How to prepare for BH - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-21-2016, 02:38 PM Thread Starter
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How to prepare for BH

Hi, our BH test is coming up soon and I wonder what is the best way to prepare for it? Do you walk the whole routine with your dog before you do the test? So far I have trained all the patterns separately with rewards. I am nervous that my dog will loose focus/get tired of it when the reward is never coming when the whole BH routine is so long (become a bag of sack following me). It will probably also be sometime 3 pm, how do you exercise the dog before the trial to keep the energy level up, as little as possible? How do you prepare your dog from taking it out of the car until getting ready to start (and put away the toys)?

All good hints needed!
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-22-2016, 09:29 AM
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I've been told to walk the pattern without my dog so I am confident with the pattern.
When training it is always good to get into a routine before you hit the field so everything is familiar with your dog wherever you go to train and that confidence will help the dog in strange places.
I've also been told to reward the dog at key points in the routine(during training) so the dog will anticipate that reward and it will increase the level of excitement. Just after the about turn, reward.
Halfway downfield, reward.
I would walk at a decent pace so your dog shows good stride, the slower you go, the flatter the dog may get~but make sure your dog keeps up with your pace. My dog is large, so I have to walk faster to make him look better.

Pause between your exercises so that you don't lose your dog by taking off too swiftly. If you watch IPO obedience routines by really good handlers you can see their movements, timing, etc which will help you when you do your BH.
It always depends on the individual dog, Karlo my male is a 'less is more' type, so the less we do repetitively the better for him. He stresses down when we trial, other dogs stress up and may get leaky, or be unable to settle during that long down.
I always play with tug and get Karlo ramped up before we go on the field. But I don't try to 'wear him out' with exercise before hand. It all depends on the dog.

Remember there is a written test too. So prepare yourself for knowing the politics of the USCA and questions about the GSD. As well as the rules of the sport.
Good LUCK!
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Last edited by onyx'girl; 09-22-2016 at 09:31 AM.
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-22-2016, 11:26 AM
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Walk the pattern without your dog. Walk it and walk it and walk it. Count steps, talk to yourself. Do everything you will do with your dog. Because it needs to be automatic when you get out there.




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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-22-2016, 01:07 PM
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My answer has more to do with you then the dog.

Breathe! Pace yourself! I was practically blue in the face from holding my breath the whole time. I didn't realize it and it made for a stressful me and, of course, my dog picked up on that. It wasn't pretty.

On our second attempt, I spent a lot of time telling myself it doesn't matter how we do. I love my dog regardless. Having that attitude made the whole experience that much more enjoyable.
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-22-2016, 02:47 PM
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These are some of the things we teach people that are just doing a BH for the 1st time, so they are comfortable and successful.

1. Ask your group or club to do some practice matches with you. Even try and practice on the field with a new person that you
have never practiced with. Have someone play judge.
2. Ask the club that you are doing the BH at if you can come out and do the same at the location that the BH will be held at.
We have done that for people entered in the trial, so the feel comfortable with the set up.
3. Find out when the schedule is, so you know what to expect.
4. If the club includes getting up early and driving there or staying at a hotel, do it prior.
5. Always ask the judge what they are looking for. Always look at the judge for direction during the BH and start the exercise on
his/her commands; do not rush.
6. We let people figure out who they want to be paired with (or not). :-)
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-22-2016, 02:52 PM
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I went to the school and used the band as my group. On the playground, a group of kids. I walked and walked the BH pattern alone. Just prior to it, I did a couple run thru's with my dog without any reward then I went back to rewarding him heavily.

I went to the club to practice twice so he was familiar with the grounds. My trainer told me to make sure he NEVER saw protection happening there.

When in doubt look at the judge. Look at the judge at the end of each exercise. Practice looking at the judge! It's not a natural thing especially when you are nervous. and it gives you a minute to breathe
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-22-2016, 03:56 PM
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Quote:
I went to the club to practice twice so he was familiar with the grounds. My trainer told me to make sure he NEVER saw protection happening there.
I agree with this if your dog loves the protection more than the heeling type obedience!

Karlo was thinking protection throughout most of the BH and had his eye on the helper who was standing on the hill on his phone while we were doing the routine. Because I had not often trained on a field with permanent blinds, the blinds ramped him up and he was in protection mode. We were there two weeks previously for a protection seminar so that is what he remembered.
So if you are trialing at a different club than where you train at, make sure you do have blinds set up while doing obedience at training, and not just put them up for the protection sessions.

Jane~
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-22-2016, 03:59 PM
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Everyone else pretty much nailed it. The big thing is, to get out and relax. Treat it like every other training day. If you stress out, your dog will not perform to his best. So do what you do and remember, no matter what happens, just have fun. What the dog does, the dog does. Nothing you're going to do to fix it then. So don't stress, don't get upset and just go with it. Good luck!

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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-22-2016, 05:05 PM
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Even people that have done it before practice prior. Husband practices in different locations for BHs and all IPO levels. He encourages people to do so, to get used to the different set ups, people, dogs, travel,etc.


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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-22-2016, 06:46 PM
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Everything everyone else has said PLUS, I was so nervous and had so much anxiety about it, I actually drilled my dog too much! I did that by practicing the whole routine almost every day with her! My training director told me your dog is "over trained". But he knew what a nerve bag I was, so he let it go!!

We passed with a lackluster performance

I know better now...I hope???
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