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  Topic Review (Newest First)
07-18-2014 10:12 PM
southerngsd @theShep Definitely. I started when I was 11 with my first GSD. The club was very welcoming although they weren't the best trainers. I was fortunate enough to land in the hands of Gottfried Dildei through one of the club members (internationally known, one of the best, awful people skills though) who mentored me and helped us become a solid team. My girl was from some no name breeder who did at least make an attempt to breed from VA rated German showlines but had absolutely know idea what they were doing. She didn't have the most drive, but Gottfried and countless other trainers were more than eager to help me make the most of the dog I had. I learned a ton because my dog was so difficult to work with. All that to say if you don't have the best dog to start with, you'll just have to become that much better to compensate...not necessarily a bad thing imho. Most trainers are eager to help the next generation if you're willing to learn; I've only run into a few sour grapes. My girl is seven now, and we're retired from Schutzhund and currently working on our AKC Utility title. Together we placed 3rd at the DVG/LV National Championships Schutzund I division, earned our Schutzhund III multiple times with multiple high in trials/tracking/obedience, etc. she's also titled in AKC Obedience and Agility, as well as USDAA Agility. We won the 2011 AKC National Junior Obedience Competition, Runner-up at the 2012 NJOC, second runner up at the 2013 NJOC, and won the 2013 AKC National Junior Agility Competition. I am satisfied with what I've learned and what we've managed to accomplish so far, and am officially addicted to the dog show world.

All that is not to brag, but just to show that you can do pretty well in the dog show world regardless of age or dog. Keep an open and humble mind, but a discerning one as well. There are a lot of bad methods in Schutzhund as well as a lot of well intentioned trainers who give bad advice. Soak up everything like a sponge, then squeeze out what you know isn't best for your particular dog. For me, having a such a great mentor and trainer was priceless. If you'd like, shoot me a pm with what area you live in, and I can offer suggestions as far as nearby good trainers if I can. There are quite a few other youth handlers in Schutzhund but as of now it's hard to really know who's out there as we don't have any way of finding are fellow handlers except through championships and trials. I just became a board member for DVG/LV America so I'm really excited about starting new events and programs specifically for youth handlers. I'm hoping to make some way for schutzhund youth to connect and trade experiences and results within the next year or two. Hopefully by the time you really get into it there will be something put together. The lack of youth interaction is the only thing I missed when I was starting out. At the moment, USA is the most youth friendly with extremely low membership fees and youth awards. I highly recommend becoming a member of USA for now. It costs only $12 if your under 21 and the magazines were really helpful as far as growing familiar with the sport, trending trainers, and championship results.

Also, in the beginning at least, your parents/parent/driver will probably have to stay for the duration of the training day. Training days can be long, and your dog will need to stay crated in the car to protect him/her from the weather. Perhaps later once you get to know the club members, you'll be able to keep your dog in a friend's trailer box or kennel, but prepare your parents for the time commitment. Schutzhund is a huge time commitment and can be somewhat expensive (seminars, travel, gas, club dues, equipment,etc.) so do be prepared. You'll never stop learning in this sport, and if you stick it out, stay humble, and work hard at it, it can become an extremely rewarding and addictive hobby. My mom got into it because she had no choice as my chauffer, and she got her own working dog and titled him to a Schutzhund III. It's become a fun way for us to spend time together and we help coach each other and work our dogs. Anyways, sorry for the book and rambling, I get so excited about seeing other potential youth handlers who want to start with their dogs. If you have any questions at all just shoot me a pm and I’ll do my best to help or direct you to someone who can.
06-19-2014 01:27 PM
Originally Posted by theShep View Post
I've been interested in schutzhund for a long time, as well owning German Shepherds, but the problem is I'm 15. Will a schutzhund club allow a 15 year old train dogs, especially if I will be the only caretaker/trainer for the dog?

I would encourage you to check it out. Most clubs I know of would welcome a young person who's willing to put in the work and learn.

