What is IPO you ask? Well by meaning it is Internationale Prüfungs-Ordnung but unless you speak German that will mean very little to you.
So in english IPO is a dog sport which predominately features German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois, American Bulldogs, Dutch Shepherds, Rottweilers, and Dobermans. Once called (and still somewhat called) Schutzhund (meaning protection dog) it consists of 3 phases tracking, protection and obedience. Originating in Germany in the 1800′s its a dog sport that has been around for a long time. Consisting of numerous “titles” the dogs can earn to show courage, intelligence and utility it is frequently used as a breed survey to test the breeding suitability for German Shepherds.
I become involved in IPO in January of 2013 after acquiring my male German Shepherd puppy Edgar von Ramhaus aka Soren. Soren will be trialing in spring 2014 for his IPO titles as well as taking his certification test for IPWDA Cadaver. The Dog Corps. traveled to Easton PA last weekend to watch the nationals and get an overview of how trialing a dog in IPO works. The kids enjoyed watching the human canine partnerships and that evening over dinner we had lengthy discussions about training.
While working with the students at FFS i try very hard to provide a solid basis in canine body language, because if you can read a dog you can train him to do anything. I always encourage the kids to maintain a healthy balanced relationship with the canines they work with, which means keeping their emotions in check and not in the training. Our dinner conversation revolved around another topic in dog training, the use of punishment and aversives. The kids were able to pick which handlers had used more positive vs more negative in their training relationships. The dogs body language was documented and discussed out loud during the obedience and protection routines. Despite the chilly air and lack of sunshine we had a great day observing some amazing handlers and their canines.