Question about Rally & obedience trials

Running, catching, leaping; this is the forum to discuss dog sports and agility training with other active pups!

Tiaki CGC- SD

I am a Pringles- pilfering pup!!
Barked: Tue Aug 28, '12 2:57pm PST 
Does it matter what side the dog heels on? I think I read somewhere that the need to be on the left. I trained Tia on the right because Sita usually works on the left. I worked with Tia today on the left & she was ok with on leash, but got confused when we worked off leash. I know she'll get it eventually, but I actually prefer her on my right . Does it matter?
Jewel, PCD

8.6lbs of fury- in a bow!
Barked: Tue Aug 28, '12 3:10pm PST 
I've only done CKC trials and all dogs have been on the left.

Will Work For- Food
Barked: Tue Aug 28, '12 3:58pm PST 
Yes, it does matter. Dogs must heel on the left side in both obedience and rally. Heeling on the wrong (right) side will result in a significant loss of marks if done briefly and will result in a failure if done throughout the entire performance. There is history behind the reasoning of heeling on the left and it has to do with hunters carrying their guns the right side so the dogs would need to stay on their left side.
If your dog is now heeling on the right side, I would teach the heel on left using a completely different command.

Tiaki CGC- SD

I am a Pringles- pilfering pup!!
Barked: Tue Aug 28, '12 8:17pm PST 
Well crumb buckets!! All well, I'm sure she'll figure it out. She's a smart pup.

I am the Sock- Bandit!!!
Barked: Wed Aug 29, '12 11:35am PST 
Yes, it does matter for most trialling that I know of. I train a heel on both sides and use a different command for heel on the right, similar to what Bosley suggested. That way your dog will pick up on the difference. I cue 'heel' for left and 'side' for the right side. But you can use whatever you like for the right side, ofcourse. I've really found it to come in handy because we hike very rough terrain together and I often need her to switch sides quickly.

I agree, crumbbuckets is a good word for it. I wish it didn't matter what side as long as your dog is heeling well and being consistent with your cues.

Awesome Dog
Barked: Wed Aug 29, '12 4:22pm PST 
For rally and OB, it has to be on the left. But in freestyle, a dog has to work on both sides (so you've already got a leg up there!).