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1. While I was reading a hopeful link in the Archives about Shutzhund training, something the writer said made me stop and think for a moment.
5. boost your dog’s confidence – only confident dog will dare to run at his maximal speed. Make sure your dog knows he is World Champion before you let him do his first jump.
How do you boost a dog's confidence? It's gotta be more than just showering them with affection and praises, right? Is there anything else in particular that you should do to raise their self confidence?

2. I found a book about Shutzhund theory and method, I wanted to know if anyone already owns this book or would recommend it to a curious beginner such as myself. =)

Amazon.com: Schutzhund: Theory and Training Methods (Howell reference books) (9780876057315): Susan Barwig, Stewart Hilliard: Gateway


3. How long does it normally take for a dog to complete their Shutzhund trial? From the tracking all the way to the protection part of it.

4. Has anyone -gulp- failed a Shutzhund trial before?

5. Shutzhund seems like it could be both the most exciting and the most frightening part of owning a GSD. Did anyone have trouble working up the courage to go to their first Shutzhund club or trial?

6. I'm a little apprehensive to jump into Shutzhund right away, but I WOULD like to try it. Is there something a little less demanding that I could try, just to gain more self confidence in myself and my dog?

7. The obedience part of the training seems particularly hard. I watched a few Shutzhund videos, and noticed it contains lost of turns and keeping track of paces, as well as keeping the dog on the proper side of you at all times. For those of you who have experience in Schutzhund, on a scale of 1-10, how would you rank the Obedience portion on difficulty?

8. I keep hearing that raising a Shutzhund puppy is 'a nightmare', but having a Shutzhund dog is fantastic. Is this because there are special rules or guidelines you have to follow when raising a puppy for Shutzhund? If you haven't raised a puppy for Shutzhund, and your dog is already full grown, does that make it more difficult for the dog to be trained in Shutzhund?

9. What's it like your first day at a Shutzhund club? Was there anything that was particularly difficult or scary for you?

10. Anything simple that I could try with my dog to prepare for Shutzhund training? Any advice over all on how to get started with this? Any helpful websites would be great! Thanks to everyone in advance! :)
 

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These are excellent questions I haven't seen answered in previous posts. Sort of a more personal up close view that a few of may have been touched on briefly. Though I don't have plans to be involved with Shutzhund I'd be interested in hearing answers to these questions myself.
 

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People/dogs most certainly do fail at trials but it's more of a 'you tried and better luck next time' kind of thing. no hard feelings, no one judges you or your dog and people clap for you anyways. I felt exactly as you did... For sure it CAN seem daunting but after you go to a few trials you see it really isn't that big of a deal - not usually even that many people that are spectators.

I recommend going to a trial or two in your area and check it out; get a feel for what it would be like. If you still feel like it is something you want to do, I would then get in touch with a club or two in your area. Most have some type of website so you can easily email them, touch base and ask them the questions you have. It will be a great way for you to get a feel for how the people are and get to know them better. All from the safety of your computer.
 

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Here's the perspective of someone just one year in.

1. While I was reading a hopeful link in the Archives about Shutzhund training, something the writer said made me stop and think for a moment.
How do you boost a dog's confidence? It's gotta be more than just showering them with affection and praises, right? Is there anything else in particular that you should do to raise their self confidence?
I will leave the actual training methods to the more experienced handlers, but I got some good advice about day to day stuff in raising a puppy. A lot of people, make the mistake of coddling their puppies and trying to shield them from anything that they are unsure of. For example, if the puppy if a household noise makes them cower or act unsure, the owner will pick them up and pet them and speak softly too them. What that teaches the puppy is that they have a reason to be afraid. Instead, help the puppy confront the sound. So, if it is the dishwasher, you act confident. Speak with a regular tone and have the puppy approach the dishwasher WITH you. Let him smell the dishwasher, give him some treats. Show him that there is nothing to be afraid of. As he continues to experience and conquers fears, he will become more confident.

The other way you can build confidence is during play. When you play tug, let the puppy win the majority of the time. Just make sure that you control when the game starts and stops.

