From time to time, you may see videos and pictures of our dogs biting sleeves, barking at the ‘bad guy’ in the blind, climbing walls to grab a tug or pulling a sled.
What is this all about and why do we do it? First… we are nutty dog people, so dog sports is in our blood. Once a person starts down the rabbit hole of a dog sport, there is a natural deep appreciation for a dog’s intelligence, genetics and power. What a dog is bred to do…or capable of doing despite the genetic map is mind blowing.
IGP (a.k.a. IPO a.k.a. Schutzhund) started back in the 1900’s in Germany as a breeding test for German Shepherds (now open to all breeds). There are 3 phases to the sport. Tracking, obedience and protection. The dog must pass all 3 phases (usually in one day) to earn a title. If the dog passed, breeders could then consider the dog in their breeding program. The traits that the sport demands are:
- Strong desire to work
- Strong bond to the handler
- Protective instinct
- Scenting ability
Progeny from high titled dogs are often sought after for police/military dogs that are either directly placed in their programs or placed as part of a breeding program . Much of the training is also examined as skills that can be used to train dogs to the highest level possible needed to do the important work. Other popular high drive dog sports played around the world (a.k.a. “ring sports”) are PSA, French Ring, and Mondio.
The other drive sport we love is GRC! GRC is a new sport that offers 4 “games”: wall climb, spring pole, slat mill race, and weight pull. What I love about GRC is that it is for ALL dogs and there is an obedience component which, like in IGP is necessary and not at all easy. Handlers must have control so the dog can play the game.
So back to the question of WHY we like drive sports over other types of dog sports out there. First… it’s wicked fun for the handler and dog. But more importantly, it teaches high drive dogs to have self control in order to have fun. In order to play, they have to listen. And like all drive sports, the obedience isn’t just for the competition ring, it crosses over into real life. So there is discipline of training and being accountable for the handler and the dog.
GRC filled the missing ‘sport gap’ for that high drive pet pit bull, shepherd or mutt who might have been labeled ‘difficult’ and where some may want to suppress those behaviors, we now can channel it into a productive outlet so the dog can be biologically fulfilled, learn impulse control & a high level of obedience at the same time.
As a company, the MDTC team comes with different backgrounds and experiences. We learn from each other all the time. The experience we have achieved training our own dogs in drive sports helps us solve problems in different ways. There are ‘many roads to Rome’ as they say… and our collective experience and passion helps us help owners with a range of temperaments and issues. And the more we learn, the more we pass it on to our clients and their dogs.
If you are interested in learning more about GRC, please check out our local club facebook page or visit the GRC Dogsports website.