What should I get my dog into? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-17-2016, 12:51 PM Thread Starter
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What should I get my dog into?

Lay is 6 months now and I am wanting to get her into some form of activity when she is about a year, so I am doing all of my research figuring out how to train now. So naturally I start here.

In your opinion what would be the best thing to get her into? I think I am leaning more towards having her track. My family owns 10,000 acres in east Texas where we hunt so she could be of use there tracking fallen deer. She also shows a predisposition towards tracking as she likes to track our way back from walks, hikes etc...

Then there is the 100 other things I could get her into and was wondering what you think is best and any resources you have to go towards this endeavor?

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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-17-2016, 12:58 PM
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whatever it is that you decided to do you don't have to wait until she is a year old. I have no idea how to track for deer but i assume its not too much different than ipo tracking in terms of getting her started.
Probably get some deer scent pads and have her only eat of of the pad. if she gets distracted remove the food and the pad until the next meal time. That way she will be nice and hungry for the next meal. Eventually she will really associate the deer smell with food and you can start adding a trail before the food. then longer and longer trails and then turns. just don't free feed or feed her with out having her work for it anymore.
If you want tracking that should give you a good start. Im sure there are people with more experience that can help.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-17-2016, 01:06 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by girardid View Post
whatever it is that you decided to do you don't have to wait until she is a year old. I have no idea how to track for deer but i assume its not too much different than ipo tracking in terms of getting her started.
Probably get some deer scent pads and have her only eat of of the pad. if she gets distracted remove the food and the pad until the next meal time. That way she will be nice and hungry for the next meal. Eventually she will really associate the deer smell with food and you can start adding a trail before the food. then longer and longer trails and then turns. just don't free feed or feed her with out having her work for it anymore.
If you want tracking that should give you a good start. Im sure there are people with more experience that can help.
That is a great idea! I will look into that. I am wanting to wait for the year mark because we still working on basic obedience (were almost done!) and she still has a couple behavioral things were working on. So I'm thinking a year is a good reasonable goal to begin actively working towards it.

However feeding with deer scent should be easy enough that we can start doing soonish

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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-17-2016, 01:20 PM
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It really depends on what you think you might enjoy and what she shows an aptitude for. Whatever you do, you'll be doing it together, so pick some things that interest YOU, and see how she does. Does she like to swim? Try dock diving. Is she agile and athletic? Agility might be the perfect sport. Does she like to retrieve? Flyball is tons of fun! She's probably old enough to take nosework classes right now. There's also lure coursing and sprint racing.

No matter what that turns out to be (and it doesn't have to be just one thing, it could be several), you'll need a foundation of basic obedience, so start working on that now. A lot might depend on the resources near you too. What kind of training facilities are in your area, and what sort of classes do they have?

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-17-2016, 01:36 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Cassidy's Mom View Post
It really depends on what you think you might enjoy and what she shows an aptitude for. Whatever you do, you'll be doing it together, so pick some things that interest YOU, and see how she does. Does she like to swim? Try dock diving. Is she agile and athletic? Agility might be the perfect sport. Does she like to retrieve? Flyball is tons of fun! She's probably old enough to take nosework classes right now. There's also lure coursing and sprint racing.

No matter what that turns out to be (and it doesn't have to be just one thing, it could be several), you'll need a foundation of basic obedience, so start working on that now. A lot might depend on the resources near you too. What kind of training facilities are in your area, and what sort of classes do they have?
We are almost done with the advanced basic training now, I'm in Dallas so there are a lot of options near me, its just narrowing it down. She has shown an aptitude with her nose.

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 06-23-2016, 11:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cassidy's Mom View Post
It really depends on what you think you might enjoy and what she shows an aptitude for. Whatever you do, you'll be doing it together, so pick some things that interest YOU, and see how she does. Does she like to swim? Try dock diving. Is she agile and athletic? Agility might be the perfect sport. Does she like to retrieve? Flyball is tons of fun! She's probably old enough to take nosework classes right now. There's also lure coursing and sprint racing.

