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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have decided I like TRAINING a lot more than TRIALING. Of course I do trial to title my dog but TRIALING is a pain in the neck. You train and train and you are ready then you go look for trials.

In IGP (formerly IPO) you look at club trials (I am US based). You try to find something reasonably close (especially for IGP 1 and IGP 2). Then you look at the trial helper. Some you know. Some you don't know. Some are really good. Others not so much.

Why worry you might say? Well, the trial helper or decoy can make your dog look good or now AND (more important) if the helper is inexperienced he/she can hurt the dog if they meet wrong. This is a contact sport so you want to have the safest helper you can find.

After the helper you need to look at the tracking. If it is on dirt and you have mostly tracked on hay that can be a problem. If it is on a sod farm and not hay THAT can be a problem if you haven't tracked on uniform sod.

Then there is the obedience field. Some clubs use heavy wooden jumps. If your dog makes a mistake jumping, he can hit that solid jump and get hurt and that can make for unreliable jumping in the future and often it cannot be trained out of the dog (some seem to have flashbacks out on the trial field but will train perfectly).

So this is the year I am going to do quite a bit of trialing and I do not look forward to it. It is not nearly as much fun as training.
 

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I was at a trial a couple years ago and saw a helper accidentally step on a dog's paw just as he was outing off the sleeve. Of course the dog bit him again and then wouldn't out and was dq'd.

I hope the year goes well for you and your dogs!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I was at a trial a couple years ago and saw a helper accidentally step on a dog's paw just as he was outing off the sleeve. Of course the dog bit him again and then wouldn't out and was dq'd.

I hope the year goes well for you and your dogs!
I saw a dog on a long bite hit hard and go DOWN. We thought "broken neck. " This was at a National event with an excellent helper.

Dog recovered and walked off the field. I don't think he trialed again. Ever.

I have only one dog at the moment.
Maybe get a puppy to start next winter as my current dog approaches 6 years old.
 

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That's really too bad that you have to feel that way. Since I only do the "regular" stuff like rally, obedience, carting, and drafting, trials are fun. Nerves come into it, but still it's a chance to see other dog people, even those I don't train with, and catch up. The biggest worry for me would be in tracking since the area commonly used here is very snaky. No one trains there in warm months and it's not used for trials then. But we get warm streaks in fall and spring, and there have been cases of rattlers seen at trials and when laying track.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
That's really too bad that you have to feel that way. Since I only do the "regular" stuff like rally, obedience, carting, and drafting, trials are fun. Nerves come into it, but still it's a chance to see other dog people, even those I don't train with, and catch up. The biggest worry for me would be in tracking since the area commonly used here is very snaky. No one trains there in warm months and it's not used for trials then. But we get warm streaks in fall and spring, and there have been cases of rattlers seen at trials and when laying track.
Tracking can also be an issue where there are Ants.

Oh it's not that I don't have a decently good time once there. I just don't like it as much as I like training. The trial is (for me) a test of the training and shows up the weak spots.

I think I have located a nice local trial in the spring. Hopefully we pass (and hopefully better than just pass) and then it's on to the next level.

I have also trialed in other venues including AKC. I just don't do that as much as it can take away from IGP. We are just about ready for open in AKC obedience. He has his CD. I don't practice it much. One thing I NEVER practice is that STUPID drop on recall. IGP wants a fast, powerful recall. The drop that AKC has is counter to that fast/powerful recall. I don't need my dog slowing down in a recall "in case" I ask for a "drop." IGP has a drop in the send away which I also never practice as I need my dog to powerfully and fast run out. Anticipating a drop will mess that up. So we practice "platz" here and there and hope, when the time comes, that the dog will drop in a trial either on the send away or on the Recall if we trial AKC..
 

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My husky/shepherd mix foster dog's owner started doing agility with her. They both loved it. But after a couple years of the dog walking out of the ring at trials, the owner decided they would not compete anymore. It just wasn't fun for either of them.

They did practice and train for the life of the dog. She was amazing on the course - out ran and outmaneuvered every border collie. And they both had a blast. By taking the trials out of the picture, the owner didn't get frustrated anymore, and they could just enjoy it.

