Complete Novice To SchH, So I Have Some Questions... - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-02-2010, 11:32 PM Thread Starter
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Complete Novice To SchH, So I Have Some Questions...

First off, does anyone know of any clubs in the Phoenix or surrounding areas, I tried Googling some, but I'm not sure of the results so I figured my best bet would be to just ask here.

Secondly, would it be proper etiquette to visit a club and ask if I can sit in on a few sessions (without my dog, of course) so see how things work there?

Next, I'm not certain on the age of Koda, but the Vet thinks he's between 1 and 2 years old, is that an okay age to start them on SchH training?

As far as evaluation and training goes, I'm assuming if the trainer decides that he's fit for SchH that he'll learn commands during training, correct? He knows sit and shake (shake isn't really useful for this), and that's about it (I've only had him for a very short time). He comes to his name consistently in the house and the yard, less often when there are distractions present however. He is attached to my hip in the house, but when we get outside, it's a different story, hence why I'd like to get him into SchH, for the obedience. So again, I'm assuming that he doesn't need to be going into this knowing a lot for the evaluation, as he will be learning it if they see that he's fit for the training?

Lastly, as far as his prey drive is concerned (I know that the trainer will decide if it's sufficient or not, but I'm hoping maybe you guys can give me an idea) how high does it generally need to be? He doesn't seem extremely interested in toys, though I haven't yet determined if it's because of a lack of prey drive or if it's due to the fact that I've only had him a short time and he doesn't yet know that toys are made to be played with and they're fun, haha. He has shown me that he definitely can have a prey drive when he wants, however, which scared the pants off me! We were at the dog park recently and a girl had her Yorkie in the big dog area. All the dogs got running, including Koda and this Yorkie, and in the heat of the moment he went after it. I don't know if it was play or if he thought it was lunch, but he nipped at it a few times, I ran after him like a wild woman and had to get him by the collar. It was seriously uncharacteristic for him, or so it seemed, I had never seen him do anything like that, but it proved to me that his drive can kick in at times.

Either way, I'm completely new to this whole thing, and it will be a bit before Koda gets into SchH if he's fit for it. There's a possibility that Koda might have heartworm, I had a bloodtest done at the Vet yesterday (I'm waiting on the result, I should know tomorrow, if he's positive, then this whole thing will need to wait at least a few months). If anyone can recommend a club in the area I'd like to check it out and talk to the trainer, that's the first step

Last edited by Melina; 03-02-2010 at 11:34 PM. Reason: Typo
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-03-2010, 12:27 AM Thread Starter
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Phoenix Schutzhund Club

I just found a SchH club in AZ and it's only about 15 miles from my house! That's the first step, but if I can get help with my other questions that would be wonderful!

Last edited by Melina; 03-03-2010 at 12:31 AM. Reason: Addendum
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-03-2010, 07:41 AM
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Love the way you put your edit reasons in, I decided long ago that 'reason for edit' would mostly be cause 'I'm an idiot' so don't fill it in any more!

How helpful was that to your questions? NOT! Hopefully you'll get some real help

Though I do know for ANY dog sport we take up (and truthfully everyone know dog agility is the best one of them all ) finding a great club/classes is key. Sometimes we have to search around for the best too, unfortunately for me the closest places were not the best!


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Last edited by MaggieRoseLee; 03-03-2010 at 07:42 AM. Reason: I'm an idiot :)
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-03-2010, 08:04 AM
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Of course you should visit, see how committed the members are. SchH is a sport that takes alot of time, training at home as well as going to the club a few times a week. You won't know until you visit, and if it doesn't seem right to you~ agility may be something you'd like to do instead!!

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-03-2010, 08:44 AM
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I think mostly they are looking at the temperament of your dog. SchH is not a sport for the skittish (well, really none of the sports are).

What the dog knows right now is not important. What they want to see is an outgoing dog that is not afraid of new people, strange surroundings, and loud sound (people shouting, whip cracking, they may even do a gunshot test to see his reaction).

As for prey drive, the dog has to have some. But it's really just play right now (they will have you hold the dog and a person will tease a dog with a rag or a toy to see how he reacts). The dog should be interested in the rag and want to grab it. They are testing to see how strong the drive is and also how confident the dog is playing with a stranger (sometime you see pups that play great with their owners and then turn very skittish and unsure when they have to play with someone else). When I brought Obie out for an evaluation, he flunked that test miserably. His nose hit the ground and he never looked up until they told me to put him up LOL.

