Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 20 of 36 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,927 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Basically my big question is why? My DH and I were talking about some of the more formal obedience behaviours like the heel right at the handler's knee (with eye contact), the "front" sitting up close to the handler, and that type of thing.

Why are these kinds of behaviour the ones looked for in obedience trials vs. a good heel a few inches away from the handler, or a sit a foot away or so?

Just curious about it.....there doesn't seem to be any real functional value to some of these (my DH has stated many times he would HATE if Caeda was always snugged up to his side while walking). Since they aren't really functionally relevant, why are they behaviours that would be judged on? btw, I don't know much at all about competitive obedience other than some vids, including Schutzhund that I've watched, I've obviously seen the precision of the behaviours, which I truly do admire.

One other question, again for interest sake. Those of you who have dogs who have competed in obedience do you notice a difference in the "day to day" living with your dog stuff vs. living with non competitive obedience trained dogs? Is there a secondary benefit to the rest of their behaviour?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,391 Posts
Some of the formal trainers may have better reasons, but a Heel is a formal, move quickly behavior, which you might use to get through a crowd of people or through a busy parking lot. It is too rigid for walking, and not of much use for the average pet owner. I believe it started with hunters, who needed the dog to walk predictably and away from the gun. You don't for a normal walk in Heel mode, b/c the dog isn't allowed to look around or sniff... or scratch.

On the other hand, a little exposure to formal obedience is good for novices or for people who don't understand how important it is to train your dog. My dog went through the 3 legs required for CDX (minimal obedience) ... it serves no purpose for us, except for yet another set of tricks or behaviors that he understands.... but I never use it or enforce the discipline. I think CGC is more practical... and agility for some dogs.

.... On the other hand, most of the top obedience trainers that I know of use a small amount of corrections to get the precision. However, the few award winners that I know who use only positive methods are truly amazing dog trainers, who really know how to read, anticipate, and communicate with dogs. If you find a trainer who has won a number of high level obedience competitions, it might be worthwhile to learn from them....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,977 Posts
Basically my big question is why? My DH and I were talking about some of the more formal obedience behaviours like the heel right at the handler's knee (with eye contact), the "front" sitting up close to the handler, and that type of thing.

Why are these kinds of behaviour the ones looked for in obedience trials vs. a good heel a few inches away from the handler, or a sit a foot away or so?
I can't get Wally that close to me in a heel. It seems he thinks like your DH - give me some space LOL

About 6 inches is about how far he is from me - sometimes about a foot on grass (he tends to stay on the sidewalk if we're walking on it, and "fans" out a little on grass for whatever reason. I think he see me better, actually, if he's some distance away. Seems like he can see my face to look up at me and also for when he looks at my left foot/leg to judge where he is in relation to me and vice versa. Now front, he gets right up on me, mostly because a) he charges at me and b) he wants to jump up, but has learned not to so he stops just short of it.

I'm interested in hearing about the competitive OB dogs vs "lay" dogs about differences as well. Wally and I don't compete, but he has some exposure OB-type things like front and finish and fetching a dumbbell from a finish and returning with it in a front.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
427 Posts
I don't know the origin of the formal heel, but I know I use it a lot outside of competition. I use it if another dog is growling barking at my girl ... and she's focusing on me as we're walking past ... or any other distraction where I want to keep her attention on me. It really works very well ... even though we learned it because we compete and that's what they ask for. lol
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,406 Posts
Basically my big question is why? My DH and I were talking about some of the more formal obedience behaviours like the heel right at the handler's knee (with eye contact), the "front" sitting up close to the handler, and that type of thing.

Why are these kinds of behaviour the ones looked for in obedience trials vs. a good heel a few inches away from the handler, or a sit a foot away or so?

Just curious about it.....there doesn't seem to be any real functional value to some of these (my DH has stated many times he would HATE if Caeda was always snugged up to his side while walking). Since they aren't really functionally relevant, why are they behaviours that would be judged on? btw, I don't know much at all about competitive obedience other than some vids, including Schutzhund that I've watched, I've obviously seen the precision of the behaviours, which I truly do admire.

