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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-17-2012, 03:44 PM Thread Starter
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first trial in one week...

Hey everyone,

I was supposed to go to my first trial earlier this year (going for BH) but I missed it due to weather... now, I have a trial coming up next week.

I know we're as good as we're going to get, and I don't plan on teaching / fixing anything between now and the trial (I don't know - has anyone been able to fix a problem one week before the trial? every source I read mentioned that usually it won't happen this quickly).

My question is, what do I do with the guy this week?
btw he's 2.

Specifically:
1. Frequency - we usually do OB daily. Should I keep doing our daily OB or should I give him a break? If break, should I keep playing with him or just walks / running?
2. Duration - Should I make sessions shorter than usual? They are never really long but should I keep them really short and engaging or go on as usual?
3. Any advice in days leading up to the trial?

I know it's just the BH, but being as its my first trial (and his obviously) I want to be prepared as though we were being scored.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-17-2012, 09:34 PM
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Not speaking from experience (my first BH trial is in mid april) but I plan on business as usual each day. I'm also continuing to work on ipo1/2 obedience, dumbbell retrieve and voraus while polishing the BH stuff.
I have also started dry running the bh routine at the actual test location, once per day. I'm there anyhow so I might as well.


My biggest "dilema" is whether to exercise the dog before the trial and how much. I think I've come to the conclusion that a short 20 minute walk followed by at least 20 minutes quiet time before the trial might work well.


All my training sessions are short, never more than 10 mins. I wait for her to bug me to play (usually around 10Am each morning she "insists" I play with her), then she is most trainable IMO.

Good luck!
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-17-2012, 10:07 PM
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I would not be working on the entire routine every day. There are so many dogs who end up "memorizing" the routine and things can get screwed up in the process. I would just break it down into the main components that you know he needs more work on, and do some of that.

I did not exercise my dog before the trial because he is typically less active than most GSD's. I do know that some people do need to exercise their dogs before their trial. For the BH, I doubt it would hurt to exercise because the routine itself isn't very physically demanding in comparison to an IPO1 or some of the other higher titles.

The day before the trial I did not practice. The morning of, I just did two in motions to refresh his memory and that was pretty much it.

Biggest thing is to be as calm as you can. The dog will most likely already feel a little stressed if it's his first trial, and they can read your stress level as well. Just have fun!

Good luck!

Feuergarten German Shepherds

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-17-2012, 10:11 PM
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Biggest thing is to be as calm as you can. The dog will most likely already feel a little stressed if it's his first trial, and they can read your stress level as well. Just have fun!
Agreed

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-17-2012, 10:21 PM
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Originally Posted by pfitzpa1 View Post
My biggest "dilema" is whether to exercise the dog before the trial and how much. I think I've come to the conclusion that a short 20 minute walk followed by at least 20 minutes quiet time before the trial might work well.

All my training sessions are short, never more than 10 mins. I wait for her to bug me to play (usually around 10Am each morning she "insists" I play with her), then she is most trainable IMO.
I'm not super experienced at trials, but I'll share what I've learnt so far:

First, you train for mental endurance as much as for physical endurance. If you always keep your training sessions short, you risk the dog completely loosing concentration after the first minutes (remember BH heeling is looooong ). Maybe not, but you can't know if you never try. It is ok to keep the motivation high and finish after the dog tires of the game, but you shouldn't stop at the pic of the curve, but at the plateau, so every time that pic last longer. What I do is to do longer sessions if I'm practicing things the dog already knows and keep them short if I'm teaching something new or if the exercise is physically demanding, like doing send aways or the jump.

I also think that how much exercise before trialing depends on the dog. If you have a dog that tends to be hectic, exercise may help, if you have a dog that is more flat, deprivation works best. Personally, I'm not a fan of walking the dog before the trial because I use to be too nervous and I don't want the dog picking that from me, and... what if the dog gets unruly, do I give a correction, do I let him get away with that? How will it affect his future performance? I don't want to take the chances, at least not now that I have not a lot of experience nor my dog does.

What I do is to go to the trialing field before it starts and to play with the dog in there. Nothing but playing (I also did the send away and let her play with the jump and the A-frame with Diabla for her SchH-A, which helped a lot). It may not tire the dog, but it will give him the impression than THAT place, is a fun place to be.

Diabla Boroluz, my Daemon; IPO-A1, RH-T A
Akela de Poputchik, my Direwolf; IPO-2, Kkl1
Calais vom Adler Stein; IPO-A1, Kkl1

Last edited by Catu; 03-17-2012 at 10:26 PM.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-18-2012, 12:06 AM
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I would not be working on the entire routine every day. There are so many dogs who end up "memorizing" the routine and things can get screwed up in the process.

Good luck!
Can you elaborate on why memorizing could lead to things getting screwed up?

My training "bible" Schutzhund Obedience, Training in Drive, Gottfried Dildei/Sheila Booth has the following paragraph. This is long.. and the bolding is verbatim from original text. It seems to make good sense to me.

