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Old 03-19-2008, 06:37 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default How to Teach a Beagle to Heel?

I just don't get it.
It seems impossible to teach a beagle how to heel.

Anyone here who could help me out?
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Old 03-19-2008, 08:52 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to Teach a Beagle to Heel?

How old is your beagle? Maggie is almost two and is getting pretty good at heel, although I know she will never be 100%. She picks up a scent and forgets what we were doing. I also don't always expect her to heel because I know she needs time to explore on walks. The process of teaching heel is the same as with any dog. what I did differently is practice it a lot in the house without a leash. Maggie is really good with the place command and runs to sit at my left side. Once she is in position, I put a favorite treat, like dehydrated salmon or liver in my left hand and tell Maggie "heel" and "let's go". She of course follows the treat. After a short practice, I have her sit, she gets the treat and we go again. I think this worked well because there are fewer distractions inside. Once she was solid inside we started working outside on the leash. She is pretty good at it outside now but it has been a long process and we have daily inside practice.
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Old 03-19-2008, 09:04 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to Teach a Beagle to Heel?

Quote:
Originally Posted By: jassyHow old is your beagle?
She's almost two years.

Quote:
Originally Posted By: jassyOnce she is in position, I put a favorite treat, like dehydrated salmon or liver in my left hand and tell Maggie "heel" and "let's go". She of course follows the treat.
That's what I did.
But Bloom doesn't just follow the threat. She jumps up and tries to get it. So it's really difficult for me to teach her.
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Old 03-19-2008, 09:28 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to Teach a Beagle to Heel?

I have the same problem with Chloe. She gets the idea of heeling, but loses concentration after a few steps. I just keep the leash sort so that she is by my knee area (or a little behind me), I keep saying the command and when she is responding with a relaxed walk and the leash is not tight, I praise her.
I also correct her by a short pull and relax of the leash, as if to snap her out of her new interest.

Consistency is the most important thing. Even if it takes a month - she WILL get it.

Good luck!
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Old 03-19-2008, 09:42 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to Teach a Beagle to Heel?

Yeah, I guess you're right. Consistency and patience go a long way.
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Old 03-19-2008, 02:52 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to Teach a Beagle to Heel?

heel takes some time, with hounds. I taught 1 beagle and my coonhound to heel. It takes a slip-lead or choke-chain and lots of premium treats. I would walk my dog back and forth and saying heel and treating everytime the dog was in position, and giving a pop when they would get out of position. This took about a month of everyday work but Basil (coonhound) was perfect at it and Daisy(Beagle) is good at it. If it is important to you keep up with it and stay consistant and even tempered. If you search for coonhound trainng heel on google you will find some great help. Hound owners need special help with this and if you can get a coon hound or beagle to do it then you have accomplished a great deal. Beagles like to search and lead. My other beagle Cletus is a leash puller and will be getting an education when weather warms and walks begin again.
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Old 03-19-2008, 06:00 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to Teach a Beagle to Heel?

I don't think it has ever happened
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Old 03-19-2008, 09:14 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to Teach a Beagle to Heel?

Henry was trained to heel in a few days. I use a choke-chain at the top of his neck, like in dog shows. He is corrected for pulling, then tension is immediately released. I know some people don't like choke-chains but I feel you must have some sort of tension and release on the collar. A regular collar just gives them too much power to pull. I also use treats periodically to remind him that heeling is fun, but primarily it is all respect of the collar and the handler. He is never allowed to pull ahead of me unless I say, "Okay, go sniffs" and give a loose leash. Our walks are always structured this way because practice makes perfect!
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Old 03-19-2008, 10:28 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to Teach a Beagle to Heel?

When you say heel, do you mean teaching the dog to walk nicely on the lead without pulling or are you talking about the dog actually doing the heel command, which is very precise and what you use in obedience trialling - the dog will look up at you the entire time etc?

Teaching loose lead walking is definitely possible Firstly I never walk on a flat collar because it gives you very little control. A martingale collar is good because it's more comfy than a check chain and can be adjusted to sit right under the dogs ears, high on its neck, which is the most sensitive area and therefore gives you more control with less correcting on your part.

When you start walking, and the dog starts to pull, immediately change directions so the dog has to turn quickly and run to catch up with you. If the dog is lagging behind give her a quick check on the lead (pull the lead across your body, not upwards). Repeat every time the dog walks in front of you and pulls on the lead. This teaches the dog it will gain nothing by pulling and that it must walk beside you.

Heel as a command is a bit different. You wouldn't do a whole walk with the dog heeling because they are craning their neck to look up at you it would be painful for them. They must look at you because we use heel in obedience so the dog watches you for commands etc. Start in a low distraction environment to teach the dog what 'heel' means.

Position the dog on your left side, so it is inline with your leg. She must be sitting exactly inline and not off to an angle etc. Show the dog you have a treat in your hand, and step off with your left foot saying 'heel' in a happy, excited tone. Stepping off on your left foot is a signal to your dog to heel (just like when you command the dog to stay, you step off on your right foot, as that is a command signal for the dog to stay).

Lure the dog with the treat, so it stays precisely by your side. Take a few steps and then stop, the dog must sit exactly by your side. Repeat the process so the dog understands where it must be when you are 'heeling'. Each time you stop and the dog sits, praise and reward with the treat.

Gradually you will be able to hold the treat to your chest, the dog will look up at you each time you 'heel', and will sit automatically each time you stop moving. Once you get heel in a low distraction environment, try doing it outside, at the park, etc. Use only high value treats (like chicken, sausage, cheese etc) that the dog only gets when you do this training. Wean the dog off the treats too - so don't reward every time the dog heels and sits automatically, but every second, third time etc.

When you have a heel pattern down you can incorporate downs, stays, stands and recall etc.

Here is a video I made of Daisy when she was first learning heel and other obedience commands:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RM_O9HJzhV0

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Old 03-20-2008, 04:06 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to Teach a Beagle to Heel?

Kioko is a horrid leash puller. She KNOWS heel, and she does it for treats, but if we're out for a family walk, all bets are off. One whiff of the outside smells, and she just tries to take off. She keeps up with us if I just keep walking, but she is miles away from being a good heeler.

Since she was a pet store dog and is having issues with potty training, I have just put "heel" on a back-burner until we get reliable potty training complete. After that, we'll do another formal obedience class to see what will happen.

Good luck. Beagles are tough.
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