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Discussion Starter #1
I just went off on a left handed tangent on Di's thread after seeing left Al working the lovely Jade on his left while holding a gun also on his left.

I work Basil on my right. I don't shoot but it just feels the right side to have him. He will heel whichever side I ask.....and I'll experiment later but I suspect he will be lined up quite happily from either side.

Nellie I currently heel on my right too, at class (non gundog) I go on the end so it's not a dog next to dog situation.
It makes sense to be that side for any road walking too for safety.

So I was just pondering swopping to the 'proper' side for Nellie as we're at the beginning. Five minutes musing left me thinking I could swop fine....until Mo pointed out that might mean throwing right handed :?
I'm flippin' useless throwing with my left hand 8O But also rarely throw from a dogs side so maybe I don't need to swop.
I'll also need to carry my gamebag on my right side as well, which just feels wrong.

Would love to hear peoples thoughts? Does anyone train left handed (ie dog on right)? Did anyone do this for their first dog, see the error of their ways and swop? - was it easy!!
Any problems in class/NDNH tests?
Anything else I need to think through....obviously my footwork would need to change too which might take some remembering.

Also - what makes a stick left or right handed?
 
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I'm so glad I choose to stick to Agility and HTM....I have enough trouble remembering my left from my right at the best of times. :wink: :lol:

Sorry....That's no help at all, is it :mrgreen:
 

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Ooooh I could talk about my frustrations with being left handed all day :lol:

I don't have a game bag. I just cant have a bag at my right side. It feels entirely WRONG and uncomfortable and just not right! I recently got one of those vest thingys from Nic, but I've yet to try it out. If it's no use, I'll need to go with the game bag, but still have it at my left and just try and humph it round my back a bit!

Like I said on the other thread, I get in a fankle having Bracken at my left and trying to also throw with my left. I can't do right. So now I don't bother. Memories all the way :D Or, I make her sit/stay while I walk away and use the chuckit. I'm just starting to properly think about directions with her, so when I throw and I haven't thrown straight, I walk her away first and then back round to line her up..... this sort of stems from me starting to really try my damndest to instill some steadiness in her. I find using my right hand to line her up awkward too.... but hey, what isn't awkward when you're a lefty in a right-handed world, I'll get over that! :wink:

With the sticks, it'll be the way the handle is - for a lefty, the palm rest will be at the wrong side on a righty stick.

With road walking, I walk both dogs on my left, with me closest to the road. Bracken will walk on my right to (I use 'side' as my command for that) and do occasionally use that if I'm on a busy road and want to put myself between her and the traffic - but more often than not I still walk her on my left, or I just cross to the other side of the road.

Feebarn started with Pasco on her right, because her OH is a lefty and he was originally going to be working Pasco. I think she's considering changing sides with him now, but I don't think it's caused her any/many probs competition-wise so far to have him on the 'wrong' side.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
No it is useful Jules, you're right we do agility and because of that Basil has to be able to be worked both sides, dependant on the layout of the course.
He's never had a problem at the start of a course being either side of me and I've never found it difficult to explain which I want, despite using heel for both.
Obedience people use 'heel' and 'close' don't they to verbally distinguish which side?

Our agility trainer thinks dogs have a natural preference for one side unless guided otherwise - i've never heard of it before or read it any books though. It's too late for me to test this as basils preference is clearly my right now as thats where I mainly ask him and the bulk of treats and praise comes from.

I actually think lugging my gear and throwing with the other hand might be the main thing for me to get used to.
Although I wonder after delivery if he might instinctively loop around me to sit on my right...not sure I've ever heeled him into my left before from facing me in any situation:?
I might train the 'proper' way tomorrow as a test to see if he copes fine.
 

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I'm 99.9% pure left handed (the only thing non-left handed thing I do, is shooting my big rifle right-handed) so my poor dogs have to put up with the whole left/right thing. I train all mine to walk on my left-hand side but out on shoots or in shooting situations they will 'drift' between the left and the right hand side depending on me carrying stuff. They've 'taught' themselves that but in a training situation or test/trial situation they're always on my left.

Natasha
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks Mo, i'd really just never thought much about it before. I too think the idea of a heavy bag on my right shoulder all wrong :lol:

With the road walking, I meant roads without paths - where you walk on the right so your facing traffic for safety. We live on a lane so always walk on the right.