Last edited by Jason L; 03-03-2010 at 08:46 AM.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-03-2010, 10:20 AM
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Yes it is appropriate to visit and watch. I think that will give you a good idea of how that particular club operates and also help you to be prepared for when you do bring your dog out.

I wouldn't worry about what you dog does or does not know at this point. In fact, I would say that until you know what and how you want to teach a new behavior to hold off. Easier to start new than to go back and try to fix things. The most important thing is probably building attention, drive, and a play relationship.

It is important that the dog has some prey drive, however, I wouldn't be surprised if it took several sessions for your dog to start getting the idea. I think sometimes it's important not to go in expecting too much from your dog when your dog hasn't been prepared to work in this kind of venue. If it interests you, you work at it with the dog you have and you learn as you go.

This thread has some good ideas.

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-03-2010, 11:32 AM Thread Starter
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Well, as far as Koda's personality goes, he's not skittish or fearful of new people and new surroundings don't seem to scare him one bit, and thus far loud noises haven't made him cringe. When I vacuum the house, I go up right next to him and he doesn't even get up, he just looks at me like, "You're coming at me with this huge, loud object that I should probably be afraid of, but nope, I ain't gonna move". At the dog park he doesn't really hang out around me, he usually runs off and does his own thing. He holds his tail up 98% of the time, which is usually indicative of a confident dog, so I'd say he's not afraid of much.

He doesn't really "play", is the thing. He'll pick up a tennis ball, look at me like, "What do I do with this thing?", walk about 10 feet and drop it. I've only gotten him to play fetch in the yard once in the 2 weeks that I've had him. As I said, I don't know if it's because he doesn't know that toys are fun yet, or if he's really not interested in them at all. The other option, I guess, is food, but he's really not food driven either. He honestly seems to just want to please me, he just wants to be near me at all times (but not in a shy, skittish way, in a loyal, I want to make you happy way..because as soon as we're out and about, he wants to explore).

If I get him going with my hands, he can get a little mouthy, so maybe he would go after a rag during evaluation, I don't know. I wonder if he wouldn't go for the training without a very high prey drive or reward drive, but just the want to please me, I don't know, I guess I'll find out in talking to a club. I plan on giving them a call today.

One more question, which might sound kind of silly, but I honestly don't know. Does the dog have to be papered to join a club? I didn't get Koda from a breeder, so I can't say with 100% certainty that he's a purebred GSD, but after posting his picture on here, everyone's convinced me that he looks purebred. I know SchH isn't GSD specific, you have Rotti's, Mali's, etc. doing it, I've even seen a video of a Jack Russell doing it, but they were still purebred, would the club shun me if I told them I didn't get Koda from a breeder and wasn't certain that he was purebred? Haha, the notion sounds silly, but who knows, people can be ridiculous!

Last edited by Melina; 03-03-2010 at 11:33 AM. Reason: Grammar Nazi
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-03-2010, 11:53 AM
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A dog does not need to be purebred or registered to train in SchH and trial at the club level. Nothing in the rules against unregistered dogs or mixed breeds.

But clubs can set their own rules regarding what sort of dogs they will and will not accept in their club. I can't think of any club that would shun an unregistered dog. Every one I know of is very welcoming to any dog capable of doing the work and handler willing to put in the effort. But there might be one out there somewhere in which case, well, you don't want to train with folks who have that sort of attitude problem anyway.

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-03-2010, 02:04 PM
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Here is the website for the Shutzhund USA site, Southwest Region Schutzhund Clubs you can also find clubs there that are in your area. The club I joined welcomed me to come and watch, I would think most clubs would. My pup is 6 months old and he just started with the training, not sure how old Koda is.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-03-2010, 02:19 PM
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As others have said, quite appropriate to come and watch without your dog - you may want to contact someone at the club and let them know when you are coming. In our club, it is a requirement that interested parties come out at least three times to watch without their dog to see if they feel they would like the training.

I started Schutzhund with my mixed breed when she was about 2 years old - Koda should be okay whether pure bred or not.


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