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Leash Training


Guest saabqueen7

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Guest saabqueen7

We had greyhounds years ago and loved them, but didn't get any more after they passed. We currently have a wonderful collie we adopted some years ago. She walks very well on a loose lead, heels right beside us. From everything we read and learned in books since we got her, from obedience training in the past, etc, heeling is super important. According to many sources, a dog should never walk in front of the person or pull on the leash. The human asserts dominance by staying in front and in relaxed control. Now, if I remember correctly, our greys broke all those rules, lol. And most of the pictures I see online show the grey totally Not heeling. It's been a long time since we had one and I wanted to get input here on whether we need to try to get the grey to walk as our collie does, or if it isn't important, from a behavioral point of view.

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Guest DragonflyDM

If you have a dog who walks at least shoulders with you (head might be slightly in front) then this does normally mean that the dog takes you as a pack leader. However, this doesn't necessarily they are asserting dominance or ignoring yours.

 

Think about pack animals. They wander all over the place. If your dog is not pulling you and setting the pace and they are listening to you in all other respects-- don't worry about it.

 

And I might suggest that heeling is not about obedience but respect. You want a dog to follow you because it respects you as leader and wants to see what you are doing to follow. You do not want a dog that follows you because it feels compelled or enslaved to comply.

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First off, this on dominance: http://www.apbc.org.uk/articles/why-wont-dominance-die, and this: http://www.nonlineardogs.com/100MostSillyPart1-2.html

 

That said, I think it's useful for any dog to know heel and be able to do it, because there could always be situations when it's important to do so. I walk my grey loosely most of the time, but he also knows how to heel.

 

So as far as I'm concerned, there is no behavioral reason for a dog to heel. To a dog, it's all the same, heel or loose.

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I never cared about the psychological reasoning, human or dog. I'm much more basic in that I just don't want to be pulled and I want walks and dogs to be under my control. So all my dogs have been taught to walk beside me. They know they can "ask" me if I will let them go sniff something in particular and I either will or won't let them. They ask, I answer and there's no debate. But... there are certain areas on our walks where they know they are allowed to sniff and wander to their hearts content. And they also have all known "be free" and that command means there is no requirement to stay beside me, that they can go out to the end of the leash and do whatever.

 

If you wish to do therapy or obedience work with your pup, they would have to learn to walk beside you on a loose leash.

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I don't know where you read that, but for one, "heel" does not include the person walking in front of the dog--hence the name "heel." The dog walks at your side with his shoulder right about where your legs are. They should stop when you stop (some insist the dog sit, but some don't), walk when you walk, turn when you turn.

 

This is very HANDY, but certainly not critical. I rarely see dogs heeling when I walk with mine, and I don't insist George heel, but I DO insist he stay on my left side.


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Guest saabqueen7

I don't know where you read that, but for one, "heel" does not include the person walking in front of the dog--hence the name "heel." The dog walks at your side with his shoulder right about where your legs are. They should stop when you stop (some insist the dog sit, but some don't), walk when you walk, turn when you turn.

 

 

I didn't express myself well, lol. My collie heels right at my side, even with my legs. She was trained by previous owners not to go ahead and is really pretty good about it. She is a very passive, sweet-natured person and likes to obey, so it's not an issue with her. I have had other dogs over the years that it was an issue with, but I didn't think it was that big of a deal until we began watching some dog training shows on tv and reading some books. There is so much differing info out there, and I know greyhounds are unique, so thought I would ask here.

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Guest Giselle

Please read this thread. (Edited to add the link! http://forum.greytalk.com/index.php/topic/284817-constant-sniffing-on-walks/page__st__20) It asks a very similar question, so I'll copy and paste my answer:

In my opinion, it has nothing to do with being a "lead dog" or letting your dog "know" the "flow".

 

What it DOES have to do with is defining clear criteria for your dog. Think: Can a child read your mind and "know" that he should study each night so that he can attain higher education/comfortable career? Unless you've got an insanely precocious and mature child, probably not. But what a child DOES know is that you will explicitly reward him when he does well in school. The child also knows that you will take away his TV or Internet privileges if he fails to obtain good grades. This is the explicit, clearly defined criteria that guides his behavior.

