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Discussion Starter #1
Does anyone have anecdotes regarding GSDs doing well at IPO despite having no "papers" and no known IPO-titled ancestors?

There's a Schutzhund club near me and I thought this would be a great activity for a puppy I plan to get soon (about 4 weeks from now), but the club member I talked to seemed discouraging when I used the phrase "neighbor's puppies". He felt that a dog with titled parents would be more successful, and I agree that chances for success are probably better. BUT...

I can't quite get to a place where I spend at least $1500 on a puppy yet without knowing if I'LL enjoy IPO training and can be a decent trainer.

I've read schutzhund books, been all over this and other forums/websites, and there's plenty of conflicting info.

What would some of you say are good indicators of a puppy's/young dog's penchant for IPO? I'll try to evaluate the pup's characteristics as best I can and have fun with him/her no matter what, but it would be nice to have the GSD do what he was intended for!

Thanks!
 

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Unless your dog came from a breeder that focuses on working ability, not many random dogs from random breedings will do well in IPO.

The club member probably didn't want to get your hopes up too much, but most GSDs from "neighbor's" breedings, even people breeding their pet papered dogs with titles going back a couple of generations in the pedigree have probably lost their drives.

It is so disappointing when your dog won't even bite a rag, tug with a helper, or just quits in the middle of obedience because they mentally couldn't handle staying focused. People join with really high hopes, and don't understand why their dog isn't like the other dogs in the club.

That said, just about everyone in my club started with inappropriate dogs for the sport. I joined with a mixed breed I adopted from the pound! We did as much as we could, we both learned a lot, developed our bond, had a ball, and earned some titles - even getting High in Trial tracking.

The exposure and hands on experience I got working my mixed breed gave me a good insight on what drives are, why they are important, and what I wanted in my next dog, which was a tremendous help in choosing the breeder for my next dog.

So be ready to struggle and work hard and have fun. Who knows, your pup may surprise you!
 

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I have never done IPO, and the clubs around here would frown on less then royalty in their midst. But I have fostered several rescues that have gone on to train as detection dogs, patrol dogs, service dogs and SAR dogs.
It just improves the odds if the pup has been purpose bred for something.
And as Castlemaid touched on, an awful lot of BYB dogs suffer from weak nerves.
But, go for it. One never knows and I have found some shockingly good dogs in some unlikely places. Stay realistic and don't be disappointed in the dog. Think of all the learning you get to do.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
To be clear, what I'm getting from your reply, and from my short conversation with the IPO club guy is that:

1) If I have my heart set on doing Schutzhund and working toward getting an IPO title, my (and my dog's) chance of success is increased by getting a pup/dog bred from IPO titled parents.

2) If I decide to take a neighbor's GSD puppy, I can do the best I can to evaluate a pup at 8 weeks with regard to temperament/drives, but attaining IPOx is going to be less likely. Maybe just "un-possible". My focus then should be on gleaning what I can from tracking & obedience, maybe not being able to do much if any of the protection phase, and just be satisfied with that.

Is this correct? My decision trees are growing new branches!

What I really do NOT want is a hyper, unhappy, fear-aggressive dog. If Schutzhund is not realistic or appropriate, what would be some alternative and comprehensive outlets for all the dog's drives? What would a good, constructive outlet for his aggressive drive be?

Thanks again!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for your reply! I'll read more about "weak nerves" and see what indicators to look for and avoid.
Things would have been so much simpler if the neighbors had not so kindly thought of us and offered us a "free puppy"! :)
 

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When you get the puppy, see if he'll chase a toy or ball and bite it when he catches it. Take him out in your yard and spread some food around on the grass and see if he'll sniff around hunting for it. Hold some food in a loose fist and see if you can guide him around with it and how determined he is to get it. There's no real guarantee of anything, I spent a lot of time with 3 different dogs that for different reasons were never going to pass all 3 phases, but there's always a chance for any dog to let you have some fun with it as long as the club is welcoming and willing to spend the time with you.
 

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The IPO Schutzhund population around here is a rough crowd. I bought a dog with all the lineage, but the clubs around here are WAY too extreme in the judgmental/perfection department that I have no interest in getting involved. If we don't do well, the attitude will be "tsk tsk, such a great dog wasted on an inexperienced handler who has no business owning that dog" I HOPE that is not the case everywhere, and I do see evidence from clubs in other parts of the country where they all seem supportive, like a family. I see mixed breeds happily participating and it seems like hobbyists that just want to have fun with their dog are warmly welcomed. Not here though.

Since having 2 disabled kids AKA real problems that break your heart that you work hard at, I have ZERO tolerance for stuff that is suppose to be fun but is in fact back biting, in fighting, and all around catty (doggy- catty lol)

If I were you I'd go start watching before you get the pup and see what they are like. They may have said what they said because they didn't want you to be disappointed, or they may have said it because they are snobs about dogs from untitled lineage. Did they punctuate it with "but it will be fun anyway and good for your relationship with your dog" ? Or did it have a "you won't belong here" air about it? That is what I would be assessing if I were you.

