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Discussion Starter #1
So after literally YEARS of waiting, we're HOPEFULLY actually going to be ready for a puppy soon! Because of that, I've been ramping up the search into training to see if I want to dedicate the time and money into SchH. I do know that if nothing else I'll want to work towards titling in tracking and OB, but I'm on the fence with protection since I'm not positive I'll want to fully commit to it. Because of that, I've been talking to a couple trainers at a local club and we're actually going to go out and see them train tomorrow! I'm really excited to be able to go out, talk to them more, and make some connections for when we do eventually get our puppy. But as far as actually seeing the training, I don't REALLY know what I should be looking for!

So, any ideas of what a novice to the sport should look for when watching other people train? Thanks!
 

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I watch the dogs at least as much as I watch the people, and I look at their attitude as the #1 thing in deciding whether I want to join a club.

What I want to see -- because this is what I hold as my own foremost goal in training -- are happy, engaged, focused and precise dogs being handled in ways that I would be completely comfortable using with my own dog. If the dogs don't look like they're having fun, or they're being handled in ways that make me uncomfortable, then that is not a place I personally want to be.

I also look at whether the trainer and other students are people I'd want to spend a lot of time with (hopefully they seem fun to be around!) and whether the students seem to be getting clear guidance that enables them to communicate meaningfully with their dogs.

Obedience is the section that's easiest for me to evaluate because it's closest to the sports I know best, but also because there's the least amount of other "stuff" distracting from the dog's attitude. Tracking is hard for me to follow as a spectator, and protection presents a less clear picture for me because (I think) it is more heavily influenced by the dog's innate qualities -- courage, athleticism, etc., which is all very valuable for evaluating the individual dog, but not as helpful if you're trying to figure out whether you want to train at that club. So obedience is where it's easiest for me to see just the quality of the training and the dog-handler bond at work.


I won't pretend to be able to tell you about the finer points of that performance score-wise, since I am a total newb at all things Schutzhund, but I do like seeing how connected and upbeat that team is. Happy dog, admirable precision. That's a picture I aspire to.
 

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To me protection also tells a lot. and dogs enjoying protection, dragging their handlers to the field. I like to see puppies being treated like puppies and not like small adults and, more than anything else I like to see the helper and handler bringing the best of the dogs by reinforcing confidence, not trying to create something that wasn't there by fear.
 

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Knowledge, experience, true ability to read a dog, athleticism (sp) and ability to move.

Focus on for sport.
Enthusiasm & animation... Like Jim Carey lol
 

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P.s. I think tracking takes the most effort... At least for me lol
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for all the advice! It went really well last night, I'm really happy with the place. One of my favorite things that I overheard the helper telling someone he was working with was to look out for helpers that will basically whack the dog if it's not interested in biting, you can't argue with that! I'm probably going to go out a bunch before actually getting our dog, I'll keep everything you've said in mind, and I'm always open to other advice!
 

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What I would like to see is lots of advice, the dog is only gonna see a helper a few minutes a week. I want to be told what to do, then try it and get advice on what I did right or wrong and what to do throughout the week. Im near you and the shutzhund ive been to takes it slow, none would just go and hit a dog to rile them up.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
That's really what this seemed like, even with the people that were well versed in the sport, there was a lot of instruction going on, which I liked. Not even just instruction, but explanation as to WHY something was being done, and getting in the dog's head. I think when it comes to teaching a dog anything, you really need to see where the dog is coming from and what the dog is thinking to be effective, and I love a trainer that's going to explain to me exactly what's going on and why we're doing something rather than just trying to give orders.
 
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