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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-06-2015, 04:01 PM Thread Starter
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BH Question

I'm considering going for a BH with my dog in the next half year or so and am not clear about a few things.

1. In every IPO trial video I see, when the dog is heeling, its head is practically on the handler's thigh, as it gives him utmost attention. Is this behaviour required? My dog heels great, head next to my leg, keeps position forward/back/turns/etc., but she doesn't do this constant head-up-towards-handler, and while I'll be the first to say that's very cool, I don't need it or really want to train that.

2. Speed of commands. I understand that for certain IPO events speed is critical. How important is it for BH? For example, if I do an about turn with my dog in heel, she'll turn after me and end up in the proper position, but it's not lighting quick / glued to the leg as in most IPO trial videos. Similarly, if she's out ahead of me doing whatever she does, and I tell her to heel, she jogs/walks to heel position (not the 110% speed I see in videos and other IPO dogs).

Same thing with sit/down/up/etc. - she'll execute the command, but not lighting quick. The only exception is recall after I put her in a sit or down - for this she hauls butt to get back to me.

I've no interest in pursuing further IPO titles beyond BH. As with question 1, speed is of no personal interest/need to me, but what is expected during the trial?

To be clear, I don't want her to "scrape by" to get the title. I want a clean, confident pass and will train to that level, but I'm not quite sure what that level is.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-06-2015, 04:12 PM
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Basically every exercise at every level is scored based on the willingness, attentiveness and speed of execution to the commands. You will lose points if they don't show as much speed or attention as they are capable. BH is pass/fail, and typically if the dog at least performs all of the individual exercises and passes the traffic portion of the trial, then they pass. It doesn't all have to be flashy, but you won't score as high as the flashy dogs, if that makes sense.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-06-2015, 05:18 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, GatorDog. That does make sense. I think I'll have to aim for a healthy middle ground.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-06-2015, 05:26 PM
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Aim high yuriy. Don't start off looking for less then perfect. Know the routine. Its easier to maintain your dogs attention and speed when you don't forget or hesitate in the middle of it.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-06-2015, 06:01 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Steve Strom View Post
Aim high yuriy. Don't start off looking for less then perfect. Know the routine. Its easier to maintain your dogs attention and speed when you don't forget or hesitate in the middle of it.
That's definitely the right attitude for the best results. My main concern is putting the dog through unnecessary stress for the speed-of-execution training.

The trainer I work with does this through gradually-increasing stim levels via an ecollar. I believe that's a pretty standard approach in Schutzhund. I generally have no problem with ecollar training and really like working with this trainer, but figure since I don't "need" the speed, why put the dog through that? Not that it's the end of the world or anything like that, but still. I've been fairly conflicted about which way to go ("basic" BH / absolute best BH we can do / no BH at all) the last few weeks, thus this thread.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-06-2015, 07:50 PM
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It's really up to you. If your dog can DO all the exercises, you will pass. You will not get top points, but you will pass. If your dog cannot do them (like is out of position, butt never actually touches the ground on slow sits, about turn is really awkward), then you may be in trouble if you're missing more than one exercise. I have seen people do BH's with non-traditional breeds (like a hound) and the dog obviously has been trained, but is not showing the intense focus, speed, and precision of a GSD being trained for SchH3 and competition, and they pass.

You do not have to do e-collar if you don't want to and personally, I would not start with a totally new style of training now just to get a BH, that is not necessary. I have not used any e-collar on the dogs I have done BHs with. Many people use them, but many people don't. Dogs can certainly heel and perform exercises with precision and intensity without an e-collar (and there's nothing wrong with using an e-collar if that's how you train). I would not assume that your dog is not as fast or intense because you haven't use an e-collar, or that using an e-collar will help with that.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-06-2015, 09:20 PM Thread Starter
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It's really up to you. If your dog can DO all the exercises, you will pass. You will not get top points, but you will pass. If your dog cannot do them (like is out of position, butt never actually touches the ground on slow sits, about turn is really awkward), then you may be in trouble if you're missing more than one exercise. I have seen people do BH's with non-traditional breeds (like a hound) and the dog obviously has been trained, but is not showing the intense focus, speed, and precision of a GSD being trained for SchH3 and competition, and they pass.

You do not have to do e-collar if you don't want to and personally, I would not start with a totally new style of training now just to get a BH, that is not necessary. I have not used any e-collar on the dogs I have done BHs with. Many people use them, but many people don't. Dogs can certainly heel and perform exercises with precision and intensity without an e-collar (and there's nothing wrong with using an e-collar if that's how you train). I would not assume that your dog is not as fast or intense because you haven't use an e-collar, or that using an e-collar will help with that.
I do use the e-collar, and have for a long time. It would just need to be used a lot more for the speed training.

How does this training work without an e-collar? What is used to motivate a dog to move faster?
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-06-2015, 09:25 PM
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engagement with verbal praise, tug, ball, food...lots of motivators, depends on the dog of course.

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-06-2015, 09:27 PM
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OK if you have been using it then you can certainly keep using it or change it a bit. My bad, I assumed you hadn't used it at all.

I train all the positions - sit, down, basic, stand, front - separately from heeling or motion. I use a combination of positive and negative reinforcement. Examples of negative would be how I use a prong collar and some vocal corrections, examples of positive would be vocal praise, vocal marker word, and rewards (treats, tug play, fetch play...depends on the dog). If I know I'm doing Schutzhund with a dog, then the criteria for these positions and position changes is to do it fast and correctly from the very beginning, when they learn as youngsters, rather than fixing problems later on. I'm not really competitive in Schutzhund though. A dog's motivation really depends on a lot of things...their genetics, drive, their relationship with you and the context of how you train. My young dog is not doing Schutzhund but he is in training and competing in a number of other dog sports and he is fast and has intensity because I build and cap the drive early on rather than allow the behaviors to be low or lack intensity and then try to build up the dog.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-07-2015, 12:03 AM
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My dogs respond to getting a reward after a good execution of an excercise. That's how you build speed without an ecollar. Work the timing of your reward to build anticipation.
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