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Old 10-31-2012, 02:45 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Schutzhund and the novice handler

I'm just wondering how all of you got started in schutzhund?

I am really interested in it. I've been interested in it since before I got my pup (now 6 months old). Since getting her, I've traveled with her to training days etc. to watch her pappa be worked and get a sense of what it's about.

Here's my question:

For a novice handler, how do they get started? It's not really as simple as finding a club (I found one), but also finding the right dog *for their experience level*.

I am a rank beginner, I didn't want to 'out-dog' myself. I was the only pet owner out of the entire litter, so while my pup has the genetics (all the other pups went to working homes - SAR, K9, sheep herding, firehouse & schutzhund), I'm a bit worried that she might be a bit soft for schutzhund, but I'd still like to give it a go.

Her pappa's owner thinks she's a great dog who would do well at it and thinks I'd be a good handler, but in watching the others working older dogs (I realize she's just a pup), some of their dogs are so intense and I look at my pup and I'm wondering if that's in her somewhere?

Is it pointless to try schutzhund with a softer dog? She is VERY bonded to me (has a tantrum if someone tries to take her away from me) and is a submissive pee-er. I'm thinking these may be two red flags that it's not in her, but can a dog like this be developed? I don't think she'll be a world champion, but I'm hoping she would do ok with work.

At the end of the day, she's a pet and I want a dog I can live with, so if she's not the right temperament for schutzhund, so be it. But I'd still like to give it a go. If I like it, with more experience, I might be ready for a harder dog if/when I get another, but this being my first GSD, I think putting a really high drive dog with me would not have been a good idea, so I think her breeder did right by me. But I still want to try.

Do you think it's possible to give it a go? I just don't want to embarrass myself or more importantly the club, but it would have been foolish for me to take on a dog who's too much for be to handle before I know what I'm doing.

Do you see the predicament? Ha ha. I'm just not sure how you guys got started. It seem like the choice is out-dog yourself, or have a dog who's maybe too soft. What's worse? lol

Is it worth trying with my pup?

Sorry for rambling. lol
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Old 10-31-2012, 02:48 PM   #2 (permalink)
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No reason not to try, just be willing to quit if it's not the right fit for your dog.

There was a submissive pee-er here for a while and she did great at SchH. Who would have thought?
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Old 10-31-2012, 02:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Schh has three phases. If she is too soft and not cut out for the bite work, that's fine. There are still two other great parts of the sport that will challenge you and cement your bond with her.

If her littermates are that accomplished, there is no reason why she can't do tracking and obedience. Continue the bitework for fun. Just have her out with the puppies at first. Get her going after the rag. Work her entirely in prey. Keep it light and fun. Let her win lots and encourage her along the way. You'd be surprised how the right encouragement and motivation will help the dog. Eventually as she matures, she might even have more defense come out if it is done in the right way.

Schh obedience is no different than any other obedience and will have the same benefits as obedience in other venues. She can certainly get her BH. That is only obedience and temperament. She can get portions of her IPO1 like just obedience or tracking. So yes, go out and try with her. She might end up surprising you!
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Old 10-31-2012, 03:17 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Ok, thanks for the encouragement. I'm not too proud to quit if she truly doesn't like it. I just want us to have fun.

I'll email the lady and see if I can actually participate in some of the training (vs just watching) and we'll see how she comes along. They did indulge me one time and let her bite the rag. It took a bit of prodding because she kept letting go to see where I was. LOL Doh! But I think they liked her well enough.

Here was her first try on the rag



I do think she's got a good nose! She's always putting her nose to the ground and following the path of vehicles that came down the drive and will even correct if she goes the wrong way. She must have got that from her SAR mom. So I can see tracking being a good thing for her.

Her obedience is good. At least in class. LOL She's got the "6-month sassies" right now
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Old 10-31-2012, 03:27 PM   #5 (permalink)
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In my club there was a dog that would hide when people came to his house, I believe he just earned his BH and he is decent in protection. His entire attitude has changed, after about 8 months of schh training. As long as your TD knows his stuff, you should be ok.
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Old 10-31-2012, 03:28 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Oh, that's good to hear!

....what's a TD?? lol *blush*
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Old 10-31-2012, 03:36 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I am also a first time handler starting in Schutzhund. I went to a couple of clubs long before getting my puppy. I also got a mentor who has helped me every step of the way. My pup took a while to "get" the protection stuff but has since figured it out and very much enjoys what we do. I find it's a great bond builder. I am just doing it for fun, would like to title her but if she doesn't make it, so what. If it's something you enjoy doing with your pup I say just go for it. Having an obedient dog never hurt anyone.
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Old 10-31-2012, 06:51 PM   #8 (permalink)
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You will never know until you try. The worse they can tell you is that she isn't cut out for protection and then you can get a great obedience and tracking base and even put some titles in those on her.

Puppies that age can be hard to judge. A lot come out of their shell!
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Old 10-31-2012, 06:54 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Training Director.
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Old 10-31-2012, 07:00 PM   #10 (permalink)
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There was a link in here somewhere that someone put up about are "YOU" ready to work with your dog. I loved this link.

I, too, was quite interested, if not fascinated, by Schutzhund. I watched a couple of sessions with other people's dogs, even brought Ky along for one session. Then I sat down and talked to someone about what is involved. I backed out ... it is A LOT of work, don't kid yourself.

I was very grateful that the person spent that much time with me to explain just how much work goes into working and training your dog in Sch (and I'm sure in probably every sporting event with dogs).

Just a heads up for you to think about ... your pup could be great, but do you want to get up at 5 am to lay a track? LOL

Lots of luck if you decide to go ahead and try it ... and like others on here have said, you might be quite surprised at what your "now" puppy is capable of when she grows up!
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