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Hello everyone-
I'm entering my 6-year-old basset hound in 4H obediance this summer, but I'm really struggling to train "heel" and "down". I'm attending obediance classes, but none of the trainers seem to understand how to train a basset hound; especially a rescue basset who's extremely shy.

So, do you have any advice about training Lois "heel" and "down"?
Thanks so much!:D
 

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lets start with down, the dog already know how to lie down so you do not need to train it to "down" you ned to train it to respond to a voice cue. What I do with down is know as capturing. that is you start reward the dog for liedown natural. you know when it is likely to occur. Any behavior likely to occur more frequently when rewarded. so in the same situtaion over and over again you reward the dog for lieing dog. To get repetition you are likely going to have two reward sitting ot standing as well so you can transition be the two poistion. One the behavior is well establish then you can start assing a verbal cue.


if you have a sensitive do for heel you might want to use a touch stick. This is a stick the dog if first traind to touch with his nose. Once this behavior is reliable you can then use the touch to get the heeling behavior.

touch stick Basics

capturing behaviors
 

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Two concepts that I find useful when training "heel":

First of all, "heel" is NOT an action - it's a position. Whether you are walking, running, turning, standing or whatever your dog should be in the same place relative to you.mark and reward for being in that position. Make it rewarding for the dog to be there.

Secondly, don't use a leash. If you need to have one attached (ie in class or on the street) then tie it to your waist but get your hands off it and stop using it to restrain or cue the dog. Use your voice, body language and lures/rewards to show the dog where he should be.

For the down, what usually works for my guys is extreme patience. Since you've been working on it in class, I'll assume you've already tried to show him what "down" means. Similar to Mikey's "capturing" it, I like to give a little extra incentinve for the dog to lie down such as luring with a treat, under your bent knee if necessary. Here's where the patience comes in as you may have to wait *forever* for that first down - but once he does it we have a party. Whatever motivates your dog, give lots of it the instant he hits the dirt and let him know that "down" is really great. The next time you try it will not be quite as long. Once he understands that down is a really good place to be, his response will speed up on its own.
 

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It's taken me nine years to get our eldest to do a 'down', never give up!
 

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I can't help you much but just to say most Bassets would readily adopt the 'don't stand if you can sit' and 'don't sit if you can lie' attitude. But it is more about doing it when commanded!! :p

I started one of mine in Obedience (well her dad had his American Ob.title, so why not) and although she was 'okay' with most things, heeling was difficult as she couldn't see the point in following me round a corner other than by cutting it - makes sense yes? Sensible girl.

Unfortunately the people running the local classes were into Doberman, and didn't have the faintest idea how to get into the head of a Basset. Food was definitely a no-no. I only started it with the idea of her enjoying doing this, and the moment she stopped enjoying it, would stop. She did because they wanted me to get too harsh with her, so I stopped.

So good luck but always remember, much as Basset can do Ob. I'd only do it for as long as they are happy to work.
 

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most Bassets would readily adopt the 'don't stand if you can sit' and 'don't sit if you can lie' attude
exactly why IMHO capturing is the easiest way to train it, but it is not something that works well in a class setting.
 

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exactly why IMHO capturing is the easiest way to train it, but it is not something that works well in a class setting.

Made me giggle, Bella is quite happy to lay down and watch her classmates going through their paces, as soon as she has an audience and it's down stay, I have the class clown. She does some lovely yoga positions, but trying to get her butt down and then getting it to stay down is the one thing I dread being asked to do with her. Or getting her not to roll onto her back for belly rubs, or when I leave her she just sits right back up again. Sit, stand, stay, wait, fetch, away, leave and heel are no problem, down is another matter.

The only time she lies down really quickly is on a send away, and she's on the little mat so quickly now and perfectly positioned, so the trainer can give her a treat, meh then she'll manage to get the aww factor from everybody in the room and boy does she play to it.:p
 

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agree with what's already been said, and probably capturing is the better way for "down."

but a quick way i trained "down," not just for Worm but also for his dogpark friend Fudge, a 90 lb 5 year old chocolate retriever who didn't have any training in the past. a tangent, but at our usual dogpark, it's kosher to dish out treats, but Fudge is always dominating and big. so i trained him to go "down" before he gets a treat to get out of the way. it took 1 or 2 days, 10-15 min each day, to train him "down" and i wasn't patient enough to wait to capture the behavior. as we just needed him to get out of the way when the other 7 dogs were lining up for their treats.

anyway: i would first get the dog into a "sit." then take the dog's collar and gently pull downward, while putting treats in front of him. not too close that he can take it from a sitting position, but so that he would have to crawl forward to take the treats. usually the dog gets that it's supposed to go down first, then can crawl forward for the treat. then say 'yes!' and maybe even give him more rewards when he is in down position. when he gets it, i would add the verbal command 'down.'

after awhile Fudge and Worm would do 'down' on verbal command and no need to touch their collars anymore, or even to put the treats down. once they're doing this, can mark with clicker and give treat, or just give treat.
 

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Wworm anyway: i would first get the dog into a "sit." then take the dog's collar and gently pull downward said:
Worm you must be a very biddable boy. If my owner pulls down on my collar my nose hits the floor without even having to bend my legs & due to two slipped discs she has been told not to apply any pressure to my back. I've never been very keen on laying down in public unless I've been walked a long way & need a rest, or she who must be obeyed (ha ha) sits on the ground & then I can use her a a pillow.
 

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Worm you must be a very biddable boy. If my owner pulls down on my collar my nose hits the floor without even having to bend my legs & due to two slipped discs she has been told not to apply any pressure to my back. I've never been very keen on laying down in public unless I've been walked a long way & need a rest, or she who must be obeyed (ha ha) sits on the ground & then I can use her a a pillow.
oh yikes! yeah have to be careful with backs/necks.

we should clarify that the dog is never physically forced or placed into a down position. the dog gets into the "down" position on his/her own. can't imagine the person physically putting 90 lb Fudge into a down position! he wouldn't like it! the pull on the collar is gentle and indicates the direction to move in. the dog, in our experience, goes down and crawls forward on its own, as it's the only way to get the treats from this position.

Vectis, i dunno if I'm biddable. i might be. i do 'sit,' 'down,' and 'roll over.' and i know one of the 'it's yer choice' games where the treeats are placed on my paw-paws, and i has to wait for the command to get them. these days i jump over jumps, walk the plank (dogwalk), walk the A frame, run thru spaced out weave poles, run thru tunnels (that's my fave!), and go up on the table. but not so excited about the teeter yet and won't get on it unless there are lotsa treeeats and good ones (chicken, beef). but not biddable according to my agility teacher who is used to training shelties and collies. in fact she thinks that i'm swearing and cussing at her when i do my basset bark, esp when we tries to do "shaping" and i get soooo ferstrated! she doesn't like it. but lol, methinks she doesn't know bassets too well and how welikes to barks!

Worm
 

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Heel, flash hasn't mastered that haha. But down can be simple. 1st have your dog sitting. Than have a treat or whatever they like in front of them just out of reach. Lightly pull on there collar forwards the ground and say "down" or "lay". Even is they take one step down reward them. Keep doing this until no treat or pressure is needed. It took Flash a week. Wed JAn as smart as BASSETS are it won't takes your long. :)
 
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