A little lost. Not sure where to go from here (long)
We have been training Titan at this schutzhund club for about 8 months.
It's a great club for newbies because people give you positive critiques, are willing to help you, and it's not very cut throat.
However, I have some concerns and I'm wondering if I should stay or go in a different direction. I just want what's best for my boy.
Titan is a great high drive pup. He's ALWAYS ready to go no matter what we are doing; tracking, OB, or protection. He comes out of the crate swinging so to speak.
I'm worried that we aren't getting where we need to be. Granted he's 11 months but I don't feel we are where we need to be as far as the BH goes.
I know I can always do more on my end with training more but when I give an idea of what I think might be the problem, they say that isn't the problem.
Titan loves his ball.. Will give you his right kidney for this ball. But using the ball for heel work makes him forge ahead. I've tried putting it under my arm pit, throwing it behind me for the reward.. No dice. But they say to keep using it although he gets too fixated on it.
He "leaks" drive as he is extremely vocal during OB because of the ball. Should I be concerned? They don't seem all that concerned.
Titan is obsessed with protection. Absolutely loves it. It's the only thing he loves more than his ball and food. We are just doing bites now without blinds or anything. At the beginning we let him keep the sleeve as it was supposed to help build drive. Now he won't let go at the end. He will out it during the session but once we let him "win" at the end he won't let go.
And I'm not getting a clear answer as to how to out him. They don't want me to tell him No because it might hurt his confidence and drive however I feel like he has a ton of drive and it is time to insert some OB because he is so obsessed with the sleeve.
Also, every one of their dogs comes into the blind "dirty" and now they are trying to fix this and it seems to be a never ending thing.
I don't want Titan to do this and I have to spend months trying to fix this issue.
I feel that maybe this club might be too lax.
They also said that most people fail the BH the first time and to be prepared to do it more than once.
I'm just unsure if this is the right way to train a dog.
I want to get things right the first time and correct the first time so I don't spend months fixing an issue.
Titan has so much drive I feel like OB should be put into everything he does because he becomes so obsessive with things so easily.
I've brought this up to the head trainer and he dismissed this.
What should I expect from a club?
I feel like all the videos I watch here everyone's dog is more disciplined. And I want to be that way, but I'm so new I'm trying to learn from others and I feel like maybe I'm learning from the wrong people, especially of I want to be competitive.
I've been to clubs like this. Instead of spotting for obedience they just chit chat and socialize. All the while every single dog at that club expect for the td's dog forges.
If the club isn't right for your training goals then find another club. The thing about most dogs fail bh the first time is ridiculous. I actually laughed out loud. That comment alone would make me pick up my dog and run away as fast as I can.
If you posted a video of your heeling I'm sure members here will give you constructive advice.
If the dog is dirty I'd put a prong and long line on him and pop him as he's entering the blind so he is mindful.
Nothing wrong with a dog that's possessive over the sleeve once it's slipped as long as he outs when decoy is on the sleeve.
If the club wants to take 5 years to title a dog that's fine. If you don't then move on to another club better suited with your goals.
Track record speaks for itself, it is black and white. If your trainer/club members have titled multiple dogs from pup to SchH3 level then listen to him/them. If not then find someone who has. 8 months is nothing in this sport but there has to be a plan, ask for the long term plan for your dog.
If there is no plan and no track record, then you are ok to panic :)
11mos? Its just about time to start adding some ob to the protection,,,,,,, but maybe not,,, I think you need to trust the TD and/or helper on that. Your feeling could be exactly right, but what are they seeing? After you leave the field, you can try walking him around with the sleeve a little more, till he settles. MAybe walk him back towards the field and see if his attention goes to the field and a little less on the sleeve he has, or just the opposite, farther away till he settles that little bit. Lot of help, huh? Lol.
One problem with leaking, I think, is if it escalates to control problems. You can try really working on capping, rewarding as soon as he's silent and then building on that. It can be tough.
Is this club active? Trialing and titling dogs?
Key item to remember is that in this sport there are a ton of people who give advice and opinions. There are "very" few who have a track record. Learn to differentiate between them.
I think without seeing the dog it can be hard to know for sure but I try to avoiding leaking in ob or it will lead to problems later. It also sounds like that while you are just beginning your dog it might be more of than this club can handle. I would look for another club to train with if that is possible. For the win of the sleeve maybe let him go the end of the field and calm him down to give before going all the way to the car with him.
11 mos is pretty young. If he's forging with the ball, it is because you haven't positioned it right - put it further under your arm (ie back more).
Most of us spend "months" working on something in Schutzhund. .. It's not a sport for the impatient trainer.
As far as ball placement I will def try to shove it as far under my arm as possible. I'm on the small side and his ball barely fits under my arm.
I've been using treats for the heel because he seems to listen better and doesn't leak as much.
However I've been teaching the left turn where he has to go behind me and I've had to use the ball to gain his attention around to me.
I'm thinking of maybe switching him to treats and then after the rutine play ball with him. That way he's more focused on me instead of his ball.
My main thing I want to work on is his OB. Because of his obsession with the sleeve I want to have a solid OB foundation before we go any further
He has a great bite and willingness to engage the helper.
The one thing his heeling definitely needs is him looking at me.
I've tried dropping the ball from my arm pit as soon as he makes eye contact but that has lead to him jumping up and grabbing the ball from my arm pit.
Can I use a clicker for this until he gets it and then phase out the clicker?
There is an SDA club about 2 hours from us back where my parents live.
I was very interested in it as Titan came from a kennel that did that but couldn't find any in my area. But now I found this one.
Can I switch to that since Titan would be considered green and it has the same fundamentals?
They have titled dogs but it's only the head trainer and the main helper.
Everyone else is working towards SCH 1.
ETA: I feel like Titan has all this potential and I'm failing him by being new and also that this club might be failing him because it's too lax and we need more discipline.
Also, I asked them about doing perch work when we first started to help with rear end awareness for his heeling. He told me not to worry about that because it will come on its own.
I would really like to teach this because the heeling should be more clean.
Can I still teach this at this age? I know most teach this at a 3 months or so and it's one of the first things that get taught.
There is no reason you can't do perch work with him. I'd switch to food and clicker and see what you get. It's not going to impede his drive and may help him think more instead of being in such a high state of drive for the ball. He's still very young so taking a few steps back is normal at this age.
Get a few great paces with eye contact, click and treat. I'd also work on pivoting and positions.
How is he in tracking? Does he have self control when he tracks?
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