It's OK to do something "just for fun" and not deal with the "prove we're good" bit. Whether it's because you don't get the results, or you don't like the politics, or you don't like getting up at 0300, or you find the trial helper or decoy or the course less than sufficient, etc, there is nothing wrong with choosing not to trial but continue to have fun training and practicing. I'd go so far as to say, if you and the dog enjoy it, then that is reward enough. Competition is overrated.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
My husky/shepherd mix foster dog's owner started doing agility with her. They both loved it. But after a couple years of the dog walking out of the ring at trials, the owner decided they would not compete anymore. It just wasn't fun for either of them.

They did practice and train for the life of the dog. She was amazing on the course - out ran and outmaneuvered every border collie. And they both had a blast. By taking the trials out of the picture, the owner didn't get frustrated anymore, and they could just enjoy it.

It's OK to do something "just for fun" and not deal with the "prove we're good" bit. Whether it's because you don't get the results, or you don't like the politics, or you don't like getting up at 0300, or you find the trial helper or decoy or the course less than sufficient, etc, there is nothing wrong with choosing not to trial but continue to have fun training and practicing. I'd go so far as to say, if you and the dog enjoy it, then that is reward enough. Competition is overrated.
This is absolutely true.

I trial to prove the dog (it's a working German Shepherd thing). I don't "hate" trialing. My dog likes anything we do together when it comes to training or the trial venue. He does not even consider leaving me or the field as an option.

I just like training more. Still, with training, there is an end game which is the trial. Then you go back and train some more. Train often, Trial infrequently.

This dog was chosen for me by his breeders, one of whom was the 2015 World Champion with my dog's father. Iron von den Wölfen

My dog was "first pick" and would have been kept and competed by the breeder except the time was not right...

He was bred for this sport and chosen for me. It was an honor to get this dog.

My end of the "deal" is to train and title him. It is my word.

We are ready. We will keep training and we will do this. The dog wants to do this. I step onto a trial field or ring and my dog is all "go."

He is coming 5 years old. We need to do this if we are going to do this. Next year I am planning to get a puppy... continue to train this dog.. maybe trial him a few more times... then focus on the puppy. Ahh if the world continues to spin and the stars align!! Haha!

I just dislike the planning, choosing the trial and all that "stuff." I think trialing is good to check where your training is especially under pressure and in different locations. Once I am there I usually have fun. Once you have your "3" and IF the dog is doing well, you can look at higher level trials (Regional/National etc.).

It's not that trialing is "awful."
It's just that Training is more fun.
 

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I like training more just because it takes the nerves (my nerves, not the dog's) out of the game. I also do not always look forward to the travel, money, and entire weekends spent away from home, though I always acknowledge I did have fun at the end of the event. No pressure when you're training. But, I'm also competitive and I like to win and know that people know I won :LOL:. I like those first place ribbons, ha.

My dog, however, loves trialing and probably likes it more than training, which is surprising considering he can be reactive and nervous. Nothing phases him at a trial because I suppose he thinks he's got a special job to do! He's amped up and ready to go at a trial, loves the attention, loves when people cheer for him, and loves the special treats. He thinks he's some sort of celebrity.
 

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Oh it's not that I don't have a decently good time once there. I just don't like it as much as I like training. The trial is (for me) a test of the training and shows up the weak spots.
For me the trial is necessary because without a competition, I'd never train. I enjoy training to some extent but not more than other things I could do. There has to be knowledge that it has a goal, a standard to meet, not in my own opinion but in the opinion of a 3d party who doesn't know me or my dog.

Without that, my dogs would be stay-at-home pets -- housebroken (my single absolute), sit (but who cares if it's straight or square), down (but who cares if it's fast or foldback), leash trained (but a certain amount of pulling would be easy to ignore), a recall (and I wouldn't care how fast it was unless it was an emergency, in which case I'd be cussing myself). I'd have no incentive to train beyond that and wouldn't do it. And I'd have to find another hobby. One where doing something to a certain standard mattered. I'm just made that way.

