Pretraining for Sch? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-08-2011, 09:35 AM Thread Starter
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Pretraining for Sch?

Can anyone tell me if there are certain types of training recommended before thinking of Schutzhund? I have a 9 month old, who I am thinking about doing this with. He comes from a mix of show and working lines, but seems to have great ball drive. (which a club president told me was important for Schutzhund)

He has been through a few obedience courses and is pretty obedient overall. Just trying to get an idea of what may be expected of the dog, prior to going for a Schutzhund evaluation? Don't want to waste my time or theirs....What should he be able to do, as far as training, prior to training in Schutzhund? Should I have very good control of him off leash? Are they expecting me to bring a dog that has absolutely zero behavioral issues (ie: small distractions when small animals walk by etc..) . Just curious!

Thanks

Sarah
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-08-2011, 09:38 AM
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You can start taking your pup to the Schutzhund club of your choice now, they typically begin at 2-3 months old with drive building, enforcing deep grip and hold, tracking foundation and a little obedience. At your pup's age, you'll be able to start some bitework. If you are planning on pursuing Schutzhund, get out there ASAP.

You don't need anything prior to joining a club - they will be teaching you from the ground up. The initial evaluation is just going to check out your pup's personality and drive level. They just want to see if he has what they need to work him. Don't worry about it, it is super simple and fun.

Good luck and have fun!

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-08-2011, 09:44 AM
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Only evaluation you would expect to show would be prey drive...sounds like he has it with the ball. If the dog is intense in playing with the ball (i.e. cant take his eyes off it waiting for you to throw it), you should have no problem with training for Schutzhund. If you loose the ball in some tall grass or a bush or something, and the dog doesnt stop looking for it until he finds it, now you have some hunt drive as well. The dog is sustained for the hunt even though the 'prize' is not visible.

You can build up the prey drive through play. With puppies you use a flirt pole. With older puppies you could still use a flirt pole, but you may want to switch to a rag on a line. The dog is teased with it, so the drive is increased. You would hold the leash, while someone else teased with the rag. You do need to let the pup get the reward of the rag, but you also want them to WANT the rag. I would just go to the club and have them do this exercise with your pup. It may take a couple times of going to get some good drive going, but once they show you how to do it, you can do it at home.

Dawn Brogan

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-08-2011, 09:56 AM
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Actually it's better to do less. Too much control and obedience can inhibit your dog's drives. I would would never expect a 9 month old to have perfect off leash control, and if one did, I would be concerned about their energy level and their drive level. Of course, it could just be a great dog too.

Remember that the dogs you see at clubs, in trial, on videos, have been in training for YEARS! Don't try to compare your puppy to to them. When you go to club, the they will be much more interested in evaluating your pup's drives and temperament than his obedience. Drive and temperament is what makes a dog suitable for Schutzhund, obedience can be trained at any time. I didn't even start with Keeta until she was 2 years old, and the reason I got her into training was to get the control - ('cause she didn't come with any, LOL).

If you are wanting to prepare you pup I'd go easy on the obedience, work on focus with distractions (start small, go slow), and make sure that he is socialized to the hilt to new places and environments. Get him comfortable to play with you completely uninhibited in all sorts of new places. Build his confidence by managing his environment so that she is always a good dog earning praise, and let him know that he is the BEST dog in the whole wide world that can do no wrong!

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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-08-2011, 03:30 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone! OK, well, I should have put in my post that he USED to have great ball drive. I decided to test it today buy playing ball (we usually play frisbee). His ball drive is not nearly as high as it was a few months ago.

I should add that he goes NUTS when I have the garden hose on and he chases the water (where it hits the ground). I've been using this to tire him out before our walks. When it comes to drive, the water is something he cannot keep his eyes off. Should I continue on with this, or do I really need to get him focused back on the ball? (if that's even possible at this point). Hey, he may not be cut out for Sch and that's fine, I'd rather find out now before driving 3 hours lol

When I had the hose out, he barely paid attention to the ball. He can chase the water for over 30 minutes straight. Like I said, completely insane over it
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-08-2011, 03:53 PM
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If he isn't that exited for a ball, you can find some other toy that he goes nuts for, like a tug, for example. What you want is to have something that you can reward him with when you train, something he will work all day for to earn the reward. For many dogs it is a ball, for others a linen tug, or a kong on a rope.
You won't be able to reward with the water.

If there is another toy he likes that will work for you, work with that to build his drive. Tease him with it, but don't let him catch it.

Playing with water won't do anything to raise his drive for a toy, because the water has to be on, and he can always catch it - to build prey drive one needs to get the dog frustrated so that they want to get the reward, and they will be focused on it. (my mixed breed loves to catch the water stream and pull the hose around, but she will still work for a tug, my GSD does not care for the hose or the water stream, but still has lots of drive for work.)

Lucia


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