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Training dog to heal


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Just got back from another frustrating walk w/my 14mo English Setter, she will not heal.. It's either her pulling me or viseversa, and I'm not sure how it's possible, but gets worse every day. I will say, there's more robins out there than I can ever remember, and they drive her nuts..! Maybe it's over-stimulation, and me doing something wrong, or a combo. She's such a sweet dog, so I hate getting angry at her because she's pretty sensitve, so I need some advise soon. I'm in the process of fencing our yard, so that should help in training I hope. Any tips or suggestions? Thanks, Dave

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Lots of time but I train softly. There are times when I still add a half hich around the dogs waist to slow them down. It tightens on their waist when they pull and they get the idea quickly.

There is also a healing stick that some use for training. Lets you extend your reach to get the dogs attention.

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Heel training should be taught in a controlled environment with no distractions IE: your garage, a big ball field, a quiet parking lot...

Eventually when you feel your dog has the command down, you can mix in some distractions and reinforce it in the field. I have never been a fan of teaching commands in the field. They should always be set up in controlled environments and later brought to the field to be applied.

Good Luck!


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bear with me here as this could get a little long. There are two things here that you need to work with left behaviors and right behaviors. Left behaviors are to slow the dog down and get them back into the heel position. Right behaviors are to speed the dog up and bring them back into the heel position. What I am talking about is when I say a behavior is either a left circle or a left about. Same for the right. This is how I teach heal. Fist off dont plan on going for a walk, look at this as a training session. I use dehydrated calf liver as a treat as well. Start with you pup in the heel position and if you have to help her get into the position that you want her in. Start very basic with her and place a treat in your left hand and lower it to nose level for her. Take one step forward starting with your left leg at the same time tell her to heel. When she follows that piece of liver forward for the one step reward her with the liver and lots of praise. Do this four times the exact same way. Start with the left leg and finish with the right. Progress up to three steps starting with the left leg and the last step ending on the left leg. What you are doing is teaching pup that they will cue off of that leg stopping and starting. Pup will learn to watch what that leg is doing. The liver is a real plus on this as they want to follow that liver and get it. Now when pup is doing this consistently you are ready to try your first real walk. Now when pup starts to get ahead give the command heel and turn to the left in either a full 360 or a 180 and command heel, what you are doing is braking pups momentum. I have had dogs where I might work for a half hour and only cover 50 yards because of this. Now lagging(falling behind) is where we need to turn to the right to speed her up. You want to give some very light pops on the leash at the same time when doing this and give the command heal again. Remember you are in the teaching phase so be up beat and give repeated commands. If you stick with this for a week or two you will have a pup that will heel with out issue. Good luck and remember slow is fast

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I guess I wrongly assumed that there would be separate training times built into the question.

As usual, don't expect anything in the field that they don't do repeatedly in training. If they are not heeling in training it would be folly to expect them to heel on a walk or in a field.

I had one dog go a couple of months heeling in training and she still didn't get it regularely. Then one day it just popped. Patients and repetition.

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Thanks for the responses! Yep, using a flat collar. I have a choke chain, but never used it. Also have an e-collar, I rarely use. I agree that distractions are my biggest issue. I live next to the airport, so on walks we get planes, about a billion birds, squirrels, other dogs, etc.. I have fencing on order, so hopefully within next cpl of weeks, we can start training again in the relative peace of our backyard. I'm going to try GSP4ME's training method, I'm sure it'll work! Thanks again, Dave

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Good advice here!!!

What is working for me on my 6 month old lab is (and several have already mentioned these):

1) Repetition, do some every night.

2) Train in your yard - no distractions.

3) Go around trees and bushes, I'm heeling her on the right side, when I go clockwise around the tree, she is forced to her spot or gets stepped on.

4) Use a prong collar!!! It looks more wicked than it really is, all it does is 'tighten' around her neck, but she gets the idea that she shouldn't be pulling against the leash. Try it!

5) Repetition.

Its worth the effort when you’re making the sneak up on a duck slough or walking across a plowed field, getting ready to hunt a pheasant spot, you’re not hacking at the dog, making noise, or worse yet, like my brother “here hold my gun while I put a leash on”. Grrrrr

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