Schutzhund Club visit, what am I looking for? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-27-2009, 08:10 PM Thread Starter
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Schutzhund Club visit, what am I looking for?

I will be heading to our local Schutzhund Club in about a weeks time and would like some guidance.

I am new to the "dog sport world" as most of you know so I am not sure what I should be looking for.

The first time I go I will NOT be brining Stark. I have decided to wait until I check it out myself before I bring him along.

The club's website is listed below and I would very much appreciate some feedback.

http://saugeenschutzhund.homestead.com/

What kinds of questions should I be asking? What should I look for?

Thank you for your input, it is always valued.

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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-27-2009, 08:22 PM
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Re: Schutzhund Club visit, what am I looking for?

Good call on not bringing Stark. Usually clubs don't want potential new members to bring their dogs right away. They prefer, as you are doing, for the person to just come and watch and get a feel for what training is like.

The main thing you should look for is to see if the club would be a good fit for your persnoality. Some clubs are very competitive, and personal relations fall to the wayside in favour of getting the max out of the dogs, while others are more relaxed and in it for the fun, though still training for competition.

I would look to see if people are having fun, if the members and TD is polite and positive. Do the dogs look like they are having fun? Does the club look like they are relatively organized? Are people willing to answer your questions and give you some info on what is going on.

I think you should just go with an open mind and be ready to ask a lot of questions.

Lucia


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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-27-2009, 08:30 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Schutzhund Club visit, what am I looking for?

What types of questions would be appropriate to ask?

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-27-2009, 11:36 PM
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Re: Schutzhund Club visit, what am I looking for?

Hmmmm, can't think of any specific questions to ask . . . . I guess it has been too long since I was a rank beginner.

What I meant about asking a lot of questions, is to ask questions about what people are doing as you observe them training their dogs. What is this dog doing? Why are they doing this? How can you tell that the dog is doing X and not Y? Why is the helper letting dog A get a bite almost right away, but making dog B bark for ever before he gets to bite? and so on - Asking questions will force you to think about what is going on - it can be quite overwhelming at first - but you will see that there is method to the madness in front of you, and asking questions will show the club members that your are interested in learning and figuring things out.

Specific questions would be about the goals of the club - I checked their website, and they mention that they expect their members to work towards titles - this tells me that they do not want members who just come out to have a fun day with their dogs but have no personal goals to title - and that's okay, if that is okay with you too.

My question for the above would be, what do they consider a title? Will they only take members who will work towards a SchH 1, or will a BH, or just working on Tracking, Obedience titles also be accepted? Or a SchA (Obedience and Protection parts together, no tracking), etc? I might ask about fees and dues - but just to get a general idea of what it will cost you, you wouldn't want to dwell on money too much if you are just getting general info.

I would ask about probation periods. Most clubs will want you to come out X amount of times just to observe, without your dog. Then after commiting to the club, you may be on a probation period for few months before being voted in as a full member. Probationary periods are just to make sure that you are a good fit to the club. Ask about containement requirements - most clubs will expect you to crate your dog when not being worked, and expect the excited barking to be under control as to not be an annoyance to others, and so on.

Hoping that other people can offer specific suggestions as to what questions you could ask. I don't think there is really any question that is "inappropriate". I'm sure people will be happy to help you out.

Lucia


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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-28-2009, 04:47 PM
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Re: Schutzhund Club visit, what am I looking for?

Quote:
Originally Posted By: Castlemaid
What I meant about asking a lot of questions, is to ask questions about what people are doing as you observe them training their dogs. What is this dog doing? Why are they doing this? How can you tell that the dog is doing X and not Y? Why is the helper letting dog A get a bite almost right away, but making dog B bark for ever before he gets to bite? and so on - Asking questions will force you to think about what is going on - it can be quite overwhelming at first - but you will see that there is method to the madness in front of you, and asking questions will show the club members that your are interested in learning and figuring things out.
I don't have a dog that works in protection right now but I still stay after obedience and tracking precisely for that reason. It's really a lot of fun watching the TD and the helpers make these adjustment from dog to dog. Very interesting stuff.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-28-2009, 05:00 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Schutzhund Club visit, what am I looking for?

