How do you know when your dog is ready for a trial? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-20-2019, 06:25 PM Thread Starter
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How do you know when your dog is ready for a trial?

Looking for others input. I myself go by what I see in training. Training I mean anywhere, diff places, scenario’s not just at your own club training. I know from experience you feel your dog is ready but day of a trial all heck breaks out.

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-20-2019, 07:42 PM
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I like to test my dog and always do things that will be more difficult than they will likely encounter in a trial. When they are good with that then very likely they will do well in a trial.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-21-2019, 12:19 AM
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If both the handler and the dog have the basics down, we're ready. Doesn't mean we will do well - In fact, I think my dog and I found just about every way to blow a Novice A. We did good in the venues where nothing was going to my preplanned plan... and I said what the heck, we've driven all this way, I've checked into the motel, we've paid our fees - might just as well give it a go. It's always been an experience, it's not always been what I expected or wanted.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-21-2019, 12:30 AM
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Some of the best advice I got was from one of our national level head judges. Amp yourself up in terms of nervous behaviour: go to the side where your dog can't see you, then get your heart rate up high and breathe quickly. Do a quick snapshot training session while your heart rate and breathing is elevated to simulate nervousness, and see how your dog handles the training without immediate praise or reward from you. If they handle it well with no immediate changes to their behaviour, chances are the trial will go just fine.

I spent two weeks practicing our long down persistently because it was a weak area of ours, and she had it down perfectly. Then I accidentally downed her where a female in heat had been downed, and she took three commands to down. Then she got up and tried to track the female in heat. Would've passed just fine if it weren't for that, lol. And that was all my fault - I knew I'd be going with a female in heat and should've downed her first.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-21-2019, 07:20 AM
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great question. I have heard judges that get annoyed by having to take time and energy to come to trials where people obviously weren't ready. They understand that dogs will be dogs, not robots, but they all seem to have some level of competence in their minds that makes a trial work their effort.

Others judges are more generous seeing the trial as a chance to educate people on the good and bad of any run.

Either way, it is more considerate of the judge's time and the other handlers' time, to be as ready as possible before signing up. And I think I'll try Femfa's advice. Nervous handlers can mess up the best dogs (seen it happen)

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-21-2019, 08:25 AM
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I don't know what sport you are training in, but a good rule of thumb is that if you are training for a BH in IGP or a PDC in PSA, the dog should be ready for an IGP I or a PSA 1.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-21-2019, 08:37 AM Thread Starter
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I’m always so nervous before I trial and I know it feeds down the leash. I like the idea to test myself and see what happens.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-21-2019, 09:36 AM
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Once I can go through the whole routine without thinking about it and he can through with barely any type of correction, maybe a small mistake here or there, I'll trial. I don't get nervous though. If I'm making handler errors, its not from nerves. I probably become a little too much of an observer instead of handler.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-21-2019, 11:55 AM
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In obedience my take is that you can enter beginners when the dog masters the next level at home in various situations and environments. I am planning on starting her in Rally Novice. I know she is capable of more so I have taken her to venues in shows to put the two together. Then I will see how it goes. I have discovered that I am only competitive if the dogs do well
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-21-2019, 01:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfy dog View Post
In obedience my take is that you can enter beginners when the dog masters the next level at home in various situations and environments. I am planning on starting her in Rally Novice. I know she is capable of more so I have taken her to venues in shows to put the two together. Then I will see how it goes. I have discovered that I am only competitive if the dogs do well
I'm working my gal-dog in novice Rally, too. It will be awhile until our first trial, even though my gal is catching on quickly. Walking different courses and getting muscle memory for myself when I see the signs will be as big a challenge as encouraging my gal to heel nicely through it all.
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