Your First Visit to DFW Working Dog Club
This article assumes that you have either heard about the sport of Schutzhund / IPO or have a puppy and noticed SchH / IPO titles in his pedigree, and want to know what Schutzhund is all about.
DFW Working Dogs is a club focused on training and competing in the sport of Schutzhund. Schutzhund is a challenging sport comprising of tracking, obedience and protection. This multi-disciplinary approach requires a high level of commitment from the handlers and particular talents from dogs.
On your first visit, we encourage you to watch the other handlers closely and ask questions. You can learn a great deal from watching each of the handlers who take to the field and work their dogs. If you have a dog and he is less than a year old and has had no prior training, we will probably ask you to bring him out at the end of the training session when we are working the other young dogs. For this, you will need a flat collar or a harness (if you do not have one, please feel free to ask one of the members if they have one you can borrow.) We will probably recommend that a club member hold your leash so you can encourage your dog. The training director will give you an honest opinion of your dog, and explain what comes next for his training as far as the protection phase is concerned.
Keep in mind that less than 10% of the puppies we see will be able to obtain Schutzhund titles, regardless of breeding and origins. It takes a special dog and handler to be able to do Schutzhund. The handler must be dedicated to the sport to succeed. You cannot get your dog ready for trials in one session per week; the time commitment makes it almost impossible to have other hobbies. Schutzhund is a difficult sport; there is a lot to learn, we expect you to watch other members closely, decide whose training methods you feel comfortable with, and ask them plenty of questions. We will help you, regardless of how much work your dog needs but we will also let you know if the sport is not a good fit for you and your dog. It does not mean that your dog could not do well in other sports. We try to be honest in our assessment, but remember it is not easy for us to tell you what you may not want to hear, we do not take any pleasure in explaining your dogs nature and faults, so please leave your ego at home. It is very important for your future training that you know and understand what your dog is capable of and what he is not.
Our club is not like an obedience club where you pay someone
to teach you and your dog. We will support you but you are
ultimately responsible for your training. You can come to any
of the Tuesday or Saturday training sessions with prior approval.
After a few months, we may invite
you to become a full club member. At this point you are expected
to work towards titles and help out with the club wherever
needed. Club dues are $750 annually.