 

This is the same way one should approach dog training. As far as we know, dogs don't have a demonstrated theory of mind, at least, not in the way that we understand it. Therefore, if you want your dog to stop sniffing on walks, you need to clearly define what behaviors you want and when you want them. For example, when I'm walking Ivy, I have defined that she must be on a strict "Heel" or she must be a loose-leash (these are two different behaviors that must be taught to the dog). I give constant reinforcement by treating her. When we approach an area that I want her to sniff, I explicitly release her from the Heel/loose-leash and let her sniff to her heart's content. Then, we walk back home on a Heel/loose leash. Does it require more effort on your part? Yes, it certainly does. But it's much more effective and relaxing than getting frustrated over a dog who's confused about what behaviors you want.

 

Here's a two-year-old video showing the difference between Heel and Loose-leash (for me, at least). It also shows how you release a dog from one behavior to the next. (Note: It was raining, so we look sloppy and our Heel has improved greatly since then. :blush ) The idea is that you'd walk like this until you reach an area you want your dog to sniff. Then, release him to sniff, and then call him back to a Heel/loose-leash.

http://smg.photobuck...rcisenotext.mp4

I want to reiterate: It has NOTHING to do with the "pack" or "alpha" or "dominance". By the way, the way "dominance" is portrayed on a popular TV show is almost always (if not always) incorrect.

Edited by Giselle
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My dogs all walk on a loose leash. They all will also come to my left side when I tell them "close." That is training and respect but more importantly it is safety. If I see a dog running toward us I can protect my dogs much easier if they are "close" to me. Obedience can be fun and I enjoy showing off my girls obedience, but more important is their safety. I love to see a well-behaved dog B)

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Guest saabqueen7

Interesting posts and food for thought. The link to the video is broken, so I couldn't watch it.

I will see how it goes after I get the dog and see where he/she is at and what temperament, etc. Will report back :colgate

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Guest Giselle

Whoops, it is? Sigh. Okay, maybe that's a sign I should film a new, better video anyways :P Hopefully, I'll be able to get one up in a few days that shows the explicit transitions from heel --> loose leash --> release to sniff (and back again).

 

Also, to give you some context, up until ~1980's, many ethologists liked to talk about "dominance" and "dominance hierarchies". Thus, for the people growing up around this time, the idea of using "dominance" to handle animals became the overarching theme. The public greatly misinterpreted the idea and began using it as a euphemism for physically intimidating/forceful techniques, i.e. scruff shakes, alpha rolls, jabs to the side, collar pops, etc. But, for the past 20-30 years, the literature has acknowledged this misuse of the idea of "dominance" and most literature now focuses on the complex social organization of animals V.S. the outdated notion of a linear, dominance hierarchy. Feel free to PM me for a few representative journal articles.

 

By the way, David Mech, one of the first people to popularize the word "alpha" in our collective consciousness, has corrected his usage of "alpha" and refers to wolves, instead, as family units:

The term "alpha"

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I was lurking here.. Just want to say the video does work in your original post in the other thread: http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v474/LSophie/Videos/?action=view&current=HeelingExercisenotext.mp4 :)

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Guest Angelique

I may be somewhat outdated since i haven't watched any of Ceasars' episodes in the past 3 or 4 years, but one of the things that griped me the most about him was his pack behaviour theories and dominant dog solutions. :headwall

I know he recently adopted a greyhound, i wonder if that has changed any of his ideas and theories...

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I may be somewhat outdated since i haven't watched any of Ceasars' episodes in the past 3 or 4 years, but one of the things that griped me the most about him was his pack behaviour theories and dominant dog solutions. :headwall

I know he recently adopted a greyhound, i wonder if that has changed any of his ideas and theories...

 

 

I can only hope so. Barring that, he might have tried to "change" his greyhound, an idea that makes me shudder.

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