Schutzhund Training problem - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-06-2013, 03:15 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Bristol, CT
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Schutzhund Training problem

Hi Everyone,
I'm a first timer with this site and would like to introduce myself and my GSD "RoJo". I would also like some guidance on an issue we're currently dealing with. RoJo is 2 1/2 yrs. old and has successfully acquired his CGS Certificate, taken 1st Place in a Conformation show and received his BH-VT Schutzhund IPO title. Due to travel time and distance, we are currently training daily in a remote area for his Schutzhund I title. As a result of the location and our available time, we are not able to have another dog on the field at the same time. Listening to the folks at Leerburg who suggest that their dogs do not socialize with other people and or dogs, Rojo has not been in the company of other dogs for the last few months. As a result, we recently experienced a couple situations where RoJo was in close proximity of another dog and went over his Threshold immediately. No dogs made contact with each other, and after several attempts to regain focus, I managed to continue with out training. Given the response of RoJo, I believe he could have done real damage to the other dog. I take full responsibility for his behavior in not developing enough focus on me with this level of distraction. Typically, his response to all commands is excellent. However, since his association from other dogs is almost non-existent, I'm at a loss for direction. In his next Schutzhund event he needs to meet the judge on the field along with another handler and dog. I'm looking for any advice or guidance in redirecting his focus on me "only" in the presence of another dog. Any tools, techniques ex. (BAT) or other as well as corrections would be greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-06-2013, 03:20 PM
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to quote one of the most used sayings in teh sport

"the only thing 2 dog trainers agree on is that the third one is doing it wrong"

Go take some classes at an AKC club - get your dog to focus under distraction....the long downs and sits are in groups....wonderful proofing for the dogs

My schutzhund titled dogs all have CDs or a couple legs on them - just don't get around to alot of AKC shows - females heat always seemed to coincide with convenient AKC trials....I think the AKC work for OB helped for control tremendously.


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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-06-2013, 04:56 PM
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Hi Rick, I moved your thread out of the Welcome section (and welcome!), into the Schutzhund training section so people with actual experience can help.

I agree with Lee's suggestion - forget what you have not done in the past - focus on what you can do now to get things under control. Find other people to work with, and proof proof proof focus under all situations and distractions. At this stage, he should have enough of a base in obedience, that you can start corrections for proofing.

I don't think it matters if RoJo is reactive because of lack of socialization or some other reason - what matters is putting on-going, intense obedience work to teach self-control. I started SchH with my shelter rescue when she was 2 years old. I think she was a tied dog for the first year of her life, and reactive to other dogs. May have been lack of socialization, or just how her brain was wired, but she would focus intensely on other dogs, and be off to challenge them in a split second (and turn and growl/bark at me if I restrained her by leash, her frustration at not being able to engage the other dogs spilling over and being redirected towards me).

What fixed it is intense work with a friend and a non-reactive, reliable dog. Lots and lots and lots of obedience work on leash in a group. I went to classes two/three times a week in the winter, meeting with our club and my training partners two/three times a week outside on the field during the summer.

Don't kid yourself. It was work. Lots of work. For both of us. But it payed off. There is no 'trick' of building fun, reward-based obedience in a dog that is reactive and wants to go after other dogs. It is a matter of instilling rock-solid obedience through proofing.

Here is a picture of Keeta (second from left) working on a group long down with my training club from a couple of years ago. I went from thinking that I could NEVER trust her off leash to doing group 30 minute long downs amid distractions. People walking around, balls being bounced, tugs being thrown, people coming to get their dogs and heeling around).

Same thing with the scenario of reporting to the judge - grab your training buddies and practice the reporting in over and over and over and over. Only way to proof it.


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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-06-2013, 05:10 PM
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HI Rick, I am in CT, while I don't know much about schutzhund, just thought I'd throw out a good trainer / class that may be close to you, she has alot of dog experience especially gsd's, think you could benefit from her
Her name is Marta Bailey at

Good luck to you!

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-06-2013, 05:20 PM
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I would definitely start working on doggie distractions! Group classes (as long as with someone good) will be beneficial. Also consider going to a dog park (DON'T GO IN!) and work on focus and OB far away from the other dogs and gradually decrease distance. Hopefully he's just flexing a little teenage muscle!

Dogs don't need to PLAY with other dogs, but I do think that working under distractions is soo soo important

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-07-2013, 12:32 AM
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The best advice I could give you is to contact Julie Blanding. She is in CT last I knew. She is the best I have seen in your area.

Julie Blanding training her dog, Fred, at a Michael Ellis Seminar in Boston

How good is she? Video link posted.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-07-2013, 07:05 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Terry, The video is excellent and really zeros in on the level of focus we're trying to obtain. Any idea on how I can reach Julie?


RoJo & Rick
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-07-2013, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Rick Fitzsimons View Post
Thanks Terry, The video is excellent and really zeros in on the level of focus we're trying to obtain. Any idea on how I can reach Julie?

Send me a PM, I'll forward your message.
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