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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-02-2018, 02:38 PM Thread Starter
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First Time..

Working with a sleeve. At least I think that is a sleeve..or is it a bite pillow? IDK lol He worked at tug with a helper once a few weeks ago, but this was his first sleeve work.

As you can tell I am completely green and found a private club I like a lot. Preemptively as info- and for no other reason than respecting others privacy- I don't name trainers or places I train. You always will find someone who has something to say, and I don't like opening up to that unless they are here to answer. Just me

I have QUESTIONS lol and I am enormously excited. I saw such a burst of confidence in my boy when he got on that table and started working it. I'm kind of hooked.

#1) I know playing tug with my dog as a reward is good...but when does it edge into me acting too much like a helper? Like, he loves the large 3 foot Gappy tug. He bites it like a sleeve. Should I stop doing that with him for now and just focus on the small reward tug?

#2) The focused heel. Ugh. My Waterloo. I had him on the Fuss command heeling nicely, but not staring at me. He is 10 months old. We are changing it up to be a focused heel when I say Fuss, so we can get our BH and maybe IPOs. I use "watch me" for eye command. Can I use the watch me command then Fuss? In other words, can I change it up so Fuss also means watch me, without having to say "watch me"? Or can I say both?

Say you have your focused Fuss down. What command do you use for just a regular heel/leash manners when you don't need him staring at you?

#3) He is suspicious and forward defensive towards strangers. He is under my control, but had I not trained him out of it he would run up to people and bark in their face. After a few hard corrections he wont even go towards the end of his lead at a person or animal, and I can tell him "watch me" if I see him getting defensive, and he does. So we are heading in a good direction with it at least. I understand that doing the bitework will build his confidence and diminish, rather that "stoke" that behavior. Anyone NOT agree with that?

#4) Genetics- the topic of so many threads. But let me tell you, I am green as can be but boy does he have his bite figured out. Was complimented on hitting hard, and full. Decent out, too (once I was showed how to out him properly). It was like once he clicked he knew what to do, and baby it felt good lol Previously it had just been me letting him win with both the small tug and larger one..and I saw the light in the eyes and the victory parade...but when he "won" against two different helpers he lit up with pride and was just contended the rest of the day. Is biting properly genetic then? The one or two times he didn't get a bite that was full he immediately fixed it. I didn't teach him that, that is for sure.

#5) Last question- the one reason I had said I was not going to do any dog sport is because of the politics. I have experienced that in hobby/paying hobby communities before as a martial artists, grapplers. People will screw another instructor's student up on purpose given the opportunity. Well, I have heard of helpers purposely screwing up a dog because they are friends with another handlers dog and this dog is competition, stuff like that. I have heard of people frying dogs for titles, I have heard of people just being iced out because they weren't cool enough or experienced enough for the in crowd, or because they thought their dog had no business being there, OR the newb had no business with that dog. My question is how prevalent is that? Is it even true?

That is certainly not the attitude where I am training. They even took time to work with my timid little pit. Very nice people who obviously love the dogs. Do I HAVE to venture out of that and into B.S eventually, if I want to go as far as we can in IPO? They trial on their home field with judges they bring in, so I am hoping to be able to avoid it. It would be a deal breaker for me. I have 2 very disabled kids...i.e I have REAL things to be stressed about in life. It won't come from a sport. I have zero desire to win stuff, like trophies or anything...can I just put titles on him without jumping into the lion's den?

Thanks in advance, and of course some pictures. I cropped out helpers so they are crappy cropped cell pics..but like I said, I respect their privacy
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Last edited by CometDog; 04-02-2018 at 02:43 PM.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-02-2018, 03:47 PM
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If you teach your dog to look at your eyes, he will wrap around you and forge.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-02-2018, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by CometDog View Post
#5) Last question- the one reason I had said I was not going to do any dog sport is because of the politics. I have experienced that in hobby/paying hobby communities before as a martial artists, grapplers. People will screw another instructor's student up on purpose given the opportunity. Well, I have heard of helpers purposely screwing up a dog because they are friends with another handlers dog and this dog is competition, stuff like that. I have heard of people frying dogs for titles, I have heard of people just being iced out because they weren't cool enough or experienced enough for the in crowd, or because they thought their dog had no business being there, OR the newb had no business with that dog. My question is how prevalent is that? Is it even true?
It's the reason I won't. I wanted to and the attitudes from the members were so horribly offensive and demeaning I said I had no further interest. But the people in this province are like that so I hope you continue to have success with your club.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-02-2018, 04:09 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Jax08 View Post
If you teach your dog to look at your eyes, he will wrap around you and forge.
I have no idea what that means lol Forge, like forge ahead? I was not into the focused heel at all, I was comfortable with a solid watch me command that he would hold even though he was walking, rather than defaulting to staring at me the minute I ask him to Fuss. Personally I think dog and handler both look like they are going to run into a tree. But I also understand that like highly stylized martial arts, nad some shooting sports, you are required to do things you just wouldnt do in real life, for points, because it looks cool? How much/long does he have to look at me wile in a fuss in order to pass BH? IPO?
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-02-2018, 04:20 PM
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he doesnt have to look at you once to pass a BH. As long as the dog stays with you and does not break long down and can do the exercises you will pass. there is also a tempermerment test and traffic test portion along with a written examination for the handler
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-02-2018, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by CometDog View Post
I have QUESTIONS lol and I am enormously excited. I saw such a burst of confidence in my boy when he got on that table and started working it. I'm kind of hooked.

That's the trouble with IPO - it's addictive!

