Originally Posted by Dekka
From talking to judges (Ok mainly CKC but the rules on judging are nearly identical and I know people who show both sides of the border) if the dog does it correctly no points will come off. Remember you start with all the points, and lose them for faults. There is no way for a judge to GIVE you points for an exciting perfomance. I wish they could. I have seen a dog who was clearly not enjoying itself get a high scoring round because it made no faults. It was slow responding, but not slow enough to take off points. All the sits were straight, the retrieve was correct.. even though the dog looked as if would rather be at the vet's than in that ring..
Yep my experience too, that's what it is like here. May be different in the US? I've had judges compliment me on my dog's attitude and eagerness to work but it didn't directly effect how we scored. Friends who are judges say that they love seeing enthusiastic dogs in the ring but can't score them any higher than dogs that lack enthusiasm if they both complete the exercise.
And as Dekka said, 'heads up' heeling isn't a requirement for obedience, it's just a style. Plenty of dogs out there that don't heel with their heads up, not my cup of tea but they can still score perfectly.