Left side heeling - an impractical standard?
It seems that the left side heel is pretty standard. Every book, class, and competition seems to default to it.
As I was out running with my dog again this morning my mind was wandering and I started to wonder about this. Trail etiquette has people staying to the right and faster traffic passing to the left (hopefully with a shouted warning, but often that isn't even given). So, why would we place a dog on the left where they must meet all oncoming people, bikes, dogs and be in the way of passing bikes and roller blades? Even with a well trained dog, you're putting them in the most likely path of conflict. I had never really thought about this until I noticed I instinctively end up moving the dog to my right when I see poorly trained dogs or carefree kids coming. I also recalled a guy in my neighborhood who has a well trained dog that does an excellent off leash heel while he rides his bicycle. But the guy has to ride up the left side of all the jogging paths into oncoming traffic and yell ahead asking people to move over because the dog only heels on his left side.
I am thinking about introducing a directional heel, so we can do either side on command. Anybody else teach this?
Any idea about why the left handed heel is still such a standard?