Yes, the trial is the test of the training, and it requires more than a perfect run through in a familiar environment with familiar people and animals around. Every trial I've ever been in you hear someone say, "He does it perfectly at home." Sure, because what happens in the backyard or even local training center doesn't matter much. Trials do matter. They mean proving you can do the thing you trained in all the hubbub with some level of nervousness thrown in.

I say strange animals instead of strange dogs thinking of a Rottie carting test where people were riding by constantly on horses. I asked a friend, "Are your dogs good around horses?" "We're about to find out," he muttered through his teeth.

When I look back, some of my best memories are of things that happened in competition, and not only the triumphs. Not that there haven't been a lot of shining moments, but there were also memorable failures I still laugh about with friends. I did Rally up in Wyoming once in a crowded little building with cement floors that had holes in it here and there. I think they were so posts could be set in them to put up partitions. So I start the course, and the first one of those holes we get to, my dog sticks her muzzle in it up to her eyes and stalls out sniffing. She did the same thing with a little less intensity with every one of the blasted things we passed. What can you do but laugh along with everyone else in the building?

Then there was the time we worked in an old arena that livestock had been in. Mere feet after we started, my dog picked up a piece of cow sh!t and carried it, hanging out one side of her mouth, through the entire course.

And then there was ... and ... and ... You just don't get that kind of thing, including audience participation, training at home.

But we're all different, and I'd never recommend anyone who doesn't enjoy it force themself to do it. The world will never end because some beloved dog doesn't have some particular title.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
We all have "Trial" stories. Some of the stories are more like "Trial and Error.." haha!

The trial tests the training.
Except when I am starting a puppy which I do at home, I train all over the place.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
What a shame. Shutzhund was originally designed to test the genetics of the dog. Now, it is not much more than a circus act.


you have a dog from Sitz von der Hose?

if so, very nice
Schutzhund, then IPO and now IGP has not, for some time, been a real breeding test. It is still used as part of the evaluation and folks who breed still want to see titles and videos.

American Schutzhund (part of Protection Sports Association) is absolutely a breeding test and the trial is more of a test of the dog and the judging is about the dog's power and drive.

While IGP judging is very strict at high levels, you lose points for exactness. American Schutzhund is not "easy" but if the dog is a powerhouse and shows up well that is what counts.

I have an Olgameister dog (same kennel and same people as Sitz von der Hose). I have trained with them and been told several times that if the litter had arrived at a different time my dog would have stayed... with them...

He is his Father's son.

Best dog I have ever had in all ways.

FWIW I titled a Female GSD (different kennel) to IPO 3 and won an FH Championship with her
 

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The male I have now, his mother, naturally civil, is a Cherokee von den Wolfen grand daughter via the sire lines and a Mambo PS grand daughter via the dam's sire lines.

Very strong civil aggression and strong hunt drives. Handler aggression if you don't handle him right and according Ian Dunbar's bite scale, he would be put to sleep by "force free" trainers LOL

What some of these guys don't understand is that you need a toolbox that can hold more than just hotdogs LOL
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
The male I have now, his mother, naturally civil, is a Cherokee von den Wolfen grand daughter via the sire lines and a Mambo PS grand daughter via the dam's sire lines.

Very strong civil aggression and strong hunt drives. Handler aggression if you don't handle him right and according Ian Dunbar's bite scale, he would be put to sleep by "force free" trainers LOL

What some of these guys don't understand is that you need a toolbox that can hold more than just hotdogs LOL
There is some truth to this.

I do give a lot of credit to the positive reinforcement (P+) folks as much if their training has crossed over to what you and I train for and do.

There ARE a lot of dogs that people have as pets that do very well on P+ only handling.

While I DO use prong collar and e collar in training I find that most of the training, especially at the start, is P+. Puppy training/teaching is with food and that segues to ball reward. Protection training the bite is the reward and a good dog seeks that reward.

As the dog's training progresses corrections become pretty infrequent. It must evolve this way as there are neither corrections or rewards (especially in tracking and obedience) on the trial field!!

