Walking a kai ken
  • has anyone found a good way to train your kai puppy to actually heel? ive tried treats and they work okay, but if i dont have them she typically will heel some of the time, go ahead of me, walk a circle around me and try to take off. i know because of their prey drive if we run into a squirrel that she will get distracted but just for a regular walk it would be nice if she knew how to heel. any thoughts? thanks
  • Devil's advocate: Why does the dog need to heel? I mean, it looks cool and impressive to other people, and its necessary in obedience competitions, but how is it actually beneficial to the dog? And what is the purpose of going on a "regular" walk with the dog, if it isn't allowed to sniff and do doggy things and enjoy being a dog?

    ETA that heeling is not the same as loose leash walking.
    「怪獣荘秋田犬」Kaiju Kennels Japanese Akita and Hokkaido, Claire Matthews
    Post edited by PoetikDragon at 2016-11-11 19:00:26
  • omgtainomgtain
    Posts: 240
    i think they mean loose leash walking-- not many people know what real heeling is, and i certainly wouldn't ask a dog to heel beyond a couple minutes lol. :)

    How old is your pup now? 4 months? If so, I urge you to continue what you're doing with treats and what not. You want to build a strong reinforcement for keeping the leash loose and keeping their attention on you. Most kai puppies love doing things that are playful, so be sure to talk to your pup and let them know they're doing good. and like claire said, be sure to let them explore their environment and sniff and take breaks. I personally have mine sit before i let her sniff grass / rocks / mail boxes. if your pup still gets overly distracted even with treats-- then you need better treats! :) i use hot dogs and string cheese-- but make sure to make the pieces small. i get turkey hot dogs because it makes me feel like they're healthier? but i don't know. i can usually get a 8pack of hot dogs for $2 and 1 hot dog makes 50 - 60 treats.

    This is what real heeling looks like though if you wanted to see, it is achievable but like i sid.. nothing you ask them to do for more than a couple minutes:
  • Like omgtain & PoetikDragon both said, is there a specific reason you're wanting to work on a heel with your pup? If the heel that omgtain posted in their response is what you're looking for then there are a lot of great resources on starting a puppy or young dog correctly with a heel.

    Michael Ellis has some great online videos that demonstrate extremely effective positive reinforcement training for the heel.

    A couple things to think about with your pup though is that since they're so young the world is extremely big and interesting to them! Everything looks like so much fun and they want to experience it all. To convince your dog to want to be in the heel you have to convince your dog that you and the reward you're providing are more interesting than everything else that's going on around them at that time. Basically if you're exposing your dog to all these different things while trying to keep them in a heel it's going to be extremely tough to make it happen and the pup will "fail" when they're that young. You would have to have worked on building an extremely good connection/bond with the pup; and the pup would have to have some crazy high pack drive.

    Higher value treats do help. I use Redbarn for my high value treats most of the time because it's easy and has a stronger scent to get my dogs attention. Lots of people have really good success with hotdogs or cheese like omgtain suggested.

    A proper heel means that the dog's head is looking up at you while close to your left side during the whole progression. If that's what you want then the only way to get your dog to do it happily and consistently is with treats or a toy/ball if they have high ball drive (that's a later stage reward though when they understand the command). Don't correct a dog that young for not being in the heel. When dogs are that young you want them to explore and be adventurous. If anytime they pull on the leash to smell something they get a stern NO and a hard yank on the leash they'll learn it's bad to explore and try new things. You can focus on the obedience more and introduce some light correction when they're older and understand what you actually want them to do.

    I prefer my correction to be a lack of reward though. I ask my pup do something and she decides to go do something else then she doesn't get the reward and we start over or we are done working for now. For example, If when we're out on the field to practice heeling and she breaks away or starts looking down I'll give her three chances and then if she does it again I'll put her in her crate for 15 minutes or so and then try again. Usually the second time she's on it right away since she figures out that it's more fun playing and training with me than being in her crate alone.

    I'm striving for some higher level obedience titles with her though so it's different than regular pet owner obedience.
  • thanks for all the comments! loose leash walking is a more reasonable goal i believe, since yes, i dont plan on doing any shows with her and i want her to have fun. shes an awesome pup overall, just a bit stubborn at times, especially when were walking so i was curious if other people had similar situations. thanks!

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