Abhai and Ted working on building a young Filu's drive to get his toy, illustrating that its a game of tug and not a fight.
IPO / SCHUTZHUND & GERMAN SHEPHERDS.
Most people write off schutzhund scornfully as “attack dog training” and nothing could be further from the truth.
CHOOSING A PUPPY FOR SCHUTZHUND
In every breed, the pedigree is the key to knowing the potential of the puppy. Schutzhund revolves around working lines --- generations of dogs that have proven themselves and produced similar characteristics in their offspring. These characteristics include not only the physical structure of the dog, which is very important, but also its temperament.
Selecting the bloodlines from which you want your puppy may require advice. Information from breed surveys can help. Of course, it makes sense to discuss your objectives with reputable and experienced Schutzhund handlers or enthusiasts.
Once you have determined that the bloodlines of the potential dam and sire are of high quality, you should observe the parents, especially the Mother, if that is at all possible. The dam will be the main influence on the young pup for the first six weeks of its life. If the dam is nervous or unsure, chances are this uncertainty will be transferred to the offspring.
If you are able to see the litter, watch the puppies together and also separately, to try to determine which is the best puppy. Obvious structural defects or health problems should be watched for.
It is important that the puppy have intense instinct to stalk the prey --- a ball, a toy, etc. --- and also be the leader in the sense of bullying the other puppies. The puppy should not show fear when away from its littermates. It should not need to stay with the mother. The puppy should be adventurous and active, playing with objects shown to it by someone in the enclosure, but it should be independent enough to take that object and go off on its own as well.
It is independence and confidence, combined with the positive contact with the pack leader (the dam, at this time) that will develop into the traits of trainability that you need.
Selecting the bloodlines from which you want your puppy may require advice. Information from breed surveys can help. Of course, it makes sense to discuss your objectives with reputable, experienced Schutzhund handlers & enthusiasts.
RAISING A PUPPY FOR SCHUTZHUND WORK
Puppy-hood is the most critical period for the development of the characteristics you want to encourage. Your local Schutzhund club can advise you about nurturing and socializing your growing puppy.
A puppy learns from it experiences, so you want to provide only positive ones. It should be provided with opportunity to explore and investigate new situations and new people, but always in a non-threatening way. Remember that your goal is to build confidence in the young animal. Your aim is NOT to dominate or oppress the young pup.
The key to good focus ins to build on an activity your dog enjoys, such as playing with the ball, again being centered on the principal of play and positive reenforcement. A sound dog is equally at ease while working or hanging out with children at home.
Exposure to different environments is crucial to the general education of the dog and also to assure it that the world is a safe pace. If something appears to make the dog unsure, give it the opportunity to investigate it slowly, but do not force the issue.
It is imperative to avoid situations where your dog would be dominated by another older or stronger dog, or by another puppy. You also want to avoid having to discipline or correct your puppy and thus dampen its spirit or damage its self-confidence. You can do this by never leaving the pup in a situation where it can cause damage to your valuables or find itself in a dangerous predicament.
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