No one should malign training tools that work well and leave intact the goal of a happy, well trained dog. Neither side should whole heartedly throw out the tools another uses be it food and a clicker or an e collar. The only caveat is to learn how to use these tools effectively and a personal choice not to use a tool is just that; a personal choice.

The level and intensity of training we seek heading toward a goal of trialing in IGP , PSA, AS, Ring Sport etc. is not generally required for the pets people keep. A lot of pet dogs would never be able to do these sports.

If a pet dog can be trained with only P+, then that is OK. I will tender that in some instances a lot could be accomplished with a clear correction BUT if the owner wishes to spend more time using another method it is their dog and their choice. I use all the tools but I don't use all the tools on every dog.

I leave with this warning:
Handler Aggression or Climbing the Leash is typically due to a bad read on the dog by the handler an lack of clarirty. If you own a strong dog he/she may have an "opinion" about obedience in protection. That opinion needs to be understood and acknowledged without loss of obedience. Most leash climbing is due to bad communication between handler and dog. You can see it coming. Change the conversation. Ask a question the dog can easily answer and reward the answer (bite or ball depending on what you are doing).

Leash climbing in a trial will get a DQ
If you get a chance BigDog85, shoot me a PM (you have turned this off in your profile). I would be interested in "talking" with you further..


 

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There is some truth to this.

I do give a lot of credit to the positive reinforcement (P+) folks as much if their training has crossed over to what you and I train for and do.

There ARE a lot of dogs that people have as pets that do very well on P+ only handling.

While I DO use prong collar and e collar in training I find that most of the training, especially at the start, is P+. Puppy training/teaching is with food and that segues to ball reward. Protection training the bite is the reward and a good dog seeks that reward.

As the dog's training progresses corrections become pretty infrequent. It must evolve this way as there are neither corrections or rewards (especially in tracking and obedience) on the trial field!!

No one should malign training tools that work well and leave intact the goal of a happy, well trained dog. Neither side should whole heartedly throw out the tools another uses be it food and a clicker or an e collar. The only caveat is to learn how to use these tools effectively and a personal choice not to use a tool is just that; a personal choice.

The level and intensity of training we seek heading toward a goal of trialing in IGP , PSA, AS, Ring Sport etc. is not generally required for the pets people keep. A lot of pet dogs would never be able to do these sports.

If a pet dog can be trained with only P+, then that is OK. I will tender that in some instances a lot could be accomplished with a clear correction BUT if the owner wishes to spend more time using another method it is their dog and their choice. I use all the tools but I don't use all the tools on every dog.

I leave with this warning:
Handler Aggression or Climbing the Leash is typically due to a bad read on the dog by the handler an lack of clarirty. If you own a strong dog he/she may have an "opinion" about obedience in protection. That opinion needs to be understood and acknowledged without loss of obedience. Most leash climbing is due to bad communication between handler and dog. You can see it coming. Change the conversation. Ask a question the dog can easily answer and reward the answer (bite or ball depending on what you are doing).

Leash climbing in a trial will get a DQ
If you get a chance BigDog85, shoot me a PM (you have turned this off in your profile). I would be interested in "talking" with you further..


I use 90 plus percent positive and motivational methods too. Nothing wrong and nothing new with positive reinforcement at all. I let the dog in front of me dictate what methods I use at any particular time and am constantly learning and trying to improve.

What I was trying to say is that when someone limits themselves by saying they are "force free" or "positive only", IMO, they do a disservice to dogs. Many of these "positive only" people that are on the extreme end of the spectrum will put a dog to sleep before trying other methods that doesn't fit their ideology. When they can't handle a dog or the dog doesn't respond to their limited methods then they resort to drugs, rehoming, or death. And usually, there is a very simple solution that isn't found in their toolbox.

I agree that some pet dogs can be trained with positive methods only. I have had dogs that I didn't train at all in the formal sense. However, I will say that many of these "positive only" trainers are actually using some form of force whether it be positive punishment or negative reinforcement - look at head halters. IMO, the idea of force free and positive only is a marketing gimmick to sell feels good. I am aware that trainers such as Dave Kroyer have titled dogs using + only. He will also tell you that it requires a certain temperament and positive only has its limits. Training a dog obedience for sport is not the same as "functional obedience" for real life.

