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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-08-2011, 04:53 PM Thread Starter
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Confused about what to do..

I got my dog and she had some itching problems which were from allergies unknown and thus required a limited ingredient diet until I could figure out what was the cause. Grain. After I started her grain free diet I went to my local schutzhund club. Everyone there seemed really nice, we watched and I liked everything that they were doing. They said you have to attend like 4 sessions or so before you can fill out an application. The trainer showed me how to put a gapay on a string to increase her prey drive and how to lure her into ob positions with treats. The next time I worked on calling the dog to me with the “here” command. I was not interesting enough they said, so I worked on this the following week, which she is now great at. Every time I went, the dog was not interested in treats so the trainer said to not feed her dinner or breakfast (when I skipped just breakfast this did nothing). The dog also is inclined to go for the string when I play with it on the leash. It was not until last week (she is 5 months now) that they told me to play with a ball without a string. But when I went last week it was kind of strange because the trainer was not there and his wife who referred to me once as “so ****ing boring it’s unbelievable” approached me and basically told me that my dog was not good. She said that this is not the kind of dog anyone would pick for a working dog and that my dog does not have enough drive or interest. She was kind of nice about it but at the same time basically telling me that they did not want to take my money and expect something that was not going to happen. I do not see why this is the case. Her ball drive was better and she was crazy for the food. I did heeling with her for the first time and she said it was "actually really good". I know my dog has drive issues, but I would say that is more attributed to her slow start because of the allergy and also because I am a first time schutzhunder and many times I don’t know how to react to situations. But once I work on these things, they improve.
At first I was kind of challenged by her remarks and thought I would show her how smart my dog is, but now I feel kind of discouraged. When training my pup today I just sort of my attitude was that of a victim and defeat. I just feel like, how am I supposed to believe in my dog if she is referred to as “weak” and a pet by those I am looking up to for training advice. There are other puppies in our club right now.. and one lady who has also never done shutz. before actually purchased her dog from the trainer’s friend who lives in the Czech republic and visits the club for a few months of the year. I can tell that my dog is not as crazy about the ball as her younger puppy, but it is not a stark difference. Also last week her dogs ball drive was low and the trainers wife said that this was because of too much ob. and to not do any ob the following week. She did not even think to suggest that the dog was “weak” like she had said about my puppy. I am wondering if maybe she thinks that my dog is not cut out to be a working dog because she is so pretty. I know that you can’t have beauty and brains haha, but I just wonder because when she asked about my dog’s pedigree at the first visit I said that her grandfather was a VA1 (I didn’t know this was a show title) and I did not mention that her fathers side is all schutzhund 3 as well. She said “oh that’s show lines we don’t care about that”. I don’t know what to do now. She said she was telling me those things because she did not want me to get discouraged, only now I feel more discouraged than ever. I am not trying to be a world champion or anything. She was like “okay well you love dogs but do you know the training and dedication it takes to do schutzhund.” I said “no I’ve never done it before”. I wonder who would be able to say yes to that question if they have never done it before. I mean sure I did research and books etc but to truly KNOW what it takes? I feel like that is a question I will answer once I have a Sch3 dog. Although, I can answer that I am willing to be dedicated to the process as much as possible, or at least I was, until she made the comments about my puppy. I feel like a deflated balloon. I am good at taking criticism. In fact, I like blunt criticism because it makes me better. When she told me I was ****ing boring I appreciated that. I played competitive sports all through high school, I am used to that kind of feedback and I love a challenge so the fact that I can’t get what she said out of my head makes me think that there is something wrong with the situation. If what she is saying about my dog is true, then fine but I don’t know that it is. Instead of exploring alternatives such as she did with the other owner and her puppy (telling her not to do ob the following week) I almost feel like she has foreclosed on the possibility of my dog and simply writes off problems as weak genetics.
I live close to another club and I know of a private trainer in our area that does group classes. So now I’m not sure if I should explore other options…I really like everyone at the club that I have been going to. I am just not sure if they believe in my dog and me enough to give me the same amount of attention and thought as they do to someone that bought a Czech puppy from their friend. I explained that I am not trying to be a world champion with this puppy. But maybe someday I will…right now I am just trying to have fun. I am only 23 years old and I thought that this dog would be a good way to learn my own technique and how to address certain issues. This way, when I go to spend thousands of dollars on a dog from their friend I won’t have to waste my time and the dogs learning all the beginner technique.
However, I feel like if they are going to ignore certain learning opportunities (for me and the dog) such as with her ball drive then I won’t really have the learning experience that I hoped to have with this dog. Everything that is a problem I can use her genetics as an excuse instead of learning and I don’t want to be that kind of trainer. I don’t really have a question here, I just wanted some input from you guys and what you think about my schutzhund club experience so far. They gave me an application after telling me that my dog isn’t great because now is the time to join because I’ve already been to enough classes. I don’t know what I should do. I know these people know what they are doing because I’ve seen their dogs, so I respect their opinion, yet; at the same time my dog does not have only “pet” genetics and I feel kind of funny about everything now, including questioning people I respected. L
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-08-2011, 05:30 PM
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Short answer: if you want to join because you want to work with your pup and learn and have fun, and the club is okay with that, then I would go ahead and join. I think they just didn't want you to get your hopes up and then get disappointed later on, although they could have communicated this to you in a more tactful, less insensitive way.