"In Schutshund, we are fortunate that the heeling pattern is basically the same every time. This allows us to teach Champ what to expect so he is ready for the next move. By always using the same pattern and feeding during/after each movement, Champ wants to make the next turn or change of [ace, so he is ready. To teach this keep each part of the pattern shorter than the actual exercise.

Soon Champ begins to drive you to make the move he is expecting, so he can get the food. This makes him more attentive and intense.

In a trial routine , where the movements are a little longer than in training, Champ begins to drive you for the turn or change of pace he knows is coming. When he is at the peak of attention, you oblige him by making the expected move. He learns to control what is happening and thus thoroughly enjoys the exercise.

{Piece omitted}

You don't want to trainthe pattern? Neither did we. You want your dog to do what he is told when you tell him? So do we.
We had serious reservations about pattern training until we thought it through. Why shouldn't your dog know what to expect? You and your dog are a team, learning something new together. After your dog is fully trained, ypu can alter the pattern when you so choose.

In football, you tell your team members which play you are running. It's only the other team you want to fool!
The same applies for dog training. Let Champ know what you want, and then reward him for doing it. This fosters a reliable and enthusiastic team member. You'll be way ahead of the other team too.
Does pattern training cause anticipation? Certainly. But anticipation is merely the start of learning. Working it through is a simple matter of training.
When a dog worries about what is going to happen, his mind gets blocked. He can't think. Teaching him what to expect eliminates his worry. He is free to learn.
Even when you train the "trick & jerk" method and mix up teh pattern so you can fool the dog so you can correct him, it only lasts so long. By the time the dog has gone to one or two or three trials he is ready to be competitive on SchH. III, he knows the routine. But there is no motivation for hime to perform it properly and no reward for learning it. He begins to anticipate. He gets corrected for trying to do what you have taught him. He gets confused and depressed. Just what do you want of him?
Better for Chanp to know the routine from the start and enjoy working the pattern because you give him something he likes at every turn (literally).
Some handlers say they train with motivation because they play ball with the dog at the end of an exercise. Even when we get a paycheck every Friday, we still work harder at those jobs that are instantly rewarding. Your dog enjoys his timely rewards too!
To train the pattern, you must know it first. This means walking it many times by yourself so you know exactly where you are going before asking Champ to come with you."
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-18-2012, 12:19 AM
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I'm not super experienced at trials, but I'll share what I've learnt so far:

First, you train for mental endurance as much as for physical endurance. If you always keep your training sessions short, you risk the dog completely loosing concentration after the first minutes (remember BH heeling is looooong ). Maybe not, but you can't know if you never try. It is ok to keep the motivation high and finish after the dog tires of the game, but you shouldn't stop at the pic of the curve, but at the plateau, so every time that pic last longer. What I do is to do longer sessions if I'm practicing things the dog already knows and keep them short if I'm teaching something new or if the exercise is physically demanding, like doing send aways or the jump.

Totally agree. When I mentioned training sessions were short I meant things like jumps/voraus/retrieve and the butt swing into fuss, which I do in my back yard. The BH routine (at the trial grounds) I do at regular pace.

I'm trying to build up distance with the "competitive" heeling. She heels fine normally (sometimes lags a little) but is not focused on me, that's the only part of the BH I'd like to "fix", she does everything else really well.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-18-2012, 12:26 AM
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I also think that how much exercise before trialing depends on the dog. If you have a dog that tends to be hectic, exercise may help, if you have a dog that is more flat, deprivation works best.
When Maggie has too much energy she is playful and a little defiant. For example, I do long down stays at the entrance to the dog park, where I disappear out of view for at least 3 mins. The dog park entrance is right at the edge of the bay and she looooves the water. If I haven't exercised her, she will almost always break the down-stay and jump into the water and play around and attempt to ge me to play with her. When this happens I return to the spot where she was supposed to be, turn my back on her and point my finger down at where she should be. She more or less immediately comes back and lays down where I'm pointing and I praise her. From that point on she does a proper down stay.
If I exercise her before this or let her play in the water before the down stay then she gets it right first time.

I put it down to youthful exuberance :-) but I have come to realize that she needs a little play time before any serious training.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-19-2012, 12:16 PM
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One thing I did not see mentioned is to work on recall. After all if a trial goes bad you have 3 chances to recall your dog to your side and if that does not happen you are kicked off the field. I have seen a 3 level dog have a bad trial day and the owner then had to work on the recall. I would say do a mix of ob and fun play. Also what worked for me was to play with my dog in the parking lot a bit to get him in drive before the trial started and so when we got on the field he was ready to work.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-19-2012, 12:25 PM
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In my experience, some dogs can learn to anticipate certain commands when you are practicing the entire routine every day. After fifteen steps of heeling, the dog will begin to sit or down in anticipation of the in motion commands, rather than waiting until the command is given.

The same goes for many dogs trialing for IPO1,2 or 3. People spend a whole lot of time practicing the call out and heeling to the escape, and pretty soon the dog just leaves the blind before the command is given, then immediately downs when heeled over where the escape will occur. They know exactly how it works and would rather just cut to the chase. I am all for practicing every exercise in the routine, but not for running the exact routine every time.

I just think it's better to mix it up rather than do the entire thing every day.

Feuergarten German Shepherds

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