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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-21-2018, 08:16 AM Thread Starter
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Schutzund Newbs

Hello all!

I would like to pick your schutzund brains for a moment, if that is ok. First, I'll tell you about my dog. I have a 10 week old GSD puppy. She has no IPO background and it not from a known working line. She has good drive, chases everything that moves and so far, has absolutely LOVED learning new things. I have had dogs for over 30 years, raised and trained several pups into adulthood but there is something "different" about Genali. Her confidence level amazes me, she backs down from nothing, wary at times but never fearful. Even though her background is not top-notch, I'd love to give her an opportunity to show her stuff, and hopefully get some titles along the way.

I have introduced myself to a local IPO trainer, and we agreed that I would bring Genali in for a introductory session once she is 16 weeks and has completed all of her shots. This trainer is part of a local schutzund club that I have hopes of joining, if Genali passes "muster". If she doesn't mesh well with IPO, we will find something else, because this girl needs a job. She is too much dog to have just laying around, both of us would go crazy.

So, the questions for those of you who know more than me (which would be all of you):

1. What sort of training should I focus on between now and this initial assessment? How can I work now to set her up for success later?

I don't want to do anything to mess her up. She is sitting on command, knows to sit when I put on/take off her lead, sits on her own when I reach to open the crate. She is doing well at house breaking. SHe knows "drop it" and "leave it". She knows "No", but doesn't always respect the command yet. SHe is doing well at "come". She knows "look".....I have her look me in the eye before receiving any treat.

2. What can I do to set myself up for success at this initial session? What should I bring, other than the dog? Do I ask about the club or wait for an invitation?

3. Genali loves to play tug. I know that this is an important precursor to bitework. Right now, she has a long semi-stuff raccoon that she and I will tug with. When playing tug, I rub my hands on her head, neck and body and praise her when she gets a full bite on the coon toy. I do tease her a little with it, encouraging her to chase it a little before she gets her mouth on it. Is this OK? Should I stop this game until she is being trained? Or should I continue to do it? Are there other methods/training that I can use to help build her drive?

4. Any other suggestions or tips would be most appreciated. I'd really like for us to be able to do this! I do understand that the lack of a working background will work against Genali, and I am prepared to help her overcome that.

Thank you!
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-21-2018, 08:24 AM
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Engagement with you in all environmental is a good place to start. Food and toy help.

Luring with food, have her follow the food lures. Use her meals for this as it's not necessary to use treats at this age if food drive is present.

Exposure to everything with the idea that all experience is to be positive with pup coming out of it as a positive experience. I like a pup who thinks they own the world. 😉
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-21-2018, 08:50 AM Thread Starter
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THank you! Yes, she thinks the world is hers. LOL, she attacked and savagely killed a grasshopper the other day. THen walked around with it in her mouth like she was THE BOMB. Prancing and carrying on!

I do treat with her food ration. She is getting about 1/3 of her food as "treat" during the day. Is this enough? I do use a higher value treat for "come".

I do some food games with her. One is to have a treat in my hand and have her follow my hand on the floor. One is to put a treat in one hand, and have her guess which hand the food is in, she will sniff and paw at my hand. When she chooses the correct hand, she gets the food. She is quite good at this game.

When playing fetch, I work her up so that she will bark before I throw the ball. Should I be working her up like this when doing the food lures?

Thank you so much for your reply!
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-21-2018, 10:06 AM
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Don't worry about specific behaviours. Her evaluation will consist of looking for confidence, willingness to engage play with you and with the trainer, and prey drive.

I don't care how much obedience someone's dog has when they come to our club, that can be taught, and better to teach it the right way the first time.

A good trainer can tell a lot about a puppy just from observing her.
Don't think in terms of preparing her for the assessment, think in terms of building her confidence - as Elisabeth mentioned, take her out into new environments, makes sure she is comfortable enough to play with you and others in lots of new situations and places. Don't over do the tug - get her hyped up, then stop and put the racoon away, with her always wanting more - this builds drive. Get her into playing tug with a variety of different toys of different textures - if she just prefers the racoon, don't sweat it - she is still just a baby, the racoon will be fine for now.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-21-2018, 10:12 AM
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Also wanted to add, some trainers are really big into teaching an IPO puppy to bark repeatedly for everything they want, and expect that behaviour from them on a daily basis. My personal experience with this is that it affects the barking. In IPO, the barking is a guarding behaviour - it should sound like the dog means it. When trained in the context of protection, the quality of the bark is different than a dog's everyday bark. But in my opinion, dogs that have been trained since puppyhood to bark for everything they want makes for a flat, mechanical sounding bark that they now carry over into protection, and takes something away from the intensity required.

It is great to teach a dog to bark on command, but again, don't over do it.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-21-2018, 10:34 AM
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What Liz and Lucia said. Engagement, focus. You have a baby so don't get to concerned.

The helper and TD will evaluate the dog and determine potential.

Be careful what you train. IPO obedience is very precise. Sport obedience training is not the same as pet obedience.

As far as teaching them to bark, they do need to learn to bark because they will need to develop conditioning to barking so they don't gas out half way thru the routine. It's a cardio exercise. So yes, you should teach them that but they also need to be able to switch drives so that it's not flat and mechanical like Lucia mentioned above.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-21-2018, 04:43 PM
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I would ask if you can go to training now, while you wait for her be old enough to go. You'll learn a lot from observing and hopefully conversing with trainers/club members. I didn't have a pup when I first began in the sport, yet went to training and helped wherever I could.
As far as you doing foundation with your pup, there are things you can do before you go to club as far as scent boxes, rear end awareness and focus, restrained recalls, etc that won't 'mess' up the future foundation work.
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