As for the ride thing. If your parents can drop you and your dog off with the crate you should be fine. Also once you find a club I'm sure someone would be willing to give you a ride. Happy hunting and I look forward to hear about your progress.

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06-19-2014 12:43 PM
lhczth Excellent post Cliff. YES, we need to encourage as many kids as possible.
06-19-2014 08:48 AM
Castlemaid Hi and welcome to the forum!

The board software does not seem to like certain mobile devices - are you posting from a phone? Your posts show up as "moderated" and one of us moderators need to approve them before they show up - again, a software issue. You should be a 'Junior Member' when you first register and show a post count - You won't be able to access many of the board features as a guest (not to mention the problem of your posts not showing up!).

Can you try re-registering from a regular computer or laptop and see if that works? You might need to register with a new user name (we'll have to 'ban' the old one, LOL - don't worry, you won't be in trouble. )

06-19-2014 07:51 AM
cliffson1 I have a young protege that started with me at 16 and nice 8 week puppy. He is now 17, his parents used to drive him to training twice a week, but now he has his liscense. The kid is learning to work dogs from both ends of the leash. He is a sponge as he soaks up all the information he can get. I have now got him and his dog in a training with John Martoreilli, one of the most knowledgable trainers in NJ. Young people are the future for the breed to remain a functional working dog....I hope you find someone to take you under their wing.
06-18-2014 11:30 AM
Mister C
Originally Posted by martemchik View Post
You should know that at most clubs Schutzhund is an all day event, that unfortunately you probably need a vehicle for and a crate inside that vehicle to keep your dog in while he/she isn't working.
Not saying a club will turn you down, but I'm just pointing out why it would be difficult to do it if your parents at this point aren't 100% behind it as well.
Interesting post Martemchik. Sch is something I have thought about doing but have not committed to just yet. I am quickly learning how much of a commitment it really takes to do this sport.

I am wondering, for the OPs sake, if mom/dad/sibling/friend could drop theShep and his/her dog off in the morning with a crate and a canopy. Setting up the canopy would seem to make a suitable resting spot with shade during waiting times. Perhaps a car pool could also be found with a club member. Just throwing out some ideas.

Best of luck to you theShep,

06-18-2014 11:13 AM
robk I would love for either of my children (both teenagers) to show interest in the sport.
06-18-2014 10:40 AM
Wild Wolf If they don't, they're not a very good club. I've heard time and time again that, at least here in Ontario, clubs are trying to nurture and encourage young handlers.

Besides, learning how to train and handle a dog, work hard and meet goals, it good for anyone, any age, but especially young handlers.
06-18-2014 09:45 AM
martemchik You should know that at most clubs Schutzhund is an all day event, that unfortunately you probably need a vehicle for and a crate inside that vehicle to keep your dog in while he/she isn't working.

Most clubs track early in the morning, then move on to obedience and protection in the late morning (all depends on how many people are there to track). You'll need to keep your dog contained, not out on a leash, away from the field while you're waiting your turn to go.

Just to put it into perspective, I train with a group of about 10-15 dogs. It takes us about 3-4 hours to get through the obedience and the protection work. A lot of the dogs are owned by the same people so it doesn't help speed things up, but I'm just pointing out how long it can take and what kind of time commitment it is when you're actually at training.

I think the problem most people have with Schutzhund training is that its unlike anything they've done before when it comes to scheduling. You don't just set up a time, show up, do your thing, and leave. You're almost required to stick around and watch the other dogs go, learn from them, ect.

Not saying a club will turn you down, but I'm just pointing out why it would be difficult to do it if your parents at this point aren't 100% behind it as well.
06-18-2014 02:04 AM
theShep Thanks for answering!
And yeah I have no idea how the posting system works lol.

Yes, I would have to have one of my parents drive me and provide financial support but other than that the dog would be considered mine rather than the family dog.
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