Questions of a rookie - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-08-2012, 04:38 PM Thread Starter
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Questions of a rookie

I recently bought a Working German Shepherd import from a breeder, she cost me about 1500. The main reason I spent the money was because I did not want to worry about health issues like the hips at all and I wanted a nice looking dog.
I bought her at 10 weeks and she is 9 months old now. I've taught her numerous things, tricks, discipline you name it. The more I look into it though, the more I want to get into bite training, Schutzhund and all of that good stuff. I just wanted some information from good people that knew what they were talking about.
Now I love my dog the way she is but if I get her bite trained, would she be different at all? Would I have to worry about uhh pretty much walking around with a weapon that can potentially discharge at any time?

What exactly is Schutzhund? I have researched it and I kind of understand, but what IS it?
And how would I get started, I recently found a club nearby within an hour which I am willing to drive. Now my dog knows nothing, nothing at all about bite training. She is just a very obedient and well trained dog. Would contacting the club be a good idea??

ANY extra information you want to throw in there even if it has nothing to do with my Qs, please feel free. I just want some god advice, thanks!
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-08-2012, 05:03 PM
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This is what I was told by a helper (that was said to be very good). You can't "train" a dog to do bite work for Schutzhund. Either they do it or they don't. You can foster drive.

I had a male years ago that hadn't been on a field. He went onto the sleeve immediately. He thought it was a game, and from what I have been told, with Schutz., it *should* be a game. He didn't see the helper as a threat, and was raised to be around children and strangers. Never had any issue with him before or after. However, there were many people there that had dog aggressive and people aggressive dogs. They liked that, they wanted that. Why? I have no idea. There's a huge difference between having a dog that will react to a threat and having a dog that's just aggressive to everyone. I have heard that many Schutz. dogs will not protect their handler in a 'real life' threat, though. There's no 'sleeve' to go onto, and they don't know what to do as the 'helper' wasn't viewed as a threat. Personal protection dogs have a different mindset. They *do* see the helper as a threat. The protection gear is hidden, so they aren't "sleeve trained" and will respond to a 'real life' threat appropriately. However... dogs have to be evaluated for this.

Yes, you can have a dog that will do bite work for schutzhund yet be a good dog in public. Heck, my dog was wanting to be petted by the helper after being on the sleeve! A club would be a good idea, BUT I got a big cold shoulder from that arena so far. I don't know if it will be any different with my new pup. I did with my previous male what you did. It wasn't until he was older that I thought about doing sport with him. I think part of the problem with the clubs that I faced was that I didn't go when he was a very young pup. However, he was also judged to be a 'show dog' and dismissed outright by the first club I went to. He was a WGWL, though. I hope you have some luck. There are people here who do sport with their dogs... and I think it's a great thing for the dog if they enjoy it!

Wrath of Grim z Dragon
"Mr. Grim"- Threaten my handler. I dare you.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-08-2012, 05:18 PM
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Hi! I live in Gainesville too. There is a member on here that used to live in Gville too and was in a Schutzhund club. I have the contact info somewhere in my PMs if you're interested, PM me. It would be worth going and checking them out and seeing what they do.

ADCH Mikko (USDAA) SCH-B; (NADAC) EAC, EJC, TN-E, TG-E, VerO; (AKC) NAJ, CGC; (NACSW) NW1 - 9 year old GSD

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-08-2012, 05:23 PM
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Go to that club, have your dog evaluated. You'll be a little behind the ball as many people start with their puppies at 8 weeks of age, but you can definitely still do it. The only thing is that Schutzhund is a huge time commitment. When I thought about going into it, if you want to do it competitively, you will have to dedicate a lot of your free time to it. Some people will tell you otherwise, but if you are a competitive person and you plan on titling/trialing you will pretty much have to forget about a lot of your other hobbies.

Most clubs love new members and won't have a problem evaluating your dog. It doesn't take much time. Go and see what happens, talk to the members and see what is required of you, if you can dedicate yourself to that lifestyle, go for it!
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-08-2012, 10:38 PM
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Your story sounds so much like mine- Got a German WL because of the hips and I wanted healthy dog. Didn't raise mine with the intention of Schutzund either. When Dooney was a little over a year old (Easter of this year) we went to a trainer that does Schutzhund, protection, and police K9 training.

Dooney is actually a BETTER dog for this training because OB is such a HUGE part of it. Mine is more Protection than Schutzhund, it is not a game for her, she is serious and isn't playing around.

Be forewarned --the PERCEPTION of your dog will definitely change. My own mother is not exactly happy about Dooney's training- I keep trying to get her to come to a class to see what it really is all about, there is a lot of misconception by people who aren't familiar. Also, another thing to keep in mind is your home or renters insurance- those that do allow GSD's aren't going to want a "trained attack" dog.

