I think some of how this goes is dependent on the temperament of the dog and the training methods used.
For sure, I have been admonished not to do obedience with the pups who are going to go into the conformation ring. Not sure how much I go for that, but I have considered why this admonition occurs.
I have a sweet girl who almost naturally assumes a heel position and looks up at me as we walk. When I show her, this does tend to happen. If I were to enforce heeling position with her, it might be a bit of an issue. So for her, I agree to allow her to be trained to pull out first and then other behaviors can be trained. She does not tend to "heel" with others handling her. It is her default position with her chosen person though... kind of nice!
If a person is using corrective means to teach heeling, I think this might also cause some issues at least at first. In the corrective styles I have seen, the dog is corrected for getting out of heel position. This makes them tend to not want to leave heel for fear of getting whammied.
I teach the basics of obedience in a positive manner, so there are few corrections. For this reason, I don't think my training would cause too much conflict with the conformation behaviors. It is all just training and "behaviors" to the dog. In this approach, the behavior that is most highly and frequently rewarded is the one that is likely to be offered, so I would take care to keep that balanced.
I had a female who was so full of power and heart that I could always count on her to pull ahead. With a dog of her temperament and with the training style used, very little confusion occurred. Even if they get confused at first, it all can be worked out if handled well.
It all takes training and conditioning. With time and experience, they figure out what goes where in the situations.
Last edited by Samba; 01-15-2011 at 09:13 AM.