Suggestions For Heeler Questions

Discussion in 'Working Dogs Forum' started by rheel287, Mar 25, 2022.

  1. Chris B

    Chris B Member

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    Have any of you tried clicker training for this taking it at the dog's pace, ie look at article, click treat. A step near the article, click. treat and build up until the dog thinks it's his/her idea to retrieve it
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  3. rheel287

    rheel287 New Member

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    i use marker training. HIghly effective. I don't have to fumble with a clicker, wonder where it is, etc., plus markers help connect the dog / animal to YOUR voice.
  4. CaroleC

    CaroleC Member

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    Malka likes this.
    The short word, Yes, is my clicker sound. I also find that carrying a clicker box a fumble.
    @rheel287 That mirrors what is happening with my girl - and we seem to have had them for a similar time - though mine is nearly five. Tally is still only retrieving, or picking up, her choice of article. If she says NO there is nothing that will change her mind. I have decided to let her stick with the limited range of items that she likes, and hope to try sneaking an occasional extra item into the game.
    I'm also disappointed to find that she can sometimes decide not to pick up a toy that she was happily bringing a couple of weeks ago. Though it doesn't really matter in my case, she's got me puzzled.
  5. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Member

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    Malka and CaroleC like this.
    Then she's been successful!
  6. rheel287

    rheel287 New Member

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    Helidale likes this.
    @CaroleC I use the word 'yes' as well...just in a different way that I normally would. My niece had a beagle, too, and said if that dog set her mind not to do something, it was set in stone...until it wasn't, lol. I had a hard time believing that, until now.

    Would you call Tally's energy low-key?

    Last night at the frig I dropped one of those round plastic lemons that you squirt lemon juice out of. I thought, no way he'll hand that to me...it's new to him and round and plastic...but he did. Later, when I asked him to hand me a Kong he's handed me over and over---nope. An hour later, he did. He and Tally must be working from the same "owner's manual."

    This morning, I dropped a small container and without a command, BAM, he handed it to me. And here's where it might get tricky for him: you don't want them automatically picking up everything (for safety reasons, usually). My Dutch shepherd's never had a problem learning their jobs and the do's and don'ts, but with this guy, it'll be interesting how he synthesizes the distinctions as we move along.

    Big brag: I've been between a cane and walker for a month, and I'm super-proud how quickly he learned to navigate both, especially in heel work, on/off lead. I'd love to do the heelwork with him I did with my Dutch's (the "fancy" kind you see in competition rings), and I might down the line after surgery. Such fun stuff that really strengthens the bond and noncommunicative relationship. :049:
  7. Malka

    Malka Member

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    Helidale likes this.
    @rheel287 - your last paragraph made me smile. Keeping out of my way is the most important thing for me, so "move" and "mind" were the two commands they had to learn from the start. "Move" is to get well away from my chair, mainly when I am reversing, as I cannot see what is behind me, especially not a small dog like Tikva [the picture in my avatar is my previous girl, who was medium size] - although the beep when I switch it on was enough after a short while enough. "Mind" is if I am on my feet. I have grab bars and rails just about everywhere in my little bungalow so I can move around a bit on my crutches, and "mind" just means to be careful and keep out of my way.

    Well done on your lad learning so quickly to maneuver around your cane and walker!

    I am not bothered about Tikva picking things up because I have never taught her [or previous dogs] to do so - I have picker-uppers all over the place for that. Rather I taught them not to pick things up as my yard is unfenced, my bungalow is set low down from the road, and all sorts of stuff ends up blown into it.
  8. Helidale

    Helidale Member

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    I am not able to walk Tal very often these days. She has learned cope with the cane, but I am limping so badly that I can't generate enough energy for a true Walk at Heel. I feel like an utter novice, and no-one would ever guess how much training I have done! I found that to avoid tripping over dog or cane, I prefer Tally to walk slightly ahead of me - as most showdogs learn to move - though she does drop back to a heel position when directed. With encouragement this allows her to assist me on uphill stretches - it's surprising how effective 12.5k can be!
    When re-homing the Sit is always problematic, as in most show kennels it is almost a sin for the dog to sit. Tally found the Sit-Up a lot easier to master, but has now managed to plonk her butt, it can take up to 3 requests though, and she always swings her bottom round to look up at me. I have always taught the right-hand round the body Come to Heel, but I think I might try the alternative method for her. It might help to straighten her position.Tally has low energy for a Beagle - the reason why her breeder thought she would suit our situation. She sleeps a great deal - in fact she can be quite hard to rouse in the morning. (She has had a vet check). She is quite placid at the Beagle meets, and doesn't gallop around as much as the others.
    She really livens up when there is food around, and has a terrific leap for a 13.5 inch hound - we have learned to carry our plates a little higher these days! She has a set jumps in the garden, and can get really excited when retrieving - which is why I don't understand why she is so choosy about her articles. She does have quite a small mouth but I always make allowance for that. She also does 600m to one km on the treadmill - at a varied speed, usually twice a week.
  9. rheel287

    rheel287 New Member

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    @Malka I was caregiver to a man in a power chair and his little mixed breed knew that clicks = movement. Clearly, she was the smartest of the two of us. I was the only one who had their foot run over.

