Saturday, January 29, 2011

new heeling

Oreo and I are starting a rally class a week from today.  I know rally involves a lot of heeling with attention, something we've been working on as part of our behavior plan. 

I decided I wanted to work on perfecting this skill, so I ordered Silvia Trkman's heeling video. 

If you've never seen her dogs heel, it is quite impressive.  Plus, I liked that fact that she teaches it as a trick, not an obedience move.

She gives a 7 step process on her dvd, taught exclusively through shaping. 

The first step is very much like the "elephant trick" Oreo learned years ago.  Unfortunately, Oreo only learned this in one direction.  Plus, back then I taught him most tricks through luring, not shaping.  He still expects my hand to be raised over his head when we do that trick. She said you can use a hand gesture, but not a lure.

So, we were pretty much back at square one.  Here is a video from yesterday. Obviously, Oreo excels at one direction.  I am shaping him to learn the oppsite direction, which will put him in the true heel position.  We've been doing this for a few days, and I thought we would be further along.  I may have to try a different pedastal, then maybe he will realize this is a new skill altogether. 

This step is supposed to help the dog have a strong idea of the "position".  Without that, we can't move forward.

In the video, she made a comment about how your dogs should be able to look at you, even if there is a treat in your hand.

Well, I know Oreo is incapable of doing that! He constantly looks at my hands, not my face.

Lightbulb moment for me. If I work on getting Oreo to look at me when there is a treat present, that may help teach him to focus on me when scary things are around. So, we are doing short shaping sessions for that as well.


Sophie said...

Woah. That is some impressive heeling; if those dogs were any closer, they'd be stuck to her sides!

Oreo's backwards elephant-trick looks great so far, especially if you've only ever done it one way. :) I like how he starts going one way, pauses, thinks about it for a second, and then goes back the other way. Too cute.

For eye contact, you could try just working on that - c/t for eye contact, and then work up to having to watch your eyes even as the treat begins to move towards him. Then try it with things he already knows very well - sitting with eye contact, lying down with contact, etc.

Good luck!

Ricky the Sheltie said...

I think you are going to love rally class and it will be a good confidence builder for Oreo (hmm..maybe we should do it too). I learned the elephant trick only going in one way too so I can empathize with Oreo's difficulty in going the other way but he will get it!

Do you think Sylvia's heeling dvd was worth it? We've thought about buying it several times.....

Sara said...

The video seemed very pricey to me, but I felt like our heeling skills weren't where I wanted them to be. She gives a lot of advice for stuff other than heeling (like the eye contact). It is short - only 45 minutes or so, but thorough. We'll have to see if I get the results I'm looking for...then I'll let you know if I feel it was worth it! When I'm done with it, I could always mail it to you to watch.

Priscilla said...

I think Oreo is doing a great job. He has his confidence on the direction he is familiar with but he also showed his willingness to learn the different direction. He is a good boy!
Well, be honest, I don't even know how to teach Eva the elephant trick but I'm going to check it out later.

Ricky the Sheltie said...

I thought it was pricey too but that Sylvia was probably worth it. I'll be interested to see how Oreo does!

Keisha said...

Good luck to u!! :)

Reilly / Bree said...

I think Oreo was doing great in learning to go in a new direction. Reilly has that problem with rolling over - he only wants to go in one direction. By the way - Reilly is a boy not a girl :)

Dawn said...

Katie's heeling is all over the place. Might be something I should invest in too... Oreo's so cute as he thinks about what might get him that tasty treat..."Hmmm..really Mom? You want me to go to the RIGHT? Well OK then."

Kathy said...

LOVE that video!!!!!!
Love working on eye contact so that they are not looking at the treat, and I have worked to where I put my bag of treats on the ground open and they know how to ignore the treat bag, I think that really helps so they stay focused on the lesson and dont worry about where the treat is and helps transfer the value to the job and not just keep the value for the dog with the treat-Susan Garret is really big on that. Anyway, I forgot and was working with a friends dog on 2x2 weaves and set my treats on the floor next to me not thinking and sure enough the dogs head was buried in the treats as soon as I looked away, LOL, I am so used to doing that that I forgot! I do think that impulse control is really so useful and a cool trick bet Oreo will catch on FAST!!!