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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The sport I train in has three phases. Tracking, Obedience and Protection.

Two phases you can train with other experienced people who also train and compete in this sport. The Achilles Heel in this sport is the protection phase.

A decoy Training a dog in protection sport must be very skilled and specialized. It takes tremendous experience on literally hundreds of dogs and years and years to become a truly competent "training helper."

The result is there are (in the US) very few really good training helpers who can read the dog in front of them and apply the correct skills and pressure/release of pressure to bring the dog along to perform on the trial field. People pay large money and travel many miles for good training helpers. I have done exactly that for 10 years.

The current dog was coming along well (I thought) but there seemed to be some bits and pieces missing. I left one training group and then was shut down for months due to Covid. I found another training helper who was much much better.. and 3 years of "holes" showed up. The dog is a very good dog.

Yesterday it was time to see if the dog was ready to trial in 6 weeks. His tracking and obedience were beautiful. His protection work in the basic trial routine, while exhibiting lovely deep, calm grips and confidence was clearly not trial ready. It would not be ready for another 6 months.

As noted above, good training helpers are scarce. Scarcity in any market drives price.
I evaluated what I would have to do and spend and I decided it was time to stop.

Another $10,000 over about 18 months (at least) including training fees and travel expenses stripped me of any desire to keep going. After that.. another $5,000 to keep him "tuned" to compete at higher levels.. and these are conservative estimates.

This on top of the thousands already spent to buy the dog, equipment, and training to this point.. some of which was not good and left holes which now must be "plugged" (so it will take longer).

The sport is awesome and very challenging. The protection training truly tests both handler and dog for many aspects. Titles prove the training and test the dogs for breeding worthiness (especially at higher level competitions).

As with many competitive things involving animals it has also come to be prohibitively expensive. A wealthy person's sport for sure if you decide to do it well and not damage the dog in the process. I could own part of a race horse for less!

After 10 years and on my 4th dog I hung it up yesterday. I made the decision. I have a very very capable well bred dog. I have become a better than sufficient trainer and handler. Between covid and a 6-7 month training break coupled with finding what I thought was good was not so much, I had to go forward or stop.

I simply can no longer tolerate the tremendous outlay of cash. I am sad, but accepting. My Signature should now be 3GSD no longer 4IPO... 馃檮
 

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I'm sorry you have had to give up a goal for such a reason and sympathize. Even with my lesser competitions, cost can become a significant factor. I hope you can switch to other kinds of competition that satisfy and allow training that doesn't need such outlays.
 

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I'm sorry for what you perceive as a loss of something important in your life. I realize that you will (most likely) need to grieve this loss a bit before reframing & moving on, but... Once that phase happens, just remember this - You can still work/play with your dogs. You can still go hiking & exploring the natural world with them. You can still sit quietly on the couch & cuddle with them (if this is something that you both want?) You can still have a wonderful, fulfilling, high-quality life with your dogs - without EVER having to 'train to compete' again.

It's OK to feel sad at the loss of something which held huge importance in your world/life. It's also OK to allow yourself time to adjust to the 'new normal'. It's most important to discover a whole NEW world of opportunity beyond where you have been.
 

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It's always difficult to give up a hobby. You wish you had the time and money to do everything you want to do, but for most of us, that isn't the case!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks. I get it. The world will continue to spin.

Two things about this bother me.

First, I was spending a lot of dedicated time doing this and my dog and I both loved it. Now.. there is a lot of "space."

Second, this is the first dog I have owned that is truly breeding worthy. Physically, mentally, temperamentally and drives he is a very nice dog. He is such a clear dog. I waited a long time for this!

Without titles, it is unlikely he will breed anything. That is a loss to the breed which has quite a lot of physical and temperament issues.

He has his A-1 stamp for hips and normal.elbow rating from Germany. He has full dentition. He has no long coat gene. He is a DM carrier so can only be bred to a double clear female. He has his German Conformation Show (SG - very good) rating under an SV judge.

He shows many behaviors much like his Father who won the Worlds in 2015.
 

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Would it be more feasible to title him in other venues? Even if he doesn't have IGP titles, with everything he has going for him I imagine breeders might take interest if he has titles in obedience, tracking/scentwork, herding, rally, etc. even if you're not trying to be highly competitive. Granted I'm not a GSD person, but it could be worth asking around about whether there'd be interest in a stud with his background and some well-rounded titles that are more financially achievable for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Would it be more feasible to title him in other venues? Even if he doesn't have IGP titles, with everything he has going for him I imagine breeders might take interest if he has titles in obedience, tracking/scentwork, herding, rally, etc. even if you're not trying to be highly competitive. Granted I'm not a GSD person, but it could be worth asking around about whether there'd be interest in a stud with his background and some well-rounded titles that are more financially achievable for you.
The IGP three phase titles are what are desired. Oddly, American Schutzhund is a better breeding worthiness test than IGP, but it is a newer venue.

