I think I had a breakthrough with the barrier heel. I started playing with kicking out my right leg before I start moving; I think Waco is picking it up as a cue that I'm about to start walking. Good idea?
Also a few times we were having a really good time playing together and I did a little heeling away from a barrier. Should I super not be doing that yet?
Here's the video for the main homework items! (Separate video on engagement work to follow)
Also for context on minute 7; Waco used to be fearful and occasionally reactive towards skateboards. He has improved to the point where he never reacts anymore but still gets very focused or avoidant sometimes. When someone did a few big flippy kick closer to the fence it seemed to scare him and he broke his stay so I did a couple more things I felt he could still do and ended the session. Just in case you were wondering what happened there and why he looked so nervous all of a sudden. Let me know if you think I could have handled the situation better!
Thanks for all that excellent feedback before!
Here's a new video with some of our sessions from the past week :) Been focussing mainly on fixing that heel with barrier and picking a hand signal for 'get in'.
and I wanna work towards having him pivot full circles real snazzy like for that extra credit!
Heel against barrier
Stepping forward with right leg -
Generally speaking, for heel work, you expect the dog to target/follow your left leg/left side of your body. People often recommend stepping off with your left leg for heel forward, whereas if you are leaving your dog to “stay,” many people use stepping off with their right leg as an extra cue. I personally don’t ever remember to do that, but there’s some info to chew on. I usually do all of this foundational heel work with my left leg leading, but that doesn’t mean that that’s the only way to do it. Just be aware that what the dog is likely still actually following is your left leg.
Some reps of this look fine, and some I see him hanging back and maybe thinking about your right leg, then lagging a bit to follow your left. (Later reps I see maybe actual confusion about this as he completely does not follow.) That could iron out on its own. But I’m curious to see what this looks like with your left leg leading!
Additionally, I want you guys to backtrack to paying attention to and rewarding that very first step forward. Do it just how I do in the examples with dogs who have never done any heeling forward before.
I see you guys relying on a certain amount of forward momentum to heel as a oppose to Waco confidently going, “I’m in heel! And I’m still in heel! And here I am in position again, the correct position for heeling!”
So, I want to see:
1. You step 1 step forward
2. Waco follows
3. Immediate “yes” - IN MOTION, before the halt
4. And feed (he may autosit while you’re feeding him and that’s fine)
*Don’t step off again until he is finished chewing. You’ll for sure get head dips if he has food in his mouth. It happens on accident to the best of us, but try to note when he has swallowed.
*At the end of the line, I want you to do a cookie toss to reset the rep. No right turns (or any turns) yet. (For the sake of working on one thing at a time.)
2:42-2:49 This rep is perfect! High head, stays with you the whole time.
3:32-3:36 also perfect (excited sneeze is OK)
I want you to do this against a barrier still. Can you do it off a barrier? Yes, if you play your cards right. But I’m looking for a very specific something, and it’s going to be easier for you to get there with a barrier keeping him from forging, for now!
Good feeding mechanics from your left hand. :-)
Make all your spins out to the left/counter clockwise.
Spins to the right do exist as a rally sign (at the masters level in AKC, not sure about CKC), but that is an unfortunate fact, because it’s doesn’t actually make sense to ask your dog to crash into you from heel position, lol.
His excited snorts when you cue “spin” are so cute.
5:40 Working on sustained attention/head position with skateboard sounds nearby looks awesome. I don’t actually have this stationary head position proofing in the curriculum but have thought about making “extra credit” tutorials that look exactly like what you do here (mark + rewarding for staying in heel even though something just happened nearby).
Skateboard spooks - I think what you did is just fine! When in doubt, you can always get more distance from the spooky thing.
Full circles on target: Awesome, this is actually the only “extra credit” tutorial I have in our extra credit section right now, hehe.
Pivot into heel on target:
I want you to think about what your hand signals are for pivoting and for pivoting into heel/left turns in heel. I see him here cueing off of your right hand for some reps and your left for others. Ultimately we want the cue to be just following the left side of your body, and I have an extra verbal cue in the curriculum for help.
Everything else looks awesome! Great work! :)
Been having a lot of fun with the working outside stuff, especially now that we're back in the city and there's lots of places to go :)
Here are the levels I came up with for environments to work in:
School Parking Lot
Geary Avenue vacant lots
Christie Pits Park (No DOLA in this park but often busy)
Outside a skatepark
Outside Earlscourt dog park
Inside Canadian Tire/hardware store
Stockyards (Meat packing district + wild rabbit habitat)
Inside High Park DOLA
Outside Pet Valu/Big Paws (Pet stores)
Inside Pet Valu/Big Paws
Also for some context; as I mentioned in my first Lv 4 post Waco has previously had fear based reactivity around skateboards and we've come really far with it but sometimes he still gets spooked. He is mostly dog neutral, sometimes very interested in other dogs and can be reactive towards large, pushy males and some specific dogs on my block. He has gotten a lot better though. The High Park DOLA is large and spacious and I have been able to safely work on Obed stuff in there before. And then I know a pet store sounds chill but he gets so worked up for FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD so that's numbers 9 and 10 right now haha
Here is a session we did at Christie Pits Park (Level 3) a few days ago. We also had a great session outside Earlscourt dog park (Level 5) today! But didn't wanna bore you with two 10 minute videos of engagement stuff haha