German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 20 of 27 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,451 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
170 Posts
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
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,337 Posts
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?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,839 Posts
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
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
4,821 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,595 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,451 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
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!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,902 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31,496 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,595 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,451 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
As I said, the BH is plenty tough, but easier than I had imagined based on a description I have been working from. Specifically:

"At the direction of the judge, the handler and dog go through a group of a minimum of 4 people. The handler must halt at least once in the group. The group is to move randomly."

At least at this trial the group was 4 people who remained stationary as they do in obedience trials. It was one of the things I was finding difficult to even picture, much less train for, a group of people milling about randomly... Although crowded aisles at home depot are great for weaving through randomly moving shoppers, and we practice this often.

Also on the traffic portion, from what I saw the description is a guideline, and while the main elements are all present, cars bikes joggers and dogs passing by, the actual details I imagine vary from one test to another considerably! Specifically I have been struggling with finding a bike with a bell to practice with.

"With the dog on lead, the handler walks along a street and is next overtaken from behind by a bike rider who rings a bell while passing. At some distance away, the bike rider turns around and comes towards the dog and handler. Beside the team, the bike rider rings the bell again."

My dog has no interest or problem with bikes passing in either direction, but we haven't had anyone ring a bell while passing. It's something that I wanted to practice with first, but at least at the trial I attended, the bike had no bell.

So again, still plenty tough, but some of the details from the working description I have were not implemented, making it easier than I had imagined!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,595 Posts
I'm not talking about you Tim. I mean people who actually trial thinking its no big deal, so they didn't put in the work. If your dog enters the group focused, them talking and shuffling their feet probably won't be a big deal. With all those things in the traffic portion, the judge has some discretion so that they can see what they need to see. Jumping a little bit at a bell isn't likely to fail them, but if your dog is showing something the judge determines to be questionable, he, or she, may press things a little more. The other thing that will lead to the traffic portion varying a little comes down to where the trial is. They don't go out into public places anymore, like a mall or anything, so you have to make allowances.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,595 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,451 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
I'm not talking about you Tim. I mean people who actually trial thinking its no big deal, so they didn't put in the work. If your dog enters the group focused, them talking and shuffling their feet probably won't be a big deal. With all those things in the traffic portion, the judge has some discretion so that they can see what they need to see. Jumping a little bit at a bell isn't likely to fail them, but if your dog is showing something the judge determines to be questionable, he, or she, may press things a little more. The other thing that will lead to the traffic portion varying a little comes down to where the trial is. They don't go out into public places anymore, like a mall or anything, so you have to make allowances.
Yeah, the traffic test description I have laid out several specific elements that were absent in the tests I saw. A car starting up as the dog and handler pass by, another slamming a door, and yet another pulling over and asking the handler for directions. What they did to compensate was to have a car drive by randomly honking its horn. They also did something that was not described in my BH outline, which was to have the handler put the dog in a down and then have a large group of people, ~15, crowd in close around them! Seemed like a good test of the dog's composure/stability...especially since it wasn't something handlers would have anticipated and trained for.

I definitely saw a few competitors who fell squarely into the "lack of preparation" category though. One IPO1 dog went out over the jump to retrieve the dumbbell, but instead of returning quickly he danced around the field showing it off first, then bypassed the jump when coming back. Same performance on the a-frame. Another dog failed to platz in the sendout, and instead ran in a big circle and had to be told again...that particular dog did so well on other portions that it passed! Again, it was awesome to see in person, I highly recommend it!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
60 Posts
Its a 2 part test of your dogs temperament and relationship with you to judge whether or not you can go forward in IPO. You can look up clubs and trials by area here:

https://www.germanshepherddog.com/events-new/

Thanks, I'm seeing that the Nationals will be held in Pittsburgh which is where we live. Do tickets have to be bought to these events? I've never been to something like this.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,254 Posts
I definitely saw a few competitors who fell squarely into the "lack of preparation" category though. One IPO1 dog went out over the jump to retrieve the dumbbell, but instead of returning quickly he danced around the field showing it off first, then bypassed the jump when coming back. Same performance on the a-frame. Another dog failed to platz in the sendout, and instead ran in a big circle and had to be told again...that particular dog did so well on other portions that it passed! Again, it was awesome to see in person, I highly recommend it!

I am guessing some of that is more of "my dog has never done that before." I think you would be surprised that even feeling prepared and training for years at how a dog will surprise you. Spoken from experience...
 
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
Top