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Since I plan on competing in obedience with my GSD when I get her I have been watching some videos. I have noticed that during the heel exercise the a lot of the dogs are looking up at the face of the handler the entire time. Why? Is there an actual purpose to this or is it just more of a training preference?
 

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Are you planning to do AKC obedience?

I talked to some people about this because I was seeing alot of head straight up, high prancy heeling. My dog is just not a dog that this is going to come naturally to as far as I can tell. There seems to be a bit of division between people who like that type of heeling and people who like a more natural looking heel.

My dog does a more relaxed, natural heel, and he does have eye contact on me most of the time but he also knows where he is going. He does not have the extreme high head carriage like you see on some dogs. It works fine for us. I guess a lot of the eye contact is to show focus on the handler, but only the correct position of the body is required in AKC (I don't know about IPO).

We were just talking about genetics in sport in another thread. I have a picture that a photographer took of me competing my dog at a trial. There is a picture of his sire on the breeder's website competing, and their heel, head position, ect, is almost identical even though I and the breeder don't train together or even amongst the same group really.

I am not sorry this is the type of heel I have with him because he is also training ti be a service dog and I use his OB foundation for that and that prancy super high headed heel would be useless to a service dog....impractical in a lot of ways
 

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Depends on if you are watching AKC competitive obedience heeling or Sch/IPO focused heeling.


AKC competitive heeling


IPO focused heeling
 

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The dog looking at the handler is for focus. If the dog is looking at you, they are not looking around being distracted. If they are looking at you, they are ready and waiting for the next command. Once that foundation of focus is in place, everything else just falls into place.

I come from IPO, and decided to try rally for something to do in winter. With only two or three practice sessions with the different signs, a friend and I entered a trial and had no problems (with the dogs - me doing the signs correctly is another story).

You could see the difference between the dogs that have been trained for eye-contact heeling, and those that have not. Those that did not have that focus were very distracted by smells, sights and sounds, and the handlers struggled to keep their attention.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I plan on doing AKC obedience.

I guess that makes sense, if the dog is looking at your face the entire time they wouldn't be as distracted. It just doesn't seem natural to me, don't get me wrong I am not against it, just doesn't look comfortable for the dog.

Most of the training I have done has been training puppies to get ready for guide dog work. They definitely don't want them looking at the handler, heck even their heel position is different to accommodate for the harness. So competitive obedience is going to be different for me!
 

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Once you get your puppy, contact an obedience club in your area, check with the local kennel club if you don't know where one is, they'll know. They have classes and can help you. It's a lot of fun.
 

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You could see the difference between the dogs that have been trained for eye-contact heeling, and those that have not. Those that did not have that focus were very distracted by smells, sights and sounds, and the handlers struggled to keep their attention.

Rally is 'fun' obedience. It's more people who don't want to do the serious obedience.
 

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Sure it is for fun! And I was just answering Jessoca's question about why some dogs are looking at the handler and the difference I saw in the trial I was in.

All the focus training I did was with toys and fun engagement play. You make it sound like training focus is a death march for the dogs. But it does come down to what you are training for, and your preference also.
 

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I do AKC obedience and Rally.It makes no difference if the dog watches your leg or your face as long as he's in position and focused.It works better for me if he watches my leg just because if we keep looking at each other I tend to turn at the waist towards him,which in turn makes him want to sit facing me instead of lined up properly.He could use a better handler:)
 

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I don't honestly care for the look of the IPO heeling. Sorry IPO ppl. Was it always that way? The super extreme head carriage? Is there any functional purpose to it? I am honestly curious not trying to pick a fight.

I don't think the dog even needs to be looking at you at all in AKC as long as they maintain the position, between head and shoulder along the left leg.
I don't recall anythingredients in the regs about eye contact.

I do believe some AKC ppl do heeling like the IPO dog above, at least Bridget Carlsen but I don't know if she got her start in IPO or AKC or which influenced which.

To each their own. I would rather have my dog also be able to keep track of where he is going if it means taking his eyes off me...he is watching me most of the time, he also needs to navigate store aisles with displays and things.
 

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Sure it is for fun! And I was just answering Jessoca's question about why some dogs are looking at the handler and the difference I saw in the trial I was in.

All the focus training I did was with toys and fun engagement play. You make it sound like training focus is a death march for the dogs. But it does come down to what you are training for, and your preference also.

Huh? I was just pointing out the difference between AKC obedience and Rally. More serious people usually to the AKC formal obedience and those who just want to do something fun with their dogs do Rally. I never mentioned training focus, no less any death march.
 

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I do AKC obedience and Rally.It makes no difference if the dog watches your leg or your face as long as he's in position and focused.It works better for me if he watches my leg just because if we keep looking at each other I tend to turn at the waist towards him,which in turn makes him want to sit facing me instead of lined up properly.He could use a better handler:)

One trick I was taught and boy did they make us practice it, was to stand on a paper plate to do turns so we were moving with our legs and not upper body first. I'm sure we were quite a picture if there had been videos done then!
 

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One trick I was taught and boy did they make us practice it, was to stand on a paper plate to do turns so we were moving with our legs and not upper body first. I'm sure we were quite a picture if there had been videos done then!
Rubber dish from Tractor Supply :) Don't slide under them.
 

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One trick I was taught and boy did they make us practice it, was to stand on a paper plate to do turns so we were moving with our legs and not upper body first. I'm sure we were quite a picture if there had been videos done then!
Lol!The mirror lined walls at class and a trainer yelling at me"You're doing it AGAIN!" cured me:wink2:
 

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The dog looking at the handler is for focus. If the dog is looking at you, they are not looking around being distracted. If they are looking at you, they are ready and waiting for the next command. Once that foundation of focus is in place, everything else just falls into place.

I come from IPO, and decided to try rally for something to do in winter. With only two or three practice sessions with the different signs, a friend and I entered a trial and had no problems (with the dogs - me doing the signs correctly is another story).

You could see the difference between the dogs that have been trained for eye-contact heeling, and those that have not. Those that did not have that focus were very distracted by smells, sights and sounds, and the handlers struggled to keep their attention.

This is it for me. If my dog is looking at me, then I know she's paying attention.
 
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