Preparing for our first trial. - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-13-2012, 02:20 PM Thread Starter
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Preparing for our first trial.

Versailles turns a year in 7 days, and we weren't planning on trialing until November or December for our BH. A girl in my club did not pass the BH with her dog last weekend, so it looks like we're going to take a trip out to California at the end of June and shoot for our BH's then. I am very excited, but this leaves me with about 3 months instead of 8 that I thought I had, so I am a little nervous!

I am just curious as to what people would refocus on if they had the chance to. We have NOT done our long down at all... I was thinking about going to Petsmart, parks, and places completely quiet and practicing with and without extreme distraction. Does this seem like a good idea?

I am also a tad worried about the traffic test. Since I can put her in a sit/platz next to me when people/dogs come up, I am not worried about that. However, she can be pretty vocal so I need to start working on tying her to a fence and going inside and having a dog walk by. I have never put her in a situation like that (seriously, who ties their dog up and leaves them?) so I'm not even sure how to do that. I will definitely work on it with my training director, but I'd like to get as much advice as possible.

Proofing the sit/platz in motion.. she is very good at both of them but will still decide that she is going to do the opposite one when asked. I know I need to work on this a LOT, but besides just doing sit/platz/stand exercises do any of you have any tips on really imprinting the word into the dogs head no matter what?

I think that's all my major concerns. She drive is very nice and her heeling I'm not too worried about. I just want to do well if I'm driving out for a weekend to trial.. but I feel 3 months is certainly enough time to proof her. Just means the retrieve that we've been working on has to go on the back burner for a while I suppose.

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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-13-2012, 03:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaina View Post
Versailles turns a year in 7 days, and we weren't planning on trialing until November or December for our BH. A girl in my club did not pass the BH with her dog last weekend, so it looks like we're going to take a trip out to California at the end of June and shoot for our BH's then. I am very excited, but this leaves me with about 3 months instead of 8 that I thought I had, so I am a little nervous!

I am just curious as to what people would refocus on if they had the chance to. We have NOT done our long down at all... I was thinking about going to Petsmart, parks, and places completely quiet and practicing with and without extreme distraction. Does this seem like a good idea?

I am also a tad worried about the traffic test. Since I can put her in a sit/platz next to me when people/dogs come up, I am not worried about that. However, she can be pretty vocal so I need to start working on tying her to a fence and going inside and having a dog walk by. I have never put her in a situation like that (seriously, who ties their dog up and leaves them?) so I'm not even sure how to do that. I will definitely work on it with my training director, but I'd like to get as much advice as possible.

Proofing the sit/platz in motion.. she is very good at both of them but will still decide that she is going to do the opposite one when asked. I know I need to work on this a LOT, but besides just doing sit/platz/stand exercises do any of you have any tips on really imprinting the word into the dogs head no matter what?

I think that's all my major concerns. She drive is very nice and her heeling I'm not too worried about. I just want to do well if I'm driving out for a weekend to trial.. but I feel 3 months is certainly enough time to proof her. Just means the retrieve that we've been working on has to go on the back burner for a while I suppose.
We're doing our BH in mid april, so I feel your pain, so little time, so many things to tighten up. My advice for the tie-up is small steps. Start with 1 minute, then 2 building up slowly until she can handle at least 5. I put Maggie in a down stay (untied) at the entrance to the dog park and disappear out of site for at least 3 minutes, before returning. Also when I'm working in the front of the house, she is in a down stay but tied to a tree. Our street is quite busy so lots of human and dog traffic passing constantly. She is calm but interested in all that passes.

The sitz/platz decision, my girl used to platz sometimes when I would ask her to sit, she has figured it out now but basically don't reward the wrong choice and don't correct the choice, just take the dog back to the start and repeat the exercise. I also do multiple sit/platz in continuous order at home, sitz/platz/sitz/platz so she's hopping up and down like a kangaroo :-), usually no more than 4 in a row, but it's clear she knows which I mean. I also never reward a slow sit/platz, I completely ignore her if the sitz/platz is slow.

Don't drop the retrieve, keep working on it, I work maggie daily on dumbell retrieve over jump, voraus, platz from distance, butt swing into fuss, etc, mostly foundation stuff because the bh stuff can get a bit boring for them. You can be polishing one technique while laying the foundations for others.

I presume you are doing IPO/BH, so I'm sure you know that the sitz/platz has become much easier. It always starts with a sit, then pause then platz for the platz in "motion". You can always encourage the sit with a little backwards pressure on the collar, though be careful not to overuse as the dog will wait for the leash pressure as an indicator for the sit.

Regarding "who ties up their dog", I do it all the time. When I hop into the beer shop, or the bank or when I am laying a starter track. I'm never far away, though and I can usually keep a visual eye on her even though she may not see me.


For me, the heeling is the part I'm working on most. We walk/hike a lot so I've allowed her to heel very loosely (especially over uneven ground). She heels fine but just not close enough especially on the turns. I've been working on competition style heeling (I don't see the practicality of it, but it does look good and it is a challenge for me and maggie to overcome together) for the past week and have made good progress. She will look at me while heeling for shorthish distances (30 ft or so) in a line. I'm working on building distance.

