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Thread: Two sided heeling

  1. #11
    Senior Member Hunt'EmUp's Avatar
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    Sep 2010


    I taught my dog to 2 side heel @ 5 yrs. She learnt it pretty well on blinds, does OK on marks, I only use it if she seems confused (a hail Mary if you will ). I had no idea what I was doing, basically if I wanted her to take the water I put her o the side towards the water, if I wanted land the side away from water. Later I had someone actually teach me that it's meant to show a dog which side of a gunner station to stay on. So I taught her that way @ 6 yrs. Of course sometimes I get a bit confused on my way, right way, anyway what? It basically gives you more options, whether that's code for more ways to screw-up, depends on the which day it is . The pup I started from the beginning runs equally well on both sides. But if you got a smart dog you can teach it at anytime, if you use such techniques consistently it'll become a habit for the dog. Some dogs will adapt to it quick, others you might decide to stick with one side. Still when I'm at the line and my dog knows the mark and wants to be on the wrong side I don't argue with her; Heck If she knows it and goes straight she can sit on my head for all I care

    P.S. if we refused to discuss anything that's already been discussed a-nauseam it'd be a pretty empty form with perhaps 5-6 threads
    Last edited by Hunt'EmUp; 07-12-2014 at 11:56 PM.
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  3. #12
    Senior Member Mary Lynn Metras's Avatar
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    Jul 2010
    Watford, ONT


    Quote Originally Posted by DSMITH1651 View Post
    Another thing Danny said at the seminar is he dose not like the movement it creates on the line
    FYI From behind step over the dog. Learned that in a Pat Burns seminar! IMO I find heeling both sides useful in HRC!and other situations. My dogs have done 2 sided since pups. It is useful in their agility classes. Just another way to teach your dog.IMO
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  4. #13
    Senior Member Wayne Nutt's Avatar
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    Jan 2010
    Ft. Worth, TX


    In my one and only derby I got it mixed up and lined him up on the left side which was the flyer side. It didn't impact his performance. On the next series I lined him up on the right and both birds were thrown to the left. The right bird was at 330 yds so I wanted him for sure to see the right bird. Didn't seem to effect anything. Since then at ht tests I always line him up on the left. Like someone said, I have enough to worry about.
    I still use it in training but I have stopped using in tests.
    Wayne Nutt
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  6. #14
    Senior Member RookieTrainer's Avatar
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    Mar 2011


    It is a lot to think about in a test situation. It is nice to be able to heel on the side of the throw, and I hope it helps him know which side of the gun to go to. But you can certainly over think it. It is nice to have if you can set your dog up where you can push rather than pull in a given situation, but again probably easy to over think.

    Double sided is probably a lot more helpful in hunting situations, because you can put the dog wherever you want/need to in a given situation. But good place training may do the same thing.

    Like FF, it's a tool I would just as soon have as not. Unlike FF, I think I could get by without it.
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  7. #15
    Senior Member Evan's Avatar
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    Jan 2003
    Kansas City, MO


    A look inside the practice of two-sided heeling
    By Evan Graham
    As I tend to view modern retriever training, the issue of two-sided heeling is fairly small in significance, but tends to draw no small amount of attention. It must be noted that sometimes small things can make a big difference when it matters. It's unusual to watch in practice if you haven't had much exposure to it, and it isn't as easy to understand as it may appear on the surface.
    There are techniques used by many people in the handling of retrievers in all of the work they do, and in competition you'll see even more of them employed. When you're trying to be the best at something -- to win against many worthy competitors -- in difficult circumstances it calls upon you to spare no effort. The practice of running a dog from either side is just one more way to attempt to provide a dog with an edge against failure. How does it do that? To understand that we first need to examine the influences that certain elements of tests tend to have on dogs.
    Diversion Pressure
    "Isn't a diversion just a mark that distracts a dog during another retrieve?" I think that describes a pretty widely accepted view of what a diversion is to retrievers. But, the term diversion has a much broader meaning than that.
    Diversion: 1: from divert; to turn from a course or purpose, 2: element in a test or training exercise that provides the effect of diverting the otherwise direct route of the trained retrieve
    The above is a definition I took from a dictionary and expanded its meaning as to directly apply to dog work. It implies that any influence (like a crossing wind), physical factor (like a log in the path of the retrieve route), or mechanical component (like a field trial or hunt test set up in with a mark placed in a strategically influential spot) that has the effect of turning a dog from his course (the route to the fall) or purpose (the completion of the retrieve) has diverted it. All of these things have come to be called "factors," a term becoming increasingly familiar to retriever trainers.

