exaggerated neck position in focused heal?? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-16-2018, 06:00 PM Thread Starter
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exaggerated neck position in focused heal??

I am super new to IPO, but have been watching videos and I went to my first ever event last week as a spectator, and I am intrigued. It seems like such an awesome and fun sport.

My only question is in regards to the “focused heal” position. I have to be honest, the neck positioning of the dog just looks super uncomfortable/ unnatural for the dog. It reminds me of the highly exaggerated neck positions show horses have to hold. I don’t see the reason for it. I know that IPO is supposed to gauge a dogs engagement/ willingness to work, but is an extreme exaggerated neck position really necessary to show engagement?
Thoughts?
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-16-2018, 07:42 PM
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They know where you are without having to look at you. I think it is too much but maybe for a few seconds it won't hurt?
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-16-2018, 07:57 PM
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the judges are going to start dinging for that next year. They want to see a more natural movement while being attentive to the handler




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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-16-2018, 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Jax08 View Post
the judges are going to start dinging for that next year. They want to see a more natural movement while being attentive to the handler
That's nice to hear. I don't like the way it looks at all.
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-17-2018, 08:06 AM
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I am glad they are going to start dinging for it.


I was speaking with my breeder about this not too long ago. She pointed out the potential for issues with the neck, shoulders, and back from long time use of this position. My trainer has malinois that heel like this - it doesn't look nearly as stressful for them, but it's still unnatural looking. I watched a IPO nationals for Brasil (I think or one of the other Hispanic countries) yesterday where the dog's head was vertically upwards and looked like she was on her toes in the front feet the entire time. Not the usual drivey prance you see with other GSDs. I don't see how that is comfortable at all. The OB was good, but I think my neck would hurt if I had to look up with my chin up for 10 minutes straight while walking.


Another thing I have heard (from my trainer's Facebook post) was that there are new requirements in VPG for heeling. The handlers arm/hand has to be on the inside of the dog's head vs how I was training with my other dog (hand on the outside of the head). Must be natural and moving (as usual.) I'm curious if this is 100% the new requirement and if so, how people with larger dogs will deal with potentially smacking their dog in the head as they heel. Has anyone else heard about this? Sorry not trying to hijack the thread.
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-17-2018, 09:32 AM
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There’s a whole lot about IPO training that’s dangerous and unnatural, and there’s plenty of dogs that offer a prance on their own. A dog who’s head is constantly cranked inwards and upwards towards the handler will cause just as much damage as a straighter head position, if not more. All I know is you are free to train however you want to, or not. I don’t train for what some judges will or will not penalize. The whole thing is up to personal interpretation.

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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-17-2018, 09:58 AM
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Agreed Alexis. There are so many ways for dogs to get hurt.

My dog doesn't have a natural prance but my trainers dogs do. I'm not fighting with a dog to develop something that goes against their conformation over minimal points.

VPG? You mean IGP?

As far as hand placement, I haven't read the rules but I'm not retraining my dog to meet new rules.




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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-17-2018, 04:57 PM
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HOw vertical the head position is completely up to the handler a dog with a "cranked" head position vs a dog with a slightly lowered head position should both get the same points provided everything else is the same. The only issues arise that lower and wrapped dogs are more likely to forge crab and impede the motion of the handler and halt crooked and would get dinged for those things. But there are plently of people that have a more "Natural" head position with their dogs who found a way around those issues and still complete at the highest levels. Too me heeling is an art with my dog i create the picture that I like and adjust it to conform to the rules as I see fit.
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-18-2018, 07:19 AM
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With the head up, the dog is less likely to go outward with his hips and more likely to throw his chest up.
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 10-18-2018, 08:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chip Blasiole View Post
With the head up, the dog is less likely to go outward with his hips and more likely to throw his chest up.
This was the reasoning behind my trainer training her dogs to heel with a vertical head position - less likely to be crooked in comparison to the handler. I'm not sure about throwing chest up, though I'm not sure exactly what you mean. Her dogs don't prance but they look very flashy regardless.

I agree about the idea of retraining a dog for new rules - I would rather take the deduction in points than confuse the dog if the new rule required a drastic change to what I was teaching/practicing.

Regarding my post about the hand placement - I haven't read anything on the USCA page that reflects this piece of information. I'm wondering where my trainer got the info from in the first place (another country/parent club may interpret the rules differently).

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+ Blackthorn's Out of the Frying Pan NW1 ORT SEN SCN BCAT SIN RATN TKN (Katsu) 9/12/2017
+ Blackthorn's Skofnung CGC TKN RATI RATO (Steel) 07/23/2018
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