UPDATE 05/02/20 : Watch the 9 new video's on our DUCK Youtube channel.
Remko has made a lot of progress in the meantime and is gradually growing into adolescence. He is 25 weeks old now.
Ronny always insists that IPO (Schutzhund) sport is a team sport. It is simply impossible to achieve success alone.
In this film we can see that there are spectators/club members who not only keep an eye on Remko but also on Ronny. It is not easy to correct yourself when you are training a pup.
Besides, as a trainer or handler, there are times when you just don’t have enough hands and you need eyes in the back of your head.
This time we recognize former world champion Bert Aerts, who is following the training carefully.
This exercise has clearly been practised a lot. Ronny still always lures Remko with his left hand, the side where he wants the dog to walk at heel.
He makes sure that Remko doesn’t push or go too far forward. The dog has to walk nicely, in line with its owner’s leg.
During the walk Ronny also makes an about-turn (sometimes called a Schutzhund turn). That’s a movement where the handler turns and heads back in the direction he came from. The dog runs around his owner and returns to his left side again.
Ronny tries to walk as normally as possible, the way he wants to walk later. Without too many movements and a normal gait. Remko holds his head up straight, where Ronny has the DUCK food in his hand.
It is striking how beautiful Remko is becoming.
Another nice example of teamwork. Bert Aerts keeps Remko with him while Ronny moves away to train the dog to come when called. Every dog handler wants this exercise done quickly.
Remko wants to get to his owner as fast as possible. During these first few months they have worked hard on developing their bond and that is reflected in exercises like this one.
The exercise is finished in a ‘front sit’ on a platform. Thanks to the platform Remko sits absolutely correctly, straight in front of Ronny. Sitting at an angle would cost points.
Ronny ends the exercise with food but always gives the dog plenty of vocal approval too.
We are still at the training stage and Remko is only a young pup. In other words, he has a lot more to learn and it’s normal for him to make mistakes sometimes.
Training the three basic positions – sit, stand, down (lie) – is still done on the platform. This has the advantage that the dog doesn’t have the chance to move forward while changing position. That’s important in a lot of exercises and very important if you don’t want to lose points.
Ronny still lures with DUCK food, confirms with the clicker and rewards with the food. And he combines that with an enthusiastic voice.
If you want to reach the top, you have to train, rain or shine. Here we see Ronny teaching Remko to bark at his quarry. In IPO (formerly IGP) the dog must eventually find the protection work helper at the last hiding place, tent or shed and then bark evenly and firmly. He has to guard the helper, as it were, by deliberately and constantly barking at him. The platform is used in this exercise, too, so that the dog continues to bark on the same spot. That will be important later, when Remko reaches his quarry running and starts barking, because as long as the helper is standing still in his hiding place the dog must not touch him or bite his sleeve. Besides that, he must always bark at the helper and not at the sleeve, so the helper does not use a sleeve to provoke barking. By training the way Ronny, Bert and Remko do it, they avoid mistakes. Eventually Remko is rewarded by being allowed to bite a sleeve made for young dogs.
UPDATE 26/12/19 : Watch the 9 new video's on our DUCK Youtube channel.
No, Remko certainly doesn’t run on the treadmill yet. It’s much too soon for that. But Ronny is letting him get acquainted with it and get used to it. Before the vet gives him the go-ahead to use the treadmill, Remko needs to be fully grown and undergo a physical examination.
You have to be especially careful with big dogs during their growth period, and German Shepherds are big dogs. Once Remko reaches adulthood he will work on the treadmill regularly, but for short sessions, as a complement to his training and daily walks.
It would be correct to refer to a sport dog, which Remko is going to be, as an athlete. A sport dog needs not only to be obedient, it also has to be able to cope physically. Stamina plays a really important role, just as it does for sportsmen and women.
The greater the dog’s stamina, the better his performance will be, if all the rest is right, of course. It’s the same in lots of sports. Technique alone is often not enough, it has to be combined with stamina.
