Head Position at Heel

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by SpringerLover, Nov 8, 2013.

  1. SpringerLover

    SpringerLover Active Member

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    Where have you taught your dog to keep his/her head while heeling? I've been discussing head position a lot with training friends lately and trying to think of the pros/cons of head straight vs head curled. I don't know if I'm describing this properly, haha!

    Bailey was initially taught to heel with a lure, and I lured her head around in front of my left leg. So when she heels, her head is curled, not in line with her body.

    I am teaching Gabby to heel with her head as up and straight as possible. It seems like it'd be easier on her body long term. As of yesterday, she's offering to move her head/nose to the correct position while in heel position. I haven't tried movement yet.

    My biggest concern is probably about her tripping, because she'll have very minimal peripheral vision downward.

    What have you done? Was it intentional or not? Would you do it differently with a new dog?

    I guess this is an okay example of Bailey's head position,
    http://youtu.be/9sDTlex_yUc
     
  2. Aleron

    Aleron New Member

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    This is what I train for:
    [YOUTUBE]peBnQbdudnE[/YOUTUBE]
     
  3. SpringerLover

    SpringerLover Active Member

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    Not what the video is about, but this is the head position I'm looking for from Gabby.

    http://youtu.be/aiZvHGaKCQA

    Aleron, did you specifically teach him that, or is that just what he did?

    I know placement of reinforcer plays a HUGE role in head placement, but what else does?
     
  4. Elrohwen

    Elrohwen Active Member

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    I'm interested to see the answers here. I'm training a real heel for the first time with Watson, and this is something I've been thinking about. Really I just want him to be paying attention with his body in the right position, and I don't care about the head. Then I wonder if neglecting to choose a specific head position will make it harder in the long run.

    Right now his head is more wrapped around than straight, because that seems more natural for him, but it's not a super stylized wrap or anything. Though I do love the look of the head straight up better when watching other dogs.
     
  5. Sekah

    Sekah The Monster.

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    It's just a matter of getting the head position you want via luring or targeting while stationary, then maintaining that criteria once you add motion into the mix. Introduce motion via pivots etc before adding forward movement.
     
  6. SpringerLover

    SpringerLover Active Member

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    Exactly! I'm not worried about getting the correct behavior, I'm just wondering how others choose. I'm just wondering what the pro and con of each would be. For ease of movement and long term health, from the dog's perspective.
     
  7. Aleron

    Aleron New Member

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    I train for that "look" in general but it tends to be more of a side effect of how I train than something I am independently shaping.

    Here's Whim:
    [YOUTUBE]v6n9iseADdo[/YOUTUBE]

    And a picture of Jagger:
    [​IMG]

    This shows how I taught Whim and more or less the way I teach heeling, although I did tons of pivot work with Savvy too:

    [YOUTUBE]dVSBoHKH0ps[/YOUTUBE]
     
  8. Aleron

    Aleron New Member

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    Do you have a video that shows the finished product? Like a dog doing a pattern with the position your looking for?
     
  9. SpringerLover

    SpringerLover Active Member

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    I didn't even think to post the one of Griff actually at a trial.

    http://youtu.be/YIxo8VUef7A

    His head still turns a little to the side, but it stays much more upright. It just looks... more comfortable for the dog to me, I guess?
     
  10. Aleron

    Aleron New Member

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    It looks pretty typical to me? At least for the "attention heeling" in AKC or AKC-like obedience. Am I missing something? I sort of thought you were talking about training the dog to look up and straight ahead while heeling, the way I've occasionally seen in videos with Mals but that I can't seem to find now.
     
  11. smeagle

    smeagle New Member

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    I think it's a combination of the style you like and your dogs structure. I train heads up heeling as I like it more than the UK wrap around style, but my beagle heels quite differently to my Malinois as they are quite different dogs structurally.

    Here's an example of how my Mal heels, to me it's my ideal style of heel work. I didn't do anything to train the head position specifically, I teach her heel position and to focus on my face and make direct eye contact and the rest happens pretty naturally.

    http://youtu.be/UhntDDBAH3c
     
  12. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    I think it depends on what you're training for. If you're just teaching heel for competetion obedience and you won't realistically use it a whole lot outside of the ring, then the health of the dog doesn't matter as much as far as whether his head is stretched too far to the side.

    When we teach heel to the service dogs we train, we teach a very specific and rigid position that the dogs' bodies have to be in, but at the same time we let them choose their own position for their heads. The reason is that they'll be in heel for sometimes hours in a day, and it's not reasonable to put their bodies in a position that will be uncomfortable. So they need to be close to us, straight at our side, with their shoulder lined up with our leg; besides that they can move however they like.

    Personally, for competetion obedience, I'd like my dog looking at me; but wrapping his head around to the front of my leg looks painful for him and will get very annoying for me. So he's learning that he can look up at me by moving his eyes; without putting his head in front of me and without straining his neck. But, that's just me.
     
  13. SpringerLover

    SpringerLover Active Member

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    I think this is the best description of what I'm looking for. I don't mind if the head is slightly curled, but I don't want the dog's head in front of my knee. I want head up and eyes up.
     

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