I agree with what you say regarding handler aggression. In my experience, which isn't a lot, and learning from people smarter than me, handler aggression has a genetic component to it and also an environmental factor - meaning you can have ten handlers handle, and raise in their own home environment, that same dog and only a portion of those handlers will experience handler aggression.

There are basically two types of handler aggression: redirected and social/dominant aggression. I should also note for others reading that we are not talking about man-made handler aggression due to poor foundational training or abuse. There is definitely a genetic component involved. There is a trainer that I know of that has a few thousand dogs, from hard-core working line to pets, under his belt and he says that maybe 5% dogs show handler aggression and the vast majority of that is redirected aggression from an amped up dog. There is a very small portion of dogs that show the social/dominant handler aggression and of course some dogs show both forms. I would guess that those numbers would go up when you start talking about specific lines of dogs and especially in specific lines of dutch shepherd or malinois.

The dog I have now has shown both forms of handler aggression during the social maturing phase. Like I said, positive only trainers would say he had a screw loose and had neurological issues lol. Nothing could be further from the truth, this is the best dog - I was looking for real natural aggression - I've had and is a true representative, with all drives being present, of the breed standard albeit a little further to one side of the spectrum. He's a sharp dog and not the best fit for a family with kids.

I guess I accidently blocked messages but its on now. I'm not on here often but feel free to reach out and good luck with your trialing. It sounds like you'll do well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I use 90 plus percent positive and motivational methods too. Nothing wrong and nothing new with positive reinforcement at all. I let the dog in front of me dictate what methods I use at any particular time and am constantly learning and trying to improve.

What I was trying to say is that when someone limits themselves by saying they are "force free" or "positive only", IMO, they do a disservice to dogs. Many of these "positive only" people that are on the extreme end of the spectrum will put a dog to sleep before trying other methods that doesn't fit their ideology. When they can't handle a dog or the dog doesn't respond to their limited methods then they resort to drugs, rehoming, or death. And usually, there is a very simple solution that isn't found in their toolbox.

I agree that some pet dogs can be trained with positive methods only. I have had dogs that I didn't train at all in the formal sense. However, I will say that many of these "positive only" trainers are actually using some form of force whether it be positive punishment or negative reinforcement - look at head halters. IMO, the idea of force free and positive only is a marketing gimmick to sell feels good. I am aware that trainers such as Dave Kroyer have titled dogs using + only. He will also tell you that it requires a certain temperament and positive only has its limits. Training a dog obedience for sport is not the same as "functional obedience" for real life.

I agree with what you say regarding handler aggression. In my experience, which isn't a lot, and learning from people smarter than me, handler aggression has a genetic component to it and also an environmental factor - meaning you can have ten handlers handle, and raise in their own home environment, that same dog and only a portion of those handlers will experience handler aggression.

There are basically two types of handler aggression: redirected and social/dominant aggression. I should also note for others reading that we are not talking about man-made handler aggression due to poor foundational training or abuse. There is definitely a genetic component involved. There is a trainer that I know of that has a few thousand dogs, from hard-core working line to pets, under his belt and he says that maybe 5% dogs show handler aggression and the vast majority of that is redirected aggression from an amped up dog. There is a very small portion of dogs that show the social/dominant handler aggression and of course some dogs show both forms. I would guess that those numbers would go up when you start talking about specific lines of dogs and especially in specific lines of dutch shepherd or malinois.

The dog I have now has shown both forms of handler aggression during the social maturing phase. Like I said, positive only trainers would say he had a screw loose and had neurological issues lol. Nothing could be further from the truth, this is the best dog - I was looking for real natural aggression - I've had and is a true representative, with all drives being present, of the breed standard albeit a little further to one side of the spectrum. He's a sharp dog and not the best fit for a family with kids.

I guess I accidently blocked messages but its on now. I'm not on here often but feel free to reach out and good luck with your trialing. It sounds like you'll do well.
I could not agree more.
This nails it.
 
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