We can't heel

Posted by hurricane-jett
May 14, 2008
He sits, he downs, he can do a moving down, he can sit stay (2 min), he can down stay (2 min), he can even back up. He will not heel close! I want to enter a novice rally competition in June, but he's got to work at a heel on a loose leash. I have to keep yanking on him to get him to not wander off to inspect the signs, cones, jumps,etc.
I try treats behind my back to keep him from surging forward,but it doesn't work every time. The Gentle Leader only works with the pinch collar. If he wants to throw his weight into them, he can drag me 20 yards, twisting his head in the Gentle Leader as he lunges. And I can't use either one of them in competition. We stop and sit and we go in the other direction. It doesn't seem to bring him back to thinking what he's doing. I'm really at a loss.
Posted by Todd
May 17, 2008
Hi there and what a great question.

Unfortunately for me you have tried nearly everything so i am going to have to try really hard to come up with something for this

I am glad you are so committed, this will take a deal of time to fix and may at some stage require a personal trainer but we will try our best to figure it out.

I am very glad you have the gentle leader as this will make things a bit easier to start with and as he gets better we can try another lead.

So in my experience with dogs that are tough to train to heal they do need a bit more time and patience. If you can you may be able to link a second line to your gentle leader and run it around the opposite side of the neck so he has "reins" on, it may help.

I would also encourage you to keep using the food treat as if we can get him started that is the most important stage.

Now the best place to train him is going to be in a very quiet area with no distractions eg a small back yard. keep sessions short eg 10 min (about a dogs attention span) but increase how frequently you are doing them.

The method is probably the same as you have been trying but it does work but will require to be repeated over and over and over and over again. It is very slow and frustrating but there is progress in it.

So have him on the lead in the back yard. When your dog starts to pull, you need to:

*Stop and give his lead a few tugs, and growl the guttural growl, ("AAHH!" rather then "NO") then bring him back beside you.

*Start walking away again and hold a treat by your side (so that your dog knows it is there).

*Your dog should be following along side you, if he tries to jump for the treat ignore him (do not let your dog bite at your hand though).

*When your he of that, and simply walks along beside you say "BOY!.....HEEL!" then reward your dog for walking beside you.

Repeat this over and over, then you should start to see the results. If you praise your dog as it comes towards you then he is being rewarded only for backing up (the very last action it performed). You need to reward your dog for walking freely beside you as you move off from the stand still.

Once he behaves in the backyard slowly move to areas with more and more distractions. Eg pavement to dog park to an agility meeting

If anyone else has some great methods that have worked i would love to here them.

Good luck and let me know how things are going and i will try to help more if i can.