Foot work question?
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  1. #1
    SamIAm's Avatar
    SamIAm is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultFoot work question?

    I put this question in my "obedience class last night" thread, but decided I'd post it again separately and maybe it would be seen more easily.

    On the halts, and the left turns and the right turns, is there a specific way that you should place your feet? I know you start forward heeling movement with the left leg, and any other forward movement where you expect the dog to remain in place with the right foot, but I suspect there are probably correct body cues for the other things also?

    Frances

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  3. #2
    Tatyana is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Foot work question?

    I start heeling with my left foot also. I halt on my right foot and bring my left foot in. On the about turn, it's a three-step deal: right foot straight, left foot forming a 90-degree angle with the right foot (left heel touching right toes), then right foot forming a 90-degree angle with the left foot (right heel touching left toes). You have to make your about turns tight because you're supposed to heel along the same line back and forth.

    For right and left turns, I don't have specific footwork. Well, footwork is really for me and not to cue Scotty. His cues are coming from my left shoulder and my head.

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    3TailsWaggin's Avatar
    3TailsWaggin is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Foot work question?

    There is actually foot work for the turns and about turn. Although I've practiced them, they really don't work for me as I can't remember them and they slow me down. I have to be quick in my turns or Ruger really lags (especially on my about turn). I do know the judges do NOT want to see crisp style military turns and will dock you for these. Make it look natural and try to keep up the same pace/cadence of your heeling (don't slow too much or again you'll get docked).

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    rottnlabs is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Foot work question?

    There isn't "official" footwork but there are things you can do with your footwork that will help your teammate immensely.

    - Always stopping/starting using the same foot. (I start on my left, I also stop on my left by taking one step flat footed (not rolling heel toe), plant my right then bring my left foot up to meet)
    - Always turning left/right using the same foot. (see below)
    - Always using the T-steps that Tatayna described for about turns as well as half steps (this gives the dog time to catch up) see below
    - Always beginning/ending the change of pace using the same footwork (keep stride the same, just slow/speed up the pace, lean your body slightly forward for fast or slightly backward for slow and back normal)
    - Always leaving for stays on the same foot. (right)
    - Always using the same footowork in the fig 8 to the dog's advantage. (normal stride on the left turn, single tracking toe to heel stride on the right turn...always keeping the same pace though. Also, left shoulder slightly back for the left turn and slightly forward for the right turn. They shoulders straighten out as you cross the center of the F8).

    Dogs are creatures of habit so the more habitual your footwork becomes, the better your dog will understand what is required.

    Terri Arnold's book Steppin Up To Success book #1 has great illustrations and explanations of the heeling steps for different scenarios.* I didn't find the illustrations on line but I did a quick search and found this website with pictures of the heel work I use for an about turn. http://www.pembrokecorgi.org/PE-Obed-4AbTurns.html* My step in #4 is a half step.

    My right turn looks similar to about turn steps #1 and #2 but #3 would be turning my right foot to the same forward direction as my left, then #4 would be my first forward step using my left foot.

    My left turn starts with my left foot turned slightly left (not 90 degrees). This cues Murray to so down so he doesn't bump/forge.* #2 would be my right foot moving to an L position in front of the left.* #3 would be my first step in the new direction using the left foot.

    Notice a trend?* My first steps in any direction are always with my left foot.* Anytime I'm asking Murray to move, I start with my left.* If he is to stay, I start with my right.* I also use my head to cue turns. I just look slightly in the direction we are turning.* ;D



    Quote Originally Posted by raian
    There is actually foot work for the turns and about turn. Although I've practiced them, they really don't work for me as I can't remember them and they slow me down.
    Then you haven't practiced enough.* * It takes a long time and tons of practice WITHOUT THE DOG (that is the key) for footwork to become second nature. I practice walking to/from my car, around my house, around my office, etc.* When I'm heeling in the ring, I'm never thinking* "turn, 2, 3, 4" I just do it naturally.
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    3TailsWaggin's Avatar
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    DefaultRe: Foot work question?

    Lydia, I have practiced them, alot, especially the t-turn (which we actually used in ice-skating when I skated as a kid). But honestly, when I'm in the ring heeling with my dog I am never thinking about my feet. I think about cadence and rhythm more. Ruger needs a quick pace to lag less. And when I do the slow I have to keep my feet walking at the same distance as my quick pace, but slow the steps down.

    Yes I always start off on the left foot, but that's about it

    I seriously doubt judges are watching your feet either. There is too much other stuff to watch

  8. #6
    Kzunell is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Foot work question?

    True the judges may not be watching your footwork ..but your dog is even if they are watching your shoulder and head/eyes. the reason for footwork is two fold first to do the same thing everytime so the dog knows the cues and will turn exactly the same everytime. the second is to make you look smoother and more flowing. This presents a better picture of you and your dog moving as a team. One other thing is that in the rules it says that while heeling your dog mustbe lined up in the direction you are facing. if your dog bends in the middle as you turn then the dog isn't lined up in the direction you are facing. right now I am reteaching left turns so that Amber will sidestep her rear legs as we do a left turn and keep her body straight and lined up with where I am facing. I know alot of judges might not really notice a bend vs. a sidestep on a dog but I know the difference and know we can do this perfectly. Well I hope we can anyway. The Terri Arnold book is very highly recomended for footwork and attention for the 1st book. book 2 deals with novice and book three deals with open and utility.

    Kelly and Amber
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    3TailsWaggin's Avatar
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    DefaultRe: Foot work question?

    dog knows the cues and will turn exactly the same everytime.
    In an ideal world my dear, LOL ;D ;D ;D

    I'm teasing, don't get upset with me :P

    I just want to clarify something about me. I am far from being a type A person. I love competing. I go in and play the game and have fun playing it, and if I qualify along the way, Yipee for me. I let the judges worry about the rules. If I were ever to become a judge, then I'd get technical with rules, but when I'm out there... I'm just enjoying it. In a way, I'm a lot like my dogs. I've never really cared to get a perfect score, just as long as we do our collective best. I set small goals along the way and generally meet them.

    I can't walk and chew gum at the same time... so, no, I don't worry about the technicalities of the footwork beyond the basic moves.

  10. #8
    ObedienceLabs4Me is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Foot work question?

    Concentrating on the footwork also helps so the dog does not lag. Often we cause our dogs to lag on the abouts because of how our feet/leg is positioned. I know a friend of mine and I both have to practice the heeling/footwork without the dogs! Another thing about foot work is to not move into the dog, pushing them out on the abouts and the turns--I know cause it is something I have a tendency to do and have to work on!!! I'm always stepping into Caleb and pushing him out. So, when I do a nice turn or about he goes wide cause of me stepping into him more than not!
    Susan
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