IPO for fun? (please read before you judge) - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-12-2013, 05:29 PM Thread Starter
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IPO for fun? (please read before you judge)

The parentheses are because I recognize the importance of diligence in training any kind of bitework. I hope my post history will show I'm not a casual owner. But, I'm not necessarily concerned with competing or titling.

So here's the full (more or less) story:

Over a year ago, I found a somewhat mature GSD pup/adolescent who was dumped in the desert. Some debate but he's probably purebred, based on local GSD folks I trust. His name is Hector.

6 months after I got him, we started SAR training. He passed the initial eval with flying colors, but washed out big time in 6 months. Basically, Hector has a naturally high drive in general, but seems to have received little to no socialization before I got him (at maybe 10 months old?) and as a result doesn't know how to function. He shuts down when he's scared, which is a huge problem in a SAR dog. He was making significant progress, but it wasn't enough to prove he was reliable in a life-or-death situation, as SAR can be.

So, now I have this high-drive dog, who shuts down in scary situations. We're doing nosework, but I'm having trouble challenging him enough with it. IPO/schutzhund interests me, but...

Is it okay if we're just in it for fun? I don't care if Hector would ever title or ever bite someone or anything like that. I just need an outlet for his drive and energy, because running/hiking with me (and I'm training for a marathon and do both regular navigational exercises and casual hiking excursions all the time, so that's a lot of exercise) isn't cutting it. I just want to get an idea of what the attitude towards folks like me in the sport are...so far it seems like they're welcome to people observing (as I have), but not so keen on recreational dogs...

The rowdy dogs:
Hector-2 y/o GSD (mix?) rescue
Scooter-12 y/o ACD/Border Collie mix
Bandit-8 y/o ACD
Wooby-14 y/o ACD
Abutiu "Abi"-ACD puppy and hopeful future SAR dog!
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-12-2013, 05:40 PM
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Define "fun", lol. For top level competitors it is fun! Do you mean not doing all three phases? Or do you mean just never trialing? You can really do or not do whatever you want based on your club and how they feel.
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-12-2013, 05:45 PM Thread Starter
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Haha, good point.

I mean, I have my dog, and I'll just take him as far as he goes. If he's a serious competitor, we'll progress. If he's not, maybe we'll never trial. I'm just thinking about trying and seeing what he does. But, since I know he has a history of not performing under stress, I want to ask opinions about that...what if he's great in training (and it gives him an outlet) but never trials? Or what if it is a 2 steps forward/1 step back scenario, all the time? Basically, how serious are y'all about progress? I know it varies from club to club, I'm just trying to get a general vibe as it's a world I'm only very casually familiar with.

The rowdy dogs:
Hector-2 y/o GSD (mix?) rescue
Scooter-12 y/o ACD/Border Collie mix
Bandit-8 y/o ACD
Wooby-14 y/o ACD
Abutiu "Abi"-ACD puppy and hopeful future SAR dog!

Last edited by RowdyDogs; 03-12-2013 at 05:48 PM.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-12-2013, 05:50 PM
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I wouldn't worry about it too much then. I mean, everyone does it for fun, right? If your dog makes progress, I don't see why you wouldn't want to title because it feels really good to achieve that, but it doesn't mean you're trying to win or make it to nationals. The reason I say this is because I have seen a lot of people excuse their dog's lack of progress (because the handler is not doing anything, not because the dog is bad) on the fact that they are "only doing it for fun" and that can be frustrating for a club that is genuinely trying to help someone and their dog make progress. If you and the dog don't make progress, then I don't see how it could be fun. Every club I've trained with and visited has had a huge range of membership experience and trial level, and every person I've trained with has adjusted their goals as they go along. Very few people have some sort of trial schedule in place before they even get started. Each time I insist I'm committed to doing something, there is something external that gets in the way (like illness, buying a house, etc) whereas the times I've trialed it was a spur of the moment decision like 2 hours before the entries close or on a dare, lol. I don't like trialing but I like when my dog gets the nod he deserves for his hard work and progress in spite of my novice-ness!
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-12-2013, 06:36 PM
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why get bogged down seeking opinion after opinion, do what feels right for you and yr dog at this time, you can always shift yr goals at a later date/s as you see fit.

the clubs themselves will be who you should be talking to as different clubs have different attitudes toward membership ranging from funners to the podium or nothing.

for the record i occaionally turn up at a club for socialisation and ideas on training but don't compete or even train regularly in the sport - one club is welcoming of this and one club forbid it, thats whats great you have choice.
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-12-2013, 06:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RowdyDogs View Post
The parentheses are because I recognize the importance of diligence in training any kind of bitework. I hope my post history will show I'm not a casual owner. But, I'm not necessarily concerned with competing or titling.

