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)
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.