I've been entering and titling in AKC Obedience trials for some years now. Today I saw a video posted of a GSD (not this forum) who took first place in a Novice Obedience class, and although I didn't see the score sheet, I was a bit confused about what I saw on the video.
Hey if you don't mind, send me the link to the video? I'm curious. OK really I'm nosy
First, upon being told to "return to your dog" after the stand for examination exercise, the handler did not circle around behind the dog, but simply returned directly to the dog's right side, turned around, and faced forward. Shouldn't this have been a major handler error fault?
YES! Definitely a substantial deduction. (3-5 points) The rule book specifically states: "On the order “Back to your dog,” the handler will walk around behind the dog and return to the heel position."
Second, the entire time the team performed the heel free exercise, the handler carried his left arm at an angle such that his hand was always on the left side of the dog's head (ie, the dog's head was between the handlers hand and his hip). The hand was clearly being used to guide the dog throughout the exercise. Again, shouldn't this have been a major handler error?
I THINK I have a clear picture of what you're saying....the left hand was down, and held outside of the dog? Was the hand moving? Some people want to heel with the hand down, and I've seen a few schutzhund people heel this way, with the hand moving on the outside of the dog.
No matter, the rules for hand position for OFFLEAD heeling are very specific:
"In all exercises where the dog is required to heel free, one of these options should be followed: (1) when the handler is in motion, the arms and hands must move naturally at the sides and must hang naturally at the sides when stopped; or (2) the right hand and arm must move naturally at the side, while the left hand must be held against the front of the body, centered in the area of the waist, with the left forearm carried against the body."
"There will be a substantial deduction if the hands and arms are not carried in one of the positions stated above."
So that means, 3-5 points.
The dog's performance was excellent, but the handler...Are these kinds of errors accepted now?
Nope, definitely NOT accepted by most judges! So what was their score??