I thought the whole training process was treated as a game just to build confidence in the dog?
Im new, obviously, and just learning (I don't even have a dog yet) but I sorta always thought IPO translated into real world skills. It sounds a bit like it's just a performance for titles and ribbons? At least the protection end of it. I should think that the obedience and tracking would be useful anywhere (should tracking be required at least)
Im not trying to insult IPO people, just trying to sort out the differences in the sports and what they actually mean as far as real world skills.
IPO protection can be
trained as something like a game, and a lot of foundational puppy work starts out this way to build correct, safe mechanical skills (like teaching an agility dog how to take jumps safely).
It can also
be trained as something much more closely approximating a "real fight."
It can be approached as a sport where the primary concern is getting the highest possible score for trophies and podium placements.
And it can be approached as a breed test, or a foundation for various real-world skills, where perfect precision is less important than digging in and seeing how your dog responds to different kinds of pressure and challenge.
The reason it gets so confusing and complicated is because IPO is all of these things at once. It is a sport that means different things to different people. I think that is pretty appropriate, given that the German Shepherd breed itself means different things to different people. There are a lot of parallels in how various camps wrangle about what the true soul of the endeavor should be.
ARCHMX TDCH Pongu the Insane, CD-C, RE, RL1X6, RL2X5, RL3X2 (GSD mix, b. Apr 2010)
Crookytail the Tigerwuff, RL1, ITD (Akita mix, b. Jan 2011)