Good luck!
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-13-2012, 05:08 PM
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Good luck and I found with my pup to work also on the fast and slow pace heels for that can be a place for a problem to occur . Also work on the long down since when I trialed the other dog did get up from the long down and lost points. Also try and be prepared that everyone including you will have nerves and the dog will feed off of it. I can also recommend work on the horn and the bike rider and jogger going both ways by your dog. Also I have seen dogs that did poorly on the checkin with the judge so that is another one to think about practicing.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-14-2012, 01:48 PM
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I would say that if everything comes together in time, go for sure. But I wouldn't sweat it. It's no fun cramming for a trial. If you have any worries that you would pass, just wait for the original date that you were pointing towards. Good luck!!!

Cinzar's Dark Shadow Too (Ruger) CGC, RN 1/8/05
SG Quinn Z Old Farm (Cues) IPO 3, KKL 6/7/09
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-14-2012, 01:48 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you guys! I practiced my long down during training last night and it went well. She broke when the other person called their dog from a long down, but I corrected her, put her back in position, and we did it again and she stayed. Then I made a huge deal about how good it was and put her back in the car.

Thank you for the advice.


Edit: We posted at the same time!

I know she will be ready in 3 months - we have been working at this since she was 8 weeks old It is just a matter of fine tuning and making sure we look good (I'd hate to waste a trip to California and not pass).

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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-14-2012, 02:07 PM
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I was kind of in the same situation as you are now with my dog. Our trial date was changed and we had to cram for his BH. The judge that was at our trial emphasized very strongly on the fact that the BH was mostly a temperament test, so the flashy-ness of the obedience exercises wasn't the most important part of the trial. Rather, the relationship between the handler and dog, and the general obedience of the dog was really the whole point, (but obviously all judges are different - this was just my experience.)

That being said, I would say not to enter unless you have her long down pretty bomb-proofed by then. I think a lot of judges are pretty lax on taking points for the rest of the routine (as long as the dog isn't running around like a spaz doing its own thing), but the down is really important an has been a deal breaker for quite a few people going for their BH.

As someone else also stated, make sure that you won't have any problems with reporting in or the traffic portions either. I have seen a few people who really hadn't worked on it, and their dogs reacted unfavorably in response. I also believe now that the rules say that your dog must allow being touched by the judge or something like that? Not sure of the exact rule, but that can also be an issue for some people who overlook it.

Be as calm as you can and have fun! Try and remember that failing isn't the end of the world and that it happens to many people and very often. Don't stress out and good luck!

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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-14-2012, 02:14 PM
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Don't forget- you'll need to show the judge the tattoo in the ear. Even if you have no tattoo in the ear. ;-)

Practice this, because a lot of dogs will wonder why you are suddenly grabbing their face while someone looks on.

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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-14-2012, 02:39 PM Thread Starter
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Three months should be enough time to bomb proof the long down. The major concerns I have are the long down and tying her up.. both of which my training director has told me he will help me with. She is a very smart dog.. it doesn't take much for her to realize what is and is not acceptable (and tell you what, she makes me look like a great trainer! man, I love good genetics).

I did not know that about the tattoo.. I knew they had to scan her microchip. Interesting! She is a very sweet dog.. zero aggression towards anything in her body, except when doing protection in which case she is pretty fierce ha! So I am not worried about the judge touching her etc. as she loves people and we already have to calm her down with new people as is. I have her sit in fuss position and remain seated until she is calm, then let the person approach her. I tried shaking hands the other day with my mom and she did just fine.

She is a great female and I can not wait to show her, I just hope I don't mess her up with MY nerves!

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-14-2012, 02:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaina View Post
Three months should be enough time to bomb proof the long down. The major concerns I have are the long down and tying her up.. both of which my training director has told me he will help me with. She is a very smart dog.. it doesn't take much for her to realize what is and is not acceptable (and tell you what, she makes me look like a great trainer! man, I love good genetics).

I did not know that about the tattoo.. I knew they had to scan her microchip. Interesting! She is a very sweet dog.. zero aggression towards anything in her body, except when doing protection in which case she is pretty fierce ha! So I am not worried about the judge touching her etc. as she loves people and we already have to calm her down with new people as is. I have her sit in fuss position and remain seated until she is calm, then let the person approach her. I tried shaking hands the other day with my mom and she did just fine.

She is a great female and I can not wait to show her, I just hope I don't mess her up with MY nerves!
I thought I'd have trouble with tying Aiden up to, but when it came down to it, he was too concerned about staring at the place that I "disappeared" to and nothing could have broken that focus. I think that's how it goes for the majority of the dogs.

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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-14-2012, 03:38 PM
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I did a first dry run at the traffic and tie up, yesterday, with my buddy (who is also trialing in april). He had his dog tied down and hid behind his car. I was waiting on the road (at the edge) with Maggie as we were going to do the other dog pass by portion. Maggie was in sit position on the road and I was between her and the fence. About 50 bike riders suddenly came out of nowhere and all zipped past us in one long line. Maggie didn't flinch. So I guess she's probably ok for the traffic-Bike test :-)

I couldn't have asked for a better proofing test.
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