Experienced Schutzhund people can tell a lot about a pup just by observing. If you can see the difference in drive between your pup and the other members pups, then they can see even more differences. Not to say that with work and dedication your pup can't do the work, but it will be more work and it can be very frustrating to see other people's dogs progress when you are working twice as hard with your own dog to get half the results. And I'm talking from experience - I started schutzhund with my mixed breed, so had some great ability in some areas, not so much in others, and I certainly was working twice as hard with her as I am with my present working line. But it was fun, we both enjoyed it, I learned a lot, she improved tremendously (our helper could not believe how much she improved, yet we still cannot get out of her what comes to the more driven dogs more naturally), we got some (minor) titles, I got hooked on Schutzhund and training in general, and got immense satisfaction from the whole process, frustrations and disappointments and all, and wouldn't hesitate to do it all over again if I were a clueless newbie all over again.

Where your pup comes from and what titles her parents have, and what allergies she had to deal with prior to starting training has no effect right now. The pup in front of you will show you if she is up to the training or not. It sounds to me like the club was being honest (again, a bit insensitive though).

So if you like the people, and want to learn, and want to see how far you can go with your girl, and the club is open to working with you, then I would express your thoughts and wishes and continue on, if the money is not an issue for you.

Your girl may surprise you and everyone else, and not make excuses for her, I think it can be a great experience

Lucia


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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-08-2011, 05:46 PM
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It can be very hard to train with people that have no faith in your dog. No one on this board can tell you if your dog will work without seeing her so, unfortunately you need to rely on others. This club may be telling you the truth based on experience and trying to keep you from wasting your time/money or feeling disappointed in your dog when she doesn't end up being suitable for SchH. They are being a bit blunt, but that can sometimes be a good thing. They also may just not want to work with dog that isn't as easy to work. I, personally, would check out the other club and maybe the trainer to see what they say. I am leery of private trainers in this area cause there are those that will take your money even if your dog is not suitable, building up your expectations that your dog can title.

Even if your dog is not suitable for SchH there are other things you can do with her so don't give up. You would be surprised at what you can achieve when you have the drive to bring out the best in your dog.

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-08-2011, 06:02 PM
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Yeah I would check out any club you can get to. Some areas don't have any and other areas are more loaded so you can choose between 2,3, 4 and all are good clubs.

Lots of people start Schutzhund and go through 2, 3 dogs before finding the right one that clicks. It's not even always the lines either. My first was a solid working line pedigree and she just didn't have the right temperament for Schutzhund. We did lots of obedience and a little tracking but that wasn't enough for me, Schutzhund is not complete to me without all three phases. You can still be active in the club and the sport and not necessarily seriously training a dog. I went to Schutzhund club for almost 2 years before I had a dog halfway decent for the work.