And they are NOT kidding when they say be prepared for the rest of your life to revolve around training- I fondly refer to it as the "Dark side" I got sucked in and I can't get out. It is VERY addictive but it is also very rewarding.

I also didn't have much luck with our local Schutzhund club either I have to drive an hour to my trainers place- so just keep looking and keep trying. Good luck!!

Wendy
Dooney Von Pell- GSD 01/25/2011
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Skye- WGSD 1991-2007
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-08-2012, 11:09 PM
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I just had my 11 month old GSD evaluated for schutzhund and she did fine. In the initial evaluation they are looking for the prey drive mostly. They had us in the middle of the field, told me how to hold her(so I wouldn't fall when she lunged), and they put the pole with the toy(flirtpole) in front of her to see what she would do. They look at the temperament, how friendly with people? Reactions to other dogs? They had me do some obedience with her to see where she was at. Then they put that all together and tell you what they think.

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-08-2012, 11:22 PM
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My dog enjoys Schutzhund protection, but it is NOT a game...

Diabla Boroluz, my Daemon; IPO-A1, RH-T A
Akela de Poputchik, my Direwolf; IPO-2, Kkl1
Calais vom Adler Stein; IPO-A1, Kkl1
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-09-2012, 12:18 AM
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The best thing about Sch training is that if you do it properly, you end up with a balanced and well trained dog cause you MUST work the tracking, obedience AND the protection work.

Find a club and go watch to think about joining.






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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-09-2012, 03:06 PM
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I would like to echo what many have already said - especially about getting out to the club would be a first great step.


Now to answer your questions:


"Now I love my dog the way she is but if I get her bite trained, would she be different at all? Would I have to worry about uhh pretty much walking around with a weapon that can potentially discharge at any time?"


This all depends on the dog and the training - I hate to give you such an equivocal answer, but without seeing her I couldn't tell you how she would react.


For example, I have seen some dogs become more confident through good training, and these same good helper/trainers may turn away unconfident dogs and their handlers from protection work because they knew that there was little way to make sure these dogs with their handlers could be reliably safe. On the other side of the coin, I have repeatedly seen inexperienced/less skilled trainers/helpers make dogs more unstable. You have to know your dog and your trainer/helper.


"What exactly is Schutzhund? I have researched it and I kind of understand, but what IS it?"


I think I may understand your "IS" question - it all depends who you ask. For some it is a breeding test and evaluation of breeding stock. For others it is a marketing scheme (my cyncism is showing). For most it is a way to be active with their dogs and hopefully to compete in the sport.

"And how would I get started, I recently found a club nearby within an hour which I am willing to drive. Now my dog knows nothing, nothing at all about bite training. She is just a very obedient and well trained dog. Would contacting the
club be a good idea??"

For people brand new to the sport, I think finding a club with a good trainer/helper is the only way to really start in the sport. Good foundation work done in drive and genetics will produce what you see in an older dog out at the club.


Early training in Schutzhund is not necessary - just good work and good genetics.

My recent personal experience with two GSDs has proven this once again. Two unrelated people with two unrelated GSDs, ages 3 and 4 years, came out to training for the first time.


The 3 year old is a great agility competitor, but his owner had never trained in Schutzhund and prior to coming to the club he was never introduced to a pillow (and certainly not a sleeve). His first time out he struck the bite pillow so hard he nearly took it from my hands; his second time out he was driven to bark on his own; and by the third session he was doing the start of the bark and hold and was biting a sleeve (with a hard, full, calm grip).


The 4 year old's owner was familiar in the sport and had dabbled in it over the years, but she had done little with the dog. I have worked him twice: first session he punched the pillow like he was shot from a cannon, and in his second session he was on the arm (high quality grip) and showed a nice rythmic bark (start ofthe bark and hold).


Would I like to tell you like so many helpers that this was the result of all my great work? Sure I would (I also have some swamp land to sell you), but the reality is that these are dogs that were properly raised and have good genetics.


If your dog likes to play with toys and will play with everything, everywhere, you will have no trouble, other than finding the right person/people with which to work.


I started in Schutzhund in Gainesville and can recommend a top notch trainer there that actively trains and competes - I will PM you the details.

Bianka vom Eisernen Loewen IPO3, CGC, TC 1-3-08
Cade vom Eisernen Loewen IPO1, CGC 3-25-09
D'Artagnan (Tag) vom Eisernen Loewen BH 2-2-10
G Aiko von Burkndeiros SchH 3, IPO3, FH, TC, KKL2 9-17-02 (Retired)


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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-09-2012, 11:07 PM
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If your dog has the correct temperament, and you stick with the training all the way through the IPO3, you will have a dog that is more well trained than 99% of the dogs in society.

This number is probably higher than 99% maybe more like 99.99% of dogs in society. Most people cant even teach their dog to sit, lay down or stay.
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