Training for the Ausdauerprüfung
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Thread: Training for the Ausdauerprüfung

  1. #1
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    Training for the Ausdauerprüfung

    The discussion on Dexter01's thread about "leave it" started to go to this discussion of biking with your dog. Thought maybe a new thread was a good idea.

    For the German Shepherd Breed Survey (part of work testing for breeding suitability) you need to complete a few steps. You need a passing Conformation Show rating (including correct dentition), you need to have hips and elbows x-rayed and they must pass OFA OR the German SV. You need to obtain an IGP 1 (formerly Schutzhund 1 also formerly IPO 1)(first you must pass the Bh or Begleithunde which is a combination obedience exercise and temperament test). You need to pass the Ausdauerprüfung or "Ad" endurance test. Dogs too closely line/inbred cannot Breed Survey and dogs that fail any of the above do not obtain their Breed Survey or Körung to obtain his Körklasse rating. IMO if you are purchasing a German Shepherd puppy BOTH parents should have their Körung in addition to any other titles and venue the owner chooses.

    My dog has his show rating ("SG" which is "very good".. he cannot get "Excellent" unless put in a German Style Conformation show AFTER earning his IGP 1), he has all his teeth and his bite is correct (these are in his score book). His Xrays have passed and his official pedigree has its "A-1 Stamp" and clear elbows. He will be competing for his Bh next month and the day after he will be going for his Ad.

    The Ad is a 12.5 mile endurance test. Handler rides a bike and dog trots next to it on a non-stretching leash attached to a chain "fursaver" collar NOT on the live or choke ring (I attach to a random link). At around 8 miles there is a 15 minute break (and water is offered) and the dog is checked and his feet are checked. At 10 miles there is another break and then the dog is checked again at the end. The club hosting the Test must find a place for people to ride bikes and trot dogs and do so safely. Some clubs just have dogs go around and around a field. Others use bike paths. The one we are entered in is a bike path along the edge of a State park on former NY Central rail road ROW. It is paved.

    It is my first time going for a Körung on a dog so it is my first Ad.
    As I said in my other thread.. at my age if I get tossed off my bike, I will likely BREAK and not just bruise. As a result of that concern, I have been training on the trail that will be used for the Ad. This test need not be generalized to other locations.. it is happening at this location. If I want to bike with my dog elsewhere in the future, I can always do that.

    The training started (per the suggestion of someone who has done this with several dogs) to walk the bike and the dog and put any desire the dog might have to interact with the bike "to bed." Some dogs like to chase and bite the tires, cut in front, cut behind or even jump at the bike. So lesson 1 is respect for that bike. Stay away from it. Lesson 2 is that this biking thing is a JOB and so Mr. dog.. please pay attention, and stay in position (not too far ahead so you cannot cut in front).

    For training (and because I could get seriously hurt) I am using a pinch collar. Dog gets too far forward I tell him "Back" and I will back this up with a quick correction. He has learned "back" as a result (we use that word for other things like moving back in heeling and making a quick left turn). I also use my speed to "correct" if he is distracted (Keep up buddy!!). He has been doing VERY well. He keeps the leash slack (I hold it in my hand) and he knows "eeeaaasy" means we are slowing down and whoa.. is we are going to stop.

    Here are the pitfalls that could get me hurt..
    The trail is through fairly wild country with farmlands to the west and a vast wooded mountainous State Park to the east. There are NO fences along the bike path except a few spots with steep sides to the trail or on bridges. Most of the fences are two rail split rail so not a barrier for dogs or wildlife or other loose dogs on adjacent properties. both sides of the tail are heavily wooded and brushy (so stuff can hide in the brush) The trail has no leash requirement so you can encounter people walking and their off leash dogs which WILL interfere with your dog. While my leave it word (Pfui) and a back up correction if needed has been working, sometimes we get surprised. Last night on the one small short section through hay fields (near the end) a large doe deer had bedded down next the the trail. She jumped up and ran and my high prey drive dog automatically started to cut in front OBLIVIOUS to me and go after the deer. FORTUNATELY a correction and a shout and my dog remembered the "job" and returned focus to the "job." There have been other near misses.. Wild Turkeys, Cats, dogs on neighboring properties, dogs and people on the rail trail, a bear crashing off through the woods and (of course) Squirrels and Chipmunks. These things are often in close proximity (a few feet and a few yards) and, regardless of my constant vigilance, can "appear" unexpectedly. Dog has been very good so far.. but a time may come when prey drive over rides and he could get loose or cut in front and get us both hurt (or all of these things).