    The "Cardinal Influences"
    I maintain that there are three mechanisms by which dogs are diverted in the course of a retrieve. I refer to them as the Cardinal Influences:
    1. Flare
    2. Suction
    3. Drift
    There are many factors that exert these influences on dogs; things like old falls, poison birds,cover, diagonal terrain features, shoreline suction, gun stations, crosswind, just to name a few. The effects that these factors exert upon dogs all fall under one or more of the above categories.
    Retrievers that function at, or near their potential, do so having frequent maintenance on overcoming diversion pressure on both marked and blind retrieves. Training aside, what influence can a handler use to help a dog overcome, or at least decrease the effects of those influences?
    Push vs. Pull
    The terms push and pull describe the influence a handler exerts when moving "up" (forward) or "back" (backward) when the dog is at heel. A dog may also be "pulled" when the handler steps slightly away from the dog -- drawing the dog's upper torso nearer, effectively turning or influencing the dog in that direction. Here's a look at how it works.

    Looking from behind the handler and dog we see a hip-pocket double mark arrangement. The shorter mark on the right will tend to have a "suction" influence; pulling the dog toward it when he is en route to the longer fall. This can occur even when that mark has already been retrieved. We train against this, but a handler can do things to promote success, as well.

    When a handler recognizes that a test, or set of circumstances may have this type of influence on the dog, he may provide a helpful influence by using "push"; stepping up or forward as the dog remains sitting in the same spot. Clearly this requires high quality obedience. Just as clearly your dog's field of vision is effectively reduced to focus on the long mark, as in this illustration. That can help to keep the dog focused on it while the marks are falling, as well.
    Stepping up (push) will tend to influence a dog left when he is heeled/positioned on the left side, and right when heeled on the right. This is a more direct (or active) application of influence than stepping back (pull).
    When we consider doing things like stepping up or back to provide a push or pull influence, we must remember that these are only helps to the dog in the form of nuances. They do not replace training. They only augment it in practical ways.

    One consideration for the application of the pull influence is in this type of marking set up when you have had your dog watch the long fall go down and now want to make certain he sees the short fall clearly. While this is normally not a problem, it is some insurance against the likelihood of the dog over focusing on the long fall to step back and open up his field of vision. Both falls matter, and the long one will be of little consequence if your dog misses the short one!
    There are other examples of pull being useful, such as in different multiple marking configurations. Consider this one:

    While this illustration does not show a typical positioning of a dog to run this set up, it does show that a handler in the neutral position shown leaves the dog with a full field of vision to see all guns and falls. Usually, in a set up configured like this one, the dog would be on the left because the left hand mark is thrown last and falls left of the gun. If, however, the handler reads that seeing that left hand fall is not likely to cause as much of a problem as the right hand mark, it may be preferable to position the dog on the right so the handler can step up to influence the dog to see that fall as it is thrown. Doing so would tend to reduce the dogs field of vision on the left.