    @Helidale Same boat--even before or without the cane/walker I limp, stop, limp, stop, so walks were/are hardly walks, more like a car stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic during rush hour.

    I asked about her energy b/c yours and mine are similar in some ways to each other, and my guy has low energy, not that of a heeler. And he, too, can be quite hard to rouse from sleep. Hmmmm. Sounds like they might be wired the same way, for some reason.

    Heelers aren't known to be cuddle-bugs, either, but food and cuddling are his two favorite things. (He burrows under my blankets in bed, and winds his way back up to nestle with his head on my shoulder. And there he stays.)

    While I'm here...Has anyone had a dog with super-super rough pads? He came with pads so rough that if a foot of his grazes my face in bed, it leaves scratch marks with blood (like cat scratches). I forgot to ask the vet about a good product for it, or if it's dietary, etc. If I put an oil on it, it'll just get licked off and/or leave a slippery residue on floor. Apricot kernel oil is light and easily absorbed into the skin, which would be perfect, but he'd still lick at it b/c of the scent. I don't want to use Bag Balm as it has been shown to cause cancer in cows when applied to their teats.
  10. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Member

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    Yesterday at the vet, there was a box on the bench when I went to pay. Tornado-dog made a beeline for it to check it out. The staff commented that there was food in it. I said "no, it's a box. He was looking for bubble wrap". That is Tornado-dog's most consistent assistance. No bubble wrap is ever left unpopped. Other than that, his best skill is "drop it".

    Yeah, I almost got in trouble with my dad on that. I taught his akita to sit for his toys - only once but the dog took to it. My dad saw it and threatened my life if he sat in the sing. Fortunately, he didn't connect sitting for the toy to sitting for a treat.
  11. rheel287

    rheel287 New Member

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    Helidale likes this.
    I meant to comment on Helidale's reference to saying commands a few times....

    Long time ago someone told me to never repeat a command once the dog knows it; the dog could begin to associate having to hear the command that many times before it can/should comply. Made sense.

    I had a dog once who would wait to comply until we'd said certain commands multiple times--but not with all commands. I don't remember if we adopted him like that, or if we created it, and I'd have to say it was the latter since he came to us with virtually no training.

    But with Tally and my guy, they know what to do...and at least with me, I started to repeat b/c I knew he knew and was just exerting his independence. Last night it hit me, so after one time with no compliance, I'd walk away, saying "Game over." Every time this happened, he'd come looking for me after a few minutes.

    For him, it's best I continue this practice as a few times in the past with repeated commands, he's exhibited signs of stress (yawn, stretch, sudden and unusual burst of energy, etc.).

    Also, this might explain his butt-plunk, now that I think of it. When he's decided he won't comply, he sits, and I don't recall his sitting when a command was only said once (not that it hasn't and I just don't remember). I definitely remember, though, him sitting after repeating a command, lots.
  12. Helidale

    Helidale Member

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    rheel287 likes this.
    I had a bit of fun this afternoon playing retrieve with Tal's two favourite articles - a small Kong tennis ball, (a full size ball makes her grunt - the little mouth), and her precious welly boot roll. So what would happen if I threw both of them together?
    The welly roll was enthusiastically retrieved first every time, but I was then able to direct her to Fetch the static ball. Success every time. I think my problem is going to be finding other items that she likes to work with.
    She used to bring the small flying rings rolled along the floor but has now gone cold on those. I've had some response with a six inch loop of lightweight rope, but she has no interest in the pet shop rope toys. I think that keeping the article size down will be important for her to enjoy her lessons. She must think that she's a Pug!
  13. rheel287

    rheel287 New Member

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    And maybe given time for further bonding while training, she'll become fully compliant, especially b/c you are reading what helps her to succeed right now (like the size and maybe texture). She might not ever be able to catch a Frisbe, but you're not about to play it with her, anyway--like you said.
  14. Malka

    Malka Member

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    Tikva was just 3-weeks-old when I got her and all of about 400g [she is a cross Dachshund/Minpin], so very tiny and only just starting to trot around, and I was terrified of hurting her. Luckily she was quite happy in a bag round my neck when I had to get her bottle ready - or even just go to the loo. If I took my eyes off her for a second she would get lost, and eep for me to go and rescue her.
  15. rheel287

    rheel287 New Member

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    Malka likes this.
    Awwww. :049:
  16. CaroleC

    CaroleC Member

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    @Malka Oh yes, I remember that. Was it the fridge or the freezer that she turned up to be stuck behind?
  17. Malka

    Malka Member

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    My big fridge/freezer - until I blocked all gaps so she could not get through them. She would get behind it, get under it, and then poke her little nose out from under the front and eep for me to rescue her. She was so tiny that I could actually get her out by just pulling the plastic kickboard out a bit.

    How on earth did I manage - bottles every couple of hours day and night - then weaning her... but she survived, she thrived, and in just over four weeks she will be 7.

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