When will Monte learn to HEEL? He just doesn't get it.
We initially identified the problem that Monte will not or cannot HEEL on our daily walk.
After last week's private lesson and an objective assessment, the problem was identified, as with most issues, to be poor training methods. It is not his fault that we have failed to provide consistent reinforcement. Like a young puppy, we lost focus during our forty minute walks and only corrected him when we remembered.
Our frustration with Monte's lack of HEELing prowess has been misguided and misplaced. Our training method, or lack thereof, could only result in confusion as Monte would be walking along fine for ten minutes and then BAM, correction. What was that for? No clue because it stopped after a few times only to return again ten minutes later. The only thing he could have learned was that every ten minutes he needed to return to our side.
The weekly training class at The Dog Den provides an opportunity to be more disciplined in our approach as we get back to basics. The process starts with a few steps with positive feedback. We practice a modified approach on our daily walk. We stop, HEEL, and maintain a HEEL for one city block. Then stop while in HEEL and release to walk like a well-behaved regular dog, not too far out in front.
Eventually we hope to increase our ability to focus and thus lengthen the time/distance that Monte can HEEL.