#1) I know playing tug with my dog as a reward is good...but when does it edge into me acting too much like a helper? Like, he loves the large 3 foot Gappy tug. He bites it like a sleeve. Should I stop doing that with him for now and just focus on the small reward tug?

Use your judgement on this, as every dog is different. Most dogs differentiate playing with the owner, and training with a decoy. Some dogs as 100% serious 100% of the time, and it is better for the owner to back off and only let experienced decoys work the dog. Many dogs will adjust the intensity of their tug play to the situation. If you are uncomfortable with his intensity when you play tug with him, then try the smaller tugs exclusively so he sees tugging with you as a game, tugging with bigger tugs with decoy as work.

#2) The focused heel. Ugh. My Waterloo. I had him on the Fuss command heeling nicely, but not staring at me. He is 10 months old. We are changing it up to be a focused heel when I say Fuss, so we can get our BH and maybe IPOs. I use "watch me" for eye command. Can I use the watch me command then Fuss? In other words, can I change it up so Fuss also means watch me, without having to say "watch me"? Or can I say both?

Say you have your focused Fuss down. What command do you use for just a regular heel/leash manners when you don't need him staring at you?

I use "Fuss" for a focused heel. I trained it with a reward toy under my armpit so he is looking up at me, but staying in position so he can catch the toy when I release it.
I use "Walk nice" for a relaxed stay-at-my side heel command, where he is free to look around and I'm not as picky about position.


#3) He is suspicious and forward defensive towards strangers. He is under my control, but had I not trained him out of it he would run up to people and bark in their face. After a few hard corrections he wont even go towards the end of his lead at a person or animal, and I can tell him "watch me" if I see him getting defensive, and he does. So we are heading in a good direction with it at least. I understand that doing the bitework will build his confidence and diminish, rather that "stoke" that behavior. Anyone NOT agree with that?

Yes, agree! I've seen some amazing transformation of unsure dogs into very confident dogs due to the training. If you have a sound dog and a good trainer, it can only benefit both dog and handler.

#4) Genetics- the topic of so many threads. But let me tell you, I am green as can be but boy does he have his bite figured out. Was complimented on hitting hard, and full. Decent out, too (once I was showed how to out him properly). It was like once he clicked he knew what to do, and baby it felt good lol Previously it had just been me letting him win with both the small tug and larger one..and I saw the light in the eyes and the victory parade...but when he "won" against two different helpers he lit up with pride and was just contended the rest of the day. Is biting properly genetic then? The one or two times he didn't get a bite that was full he immediately fixed it. I didn't teach him that, that is for sure.

Yes, very much so! And he has a beautiful full bite in those pictures - you can't train a bite like that on a dog - they are born with it.

#5) Last question- the one reason I had said I was not going to do any dog sport is because of the politics. I have experienced that in hobby/paying hobby communities before as a martial artists, grapplers. People will screw another instructor's student up on purpose given the opportunity. Well, I have heard of helpers purposely screwing up a dog because they are friends with another handlers dog and this dog is competition, stuff like that. I have heard of people frying dogs for titles, I have heard of people just being iced out because they weren't cool enough or experienced enough for the in crowd, or because they thought their dog had no business being there, OR the newb had no business with that dog. My question is how prevalent is that? Is it even true?
I've no doubt that many of these stories are true! But not all clubs are like that. Just as you have found a nice group of people to train with, there are clubs and training groups out there that are very accepting and welcoming.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-02-2018, 04:33 PM Thread Starter
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I just read over all the BH test. Cool! My pitbull would need a pill to get through it though lol

What about for IPO? Does he have to stare at you like that?

If you edited the dog or the person out of a pair fussing like that, the remaining character would look ridiculous lol Not to slag the sport I just fell in love with, ha.

It would remind me of this prank:

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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-02-2018, 04:43 PM
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No, the dog does NOT have to focus on your face in IPO - They can heel in position looking ahead, and as long as they do the exercises correctly, they will pass. I've seen a SchH III dog earn their III that did not have a focused heel, but kept beautiful position throughout. The reason we train a focused heel is that once you have your dog's focus, everything else just follows naturally. And if your dog is not focused on you, the judge will probably comment about a lack of connection, but probably won't take points off unless you are competing in a high-level competition, and all the dogs are so good, the judge needs to be picky about little stuff like that.

My take on it, and I'm someone who is NOT competitive at all though, is that teaching a focused heel teaches a solid foundation of obedience and develops an amazing connection between you and your dog. I can't think of any reason NOT to teach a focused heel.

But I also think that if changing things up too much will cause issues with Valor's obedience, then don't sweat the focused heel: Stick to what works for you guys. An IPO BH routine is about 15 to 20 minutes long. The dog needs to do the heeling pattern twice: Once on leash, and once off leash.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-02-2018, 04:56 PM Thread Starter
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Great! Thanks all.

I absolutely see the benefits of a focused heel. But, since I started him with "watch me" independent of a heel, they are now two separate commands, and I believe I am not allowed to say any other verbal commands than what is on the test. Correct? Trying to turn "fuss" into automatically looking at me has caused some heeling confusion for sure. He is also leaning on me hard now (I assume from confusion..). It is almost like he was told to fuss, and he wants to do it, but he wants to look around, so he can know he is doing it if he is touching me. It is a new thing this week. Any help with that?

I will get to go to my new club maybe twice a month just due to kids and life..so doing homework in between will be paramount.

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 04-02-2018, 06:32 PM Thread Starter
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@Castlemaid thanks so much for the detailed answers!

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