I Heel My Dog With a Chick Pea

The first time I took out the clicker and paired it with food, Delilah just about lost her mind.  She was so excited by the food in my hand that she couldn’t focus on what I wanted from her.

I reached out to a reward based trainer and asked, what do you do with a dog that is over excited.  She said, “Try using a food with a lesser value to her.”

I didn’t have the heart to write back and tell her I was using a green bean.

Times change.

Just as people grow and develop, so do dogs.  Delilah has become accustomed to learning with food rewards. And it’s great to have a dog that’s willing to work for whatever you have in your pocket.

When Delilah and I took a trick’s class in November my fellow dog lovers were surprised to learn that I was using banana chips for training.  I was surprised by their limited imaginations and their willingness to buy into the “since your dog loves it, it can’t be bad for them” theory.

Ooops, my bad.  That’s a post for another day. :-)

When Pamela over at Something Wagging This Way Comes, threw down the training gauntlet I didn’t pick it up immediately.  In fact, I mulled it over a bit in my head.  What could I work with Delilah on?

When it comes to trick training my imagination is as limited as the imagination of what people in my training class use for treats.  We are definitely NOT Team Shiva here.

Full Disclosure

Our Rally class started this month.

Yes I am taking part in the train your dog challenge, but I had professional help.  But not a professional videographer as you’ll note in the video.  Hubby was a great sport about it though, even when I made him take the video over and over again.

I discovered something during our last Rally class, Delilah has what is called a “Show Heel.”  You’ll notice it immediately when you see it, it’s when the dog is looking at the handler while they’re heeling.  At first I thought it was bad, but Ariane explained and said it’s perfectly fine.

You’ll also see that awesome About Turn that took me five years to figure out.

Yes, it’s true.

I heeled my dog with a chick pea.

Hubby wanted me to practice heeling her off leash, but I wanted to look like I knew what I was doing, so I kept the leash.

Sampson on the other hand heels very well off-leash.  At least in the house. All bets are off when I take him outside and he has all the distractions of people, other dogs, squirrels and chipmunks.

As I mentioned we had to do this a number of times.  One time a light was shining in the wrong spot, another time Hubby made some jerky movements with the camera and one time….well I’ll let the blooper explain it.

You can really notice Delilah’s show heel in this last video.  You’ll also notice the horrific light shining at the camera, hear the TV in the background and see the extra that wasn’t paid to be there.

So how did we do?  Do you think Delilah has a show heel?  Did you participate in the train your dog challenge?  Do you have an unusual treat that you train your dog with?  Did you know Train Your Dog Month is a robust blog hop hosted by Something Wagging This Way Comes?


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  1. says

    You really nailed that about turn, Jodi.

    I feel for you about the green bean. I used to use carrots, and one time a trainer talked me into using higher value treats, so I brought chicken to class.

    Yup….it ended in blood and bandaids.

    We are Lab owners. We can train with vegetable matter, and our dogs will love us for it. :-)

  2. says

    The blooper was hilarious! You were like the pied piper with Sampson joining the parade! We learned the About Turn at obedience school, but they didn’t call it that. I have never seen it done without a leash. Awesome! Cupcake won’t chew so we use Cheerios. They melt even if she doesn’t chew them.

  3. Sue says

    Love that blooper! All Sampson was trying to tell you was that he wanted a piece of the action — and the treat!! I tend to get frustrated at times, too, when I’m trying to work with Ducky downstairs and Shadow sits at the other side of the door, whining to join the fun. You can well imagine what that does to Ducky’s focus!! All in all, though, I’d say you & Delilah have the “show heel” down pat! I’m happy if Callie & Shadow sit and wait at the door instead of tripping me up and/or charging past me out the door to the back yard! :-)

    • Jodi Stone says

      Thanks Sue, it’s hard working more than one dog, you really have to separate them. I was surprised because he’s not one for practicing but since we switched to raw he has more of an interest in food.

      Goodness, I hope they don’t hurt you! Be careful.

  4. says

    I was most impressed by your leash handling on that about turn in the first video…knowing me I’d have tripped on the leash and done a face plant…I applaud Sampson for showing how well he can heel on the opposite side…nothing like an impressive photo bomber :)

    • Jodi Stone says

      Thanks I was worried about doing it on camera! Yes, Sampson photo bombed her video, he’s so stinking cute!

  5. says

    Delilah has a lovely heel, one that I wish we had on our dogs. Morgan can heel like Sampson in the house, but outside, no way!

    My goal for Pamela’s challenge was to spend at least thirty minutes a day every day walking with Bunny, which we did. However, about a week and a half from the end of the challenge, I started working with Morgan on a little trick that I hope we can share next week on the blog.

    • Jodi Stone says

      Thank you, she doesn’t do as well outside when we are on our walks, but when we are working she’s pretty spot on.

      Oooh, a trick! I can’t wait. Great job on the walking too!

  6. says

    Those are great videos. Freighter is starting to heel like Delilah. We are going to work on that because we would rather the dog not turn his head while moving. Freighter is all about food. He is getting less in the ring.

    So now we see where Delilah and Storm are different. When I had Storm in class, she would get so overwhelmed that she would not pay attention to food…not any type of food. I finally had to resort to something really smelly…pupperoni…lol. It did the trick, but class was the only time she ever got them. We are now able to use healthier treats thank goodness.

    • Jodi Stone says

      So it’s a matter of preference in the ring? Either way is acceptable? I’m not sure it was noticeable in the video, but I treated her when I started and then again when I finished, which is MUCH less then she usually gets.

      Really, was she overwhelmed like freaked out or just excited? Sampson used to be like that when we were hiking so overwhelmed or excited you couldn’t even get him to take a drink of water. Thankfully it is something he seems to have out grown. Delilah….I can’t think of a situation that she wouldn’t take food. LOL

      • says

        I am just getting back here. The problem with the head turning in the ring is that it ruins the lines of the dog when they are moving (imo). It is not as pretty, so a preference. But also, and I have seen this happen, if the dog starts to cross in front for food and you are moving fast, the handler and dog tangle. Then handler is splat on the floor. So we discourage it. :)

        Storm was an interesting young dog. I have been meaning to write a post on her. I guess some might call her a bit reactive, (although I had never heard that term until I started blogging).

  7. says

    I think it’s beautiful when a dog looks at her person.

    Lovely job. And that about turn was spectacular. I need to learn that. We run into problems when she doesn’t have room to move when I go in a different direction. That would solve our problem.

    And the power of the chick pea doesn’t surprise me a bit. I can get my husband to do just about anything if I make him fresh hummus. :)

    BTW, instead of calling the last video the blooper reel, you should have said you were teaching Sampson and Delilah the “parade” cue. Was your videographer impressed by your progress?

    Working to get the linky tool working again. Hopefully it will be back soon. I’ll be promoting everyone’s posts tomorrow, though.

    Thanks for joining the challenge. And for inspiring me to do more with Honey.


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