One other question, again for interest sake. Those of you who have dogs who have competed in obedience do you notice a difference in the "day to day" living with your dog stuff vs. living with non competitive obedience trained dogs? Is there a secondary benefit to the rest of their behaviour?
Because it is a sport and that is considered the standard of perfection for that particular sport. As to a difference in day to day - obedience is parlor tricks for the most part. But some of them are very useful tricks. For instance, I am currently using Alice as my service dog (I drop a lot of stuff and my balance is not good). So, it's useful to have her know how to walk close to me without pulling or lurching, or tieing me up and teaching a solid retrieve allows her to pick up stuff I drop. I think in general, the skills used in obedience are useful in daily life (though you may not need the precision) but I've also known some OTCH dogs whom I would have a hard time living with. But most are traditionally trained and their owners need all the attitude they can get.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,406 Posts
On the other hand, a little exposure to formal obedience is good for novices or for people who don't understand how important it is to train your dog. My dog went through the 3 legs required for CDX (minimal obedience) ... it serves no purpose for us, except for yet another set of tricks or behaviors that he understands.... but I never use it or enforce the discipline. I think CGC is more practical... and agility for some dogs.
I wonder if you are thinking CD? CDX is not "minimal" obedience. It is the second level of titling (if you don't count the new in-between classes) and includes a drop in the middle of a recall, two retrieves (one over a jump) a broad jump and a 3 minute sit and a 5 minute down with other dogs and the handler completely out of sight. It is, in fact, probably the hardest transition in the obedience program because it has so many "new" exercises that novice doesn't prepare for. Utility is difficult because it is all multiple choice, but the dog has a lot of the foundation from the previous classes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,343 Posts
In this day and age, formal obedience competitions are not much more than "proving grounds" for a person's particular training methods and techniques. Aside from that, any further application to modern life has sort of fallen by the wayside.

It is now a stylized artform, .. similar to what ballet is, in my opinion. Behold it, and revel in it's intricate precision and beauty, but just don't expect it to have any real, practical, everyday purpose.

interesting fyi sidenote: the excercises for Novice and Open have remained virtually unchanged for over 75 years.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
427 Posts
I<snip>
Behold it, and revel in it's intricate precision and beauty, but just don't expect it to have any real, practical, everyday purpose.
<snip>
I use it every day on my farm. Mandy sits and downs with me out of sight all the time (and have sometimes been forgotten for a long time ... ooops) she downs in mid stride (not to herd horses, for example) and fetches things for me on a daily basis ... Not to mention that a formal heel is an easy way to avoid trouble while meeting agressive dogs in town.

Personally I think Utility is much harder than Open (CDX) in our case it's the exercises at a distance from me that's a problem when I'm nervous.:rolleyes: My rottie just doesn't want to leave me behind when I so clearly need her support. LOL
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,722 Posts
In this day and age, formal obedience competitions are not much more than "proving grounds" for a person's particular training methods and techniques. Aside from that, any further application to modern life has sort of fallen by the wayside.

It is now a stylized artform, .. similar to what ballet is, in my opinion. Behold it, and revel in it's intricate precision and beauty, but just don't expect it to have any real, practical, everyday purpose.

interesting fyi sidenote: the excercises for Novice and Open have remained virtually unchanged for over 75 years.
This is pretty much how I see it. I enjoy the precision and skill, and my dogs have been trained for obedience (hoping to start trialling soon). In real life I do use heel when we pass by people, cats or dogs that would normally be a distraction, and it keeps the dogs from fixating on them, and the sit/stay is useful, but other than that they are tricks with no real use.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,927 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for the replies everybody, I'm kind of understanding it now.

Standard of perfection makes a lot of sense....well sort of lol. I'd imagine that the dog heeled close and fronting nice and snug is far easier as a measureable standard than say 6 inches would be (I can just imagine judges pulling out rulers to check). So it is understandable in that sense....also as a proving ground for a trainer, definitely makes sense too, at least for a trainer for that type of obedience.