Can I ask, if you find it a muddle why did you start with Bracken on your left? Are you not tempted to swop to whats comfortable?
It is good to know Fee had no problems with Pasco on the wrong side - gundogclub were fine with it for Basil, but Fees done tests and proper classes so it must be doable.
I wonder though is it a disadvantage in a test? - you must always be first or last to send as you'd have to go on an end? :lol:

(oh thanks for the stick explanation, I've been looking at Di's sig pic with someone holding a thumb stick on their left and just couldn't fathom it )
 

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Basil said:
lt to explain which I want, despite using heel for both.
Obedience people use 'heel' and 'close' don't they to verbally distinguish which side?
.
The competitive obedience folks at my club don't Sarah. They use heel for left and side for right, close as a reminder at either heel or side, to keep 'with me'.... so e.g. when I'm doing heelwork at obedience training, I'd use heel or side depending what we've been told to do, and then 'close' if needed to keep her tight to me turning. I tend to say 'close close close' for about turns. Struggling with left turns as they say to use 'back' for that, but I don't want to because I know I need 'back' to mean something different for gundog work. Some of the folks at my club don't use close, they'd say 'tight' instead.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks Natasha - now I understand as a fellow leftie why you never corrected us in training :lol:

Did you consciously choose to go with the flow and work them on the left for competition as that's the 'done' thing?

Would a dog lose points in a test if he returned to the heel position on the 'wrong' side? ie you send him from your left, retrieves,delivers and then returns to heel on the right by accident.
 

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Basil said:
Although I wonder after delivery if he might instinctively loop around me to sit on my right...not sure I've ever heeled him into my left before from facing me in any situation:?
I don't think gundog competitions do formal presents and finishes, so I don't think it would matter if he went to the wrong side initially, due to that being instinctive for him.

You can also practice this though.... we have to do this at obedience too.... call the dog up to sit in front of you, THEN command it to heel. I use my body for this, if I swerve right, dog comes round the back of me anti-clockwise to left heel and vice versa. I use the word 'finish' too, but I don't need to anymore really, it's just a habit and I need to get out of it. I ask for more formal front presents than I do finishes, as she tends to anticipate, and in comp obedience, that's not good. Don't think it matters a jot for gundog work though....I think it's fine to take the retrieve item from the dog being positioned at heel rather than front first?

Sorry... gone way OT.... can you tell I'm heading out to obedience class shortly?! :lol:
 

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I didn't know you were cack handed Mo, and there's young Boots trained by a normal person :wink: :D .

Actually if its any consolation I was born left handed, but "forced" to be right handed so I get in a real dither about the whole blinkin thing 8O 8O .
 

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Discussion Starter #11
oh no I take the dummy from the Basil facing me, seated (I taught him to drop originally so this was how I helped curb that). But then I expect him to return to the heel position without me asking, a 'finish' I suppose.

I didn't realise obedience people sometimes used the same word and just their body movement.....our agility trainer also does obedience and gets very upset basil doesnt do 'heel' and 'close'. I shall tell her that you just use the same word too :p
I just use 'heel' and if i wanted him on my left I'd slap my left thigh - I suppose that would work in gundog too after delivery if i could get my thigh slap in quick enough before he heels automatically.....so while holding the dummy....which would have to now be in my right hand.....so i can quickly slap thigh with my left hand to get him to return to the 'proper' side 8O :lol:
Eek that sounds complicated, im sure it's not in practice :lol:
 

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Basil said:
Can I ask, if you find it a muddle why did you start with Bracken on your left? Are you not tempted to swop to whats comfortable?
It feels wrong to have anything at my right side.... be it handbag, carrier bag, another person, a dog, anything!! It's natural for me to want to turn left to speak to someone, so same followed when I got Bracken. I prefer her on my left as I find holding a lead in my left hand easier, treating her with my left hand etc. If I had her on my right, I'd still want to treat with my left hand, and that'd be a faff. I was also conscious of needing her to walk to left heel so that she'd walk on the left for everyone else in the family who would find it very unnatural to have her on their right.

See what you mean now about road walking where there aren't pavements.... I don't need to do that very often, but when I do, I have her at heel or at side so that we're facing the oncoming traffic.
 

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Sarah, a game bag should sit around your bum, so can be on either side... it can be the same side as your dog and not whack them if its at the correct height... if you see what i mean...

And from your first post in this thread just a comment. You won't throw standing next to your dog really except maybe a memory back that you will heel away from, so there is no need ever to throw miles from your side NEXT to your dog. So it shouldn't matter if your dog is on the left and you throw left handed....? When you throw you will always be away from your dog out in front.... I know obedience who only retrieve a few feet throw from their side with the dog sat next to them but thats not how we tend to do things in the gundog world except for tiny puppies...

