Observations from my first IPO Trial - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-06-2018, 11:02 PM Thread Starter
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Observations from my first IPO Trial

I don't do dog sports, never have. But I have trained dogs for many years, and can appreciate the dedicated training required for this kind of event! It's not minor stuff, the dogs that are titled at these events are amazing, even the ones that fail!

Rocky Mountain Working Dogs is a great club, and nice group of people.

Heidi Theis, of theisoff German shepherds was the judge, and WOW was she amazing as well. She offered great and constructive advice both to successful and unsuccessful candidates, and always always with a goal of helping them become even more successful in the future!

Dogs can be "ready" and still decide to blow off a command at the worst possible moment. One dog, who scored in the high 90s on obedience, decided during the protection test that a ball just outside the trialing field was more important than finding the helper/decoy...she brought it back on the field with her looking very pleased with her choice...

The helper is more crucial to your success than I previously understood. One dog failed because the helper accidently stepped on the dog...so, of course, the dog bit him again and didn't want to let go...hard to blame him!

I have never cared much for the focussed heel, but some dogs make it look awesome.

The BH is actually easier than I had imagined, though still plenty tough.

I hate to say it, but I find myself thinking about how much fun IPO might be...

If you haven't seen one of these events in person GO! You'll be glad you did.
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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-07-2018, 09:03 AM
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Nice post! I’m glad you had a chance to see what goes into these dogs. The sport isn’t for everyone by a long ways. It takes solid dedication. Most trials like this are planned around good weather......however the weather has its own agenda and certainly a mind of its own. I’ve trialed in pouring rain, wind so strong it felt lik hurricane. These take dogs with solid training and no fear of about anything.

I agree the prancing type heel is not right, I always lost points here because I trained with close order but a natural gate. I think it presents a “ real” dog picture, not an animated cartoon. I still Train this way even though I’m not in the sport anymore. My dog knows where I’m at all the time even though she may be looking straight ahead. Even though a few Aussies have competed in the sport, they really don’t work the way required. In other words they are at a severe disadvantage. They are herding dogs not protection dogs. The sport was developed for proofing GSD and all others are at disadvantage and have to really work harder to qualify.

Continue attending trials and training as a spectator, you may get “hooked”.

The BH looks easy but it can really fool you. If the dog has any reactivity it will come out here. I trialed before this became a mandatory test. However a similar test was done at each trial which you had to pass. It was necessary to practice this all the time. Much of my current “ street wise “ training came from experiences in this part of the sport.

Have fun.

Byron
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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-07-2018, 10:43 AM
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This was my first trial as well, and it was so amazing to see how well trained the dogs were. I liked seeing that even though the one dog completely blew the retriever and ran around the ring, the owner wasn't mad. In fact, she was laughing! I did feel bad for the few dogs that scored so, so well, only to be disqualified by one thing. It would be disappointing.

I often wonder why that flashy heel is so important. I highly doubt people are having their dogs heel like that outside of the actual trials and training. Is it to show how trainable the dogs are?

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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-07-2018, 11:02 AM
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I'll be watching my first June 30th, and my boy is preparing for BH in the Fall when he hits 15 months.

I was a scoffer of The Focused Fuss too. I learned a lot about my dog by conquering it though. It is about being able to grab and hold your dog's focus, which is an invaluable safety tool on top of awesome bonding. Once you get that eye contact it seems all other things just fall into place. We only do it for Obedience, when we go on walks I may practice it for 20 paces once or twice, but in general we are loose lead and enjoying looking around. I do notice now though, as a result of the focus we have learned, he looks right in my eyes anytime a situation arises or changes. So it taught us how to be in tune with each other.

I am a FORMER scoffer lol

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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-07-2018, 11:14 AM
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The flashy heel is in part because as people get better and better at training their dogs, it is form that starts to make the difference. And some dogs just like to prance.

I started in IPO and we got our boy's BH. We didn't go further because both my big-boy and my hubby slowed down so much in the heat! It stopped being fun. But we had an excellent training director and learned so much about German Shepherds, Dobermans, Mali and Bouvier, it was very much worth it. Our dogs wouldn't be as well trained now if we hadn't tried our hand at IPO.



Our big-boy really enjoyed the protection phase. He used to hit the helper like a tank! We never corrected him for biting and actually encouraged it with toys and tugs, so he worked with confidence! People would ask, "why do you teach your dog to bite?". We answer, "any dog will bite. We are teaching him to check with us in a biting situation, and to let go and stand down when we tell him to".


We've moved onto ManTrailing, which the dogs love and I am teaching them to run with our bike so that in the fall, they can enjoy a good trot. And trick training and urban agility. These are dogs that love going out and doing something.
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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-07-2018, 11:22 AM
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I often wonder why that flashy heel is so important. I highly doubt people are having their dogs heel like that outside of the actual trials and training. Is it to show how trainable the dogs are?
One not so obvious reason comes down to control. People don't use much of the old time, beat em into training anymore. If you're going to maintain control and attention for 10-15mins of a routine, that's something that comes along with that type of heeling.
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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-07-2018, 11:56 AM Thread Starter
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The BH looks easy but it can really fool you. If the dog has any reactivity it will come out here.
I agree, this is the one element that has kept me from signing up for the BH previously. My pup is fine with other dogs for the most part when I'm there, but I'm not yet confident in her ability to remain neutral on the tie out situation with dogs passing by...bikes or joggers or cars, no problem!

It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog. Mark Twain

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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-07-2018, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by tim_s_adams View Post
I agree, this is the one element that has kept me from signing up for the BH previously. My pup is fine with other dogs for the most part when I'm there, but I'm not yet confident in her ability to remain neutral on the tie out situation with dogs passing by...bikes or joggers or cars, no problem!
Have you ever trained a dog in drive?
I think trivializing the bh is wrong. It really is a test of the dog to perform in drive and remain focused.
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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-07-2018, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by cloudpump View Post
Have you ever trained a dog in drive?
I think trivializing the bh is wrong. It really is a test of the dog to perform in drive and remain focused.
You are correct. The BH is hard for dogs. The endurance to get thru the heeling, on and then off leash, while maintaining drive and focus takes a lot of time to build both drive and physical endurance, especially for young dogs dealing with trial environment and handler trial nerves. Neither of which you can prepare for..

If it looks easy then the handler and the dog put in a ton of work.




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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-07-2018, 01:40 PM
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If it looks easy then the handler and the dog put in a ton of work.
Yeah, and at the other end are the people that think its easy and can't understand why their dog is 6' behind them sniffing the ground, and that's the good part. Lol.

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