Participating in competitions, certainly at the world level, demands a lot from the dog, so he has to be mentally strong. The bond with the handler and a well-balanced life are important. A dog with little stamina will make mistakes when he is performing his exercises.
Ronny will put Remko on the treadmill regularly but very briefly, so that Remko gets used to it.
A first video showing Remko tracking.
Handler Ronny lays the trail himself. He is putting a little bit of food (DUCK of course) in every footstep.
At the highest competitive level, the dog will have to find three objects on the trail and indicate them or retrieve them. He can indicate an object by barking or lying down, standing or sitting in front of it.
There will be corners in the track too. Tracking isn’t only done in a straight line.
All this has to be taken into consideration now, while Remko is being taught to track.
One difficulty with tracking is that the dog might want to go too fast and skip some bits or some steps to get to the end of the trail faster. We see that Ronny holds Remko back or slows him down now and then, so that he doesn’t switch to a higher speed but keeps tracking at the same tempo.
In IGP tracking, the dog has to work with his nose deep in the trail. You can see that clearly with Remko, who indeed doesn’t raise his head once, but tracks step by step.
We can hear a strong wind on the video, nonetheless Remko continues to follow the trail with great concentration. Ronny doesn’t give Remko any commands and tries to allow him to work independently. Ronny supports Remko by following him closely on a long lead to correct the tempo now and then and to stroke Remko very gently as confirmation of his good work. During tracking the dog has to work very independently, so Ronny deliberately doesn’t reward him orally. In sections B (obedience) and C (protection work), on the other hand, the dog has to listen carefully to the commands.
At the scent post, we see Remko start automatically. No additional command is necessary, because he already knows what is expected of him and he begins tracking.
The tracklayer’s scent is strong at the level of the scent post and the dog knows by himself what scent to follow.
The plan is for Remko to obtain an IGP 111 eventually. For that the trail is an hour old and laid by a strange tracklayer. There will be three objects lying on that trail.
At the end of the trail we see Remko win the 'jackpot'; a pot containing a larger portion of DUCK food stuck in the ground.
In this beautiful sports discipline it is very important, literally and figuratively, not to skip any steps. Because tracking is always different. A lot depends on the weather conditions and the ground. If you participate in foreign competitions these can certainly be determining factors, where the ground or the weather may be very different from what the other participants have to deal with. We have no control over that.
Ronny emphasises regularly that he could not be so successful without a team. Here, too, we can see that training a dog is group work. A club member holds Remko so that Ronny can train the ‘front sit’ command. It’s a position that occurs frequently in section B, obedience.
The exercise is always done with the dog sitting in front of his master, in the same way as the ‘retrieve’, ‘go’ and ‘come’ exercises. This is a very important exercise and it must be done over and over again very precisely. To teach it correctly Ronny uses a platform or tray on which the dog cannot sit incorrectly. Every time Remko does it well he is rewarded by Ronny with food and a hug.
We see, too, how Ronny teaches Remko to pay attention to his master and not to the hand with the food in it or the jacket pocket where the DUCK food is.
In this video we also see that following has evolved a lot as well. Ronny still lures Remko with food. It is easier now than at the very beginning because Remko is a bit bigger. Ronny makes sure that Remko walks nicely at heel and that he certainly doesn’t try to crawl forward. That would create problems for later when the dog is bigger and stronger. Remko is always lured and rewarded with the left hand. Ronny walks in large circles, with Remko on the inside. Now and then a stop is included and Remko has to sit. Every time he does this he his rewarded after the click.
Ronny works with food so that Remko can train in a very concentrated manner. When he is teaching the dog an exercise it is important to make sure that Remko is calm, so that he remains concentrated and is fully aware of what he is being taught. If the dog were to be rewarded with a toy that he loves, he would become too excited. The risk then is that the dog might make mistakes and go int