No matter what that turns out to be (and it doesn't have to be just one thing, it could be several), you'll need a foundation of basic obedience, so start working on that now. A lot might depend on the resources near you too. What kind of training facilities are in your area, and what sort of classes do they have?
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We are almost done with the advanced basic training now, I'm in Dallas so there are a lot of options near me, its just narrowing it down. She has shown an aptitude with her nose.
I agree with Cassidy'sMom: Go with what she shows she likes or seems to be good at.

For what it's worth, I didn't do anything but obedience with my dog until she was nearly 2. She had pano, so that was part of it, but the more I got into obedience (we've been training continuously since she was about 10 weeks old), the more I saw it as necessary life skills and we focused on training and getting our first title. We've eased way off on obedience now; we still attend class weekly, but any effort I have time to put in is dedicated to Nosework, which we also do weekly.

The advantage of waiting was that I had extra time to get to know my dog as she grew up, and I observed her natural behaviors and tried to extrapolate what she might do well. I noted that she doesn't enjoy most agility-related activities. We may still try an intro agility class just to build her confidence with jumps, but I don't expect her to excel or even to have fun. I wouldn't continue that with her unless she surprises me and likes it.

We tried herding, and I had a blast, but I don't think that will be a strength for her; she kept trying to cut one of the poor ewes out of the flock, which is not at all the object of the game.

One of the most consistent things she has always done is keep her nose to the ground whenever she's allowed. She loves "finding" games and would live with her nose to the ground if I let her. So scent-related activities it is. I put her in an intro Nosework class and she took right to it. She loves it. And it was one of the most fun moments of dog ownership to put my dog in a search area for the very first time and watch her just light up and switch on like she never had before. If you know your dog - you'll just know when something is a fit. I knew after that first night we'd continue in Nosework for fun even if we don't compete (but I plan to try titling her if she can pass her ORT).

Look for training clubs or working ranches in your area that do fun days - you can "sample" activities for an afternoon and get a sense of how you and your dog would like them. That's how I was able to try herding and how I'll try barn hunt.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 07-25-2016, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by WateryTart View Post

The advantage of waiting was that I had extra time to get to know my dog as she grew up, and I observed her natural behaviors and tried to extrapolate what she might do well.
No need to wait, really - trying a bunch of different sports with my first rescue dog was what bonded us! Especially tracking - I really learned to read his body language and respect what he was trying to tell me. If I'd have just stuck with obedience for the first year I had him, I would've said he was a jumpy dog who didn't perform well in front of peers tracking/SAR, as well as therapy dog training, really helped him gain confidence, and helped me respect him.

(Obviously until a puppy is 18 months or so, do jumping/sustained running on soft surfaces only.)
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-10-2016, 02:48 AM
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I too have considered training my boy to track wounded deer, cool! I did some research on it, and from what I gather you want to train them to track the blood rather than the deer itself because you don't want them tracking other deer trails when you're trying to find the wounded one in particular. I'm in the same dilemma, six months old and doing well with the basics and I just can't decide on which direction to go as far as dog sports.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-10-2016, 03:41 AM
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No need to wait, really - trying a bunch of different sports with my first rescue dog was what bonded us! Especially tracking - I really learned to read his body language and respect what he was trying to tell me. If I'd have just stuck with obedience for the first year I had him, I would've said he was a jumpy dog who didn't perform well in front of peers tracking/SAR, as well as therapy dog training, really helped him gain confidence, and helped me respect him.

(Obviously until a puppy is 18 months or so, do jumping/sustained running on soft surfaces only.)
NO JUMPING at all at 18 months! It's too rough on hips and elbows which haven't fully developed yet.

You'll want to X Ray at 24 months to make sure all is well.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-10-2016, 12:03 PM
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My advice is, go to clinics or classes and try stuff. I discovered my pup has a major affinity for dock diving, he jumped almost 15 ft his first time up there lol.

I think it is fun to mix things up and it keeps them from getting bored or burned out. We have just decided to take a little break from Rally trials and track and dock dive till the season is up, while I brush up on some Rally exercises he isn't finished on for the next level. He got his 1st Rally title but I am not moving him on till he is stronger at some of the moves. So dock diving till Oct and practicing Rally at home.

We are also training tracking but it has been hot and I can't work with him unless I can get out really early which is hard. I do not think he will be ready for a tracking test this fall so going at a casual pace there.
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