Definition Heel Position - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-02-2010, 11:59 PM Thread Starter
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Definition Heel Position

Does anyone have handy some schutzhund rules regarding heel position?

I was at AKC obedience class the other night and learned my dogs are forged and a bit wrapped. I wasn't intentionally training that so much as I have an abnormal need to SEE the dog and that results in my allowing them to be forged a bit.
The AKC determines heel position to be: The area from the dog’s head to shoulder is to be in line with the handler’s left hip.

The instructor asked if I was training for schutzhund. Admittedly that was not my particular training goal with the heel position, so that could not be my excuse.

How do schutzhund rules define heel position, specifically?

I broke the news to my dogs that we have a new heel position and they are complying very well so hopefully it won't take too long to correct!
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-03-2010, 01:15 AM
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From the trial rule book, the dog should heel attentively and the dog's shoulder blade should be even with the handler's knee (at all times including changes of pace and turns).

Additional scoring criteria include behaviours in the development of the exercises (while heeling). So for example, the dog should not be lagging, forging, crabbing (crowding) the handler, receiving any handler help (eg shoulder back and looking at dog etc) etc.

Hope this helps somewhat.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-03-2010, 01:52 AM
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I would much rather see a dog forging than lagging and it's a much better problem to have. Yes, you do need to get your dog back into correct position, but don't worry about it too much.

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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-03-2010, 08:42 AM
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An observation, in general, AKC dogs look like they're lagging to SchH people, and SchH dogs look like they're forging to AKC people. I think it comes from that "head to shoulder" range in AKC (which sounds ideally like the neck would be in line with the leg) and the shoulder point in SchH. Not trying to get into a AKC vs. SchH, but I think the body carriage of dogs that I have seen at local shows is also very different. SchH dogs tend to be very pulled together and vertical in their heeling. AKC dogs seem more stretched out. I imagine this would give more space to work with to get correct position.

Also, another generalization, SchH judges reward and favor power and enthusiasm. Not saying that correct position isn't important, but it is less important for some judges than a dog that looks very "up". I think AKC seems to favor correct position more. Soem you're more likely to see a dog in AKC that is there with the handler, but perhaps not as attentive looking up and without that "barely contained" look.

So I think that's where you get the difference in the look of the exercises in the lower/club levels of competition between the 2 venues. Personally, I agree. I would much rather have a dog that forges or crowds a little than a dog that lags and is way off of me.

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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-03-2010, 08:52 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the answers. It looks like the schutzhund rules make for the dog to be more forward.

My previous AKC dog forged and crowded a bit. We lost points for it, I am sure. I preferred the power in her work rather than the precision so I took the hits. We were usually in the ribbons but I bet I sacrificed placements because of it. Oh well, she was a fun dog to work so that in the end was most important.

The two rescues I have don't work with as much power but they are nice enough to do well and be precise. I guess I am going to have to change my approach a bit and work to get the heel position correct and try to get more points with them.

It is a change and I am laughing because I have to learn to "feel" where they are more and am desperate for mirrors!
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