2. I found a book about Shutzhund theory and method, I wanted to know if anyone already owns this book or would recommend it to a curious beginner such as myself. =)

Amazon.com: Schutzhund: Theory and Training Methods (Howell reference books) (9780876057315): Susan Barwig, Stewart Hilliard: Gateway
I checked that one out of the library. It was informative, but outdated. The book I learned the most from is Training the Behavior by Gary Patterson

3. How long does it normally take for a dog to complete their Shutzhund trial? From the tracking all the way to the protection part of it.
Dogs don't compete all phases back to back. The phases are scheduled at different times during the day, or even on different days. I have never timed it, and am not good at estimating time, so I will let someone else jump in on the time for each phase.

4. Has anyone -gulp- failed a Shutzhund trial before?
Yes! Even the best handlers and dogs have things happen that cause them to not get passing scores. I haven't participated in a trial yet, but I know that there will be times that we don't get good scores even if we are really well prepared. I think of it like an figure skater. You can be the best out there and still fall on your butt in the Olympics.

5. Shutzhund seems like it could be both the most exciting and the most frightening part of owning a GSD. Did anyone have trouble working up the courage to go to their first Shutzhund club or trial?
I wouldn't say that SchH itself is "frightening", but trying anything new can be. If you are interested, go check it out. What do you have to lose.

6. I'm a little apprehensive to jump into Shutzhund right away, but I WOULD like to try it. Is there something a little less demanding that I could try, just to gain more self confidence in myself and my dog?
If you decide that you want to participate in SchH, get involved now. Get plugged in to a good club where people can help you. It is possible to mess up your training enough that your dog that your dog will not be successful. I've owned and trained 3 dogs prior to starting SchH and nothing could give me enough confidence. It is so different, you just have to get out there and do it.

7. The obedience part of the training seems particularly hard. I watched a few Shutzhund videos, and noticed it contains lost of turns and keeping track of paces, as well as keeping the dog on the proper side of you at all times. For those of you who have experience in Schutzhund, on a scale of 1-10, how would you rank the Obedience portion on difficulty?
I think it is hard to rate. Performing after training is not difficult. Training the mechanics is not particularly difficult. What I find difficult is addressing the drive levels, attitude, and precision. This is something that is not usually address in other types of obedience training. But, again, if you are in a good club, people will help you.

8. I keep hearing that raising a Shutzhund puppy is 'a nightmare', but having a Shutzhund dog is fantastic. Is this because there are special rules or guidelines you have to follow when raising a puppy for Shutzhund? If you haven't raised a puppy for Shutzhund, and your dog is already full grown, does that make it more difficult for the dog to be trained in Shutzhund?
There are a few threads about raising a puppy for SchH, read them. You will see that not everyone agrees on how to raise a puppy. IMO the reason people say that is the notion that SchH puppies shouldn't have rules or be corrected. People fall in different places on the continuum of how many or what type of rules and corrections. From the perspective of someone who started with an older dog, for my next pup, I will actually have more discipline (mostly in the area of drive containment). None of the house rules that I taught Bison have interfered with his training so far. But, I understand that the methods used for house training can make a difference. When you are looking for training resources, look specifically for advice on training a "working" dog. Ask questions on the forum, and get in a good club. (I am starting to sound like a broken record here)

9. What's it like your first day at a Shutzhund club? Was there anything that was particularly difficult or scary for you?
I read the club rules before going. I met the group at the tracking site. I was greeted warmly by the club president who explained the plan for the day. I mostly observed and asked a lot of questions. The club members introduced themselves and talked to me about my dog. At the end of the day, my dog was evaluated for protection work and I was invited to visit again.

10. Anything simple that I could try with my dog to prepare for Shutzhund training? Any advice over all on how to get started with this? Any helpful websites would be great! Thanks to everyone in advance! :)
This is one of the best sites I can think of, but it would also be helpful to read the rules so you have a good understanding of what is required for the different routines. I wish I would have read them earlier in the process because it would have put things I was learning in perspective.

http://www.dvgamerica.com/2004VDHEnglishVersion-1c.pdf
 

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1. While I was reading a hopeful link in the Archives about Shutzhund training, something the writer said made me stop and think for a moment.
How do you boost a dog's confidence? It's gotta be more than just showering them with affection and praises, right? Is there anything else in particular that you should do to raise their self confidence?
You must believe in your dog and be confident that your dog will do the right thing, that he is the best. This attitude will feed "down the leash" to your dog. Your posture, how you move, your attitude all tell your dog how you are feeling and if you are confident your dog will also feel confident.