If you do not get a good vibe, then look to other things that are not as rigid like agility maybe? Good luck :)
 

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Just for a little different perspective about clubs, its not exactly the same as paying for a service. Maybe its partly because as I get older, I value time quite a bit, so if others commit their time to me I'm pretty thankful. If they don't want to for any reason, I understand. They don't owe me anything. Maybe too, because I'm pretty thick skinned, I don't mind being criticized and I laugh along when I'm made fun of. If you want to work and train a dog in IPO or any other formal venue I've done, its helped me.
 

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If you are truly interested in doing IPO, think about the "long game". Both my husband and myself started out in IPO with rescue dogs...neither one set the world on fire, but we had so much fun with them and got hooked on the sport. My club is very welcoming to anyone interested, so there are clubs like that out there.

Honestly, there is always a waiting list to get into the club but it isn't the quality of the dog that keeps people out, it is the person that determines if they are invited to visit and participate. People with good attitudes and work ethics, that show up on time or early, help set up, stay for the entire training and show a good faith effort are much more likely to be invited back. People with great dogs and crappy attitudes might be tolerated for a while, but never make it for the long haul.
 

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Go try it out and have fun! Yes, there is more of a probability that the dog will excel when it has the lineage and comes from titled parents, etc, but there's never a guarantee. I have a WL female from a great pedigree (Czech border patrol lines and some really nice DDR dogs thrown in there) and she could have not cared less about the sleeve. Exceptional OB, but just didn't care about the rag and would rather chase a ball. So who knows, maybe your dog will have what it takes to be a good learning tool, like others in this thread have said. Maybe they don't set the world on fire, but they show up and give you good experience so you know what to look for next go 'round.

Just have thick skin. In my experience with clubs, there is a lot of looking down on dogs that aren't from hardcore working lines. I currently have a WGSL dog that gets nitpicked and scowled at, but I don't care and I'll laugh along with the jokes. I know what he's got and that's all that matters. Be confident in what your dog can do, take the good advice and ignore the criticism when it's not helpful. Also be ready to do a lot of training on your own, at or outside the club and don't get discouraged when something doesn't happen right away. For instance, Wolf and I just started bitework the other day and he wouldn't bark at the rag or the dummy. Good intensity and would hang on like a bear when he bit (we were lifting him clear off the ground) but just wouldn't bark. It was discouraging right then and there, but I knew I could fix it because I know my dog and know how to encourage the behavior I want out of him. So I took him and did some one-on-one rag work and had him barking after one session. Just know your dog, have confidence in him, know his limits and have fun.

And I definitely agree with ploss, show that you're interested and willing to learn, and people will come around and the good ones will help you out.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Were those 3 different dogs from parents with IPO titles?
You've made a good point that I should be sure not to lose sight of: HAVE FUN!! Otherwise, neither I or the dog will get anywhere! What would be the point?
Thanks!
 

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I like your attitude and I agree with you. You hit upon a concern of mine that I hadn't yet admitted to myself: that of receiving 'judgement' from club members that an otherwise good dog was "wasted" because I wasn't a great or even very good trainer!

I think I read people pretty well, even over the phone, and maybe the guy was busy, just home from work or tired, but he seemed discouraging. Don't know if he was being realistic and trying to dampen my expectations, but if it was me I'd have just said something like "Sure, start some training per (Book X), and bring your 'free puppy' out when he's x weeks/months old for an evaluation. Come see what we do in the meantime!" I didn't get a happy, welcoming vibe.

He invited me out to the practice field, but I got the same kind of impression you did. This club was focused on trials, and people with "regular" dogs and a non-competitive attitude were likely to take up too much time.

I think I'll do as you suggest and look for alternative tracking/obedience/agility activities to be involved with. I like the idea of IPO but if I don't enjoy being around those IPO club people, I'd lose interest quickly.

Thanks for your helpful answer.
 

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Does anyone have anecdotes regarding GSDs doing well at IPO despite having no "papers" and no known IPO-titled ancestors?

There's a Schutzhund club near me and I thought this would be a great activity for a puppy I plan to get soon (about 4 weeks from now), but the club member I talked to seemed discouraging when I used the phrase "neighbor's puppies". He felt that a dog with titled parents would be more successful, and I agree that chances for success are probably better. BUT...

I can't quite get to a place where I spend at least $1500 on a puppy yet without knowing if I'LL enjoy IPO training and can be a decent trainer.

I've read schutzhund books, been all over this and other forums/websites, and there's plenty of conflicting info.

What would some of you say are good indicators of a puppy's/young dog's penchant for IPO? I'll try to evaluate the pup's characteristics as best I can and have fun with him/her no matter what, but it would be nice to have the GSD do what he was intended for!

Thanks!
The nice thing about Schutzhund as a recreational activity with your dog is there are 3 phases. Bitework is the part where dogs, even some GSDs, might not be suitable. However, tracking and obedience are the other two phases and I've even seen Labs and other atypical non-working breeds do it. There are Labs that can outtrack GSDs. So given a dedicated handler I can see a BYB GSD having a high probability of doing the tracking and obedience phases. The only way it won't work is if you have a BYB GSD that is so environmentally skittish and reactive that they just can't be off-leash in public. If the neighbor dog's parents are not like that, then you might be able to have fun with your dog,
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Time IS valuable. It's a finite commodity! As we get older and have less of it to spend, its value only increases.