Hanksimon, the thing about the hunters is quite fascinating, and it does make a lot of sense!!

I think its interesting, I'm getting a bit of the undercurrent of what "basic obedience", at least for a pet, is perceived to be. My perceptions are a little different, or at least my expectations of myself and what I hope to get Caeda to do. Sit, Down, Stand (close and distance, even if moving), solid recall from a plethora of distractions, solid stay, Decent leash manners (not a heel, just close, not pulling), polite on and off leash to people, dogs and other animals, "eyes" (my version of look at me), "Watch", solid leave it, give and retrieve. I don't expect perfection, sloppy sits are fine...but I want her to sit, if she downs instead, meh....not a big deal in enough situations for it to really matter.

I might actually add a competition style heel to my wish list of "requirements" because of some of what many of you have mentioned, crowds, other animals, etc. I'm getting shockingly close to much of it, which makes me really proud (I actually had eye and knee contact for about 10 feet today!), though I doubt I'll ever clean any of it up enough to compete, just enough to make it useful.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,977 Posts
This is pretty much how I see it. I enjoy the precision and skill, and my dogs have been trained for obedience (hoping to start trialling soon). In real life I do use heel when we pass by people, cats or dogs that would normally be a distraction, and it keeps the dogs from fixating on them, and the sit/stay is useful, but other than that they are tricks with no real use.
I don't know - I think the usefulness could depend on how much you want to use them.

It's great when I can tell Wally to go get something and then bring it to a spot and hold it until I say to give it to me. That has a practical use to me. I mean, any trick can have a "real" use (as if expanding the dog's mind and giving them something else they can be successful in is not a "real use"...). Just depends if the handler wants to give it one, imo.

Sticking a paw in the air. Useless? In a vacuum sure, but since he can see in the dark way better than me - what if I use a combo of "go out" and "paw" to touch a floor lamp switch? Or paw to close a door for me if my hands are full? Or maybe even to wipe up something so I don't have to stop cooking or doing something that needs my attention or because he can smell it even if I can't see it?

It all depends, imo. I don't think there's any absolute "useless" tricks.

The basic should be sit, stand, drop and stay.
Not recall?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,722 Posts
I don't know - I think the usefulness could depend on how much you want to use them.

It's great when I can tell Wally to go get something and then bring it to a spot and hold it until I say to give it to me. That has a practical use to me. I mean, any trick can have a "real" use (as if expanding the dog's mind and giving them something else they can be successful in is not a "real use"...). Just depends if the handler wants to give it one, imo.

Sticking a paw in the air. Useless? In a vacuum sure, but since he can see in the dark way better than me - what if I use a combo of "go out" and "paw" to touch a floor lamp switch? Or paw to close a door for me if my hands are full? Or maybe even to wipe up something so I don't have to stop cooking or doing something that needs my attention or because he can smell it even if I can't see it?

It all depends, imo. I don't think there's any absolute "useless" tricks.
Agreed, the other behaviours might be useful to others, I was only commenting on what's useful to me.


I can see just what you are thinking and i have to agree with others here as I see no real benifit overall for your dog to be walking that close all the time.
Though i do think when you are out in a crowd it might pay for this to work.
I believe basic training should be done with all dogs, but going to structured classes can be a little over kill for a dog that you want a just a pet.
The basic should be sit, stand, drop and stay.
The stand is usefull at the vets if you have a larger dog.
Stand and down are pretty useless to a pet dog. All a pet dog needs to know is sit and come (and general manners of course). Then wherever you are and whatever you are doing, you can call the dog over or stop it in its tracks if you need to.

