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Old 01-15-2014, 01:31 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default How to Explain SchH/IPO?

I have been in love with the GSD for many years. As I researched the breed (i.e. - discovering there were different types, what all those weird letters on a pedigree mean, popular activities GSD owners engaged in, etc.) - I found out about this thing called Schutzhund.

To be honest, at first glance it looked a little scary (Because the C phase is very attention grabbing!). However, as I began to understand its original purpose and value as a working and breeding stock evaluation, I decided to look into it more closely. After lots of reading, (I think) I understand a lot more than the average Joe, and certainly have learned enough to have a keen interest in participating in the sport someday.

Now, I have a lot of 'dog people' in my life. None of them are professionals, but the ones I "talk dog" with most often are pretty in line with my view on training and other things, and we research and are interested in a lot of the same dog-related things. Here's my dilemma: I've talked to not all, but many, of my "dog people" (and some of my "not-so-dog" people) about my interest in IPO, and explained it a little. For the most part, they can't believe I'd be crazy enough to "teach my dog to bite someone." (nevermind the A and B phases, apparently they don't count ) Thankfully, I do have a couple of great dog people in my life that I don't think will ever get into IPO themselves, but they understand its value and why I'm interested in it. For some of these people I've talked to, I really don't mind if they don't understand IPO, but for the people who are closer to me personally - and honestly concerned about my safety - I'd like to put them more at ease with the sport. And I believe that a better understanding of SchH/IPO would definitely help to facilitate that.


TL;DR
- Is there a way to explain the basics of SchH/IPO to people in a way that it won't be immediately dismissed, or construed as crazy? (and put my friends/family at ease?)
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Old 01-15-2014, 01:53 AM   #2 (permalink)
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If they are smart, rational people, you can explain that the dog doesn't just go out and get to bite whoever it wants. There is a lot of technique, focus, obedience, and control taught to the dog before it ever gets to go after the "bad guy." It is good to teach a dog when it can bite and, more importantly, when it cannot. And to many of the dogs (mine is definitely one) it is a game.
If they are not as rational in their thinking, explain it like a person taking a kickboxing class. Just because you learn this skill doesn't mean you're going to go attack someone. The class teaches form, technique and skills that you could use for violence, but hopefully will only use to make yourself a healthier, happier person.
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Old 01-15-2014, 06:28 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I had been around K9 units as a kid. Those dogs back then could be a little mental. You moved very deliberately around them. Circa 1970's.

We met our pups father back in October, He is IPO2. My childhood memories came back and I wasn't quite sure what to expect from him. We pull down the long drive way to meet our breeder and she has him on a lead. While I wasn't nervous, we get out of the truck and he is the sweetest dog. Licking, playing just very energetic.

So the point to my little story is, maybe if the people close to you could meet the right IPO dog, it may become evident that they are just working class Shepherds.
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Old 01-15-2014, 06:44 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I don't do schutzhund so am not the best resource but one thing that has struck clear for me is that, in the end, it is a very high level of obedience.

That the dog can be taken to a point of biting and be in full drive and then do obedience commands and outing while in drive, demonstrates a degree of control the average pet owner may not have. Some have complained that schutzhund is often too patterned and too predictable without enough real pressure to test the dog who is moved out of prey drive to true defense drive or to expose it to real world pressures (I gather ring is more 'unpredictable' in that way). Those are fine points for people who actually do it to weigh in on.

Well, that is from someone with a disclaimer that I am not involved in the sport but feel it is important to understand since all of this plays into selection of breeding stock..
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Old 01-15-2014, 07:27 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Check out the elegance of IPO in the IPObservations series

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Old 01-15-2014, 08:11 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Yeah I just show people the video above
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Old 01-15-2014, 08:59 AM   #7 (permalink)
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If anyone asks me what type of training I do, I tell them it is a German Dog sport that was intended to prove the dogs temperament and good breeding. If they ask more I tell them about tracking, obedience and protection.
If someone is really interested, then I'll go into more detail, but usually the ones that ask aren't really into dogs or training so it is enough explanation.
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Old 01-15-2014, 10:21 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Those videos are excellent and probably the best quick and easy way I can think of to help people understand it. Truthfully though, I think the easiest is to just sort of avoid the discussion. Jane's "I do a German dog sport that was designed as a breed test" but leaving out the particulars is a good way to do that.

For the people who have an initial freak out at the very idea of bite work I've found that most are very attached to their opinion and you aren't likely to change their minds unless they are able to see it in person and meet some dogs in person and realize that they aren't a bunch of killers. For people who are close to you and who's opinions really matter, I'd invite them to visit training or watch a trial so that they can see it in person. For people who don't really matter, I've found that more often than not it's just beating your head against the wall to try.
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Old 01-15-2014, 10:54 AM   #9 (permalink)
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The IPObersvation video is probably the best thing out there. However, if I cannot show the video or don't have time to do so, I just say that I do "Competition Tracking" Competition Obedience" and "Competition Protection". They will usually always ask what "Tracking" is. Rarely do I get comments on the Protection portion. I guess its because my dogs are so outgoing and friendly natured.
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Old 01-15-2014, 12:42 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I don't usually go into a lot of details about it. I keep it brief. It's a dog sport where they do obedience, tracking and protection. Most people are fine with it.

My parents were concerned about it. they thought it would make him aggressive. I took them to dog club so they could see it first hand. They came away with a totally different view. My father wants a GSD now.
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