I totally accept that I'd be paying for trainers' time, helpers' time, chip in for equipment costs, "rent" etc. I also understand that their time spent with ME means less time spent with someone else. They don't know me or my level of commitment, and to be honest, I can't say that I do either. Not right now. It looks more and more like I should pursue other alternatives and maybe "stay in touch" with IPO to see if my interest increases, or if I stay satisfied with other training activities and dog sports.

Thanks for YOUR time answering my post! :)
 

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I'll consider what you've said. In many aspects of my life I'm all about "the long game" and you're right about keeping that in the forefront.

I got a not-incredibly favorable impression of the club (chairman? head trainer? president?) based on just one phone call, and since the training field is only 15 minutes from my house, it won't be a big deal to go out there at least once or twice to either confirm my initial impressions, or gain a new, more complete perspective of the club and/or its members. If nothing else I'd stay in touch in case I discover that my dog could possibly do well (or well enough) at this sport, or if I decide I love IPO so much that I HAVE TO look for a more apt dog.

Thanks for responding!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
What you said has been very helpful too and reinforced the fact that great pedigrees don't always mean success at IPO! However, you kept your priorities straight and always continued working with your dog and encouraging him instead of giving up.

I think my path is becoming a little clearer. It looks like I should find the puppy out of the neighbors' litter that best suits my husband and me, find out what his strengths and weaknesses are, build the former and mitigate the latter, and just enjoy spending time with the dog!

Only one day being a member and look how helpful the forum is already!

Thanks!
 

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Honestly, getting a good read on the pups' parents has been hard. The sisters who own the dogs are private people, which is a neutral statement. They're not weird or paranoid. They're nice and my husband and I like them. (Since their bitch had the pups, we have seen those neighbors more in the past several weeks than we have in the past 10 years!)

I don't think that the dogs (there are 3) go out among the public much, but are taken for walks in the early morning through a nearby woody sandpit, and driven around in a truck. Otherwise, they hang out at the house on the small "farm" property. I figure that they bark an appropriate amount for GSDs that don't see "strange" people often. The bitch barked for a while when I came in to see the pups, but after a few minutes she settled down and even got up behind me in an armchair to lie down. She licked my hand when I offered it, and let me pet her some, but was otherwise aloof. This, from what I understand in all the reading I've done so far, is pretty much how they're supposed to be.

The sire and dam aren't litter-mates, and both are (I think) bicolor GSDs that the sisters wanted to breed because "(the sire and dam) love each other". So there's "free puppies" now and we were kindly offered one.

And I suppose that I could always fall back on the neighbor's promise to take back the pup if something just doesn't work out, though that would be hard to do.

I'll do my best with evaluating the pups for a good match, training positively and building the pup's confidence, and see how it goes. The forum looks like a great place for helpful advice, so in the meantime I'll work on MY skittishness ;) and try to relax and enjoy a new chapter of life...with a dog!

Thank you!
 

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Honestly, getting a good read on the pups' parents has been hard. The sisters who own the dogs are private people, which is a neutral statement. They're not weird or paranoid. They're nice and my husband and I like them. (Since their bitch had the pups, we have seen those neighbors more in the past several weeks than we have in the past 10 years!)

I don't think that the dogs (there are 3) go out among the public much, but are taken for walks in the early morning through a nearby woody sandpit, and driven around in a truck. Otherwise, they hang out at the house on the small "farm" property. I figure that they bark an appropriate amount for GSDs that don't see "strange" people often. The bitch barked for a while when I came in to see the pups, but after a few minutes she settled down and even got up behind me in an armchair to lie down. She licked my hand when I offered it, and let me pet her some, but was otherwise aloof. This, from what I understand in all the reading I've done so far, is pretty much how they're supposed to be.

The sire and dam aren't litter-mates, and both are (I think) bicolor GSDs that the sisters wanted to breed because "(the sire and dam) love each other". So there's "free puppies" now and we were kindly offered one.

And I suppose that I could always fall back on the neighbor's promise to take back the pup if something just doesn't work out, though that would be hard to do.

I'll do my best with evaluating the pups for a good match, training positively and building the pup's confidence, and see how it goes. The forum looks like a great place for helpful advice, so in the meantime I'll work on MY skittishness ;) and try to relax and enjoy a new chapter of life...with a dog!

Thank you!
Are you sure you want to do this? Getting one of those puppies will just encourage the neighbor to keep breeding her 2 dogs because they love each other.
 

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Under more ideal circumstances, you'd have the knowledge of the breeder who'd have been observing the litter for 7 weeks to help guide your pick. This isn't the route I'd go for a puppy, but if you're going to, see how much time you can spend observing the pups. Don't look for shy or sweet. Look for confident, curious, out going, happy to play with you. And in general what you see at 7 weeks is what they are.
 
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