2. I found a book about Shutzhund theory and method, I wanted to know if anyone already owns this book or would recommend it to a curious beginner such as myself. =)

Amazon.com: Schutzhund: Theory and Training Methods (Howell reference books) (9780876057315): Susan Barwig, Stewart Hilliard: Gateway
That is a good book. It is rather outdated in many ways, but there is excellent information.

3. How long does it normally take for a dog to complete their Shutzhund trial? From the tracking all the way to the protection part of it.
Depends on the size of the trial. Say you track at 7:30, do obedience at 9 and then protection at 10:30, you would be done by 10:40. That would be a small trial. Most days you arrive at 6:30 AM, track at 7:30 and finish sometime in the afternoon. Regional and National events run for 3 days.

4. Has anyone -gulp- failed a Shutzhund trial before?
Many people. It isn't the end of the world.


5. Shutzhund seems like it could be both the most exciting and the most frightening part of owning a GSD. Did anyone have trouble working up the courage to go to their first Shutzhund club or trial?
Yes, though once I made my decision to visit clubs there was no looking back. I had trialed dogs and shown horses before starting in SchH so trialing for the first time didn't take much more courage than normal. :)

6. I'm a little apprehensive to jump into Shutzhund right away, but I WOULD like to try it. Is there something a little less demanding that I could try, just to gain more self confidence in myself and my dog?
You might look into Rally or obedience, but if you would like to do SchH go visit some clubs and go watch some trials.

7. The obedience part of the training seems particularly hard. I watched a few Shutzhund videos, and noticed it contains lost of turns and keeping track of paces, as well as keeping the dog on the proper side of you at all times. For those of you who have experience in Schutzhund, on a scale of 1-10, how would you rank the Obedience portion on difficulty?
As far as remembering what to do or the training? I have also done AKC obedience and found it far more stressful. Different, but in many ways more difficult.

8. I keep hearing that raising a Shutzhund puppy is 'a nightmare', but having a Shutzhund dog is fantastic. Is this because there are special rules or guidelines you have to follow when raising a puppy for Shutzhund? If you haven't raised a puppy for Shutzhund, and your dog is already full grown, does that make it more difficult for the dog to be trained in Shutzhund?
I find it to be a lot of fun. We allow the dogs to be a bit freer in how they act. Don't inhibit, but channel the energy into productive activities. I allow my dogs to be pretty rude, but also expect house manners (since my dogs are also house dogs). I redirect the young dogs and puppies instead of correcting them for behaviors I don't want (like counter surfing) and I crate them when I can not watch them.

It can be done though it also can be more difficult mostly because the dog's drives will have been squashed a bit. If the dog has the right temperament, nerves and drives, though, I would still try.

9. What's it like your first day at a Shutzhund club? Was there anything that was particularly difficult or scary for you?
I was welcomed by some very nice people who took me out and showed me how to start my dog in tracking. Then I walked tracks, talked dogs and training. They asked me my experience (I knew the one member's wife from my obedience club), they met my dog, etc. The second club I attended the next day wasn't as welcoming. More hard core. Funny, I ended up a member of the latter club about 12 years later.

10. Anything simple that I could try with my dog to prepare for Shutzhund training? Any advice over all on how to get started with this? Any helpful websites would be great! Thanks to everyone in advance! :)
Go visit some clubs. That is the best way to start. Ask questions, but most LISTEN. Advice, have fun. Love your dog no matter what. And one of my most favorite quotes said by one competitor to another, "this is a SchH trial, it is not life or death. Someone at your door with an Uzi, now that is life or death." :)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you all for your answers, and for answering so quickly! =) I've been coming back to reread each of the comments just to make sure I don't forget anything! I did have one quick little question though;

You might look into Rally or obedience, but if you would like to do SchH go visit some clubs and go watch some trials.
what's Rally? And I wouldn't mind giving Obedience a shot! It sounds like fun!
 

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Thank you all for your answers, and for answering so quickly! =) I've been coming back to reread each of the comments just to make sure I don't forget anything! I did have one quick little question though;



what's Rally? And I wouldn't mind giving Obedience a shot! It sounds like fun!
Just google UKC Rally or AKC Rally. You will find a ton of information.
 
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