Basically, Hector has a naturally high drive in general, but seems to have received little to no socialization before I got him (at maybe 10 months old?) and as a result doesn't know how to function. He shuts down when he's scared, which is a huge problem in a SAR dog. He was making significant progress, but it wasn't enough to prove he was reliable in a life-or-death situation, as SAR can be.

So, now I have this high-drive dog, who shuts down in scary situations. We're doing nosework, but I'm having trouble challenging him enough with it. IPO/schutzhund interests me, but...

Is it okay if we're just in it for fun? I don't care if Hector would ever title or ever bite someone or anything like that. . I just want to get an idea of what the attitude towards folks like me in the sport are...so far it seems like they're welcome to people observing (as I have), but not so keen on recreational dogs...
I would get with the local clubs and see what they think. There are a couple people who train in my group and they just do tracking and obedience(and you can get titles in IPO without doing the protection phase!)
Going to the club & learning is great, and you never know, you just may end up with a puppy to work. Because Hector shuts down, he may never excel in protection, but the other two phases may be good for him.
I started Onyx in IPO, and she was a wash(protection wasn't her thing). As I really enjoyed it, I decided to continue by getting a pup to train. I didn't want to continue with Onyx because she isn't very biddable and the only thing she'd excel in is tracking....obedience isn't really her thing either

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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-12-2013, 11:07 PM
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Check out some clubs and find one that fits your goals and needs. Some clubs are very competitive and others are not. Also have your dog evaluated and see what they think. Some trainers/helpers are willing to help a dog through some nerve issues and others are not. So really, you never know until you check clubs out and try. Also be warned that it is very addicting and may make you want to be a bit more competitive.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-14-2013, 05:32 AM
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I feel like the clubs I've visited want you to commit on a training schedule. They don't want someone who shows up randomly, maybe once a month. But I don't necessarily see why they would care if you competed at trials...

Good question to actually speak to clubs in your area about. I've made it clear from day one, I have an active COMPANION that I would like to compete with as a hobby. If he does good, then great. If not, no biggy. If I fall in love with the sport, I can get another dog better suited. He wasn't first pick. I didn't purchase him for the intent of being a SPORT dog. If that's what I wanted, I would of probably purchased differently.

Agility has always interested me. As has flyball. Dock diving. Most canine sports! And luckily my training center offers most of those

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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-14-2013, 06:00 AM
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This is correct... if you don't show up on a regular basis.. participate, etc. then you won't get the magic password to join the club. Even if you *do* show up, etc. doesn't mean you'll get the magic password to join! There are some clubs (there has to be more than one, right?) who will work with whatever issues your dog has, and will do a 'pay to play' instead. At this age, the dog's temperament is probably set. However, don't forget there's also AKC tracking, obedience... and I don't know what else. There are also many other dog sports that wouldn't put any pressure at all on the dog. "Protection" in IPO isn't always "Protection" to the dog. The dog may simply see it as a game to win, and with the right helper may be able to do just fine with it. I'm finding that I don't like the word 'protection' for IPO. Why? Too many dogs that are titled and/or do IPO training would actually run from a 'real' protection scenario. I think "bite work" is more appropriate. Don't worry about your dog's faults. I'm sure you can find something that he likes to do! If one club frowns on it, just keep trying!

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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-14-2013, 06:30 AM
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It doesn't hurt to give it a try, but if your dog shuts down in even remotely stressful situations schh probably isn't for your dog. At least not protection. But it doesnt hurt to give it a go, just be prepared for an honest opinion to your dogs nerve strength.

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