IPO for fun? (please read before you judge)
The parentheses are because I recognize the importance of diligence in training any kind of bitework. I hope my post history will show I'm not a casual owner. But, I'm not necessarily concerned with competing or titling.
So here's the full (more or less) story:
Over a year ago, I found a somewhat mature GSD pup/adolescent who was dumped in the desert. Some debate but he's probably purebred, based on local GSD folks I trust. His name is Hector.
6 months after I got him, we started SAR training. He passed the initial eval with flying colors, but washed out big time in 6 months. Basically, Hector has a naturally high drive in general, but seems to have received little to no socialization before I got him (at maybe 10 months old?) and as a result doesn't know how to function. He shuts down when he's scared, which is a huge problem in a SAR dog. He was making significant progress, but it wasn't enough to prove he was reliable in a life-or-death situation, as SAR can be.
So, now I have this high-drive dog, who shuts down in scary situations. We're doing nosework, but I'm having trouble challenging him enough with it. IPO/schutzhund interests me, but...
Is it okay if we're just in it for fun? I don't care if Hector would ever title or ever bite someone or anything like that. I just need an outlet for his drive and energy, because running/hiking with me (and I'm training for a marathon and do both regular navigational exercises and casual hiking excursions all the time, so that's a lot of exercise) isn't cutting it. I just want to get an idea of what the attitude towards folks like me in the sport are...so far it seems like they're welcome to people observing (as I have), but not so keen on recreational dogs...
The rowdy dogs:
Hector-2 y/o GSD (mix?) rescue
Scooter-12 y/o ACD/Border Collie mix
Bandit-8 y/o ACD
Wooby-14 y/o ACD
Abutiu "Abi"-ACD puppy and hopeful future SAR dog!