    The pitfalls for the dog are pad toughness. He has two toes (one on each front foot) that wear and can bleed. I have altered the length of the ride and I only ride 2-3X a week for conditioning. I have purchased Tuff Paws and am using according to directions. I have received the suggestion to go slower (dog has an amazing trot.. as a GSD should) and I will do that but right now I have to give him a week off to heal (the spots are very very small.. about 1/32nd of an inch in diameter). Going slower will increase the dog's ability to look around more and increase the likelihood of cutting in front etc... but will save his pads..

    I watched videos of Canyx and Brae biking. Brae uses a harness and (it appears) a bungee leash. From the clip I saw it seems she has fences for a lot of the rail trail. I am required to use a fursaver on the dead ring and a standard leash for the test (I am using a 3 foot leash so there is less to get tangles up in). I have no fences. On the day of the Ad there will be a bunch of dogs and bikes and we are going to go a distance and then turn around and come back.. so dogs and bikes will be going south and north and passing each other.

    Any additional suggestions to prevent accidents are welcome. So far we have thwarted disaster and he is REALLY doing very well keeping the leash loose and paying attention to the job at hand.
    Last edited by 3GSD4IPO; 04-25-2019 at 09:50 AM.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Lillith's Avatar
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    Re: Training for the Ausdauerprüfung

    Maybe take a bunch of steps back and just walk the trail, no bike? Really reward well with the best treats every time he disengages from a distraction, as if he's never been trained to ignore distractions before. It would also be a good, low impact thing to do while his paws are healing. Go at busy times, perhaps, when there are lots of dogs to really proof his ability to ignore distractions. Or, at not so busy times to increase the chance of encountering wildlife! Then, when he's solid on ignoring distractions at a regular walk, bring the bike back.

    But, if there are going to be a bunch of dogs and people on that trail during your test, you can assume that there won't be as much wildlife, either. They will likely avoid the area during the test.

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    Re: Training for the Ausdauerprüfung

    Quote Originally Posted by Lillith View Post
    Maybe take a bunch of steps back and just walk the trail, no bike? Really reward well with the best treats every time he disengages from a distraction, as if he's never been trained to ignore distractions before. It would also be a good, low impact thing to do while his paws are healing. Go at busy times, perhaps, when there are lots of dogs to really proof his ability to ignore distractions. Or, at not so busy times to increase the chance of encountering wildlife! Then, when he's solid on ignoring distractions at a regular walk, bring the bike back.
    I will try this. I think the reward for this dog is better if it is his ball. IOW's you can get this prey item right here instead of going after THAT prey item "over there." Of course, having high value food may help too. Walking it is usually no issue, but I have nothing to lose at this point. I can try it.

    The test is less than a month away FWIW.

    But, if there are going to be a bunch of dogs and people on that trail during your test, you can assume that there won't be as much wildlife, either. They will likely avoid the area during the test.
    Yes.. replace one distraction with another. I think the other dogs/bikes may be worse than wildlife as the dogs won't vanish into the brush and will just keep on coming... or going..
    I have trained him to go on my right and it may be OK if others have trained to their right as well. Then there will be two bikes between the two dogs as we pass. My dog will ALWAYS have my bike between him and any other dog.
    Last edited by 3GSD4IPO; 04-25-2019 at 09:53 AM.