    All of the impact of push and pull apply to moving as birds fall during a set up or test, in that they can provide assistance to your dog to see critical falls and to reduce head swinging. Again, this is not to say that it replaces training for these functions, but rather helps to support that training when you are working for top performance.
    There are other considerations regarding leveraging for lines to falls, especially on blind retrieves. So many factors and influences in each set of circumstances affect such a decision that writing about it, without going into exorbitant detail, is not practical.
    How much help is it?
    The actual impact of this tool is different for each dog in each situation. But, if you recognize the value of push and pull on one side, you should be able to easily calculate the extra edge it could give you to have the opportunity of doing it on either side. Time and practice will do more to provide you with your own sense of how to use this little tool best.
    "It feels awkward to run a dog on my right side!"
    If you have held off from acquiring this skill and using it with your dog because you have become so accustomed to running him or her from your left side, remember, there was a time when that was awkward, too. Everything is new at some point. That shouldn't keep you from adding something so potentially useful to your arsenal, should it?

    (Sorry, I couldn't copy the pictures along with the article)
    Last edited by Evan; 07-13-2014 at 03:37 PM.
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  8. #16
    Senior Member shawninthesticks's Avatar
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    Jun 2010
    north east mo


    I presented this question awhile back and it seemed most replies then favored 2 sided heeling. I've came to the conclusion that a " tool " is only as good as the person using it .

    After over 20 years in the construction field ,I'm very efficient with a hammer ....until I try to drive a nail left handed , I can get it done ,but its ugly. Its all about what is most comfortable to each person.

    In hunting situations I do not want my dog on my gun side side , so she stays at left side heel or in her predetermined "place"

  9. #17
    Senior Member KwickLabs's Avatar
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    Jan 2003
    Roscoe, IL


    I played golf for almost 40 years right-handed. I injured my back and suddenly swinging right-handed hurt. However, I could swing left-handed with no pain. It was awkward to say the least. However, I had no choice. After persisting, I am now equally inept from either side.

    My first pup was trained two-sided. We both learned how to deal with it. One side always seemed more natural. Of course, there are different levels of being inept. With practice and persistence, we are now equally inept on both sides. The logic of doing it only one way well and thus being better escapes me. It is however a very logical argument.

    To venture off focus a bit (or not) being one-sided doesn't seem to model well with why many skilled basketball players can shoot and dribble equally well from either side. Believe me it is awkward at first. Just ask my Grandsons.

    Then again, they will never be "Just Like Mike".

    Logic is often the thinking man's excuse.
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  10. #18
    Senior Member 1tulip's Avatar
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    Oct 2009


    Quote Originally Posted by shawninthesticks View Post
    I presented this question awhile back and it seemed most replies then favored 2 sided heeling. I've came to the conclusion that a " tool " is only as good as the person using it .

    After over 20 years in the construction field ,I'm very efficient with a hammer ....until I try to drive a nail left handed , I can get it done ,but its ugly. Its all about what is most comfortable to each person.

    In hunting situations I do not want my dog on my gun side side , so she stays at left side heel or in her predetermined "place"
    At the suggestion of some replies here, I did a search on two sided heeling and one of the comments I found there mentioned that some number of dogs (6? 8?) that finished the National were one sided dogs.

    So, it would appear that it's certainly optional. I brought it up because, if (in a few years) she becomes very competitive and, if we're running at the upper limit of our ability... I didn't want to have any remorse that we didn't afford ourselves the chance to learn this skill now.

    Since I'm sort of a klutz under the best of circumstances, it's probably more trouble than it's worth for me, not for the dog.

  11. #19
    Senior Member EdA's Avatar
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    May 2003


    As previously stated by me, if your only impediment to perfection is the inability to heel your dog on the opposite side you don't have a problem.

    Two sided heeling is neither a requirement nor an essential for success, do what you do best whether if be from the right or the left.

  12. #20
    Senior Member DarrinGreene's Avatar
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    Feb 2007
    Souf Joisy


    Not that I'm all that but I did some lining drills a few years ago and found out my dog and I were off to the left by about 5 yards pretty consistently at 30 yards distance when I ran him from my right side. Instead of trying to compensate, I just quit running him on my right. Never hurt a thing and I'm pretty sure it improved our efficiency.
    Darrin Greene

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