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.
+ Kalbi CGC 6/21/2015
+ 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