Di
 

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Ettinsmoor said:
Actually if its any consolation I was born left handed, but "forced" to be right handed so I get in a real dither about the whole blinkin thing 8O 8O .
Oh, I've been there too.... have awful memories of primary school and being forced to try and write with my right-hand. I cried and cried and couldn't understand what I was doing wrong. My mother went ballistic at the school. They also made us write in proper ink pens and if you're left handed, the ink smudges. I was made to re-write and re-write until my hand hurt. Then there was sport. In the playground we used to play rounders, but you were only allowed to hit the ball to the left (if it went right, then it tended to go over the wall into someone's garden). Of course, I can't hit a ball with my right. So I was the class idiot who missed every time. Now and again I'd forget what I was doing and switch the bat to my left hand and whap the ball over the wall..... then I was in trouble.

Think it's different now though. My 10 year old nephew is left-handed and I don't think he's ever been discouraged from it at school.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Good point about the bag Di, it could still stay on my left shoulder :)
I think it was Mo who mentioned the throwing from the side bit, I don't really do it so it wouldn't matter for swopping. I *have* to move away else the retrieve would only be a metre or two :lol:

Jill - I bow down to you I have never met a convertee 8O
Like Mo I was made to write with my right hand at school, my first teacher said it would only take the first year of concentrating and I'd get the hang of it...but even at 5 when you can do something well with your left why go backwards to use the other. I also remember the fountain pen thing, I learnt to sort of curve my hand around to reduce the smudging.
And oh the traumas of rounders....I'm actually now pretty rubbish at hitting a ball with either hand, perhaps it was lack of childhood practice with my left? :lol:

I don't really think about being lefthanded now....but then I saw Dis pic and realised I have taken the easy route by training on my right.
 

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Oh blimey, this all confuses me. :? I am right handed, and normally have the dogs at heel on my left hand side, though I have also made sure they can walk happily on my right when the situation calls for it.

Does it make any difference whether the dog itself is left or right handed (or should I say "sided")?

Our agility instructor said the other week that she believed one test for left or right sidedness in dogs was to set the dog up straight as a die facing a jump, send it straight over without giving any conscious extra direction, and then watch what side the dog generally turns to when it lands. If it tends to turn right then it is likely to be right handed. If it tends to turn left then it is probably left handed.

If I do this test with Charlie he always veers off to the right, eventually coming back round to me. So he is right handed/sided??

Does anyone see anything in that? To me it makes a certain amount of sense, though I accept it probably isn't really scientific.

What if you had a left handed dog with a right handed handler? Could it explain some handling problems for some people???

I guess the combinations are endless. :? :roll:
 

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Discussion Starter #17
:lol: Helen, it's complex in it.

Glad it's not just my instructor that thinks dogs can be 'sided'.

That's 1 of the tests our instructor did and Basil also ran to the right after the jump but then ran to me and position himself on my right....so I think it might be influenced by the heel thing in our case. But for Charlie maybe not.

The other test was to stand at one end back to your dog, totally still and call them. Basil also runs to the right again from habit i think.

My instructor suggested testing him with someone who doesn't train and doing something where he is isn't really thinking or following a learned comman....he came up with getting my OH to run like a loon and see which side giddy Basil runs on (OH does this for fun anyway :lol: ). I haven't got around to trying it tbh. but in theory that has been rewarded will silliness on either side so should be a fairer test maybe.
 

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I am fairly certain Charlie is right sided. If he goes to put his paw up on something (or on me), then if I bother to think about it I realise it is his right front paw.

If he digs or bats at something when out on a walk in fields, or lies down and holds onto a toy, stick or bone then he also definitely favours his right front paw.

Obviously as he appears to be right handed, and so am I then I work him normally on my left hand side. Could that mean that as I am usually standing on his right then it is easier for both of us as he can concentrate more easily on things that are on his right??? Confusing. :?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I think that would make you 'compatible' then, as he has a preference for his right side, so would naturally steer towards the right - with or without you in agility - so that must mean when heeling he is more comfortable to stay close with you on his right? surely :?

Basil gives his left paw, I didn't think of that as an indicator. Even when people move their hand right over to one side to try and encourage the other paw he just shifts his weight to still give the left.
Does that mean we're both lefties? 8)
 

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I guess it would make us sort of compatible, though you might wonder if you saw the headstrong and strong minded b****r trying to insist on doing his own thing sometimes. :twisted: :twisted: Generally though, I think it works.

I don't really know whether which paw they tend to give is an indicator or "handed/sidedness", but there seems to be a certain amount of logic to it.

Maybe Basil also is left handed, or maybe he is just so used to being influenced by your left handed directions since he was tiny that that is the way he has become. Maybe similar for Charlie, having had to respond to my right-handed signals since he was just eight weeks old. Or maybe they are born with it, and you take what you get??

I suppose we could debate it forever
 
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