Also to some people Schutzhund isn't something to dabble around in. Every club has it's own culture. Some are more laid back, people can come and go, people may not ever intend to title or compete. Other clubs can be competitive or have people more serious about what bloodlines they are working.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-10-2011, 12:03 AM
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Originally Posted by lhczth View Post
It can be very hard to train with people that have no faith in your dog. No one on this board can tell you if your dog will work without seeing her so, unfortunately you need to rely on others. This club may be telling you the truth based on experience and trying to keep you from wasting your time/money or feeling disappointed in your dog when she doesn't end up being suitable for SchH. They are being a bit blunt, but that can sometimes be a good thing. They also may just not want to work with dog that isn't as easy to work. I, personally, would check out the other club and maybe the trainer to see what they say. I am leery of private trainers in this area cause there are those that will take your money even if your dog is not suitable, building up your expectations that your dog can title.

Even if your dog is not suitable for SchH there are other things you can do with her so don't give up. You would be surprised at what you can achieve when you have the drive to bring out the best in your dog.
I think that this is a really good response I hope that it works out for you
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-25-2011, 10:53 AM
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I got my pupppy from Germany and the trainer was sure the breeder gave me the "worst" one out of 5 pups. He said he didn't like him as a puppy and didn't like him at a year old. I took this as good criticism because I respect him as trainer and friend but it did not bother me. Now at 19 months, he said to a friend while we were doing obedience that **** dog could win the national championship. I only wish I was a better handler. He is a fantastic pet and just what I asked for. But one of his littler mates has sch 1 292 and sch 2 288. I love my Balko.
Paul
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-25-2011, 11:26 AM
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I think it is really hard for a newbie to the sport to find their comfort zone in a Club. Sometimes the experienced members can be tough on us, but that is when we (I still consider myself a newbie after 2 years!) have to really put on some thick skin, dig our heels in and keep working at it. I know my two dogs are not the ones I can title, so I continue to learn and have visions of a pup that I can take all the way to a SchH 3. You and your pup can learn a lot and make great progress once you find a club you are comfortable with. Don't give up!!

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-25-2011, 01:37 PM
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Your situation is not uncommon because of the way Sch, the dogs, and the training has evolved over the years. Many clubs are geared toward competitive Sch or at least the leadership is and often the trainers. There is often little patience with a dog that will really need time and an excellent dogtrainer, not sport trainer. We have a working dog club in which we have Showline Bouviers and Dobes...our training director trains dogs for a living(especially protection and obedience) and has been doing it for 40 years. I have seen him take dogs over the years that it took two months to even get a response, and three years later said dogs would pass a Sch trial. He does not like Sch of today, and often say anyone can take these high priced imported made for order Sch dogs and train them in the sport. But he takes any dog or any breed and trains them. My point is when talking last week, I commented to him about how far some of the show dogs have come, in they had little prey drive and less nerve and yet he has them doing nice SDA work. He commented these same people if they went to most Sch clubs would be washed out or shunned because it is hard work working these dogs and it really requires a dog trainer and not a sport trainer. Your story brings our conversation to mind.
My advice is if there is no other game in town then continue training if you see your dogs enjoys it and it continues to improve.
But a world of caution, if its drives that are lacking that can be worked with, if your dog is genetically shy to a point of not LIKING this kind of training, then drop it and just do obedience and tracking and fun stuff like agility or rally.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-25-2011, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by pwillow View Post
...I feel kind of funny about everything now, including questioning people I respected. L
And what is wrong about questioning people you respect? What is wrong with staying with the club for a while to use them as a stepping stone towards your very own goals?


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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-25-2011, 10:09 PM
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I never belonged to a club. Probably spent way too much money for private lessons twice a week. But I get to know the trainer, helper and others there. It is like a club. We all have very different dogs. But when I ask the trainer's opinion, he is honest and I take it for that. It may be different in 6 months. Having fun training is what it is about for me. If I could retire and train 5 days a week, I would do it. It is my only relaxation.
Paul
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