of her now cause ya no0w I love her.................LOL...Seriously tho I know it is hard to be patient.. I want to tell you a little story.. I had a blk/tan dog once named Jill. She was old American working lines, she was a really nice girl. So I decided to do obedience with her--I had her in the match ring at 5 months old--at 6 months I decided to show her--hey the rules said 6 months--I was so green I almost ruined my dog. I pushed her so hard...................way too hard...........so hey just hang in there--one day you will wake up and you'll have a dog that is ready to do things. ............|
by Smiley on 19 October 2011 - 13:03
Dog Bum, for anyone that does not know...the Ellis videos are FREE on-line at the leerburg site (as another poster pointed out to me)! Thanks for bringing up the Ellis videos!
*I am editing my post as I realize I was watching another video called Michael Ellis lecture. I will try to find the one on heeling!*
Von, thanks for your message!! Yeah, I will really try to work on being patient! She is the youngest in class and all the other dogs are adults so I have to stop comparing her to them. Don't worry..I will go slow now!!
by duke1965 on 19 October 2011 - 18:18
|ace , I dont mind you using my clip , if it is of any help to anyone , just fine|