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.