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Old 11-08-2013, 07:32 AM
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Default Head Position at Heel

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
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Old 11-08-2013, 07:37 AM
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This is what I train for:
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Old 11-08-2013, 09:37 AM
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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?
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Old 11-08-2013, 10:15 AM
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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.
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Old 11-08-2013, 10:19 AM
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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.
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Old 11-08-2013, 10:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sekah View Post
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.
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.
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Old 11-08-2013, 01:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpringerLover View Post
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?

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:


And a picture of Jagger:


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:

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Old 11-08-2013, 02:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpringerLover View Post
Not what the video is about, but this is the head position I'm looking for from Gabby.
Do you have a video that shows the finished product? Like a dog doing a pattern with the position your looking for?
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Old 11-08-2013, 03:20 PM
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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?
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Old 11-08-2013, 03:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpringerLover View Post
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?
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.
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