Begleithund (aka Companion Dog) Trialing Tips | Schutzhund Training

Schutzhund Training

Begleithund – Companion Dog Test

Why are some people better handlers than others?  This question is asked all the time.  Some people are more coordinated than others, some people can do many tasks at once, some can see mistakes or problems and correct them on the fly, and some people prepare themselves for trials.  All of these things and more make any one person a good handler.  Here are some hints on successful trialing.

When showing always smile at the judge and be extremely courteous.  It is very important to listen to what the judge has to say.  Some judges have handler’s meetings where competitors can ask questions.  Handler’s should use this opportunity to clear up any concerns they might have.  A competitor may ask a judge if he has time for questions via the internet or before the trial.  Pay attention to his instructions, and pay a lot of attention to his critiques of other dogs.  The BH is a good place to listen to the judge’s critiques as they sometimes go into novice-like detail to the spectators at this level.

A Few General Tips:

1 – Know the rules

2 – Again know the rules

3 – Look out for the other handler and dog team

4 – Be ready to go out to the field when it is your turn

5 – Judges will watch you and your dog outside the trial field

6 – Practice and proof your dog around people, dogs, cars, bikes and joggers.

7 – A hungry dog usually works better.

Preparation before trial:

Always try to be completely ready six weeks before a trial so you can peak your dog for the trial and work on a good attitude.   This gives you time to train if one or two problems crop up.

Pattern training should be done with great care.  How could they learn to lag around the 10th pace in your build up phase, if you never did routine?  If your dog consistently does a walking sit when asked; why would you practice sitting constantly after exactly a 10 to 15 pace build up?

Most good trainers take the last days off before a trial.  The amount of time off depends on the dog.  Did you ever notice when your dog misses a few days of training how energetic they are when they come back?  Good handlers use this to their advantage.  Many people, beginners and experienced handlers, train so much before a trial they create their own problems.  If your dog isn’t ready and needs a lot of training before a trial you should think about not entering.  There is the rare dog, that without consistent training all the way up to the last minute, displays such high drive it is out of control at the trial.

I hope these ideas make a competitor think that there are a lot of ways one can be a good handler.  Think of your own ways for your particular dog that can make you look great as a team.

Yours in the Sport!

Mark Chaffin

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