Yes, I am very excited to go out for a visit and see everyone in action.

I am anxious to get involved. I am loving obedience and tracking with Stark so doing protection and having everything come together will be great to see!

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-28-2009, 05:00 PM
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Re: Schutzhund Club visit, what am I looking for?

I would just go and watch a couple times, and just watch. If there's an obvious question ask it, otherwise just watch. Give your mind some time to process what you're seeing and then ask.

There's going to be ten thousand questions you'll want to ask, and there's not a chance they will all be answered in one day. sometimes experience gives you your best answer too.

Confusing enough?
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-28-2009, 05:05 PM
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Re: Schutzhund Club visit, what am I looking for?

I would ask them what their goals are and how they set them. For example, do they let people come and train only 1 or 2 phases? Do they let people come once every other week or once a month? What commitment are they looking for? Our club, for example, is very laid back, yet we are looking for people who are committed to training and titling to SchH3, which means all three phases, all three levels. Not just coming once a month for "extra practice" or "to get the BH and maybe go on from there". So if you walk up and ask someone with an 8 month puppy what they are training for, they say, "the Schutzhund 3." You can be committed and focused without being super competitive at every training session.

The main thing I would look for is whether the TD is really working each dog individually. Before I got more active with the club I am at now, I had seen and gone to a few other places. One thing I did not like was seeing a TD train/work every dog the same way. Maybe a few dogs responded really well to those methods, but the other dogs looked bored or even checked out. Now I am very lucky to have a TD that is always explaining why we (as in, me, him, and my dog) are doing what we are doing, what are the alternatives and why we did not choose those, but why those might work for another dog but not mine.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-28-2009, 05:16 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Schutzhund Club visit, what am I looking for?

Quote:
Originally Posted By: LiesjeI would ask them what their goals are and how they set them. For example, do they let people come and train only 1 or 2 phases? Do they let people come once every other week or once a month? What commitment are they looking for? Our club, for example, is very laid back, yet we are looking for people who are committed to training and titling to SchH3, which means all three phases, all three levels. Not just coming once a month for "extra practice" or "to get the BH and maybe go on from there". So if you walk up and ask someone with an 8 month puppy what they are training for, they say, "the Schutzhund 3." You can be committed and focused without being super competitive at every training session.

The main thing I would look for is whether the TD is really working each dog individually. Before I got more active with the club I am at now, I had seen and gone to a few other places. One thing I did not like was seeing a TD train/work every dog the same way. Maybe a few dogs responded really well to those methods, but the other dogs looked bored or even checked out. Now I am very lucky to have a TD that is always explaining why we (as in, me, him, and my dog) are doing what we are doing, what are the alternatives and why we did not choose those, but why those might work for another dog but not mine.
You are suprt lucky, sounds like you found a great place.

I hope the one I go and check out is the same, with being new to the sport I would really like to learn all there is about it. I am definitely willing to put in the time, patience and energy needed to do this and I would like a club that will do the same for me and my dog.

There are a couple of clubs in the states that if I still lived at home with my parents (in Windsor, ON) I would check out too. Which club do you belong to Lies, if you don't mind me asking.

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-28-2009, 05:28 PM
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Re: Schutzhund Club visit, what am I looking for?

Working Dog Club of Michigan. We are working on our WDA papers (just need to send them in) so we will be a WDA club, and probably also have a second name and become a USA club as well. Our training director is training helper Ron Stokes. We started out with a LOT of prospective members (earlier this summer I was getting 3-4 e-mails a week). Now that has slowed and we have a "core" group that has outlasted and made the commitment. We are all on the same page as far as training and get along as a group (and yes, there has been drama here and there). Now that we are organized and have our training field setup (dedicated field on private property with all the blinds setup), things are going very well. We have not rushed to turn in our WDA and USA papers because we are not yet ready to hold mock trials or trials (once you officially join these orgs you need to start hosting trials and shows). It would be great to have another helper but so far we don't have anyone that is ready to make that commitment.
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