A pet dog doesn't need to know "down". Go to the bed might be useful, but most dogs will go to their bed eventually anyway. There is no reason to use stand. My dogs know "stand" but I never use it at the vet's, they stand there anyway.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
427 Posts
<snip>


Not recall?
Of course recall ... but to me that's such a given that I didn't even think of it as an 'obedience exercise'. lol My girls has a 100% recall both when I call. and that is ALWAYS finished sitting straight in front of me, and also when I whistle, which is a tad looser when she comes to me. I probably 'practice recall' about 10 times a day when she comes ('course I want to know exactly where she is) and as a practice because then she can go back to what she was doing after some play or a treat ... or just a pat.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,343 Posts
(I actually had eye and knee contact for about 10 feet today!)
For the record ... heel position is based solely on just that: position. No extra points are awarded for eye contact, although it certainly adds flash to the performance.

As far as the actual definition of position, here is an excerpt from the AKC rules >
Section 18. Heel Position. The heel position as defined in these regulations applies whether the dog is sitting, standing, lying down or moving at heel. The dog should be at the handler’s left side straight in line with the direction the handler is facing. The area from the dog’s head to shoulder is to be in line with the handler’s left hip. The dog should be close to, but not crowding, its handler so that the handler has freedom of motion at all times.
... and also from the CKC rules >
8.17.1 - Heel position, whether the dog is sitting, standing, lying down, or moving at heel, means that the dog's body shall be in a straight line facing the same direction as the handler. The dog's head to shoulder area should be in line with the handler's left hip and the dog should heel close to the handler but not to the point of touching.
Not sure but I believe it's an entirely different ball of wax for Schutzhund, where a more intense wraparound style is permitted, and perhaps body 'contact' between handler and dog is actually desired.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,722 Posts
You are entitled to your opinion, but so am I.
I think there is a place for these even in just pet dogs.
Not saying don't teach your dog down or stand, it's great that people take the time to train their dogs, even if they are just useless, cute tricks. I'm just saying if you want to look strictly at what a pet dog NEEDS, I wouldn't include down or stand in that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,927 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
For the record ... heel position is based solely on just that: position. No extra points are awarded for eye contact, although it certainly adds flash to the performance.

As far as the actual definition of position, here is an excerpt from the AKC rules >

... and also from the CKC rules >

Not sure but I believe it's an entirely different ball of wax for Schutzhund, where a more intense wraparound style is permitted, and perhaps body 'contact' between handler and dog is actually desired.
Interesting! I think you are right with the different ball of wax with Schutzhund, I've noticed that eye contact is the rule rather than the exception, and there at least seems to be some contact, though just lightly....not interfering with the handler. I could be wrong on that...I've only watched vids though.

Not saying don't teach your dog down or stand, it's great that people take the time to train their dogs, even if they are just useless, cute tricks. I'm just saying if you want to look strictly at what a pet dog NEEDS, I wouldn't include down or stand in that.
I kind of get what you are saying here, and its surprising at least to me how many pet dogs don't actually know sit, or any other basic commands, in my area anyway. I do think though it is based more on what the owner needs...not what the pet needs. "Silly" stuff like spin right and left are cute tricks, but I'm considering teaching them. We go on many "sniff walks" on the flexi, spinning would be very useful to get her untangled the odd time it happens. "Around" has been a good one, Caeda will follow her lead around a tree if she is wrapped. I suppose those aren't really needs though....just useful "wants". The only thing I guess I would really add to your list of needs for a pet dog is recall, but again, that is my perspective from lifestyle around here, where people rarely if ever use a leash.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
206 Posts
For the record ... heel position is based solely on just that: position. No extra points are awarded for eye contact, although it certainly adds flash to the performance.

As far as the actual definition of position, here is an excerpt from the AKC rules >


... and also from the CKC rules >

Not sure but I believe it's an entirely different ball of wax for Schutzhund, where a more intense wraparound style is permitted, and perhaps body 'contact' between handler and dog is actually desired.
European FCI rules use words such as "attentive" and "happy" to score dog's performance. A lot of things are grouped into these two words including where the dog is looking at.

I know that Mondioring criteria is a lot higher, so much that if you start heel work too late your dog's spine won't be developed properly for the exercise and it would be painful for him.
 
1 - 20 of 36 Posts
Top