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Tips for Newbies - Guest Post

Today's blog features a guest post from Nancy Thornsbury! Nancy has been in Schutzhund for about three years, and recently competed in the 2018 Working Dog Championship with her dog Karma vom Haus Fleming IPO1. She has been enjoying her IPO journey with Karma, and has learned so much through Karma along the way. Nancy offered these great tips for folks new to IPO on the IPO Training group, and has graciously allowed me to share her tips here on SCHUTZHUND LIFE. Thank you, Nancy!


By Nancy Thornsbury

Photos by Brian Aghajani

My tips for newbies is probably the same as everyone else’s (and yes - we all start at the same place). ​​

  1. Show up with the correct equipment (collar, leash, food for reward, food for tracking boxes, toy reward when ready, harness when ready, crate for car, water, and the ever important poop bags!).

  2. Make sure your puppy is hungry enough to be interested in the food reward.

  3. Watch every handler team and your training director - so much is gained by watching others. Even if you can’t apply it today, you might need it tomorrow.

  4. Jump in and help with setup and tear down of the field. Ask how you can help. Watch how others help so you can do more next time.

  5. Be patient - every dog/puppy gets a turn. But you may have to wait a bit. It’s OK; they get used to it and it becomes the way of Schutzhund - "hurry up and wait."

  6. Ask questions, but first ask the question of who you should ask: who doesn’t mind taking you under their wing to explain things?

  7. Listen to the answers and do your best to apply them. No one likes "50 First Dates of the IPO Field" (credit to Ronnie Weiss for this phrase!).

  8. Have fun! This is an incredibly rewarding journey you are about to go on. It has its moments of frustrations and disappointments - don’t let your dog feel that. Train with clarity. Play the game of Obedience and the game of Protection.

  9. Be a team member. Your new club is your team and they are yours. Be there for them - as you learn, you will know how to spot and back line. Always jump in. Remember your helpers and training director - they need water when it’s hot, and a "thank you" when you’re done.

  10. Good sportsmanship and a good attitude are the most important things to bring. Things may not go the way you expected. Smile and appreciate the learning experience.

Good luck! ❤️

Living out tip #10: Nancy and Karma with helper Brady Schnowske at the 2018 WDC. In Nancy's words: "She had an epic ‘no out’ on the courage test at WDC for her IPO2. It took two people close to a minute to get her off the sleeve...But you smile and power through the criticism, the laughter, and the self-doubt...Good times are the byproduct of a good attitude!"

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