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Should a upland dog be trained to heel?

 
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brdshootr
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PostPosted: 06/25/03, 7:05 am    Post subject: Should a upland dog be trained to heel? Reply with quote

I have heard many different opinions on whether or not a bird dog should be trained to heel. I would be interested in hearing what you all think.
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Rollick
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PostPosted: 06/25/03, 7:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Absolutely. There's no reason a bird-dog should not also be a good citizen. And there's no reason an owner has to put up with being dragged around on those (generally many more) occasions when the dog isn't actually hunting. In many scenarios, it can also come down to simple safety.
I have an elderly neighbor with a frail wife. He's got a Brittany he hunts successfully whom he never taught to heel. We all hold our breath on those days his wife takes the dog--and a very nice dog she is--for walks. He asked me one day, as I was working on heeling my GWP, if I thought it was too late to teach his 2 year old to heel. He had just been watching some hunting show on cable where the pro had called his dogs in to heel at the hunt's end to walk calmly back to his truck; I think my neighbor's words were, "It just seemed like such a pleasant way to end a good hunt." Yep.
You aren't old and frail, I'm sure, but I'll bet you can think of a # of scenarios where it would pay to have a well-behaved dog right where you want him until you get to where-ever it is you're going to hunt. Dove-hunting springs immediately to mind...Plus, I've discovered that a good hunting dog that's also well-behaved tends to get you invited back to hunt again!
Cheers,
Rollick
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Baron
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PostPosted: 06/25/03, 10:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I absolutely agree with Rollick. These dogs are deceptively strong for their size, and I don’t think you want it dragging you where it wants to go instead of going with you where you want to go. Plus, the dog will be much easier to control in social situations.
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Keith
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PostPosted: 07/02/03, 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They should be trained to heel. I heel my dogs to and from the hunting vehicle. It keeps them from getting run over. I heel them into the dove field. I put them at heel when jump shooting ducks.
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Jon P
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PostPosted: 07/02/03, 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While I agree that dogs should receive some obedience training, I note that very few competition dogs are asked to heel. I recently watched the GSP Nationals on the TV and all the dogs were lunging and being held off the ground as the handlers went to and from the course. The retrieving was not very good, a couple of handlers having to wrestle the bird from the dogs mouth.

So, it begs the question, do FT Pros feel that basic obedience and proper retrieving would somehow negatively affect their dogs? Would force retrieving a dog to stop the mouthing, biting and avoidance disturb a dog's run?
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PostPosted: 07/02/03, 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jon P, that is an interesting post. It would assume you made an assumption that the dog was not FF when it may have been FF and this is the best they got from the dog, at least the one you are referring to.

brdshootr, I think heel is a useful tool that can be used in hunting and definaitley to and from the field. If you decide to play the games heel can be used to pull your dog from one area and focus it to another.

In hunting it can be an asset if your jump shooting ducks or coming or going to the field. Also in hunting a pointing dog will at times point something that you may not want coon, possum, skunk, porcupine in these areas some want a dog to kill fur but if the dog pointed and you desired not taking the chance of stopping the hunt to take the pup to vets to have quills removed you can use the heel method which was mentioned used in the test. Just heel the dog away from the porcupine and then release the dog in an area you want to hunt.

Yes heel should be taught I do believe for pointing dogs the dog should stand not sit when coming to a stop, this is the only difference I make.
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dualgwp
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PostPosted: 07/02/03, 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you want to teach your dog to heel, do so.
If you don't want to teach your dog to heel, don't.

There are no hard and fast rules one way or the other on this.

Teaching a dog to heel in the hunting field and in the home has nothing to do with competition work. It's apples and oranges.

I teach "heel" to all of my dogs, Field champions and home dogs. In the beginning I taught them to heel just like we would in the obedience ring, right at my side and sit when I stopped. I don't ask for that level of obedience any more. Maybe I'm lazy, maybe I don't see the need for that absolute obedience any longer.

They stay with me, come with me when asked... it works for me.
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Keith
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PostPosted: 07/03/03, 8:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am the same way with absolute obedience. Heel means stay with me and don't race ahead. And that works better. When sneaking up on ducks usually there isn't room for a dog beside me. I am crawling and I have the dog stay behind me. I might differ from you in steady to wing and shot. I don't enter field trials and probably never will. All I ask of my dogs is to not move until I shoot. Then get the bird as quick as possible. And there are many times in the field that I will tell the dog to move up and relocate the birds when I can't find them.
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Baron
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PostPosted: 07/03/03, 9:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jon P,

I don’t think FT pros think obedience training will hinder their dogs’ ability to run. It just doesn’t seem to be a priority with them. I have seen the same things you described in local trails where no pros were competing. I don’t understand it, but maybe in the culture of the field trail world, obedience and retrieving don’t carry much importance.
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