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  6. #4
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    Re: Training for the Ausdauerprüfung

    One thing you might try or test is using a shorter bike rather than the 26” one. You can get multi speed ones like a mountain bike. Possibly borrow one.

    It might not hurt to wear hard elbow pads and maybe a softer but flexible knee pads, get some leather gloves too. No point in ripping up your hands. By all means wear a helmet. Since I was playing baseball at the time we did AD I wore my baseball helmet with a temporary strap. They fall off pretty easily without this but I feel offer better protection than bike helmets. It’s not necessary to dress like a warrior but hey we are not kids anymore and don’t heal up as fast anymore.

    I thought I had posted about our experiences with AD I guess not. From about 18 months on we ran an AD. course at least weekly with several times a week about 6 weeks before the event. We didn’t do the AD until my dog was a SCH III. We used this as exercise for the dogs. We did the AD and full Sch III trial in one day. As I recall it was blistering hot down south. The event was nearly cancelled because of the heat but the judge had us run early in the morning.

    Good luck with your dog. You know what surfaces he can run on so if you can get a choice, take it. Generally speed is your friend when outside distractions occur. I use a “watch me” command when stray dogs are around. You surely don’t want a big excited dog to pull you down. One thing I learned way back in my first days of the sport was to make a slip loop on your leash handle and wear something like a leather glove. It’s almost impossible to release the leash this way in case you go down. It’s my everyday attachment to my dog and has been instrumental in keeping her out of trouble when accosted. I do the protecting not my dog.

    Try to have a good time.
    Tron GSD SCH lll, AD, TD. GSD faithfull buddy.
    Schutzhund lll club.

    Samantha. Australian Shepherd. Rescued, loves everyone
    Call name Sam

    Byron
    Ak. Hay you

  7. #5
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    Re: Training for the Ausdauerprüfung

    Thank you Bentwings. I actually went out and purchased a new bike from a reputable dealer (I got a Trek Hybrid). I was measured for the bike and the frame fits me perfectly. I wear a helmet... always have.. (on horseback too). Gloves are a good idea. I fold the leash so that I can just let go (and I will!!). I redirect the dog to me with words and speed but will not hesitate to use the prong collar (but I cannot use a prong in the Ad of course).

    I try to enjoy it.. and I like riding the bike.. but I totally recognize the very real possibility of getting hurt when using a dog leash!

  8. #6
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    Re: Training for the Ausdauerprüfung

    I learned a lot on my own dealing with the AD. I don’t think anyone in the local training groups I worked with ever did the AD so there wasn’t any help. In our early practicing I learned the hard way about getting tangled in road signs and other obsticals where the dog might go around the wrong way. As a result I had the dog trot much closer to me than most. Also learned that folding pedals can save you and the dog. Like you said the prong was my training tool although I held it loosely and really only rattled the chain. I didn’t want it to accidentally get tangled so it was droppable.

    I took a couple nasty falls and began thinking of how this could be avoided. This is where my “backup, go around and this way” commands came from. These have evolved into heel on the right, left, lead and follow. I have to give my Aussie credit for working with these commands. She knows where she is at in relation to me and can back herself around from an entanglement in the field even in prickly bushes.

    We don’t ride much right now but after we move to the boat we will have a much better area to ride at the marina.

    Back to riding. I did train to switch sides while moving. This took some effort as passing the leash around meant riding no hands briefly while the dog went around the back. Initially I used a longer leash so,I could flip,it over my head. The 6 footer took some practice.LOL. We don’t do this today but I might have to with all the reactive dogs around.

    I hope you have a good time on your AD. You are good trainer so you will do well.
    Tron GSD SCH lll, AD, TD. GSD faithfull buddy.
    Schutzhund lll club.

    Samantha. Australian Shepherd. Rescued, loves everyone
    Call name Sam

    Byron
    Ak. Hay you

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