I'm considering going for a BH with my dog in the next half year or so and am not clear about a few things.
1. In every IPO trial video I see, when the dog is heeling, its head is practically on the handler's thigh, as it gives him utmost attention. Is this behaviour required? My dog heels great, head next to my leg, keeps position forward/back/turns/etc., but she doesn't do this constant head-up-towards-handler, and while I'll be the first to say that's very cool, I don't need it or really want to train that.
2. Speed of commands. I understand that for certain IPO events speed is critical. How important is it for BH? For example, if I do an about turn with my dog in heel, she'll turn after me and end up in the proper position, but it's not lighting quick / glued to the leg as in most IPO trial videos. Similarly, if she's out ahead of me doing whatever she does, and I tell her to heel, she jogs/walks to heel position (not the 110% speed I see in videos and other IPO dogs).
Same thing with sit/down/up/etc. - she'll execute the command, but not lighting quick. The only exception is recall after I put her in a sit or down - for this she hauls butt to get back to me.
I've no interest in pursuing further IPO titles beyond BH. As with question 1, speed is of no personal interest/need to me, but what is expected during the trial?
To be clear, I don't want her to "scrape by" to get the title. I want a clean, confident pass and will train to that level, but I'm not quite sure what that level is.