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Old 08-10-2014, 12:26 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Advice for Schutzhund/IPO Newbie?

Hello! I'm a newbie to the Schutzhund/IPO sport. I'm going to my first club meeting to check out the club and meet the members. I have a 7 month old DDR GSD, and would like to begin training right away, but I'm nervous about being dead weight to the club because I don't have anything to contribute. I've looked for a private trainer for some time, but there doesn't seem to be anyone qualified who offers IPO training in my area. Is there any advice you would give a newbie like me before I go to my first club meeting? I'm just going to show up to one of their training days because no one I've contacted from their web site has answered my messages, and they have a message on the website that says new members can attend 3 meets before committing. Thanks for the advice in advance!
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Old 08-10-2014, 12:58 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Different clubs have different policies and procedures. You're in the south (I lived there for 12 years) and the club may not be meeting during the summer. So do not be too surprised if no one is there. They may not be accepting new members either. (Some clubs limit the number of members - which keeps the training day managable.)

What I would do is:
double check for a phone number from the website
search on line for a phone number for one of the contacts if none is listed
call and say you would like to come observe
if there is no luck with a phone number or phone contact, I would send an email to the people you have contacted before saying you would like to observe and will be coming with that in mind.

I don't think this would count as one of your "three free" meets but that would be up to the club. It for sure won't if no one is there! This will at least give you an idea of what the training field is like even if no one is there.

Generally, IPO work is done with a club as I understand it (I've only been involved for 5 years or so though.)

Keep in mind clubs vary in their attitude. Some clubs are more closely held than others that are more "democratic". With the more democratic club, some members will be very friendly, some will be more reserved. Sitting around with a small group at the training field, I got the best advise -- Choose whose advise you take - one or two people. That served me very well. (Choose carefully and after several months of observation and work.)
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Old 08-10-2014, 01:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Just find a good, supportive, kind group of people to train with and train hard. I can't tell you how enjoyable and productive training is when you train with a group of people you really like. I do everything in my power to avoid drama, be kind and respectful, help anyone I possibly can and dedicate myself to the training - everything just falls into place after that.

Visit various clubs and groups, find the right one for you - it may take awhile at first.
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Old 08-10-2014, 01:56 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Oh.. some extra important advice: be careful who works your dog in protection when the time comes. Be selective with who puts the foundation on your dog for the bite work, ideally you want someone experienced with new dogs. Not to say you can't fix things that do go wrong, but you always want to try to set your dog up for success.

No training is better than bad training... make this your mantra.
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Old 08-10-2014, 02:08 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wild Wolf View Post
Oh.. some extra important advice: be careful who works your dog in protection when the time comes. Be selective with who puts the foundation on your dog for the bite work, ideally you want someone experienced with new dogs. Not to say you can't fix things that do go wrong, but you always want to try to set your dog up for success.

No training is better than bad training... make this your mantra.
Best advice right here.
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Old 08-10-2014, 02:16 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlairTheGSD View Post
Hello! I'm a newbie to the Schutzhund/IPO sport. I'm going to my first club meeting to check out the club and meet the members. I have a 7 month old DDR GSD, and would like to begin training right away, but I'm nervous about being dead weight to the club because I don't have anything to contribute. I've looked for a private trainer for some time, but there doesn't seem to be anyone qualified who offers IPO training in my area. Is there any advice you would give a newbie like me before I go to my first club meeting? I'm just going to show up to one of their training days because no one I've contacted from their web site has answered my messages, and they have a message on the website that says new members can attend 3 meets before committing. Thanks for the advice in advance!
Meet the people and see if its a group you'd like to spend your time with. Its not like paying someone to train your dog, its a group of friends ideally, that are working together. That said, everyone has something to contribute, even if its putting up blinds or bringing food.
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Old 08-10-2014, 02:59 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I'd go and meet with a few clubs if you can find them and get a feel for them... The first club I tried ended up being not too friendly and it wasn't a good experience, almost put me off trying again. But then I stumbled upon another small group who are just a great group of people and I feel no judgment or pressure working with them.

I've got two things going against me, one I'm also a newbie and my dog isn't ideally suited for the sport 'but' we're still trying and just having fun! The guy I'm working with is already bringing out drive that I never could and he trains with some people who compete nationally and internationally so I feel like I'm in good hands. Even though he's used to working with much more intense dogs he still doesn't treat me or my dog differently and that says a whole lot to me. IPO groups aren't always super friendly right off the bat so finding a group you fit with and like is really important because the sport is a pretty big commitment.
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Old 08-10-2014, 10:08 PM   #8 (permalink)
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It's really cool that you are looking to get into schutzhund. I hope you find it as rewarding as many on this board do. I would not go to a private trainer. One of the best ways to become a better trainer is watching others and see what is working/not working for them.

My first piece of advice is to ask questions and pay attention. Don't be afraid of being "dead weight". Find a way to contribute. Help put up blinds, get equipment ready, get helper water, etc... Just do what you can to contribute and people will be much more willing to help and teach you.

Good Luck!
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Old 08-10-2014, 10:44 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I believe there are two USCA clubs in Jacksonville. If neither respond, I would call Patti Collins from the Fayetteville Club. She responds very quick to all emails and voice mails. Her husband is Arthur Collins and Art is the South Eastern Regional Director. Patti or Arthur will put you in contact with who you need to speak to in Jacksonville.

United Schutzhund Clubs of America ? Clubs

Good Luck and have fun with your dog!
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