The Protection phase is key. Does the dog show up with a decoy with presence? It is the gold standard.

That said I have no intentions of neutering him and we are going to do some of the things you mention. Of course, an HGH (German Tending title) is an equal test to IGP. However, due to my lack of sheep it would be a horrendously expensive to attain. I think currently Ulf Kintzel at at White Clover Farm is the only place in the US offering the training. He is west of me here, but it is the same expensive travel and so forth. Other types of herding are not truly appropriate for this breed.

We will do other things for sure.. things that won't cost as much. Obedience, tracking, scent work (no rally.. you couldn't pay me enough to do that or agility). We do not lack for things to do.. but for serious GSD people those IGP titles (or the HGH) rule. Part of this is from the SV (German Breed Registry). They will not register puppies from parents who do not have at least an IGP 1 or the HGH.
 

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Ah, interesting! I figured contributing to hardcore protections sport lines might be out, but maybe a breeder focusing more on a functional, well-rounded show line will be interested down the line. Always a shame to lose a solid dog from the breeding pool, so I wish you luck.
 

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The IGP three phase titles are what are desired. Oddly, American Schutzhund is a better breathing worthiness test than IGP, but it is a newer venue.

The Protection phase is key. Does the dog show up with a decoy with presence? It is the gold standard.

That said I have no intentions of neutering him and we are going to do some of the things you mention. Of course, an HGH (German Tending title) is an equal test to IGP. However, due to my lack of sheep it would be a horrendously expensive to attain. I think currently Ulf Kintzel at at White Clover Farm is the only place in the US offering the training. He is west of me here, but it is the same expensive travel and so forth. Other types of herding are not truly appropriate for this breed.

We will do other things for sure.. things that won't cost as much. Obedience, tracking, scent work (no rally.. you couldn't pay me enough to do that or agility). We do not lack for things to do.. but for serious GSD people those IGP titles (or the HGH) rule. Part of this is from the SV (German Breed Registry). They will not register puppies from parents who do not have at least an IGP 1 or the HGH.
I haven't done any of this stuff so i'm curious why someone couldn't pay you to do agility?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I haven't done any of this stuff so i'm curious why someone couldn't pay you to do agility?
That and Rally I simply do not like. In agility with a long, large dog, there is greater chance of injury (not that a dog cannot get badly injured in IGP protection.. they can). There is no one in the GSD community that would choose to breed GSD's for agility.

I also really dislike a lot of the culture surrounding both Rally and Agility. I am all for those who want to do it, and I certainly applaud their accomplishments but for me? Nope Nope Nope.
 

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That and Rally I simply do not like. In agility with a long, large dog, there is greater chance of injury (not that a dog cannot get badly injured in IGP protection.. they can). There is no one in the GSD community that would choose to breed GSD's for agility.

I also really dislike a lot of the culture surrounding both Rally and Agility. I am all for those who want to do it, and I certainly applaud their accomplishments but for me? Nope Nope Nope.
Some of them looked pretty damn agile in John Wick 3 !!!
I get what youre saying though, I don't want a torn ACL or something.
 

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In agility with a long, large dog, there is greater chance of injury (not that a dog cannot get badly injured in IGP protection.. they can).
I feel the same way about Agility and Rotties. It's just not a sport designed for large, heavyset dogs, although I certainly know people who do it with them. An orthopedic vet once told me if you want to do Agility, get a Border Collie or at least a dog of that size and build.

For me competition has never been about proving a dog for breeding or anything like that but about proving what I can do with my dogs, having fun doing it. So I stick with things I can do myself and prefer those I can train without help.

Breeders, on the other hand, want to prove their dogs. They often have professionals show their dogs in conformation because a professional can do it better than they can. They have professionals train and handle their dogs for working events for the same reason. The want to show the world the dog can do it, but they can't train and handle well enough to properly showcase the dog themselves.

We all have our own goals and reasons.

The big benefit for me has been a deeper bond with my dogs than I ever had before I trained for competition and did working events. I am still often astounded at what my dogs will do for me and the circumstances under which they will do them.
 
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