No clubs in my area, need some advice please! - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-17-2009, 06:59 PM Thread Starter
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No clubs in my area, need some advice please!

So this is a dream, but I still would like some opinions and or advice.

I really want to get involved with Schutzhund but the closes club to me is over an hour away and as a student who doesn't drive part of the year it is impossible for me to train.

I have a neighbour who is not able to drive out to the club either, but has been involved with Schutzhund for a few years.

There are NO clubs in my area, nothing. I would love to start one up, particularly a schutzhund club. I know I could get the support from my neighbour (we have talked about this before) and possibly a few others in my area but where do I start?

I would like to contact someone in my area who has been involved in the sport for a long time for advice but I don't want to offend anyone. Would a club (the one that's too far for me to get too) be offended if I called and asked some questions or talked to someone about starting up a club of our own, or asked if they had members in my area who I could speak with?

I really want to compete in Obedience, Tracking and Schutzhund come this spring, but would like some guidence from those who have been doing this for awhile. I have a great trainer for obedience, but the private lessons we did for Tracking were something I could have done on my own (am still doing on my own and we are forging ahead.. i think but would like some guidance). As for Schutzhund, I want to get involved but can't.. it's fustrating.

Any opinions? Advice? Direction?

G Wild Winds Zephyr of Cognac BH, HIC, NTD, ITD, CGN, TT
Wild Winds Archangel Raphael HIC, TT
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-17-2009, 07:53 PM
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Re: No clubs in my area, need some advice please!

It takes longer than 6 months to go from Novice to ready to compete.

I drive 3 hours to train.

If you can't get to the club, often times club members are scattered everywhere, and are always eager for a new place to train. If you have land or can get permission to use land, maybe you could see if they wouldn't mind training closer and meeting up with you 1 day a week.

But you really need to find a way to go and watch and learn before even thinking of starting your own training group. There is simply too much to learn.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-17-2009, 08:07 PM Thread Starter
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Re: No clubs in my area, need some advice please!

Oh, I didn't mean me personally start a club.

I meant help organzie someone who is more experienced in my area start a club.

Get members who drive hours away to help out and get organized here.

G Wild Winds Zephyr of Cognac BH, HIC, NTD, ITD, CGN, TT
Wild Winds Archangel Raphael HIC, TT
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-17-2009, 09:59 PM
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Re: No clubs in my area, need some advice please!

Well we did sort of what you are proposing. We had a solid group of people really committed to training and titling with nowhere to go. It has taken us over a year though and we have gone through several cycles of membership and people insisting they are interested, even paying full dues and never coming back. We have gone through dozens of people and there were times I was getting 4-5 e-mails of interest a week, but now we have three people left from the original group and six or seven others that come regularly. My first official "meeting" with my club was late spring of 2008 (this was before I even had a dog for SchH) and we didn't "acquire" (for lack of a better word) an actual training helper (not just someone who has done a bit of helper work, or a trial helper, but a training helper) until a year later, late spring of 2009. Even after that it took a few more months to really develop a routine for working all the dogs in each phase with less and less instruction. Only in the past month or two are we at the point where we can show up at tracking and just go and do what we need to do without the TD instructing everyone individually, and the members who were brand new a year and a half ago can take a new member now and show them how to start scent pads, how to lay a basic straight track, etc. Now we have a great tracking location and our own dedicated field (trial size field with all six blinds permanently up).

So it can be done but it takes time and eventually if you want to get anywhere you really need a good training helper for protection. We are so, so, so lucky in that regard. Protection just isn't something you can really do on your own, and if you are brand spankin new like I am, it's usually better to stick with one training helper than trying to get your dog worked more often but by different people all the time. I think you will really also need a few people who have gone through the titling process. Again we were lucky in this regard, we have our training helper who has trained several dogs BH to SchH3, plus a few others who have SchH titles. We also have 2-3 Law Enforcement Officers at a time that come and while this is different than SchH they have decades of experience training working dogs and know the breed and the lines very well.

Jennifer Acevedo just wrote an article for the United SchH Clubs of America magazine all about finding a club, which could be helpful for what you need to start a club. Probably a good article to take a look at.

I think you can do it but be prepared for how much time and work it will take and that it may have to be something to start with your next dog. I think it's good that you are being proactive. Just because you don't have the SchH experience doesn't mean you have nothing to contribute. I have none but I do a lot for the club, things I *am* good at like the paperwork, the web site, scheduling, communications and keeping everyone in the loop, trying to keep things focused and cohesive, some photography...and I have trained and titled my older dog in several venues including Dog Sport so I can help people learn the obedience patterns and such.

Also you may change your mind about making the drive! I used to moan about driving to club once every two weeks (how often I went when Nikon was a pup) and over the summer there were weeks I went 2-3 times. If you go once a week for a full day, it's not so bad. I drive two hours each way, and our Lake Effect snow will be in full "effect" pretty soon here... If our club was closer, I'd probably be using the driving time for other things the club needs. It's a huge time commitment regardless.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-17-2009, 10:07 PM Thread Starter
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Re: No clubs in my area, need some advice please!

I am willing to wait, and do this right.

I would like to see something in this area, even if that means Stark is not the one I do this with.

How would I go about looking for a competent trainer?

I will check out that article too.

I also have talked to my breeder and she would be willing to help and possibly put up the land as well, but she is still a far ways away from what I would like.

I think we can do it if we can find the right people to help us.

Thanks Lies.

G Wild Winds Zephyr of Cognac BH, HIC, NTD, ITD, CGN, TT
Wild Winds Archangel Raphael HIC, TT
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-17-2009, 10:14 PM
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Re: No clubs in my area, need some advice please!

No prob, just wanted to share my experience lest you get discouraged!

Honestly I'm not really sure how it worked for us, we just had some great people stop in and never leave! Our current training helper came with his friend who was one of the many that contacted me about coming out to get some additional training for their dogs (they both belong to a far more well established club). They've been coming every since and we were more than happy to give them control of the training. Sometimes people come out and they may not become members but can offer a lot in just one session. Some respected people on this board have come out once or twice and helped push us along in the right direction!

So I'm honestly not sure how to go about finding a training helper, I didn't even know what a good training helper was until very recently. Hopefully the experience trainers and helpers here can weigh in...

We are very lucky we don't pay for helper work, and currently we are trying to get some interest going for one of our guys to start training in helper work so we don't have one person doing so much work (can be physically demanding, and helpers need to work their dogs too).
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-17-2009, 10:20 PM
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Re: No clubs in my area, need some advice please!

Most people have to drive at least 30-60 minutes to get to their club. Even the helpers.
At the club Lies is in(I am a member, but they now train on Sun. which I can't do regularly the helper travels about an hour, as well as many of the members.

One thing to keep in mind is the liability insurance, and fees to get it going, along with the equipment. You may also have to pay the helper.

The club I am going to now is an offshoot of another, that may be a possibility for you, to associate w/ a club and if there are alot of members, those closer to you may want to have their own training time, location, but still be affiliated w/ the original club.

Sometimes it takes forever to get thru all the dogs w/ obedience and protection when there are so many members. So some clubs cap membership because of this~
Which may entice them to get another venue going.


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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-17-2009, 10:45 PM Thread Starter
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Re: No clubs in my area, need some advice please!

Thanks Jane!

That is another good idea, I just want to learn about Schutzhund and have fun. Yes, I would like to obtain titles, but right now I am just interested in learning all I can.

Maybe I will contact the club near me and ask.

G Wild Winds Zephyr of Cognac BH, HIC, NTD, ITD, CGN, TT
Wild Winds Archangel Raphael HIC, TT
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