Central Florida Schutzhund Training
On Saturday, July 11th, the first “Central Florida Schutzhund
Training Event” was held at Amanda Hoskinson’s field in
Groveland, FL. Clubs and training groups from all over Florida were
invited to come and train together. It didn’t matter if you were
a USA or DVG member, or just a fan of the sport, everyone was invited.
With representatives from at least seven DVG clubs (North Florida
SchH Club, Highway SchH Club, Peace River SchH Club, Gator SchH Club,
Top Dawg SchH Club, Gulf Coast SchH Club, High Drive Working Dog Club),
three USA clubs (Iron Dog SchH Club, Tampa Bay Working Dog Club, Space
Coast SchH Club), one WDA club (Sun Coast SchH Club), one USRC club
(Central FL Rottweiler Club), as well as several people with no formal
affiliation, the turnout was indeed impressive. We had well over 50
dogs of various breeds, from young puppies to seasoned adults, and up
to 15 helpers.
Spearheaded by Jason McNew of Iron Dog Schutzhund Club, this
event was intended as a way to share these simple but important goals.
• Have fun
• Strengthen the sport, as well as friendship among Schutzhund
people and clubs, in Central Florida
• Exchange training ideas
• Get feedback from "fresh sets of eyes"
• Expose dogs and handlers to different helpers and new fields
• Provide an opportunity for less experienced decoys to learn
from a broad range of more seasoned ones
• Give all decoys a chance to work on a greater variety of dogs
than they normally get on their home fields
Generally, the rules were simple…no real rules.
To foster the cooperative and social aspect of the event, the only price
of admission was something to eat. Everyone was asked to bring a dish,
and the food that ended up in Amanda’s kitchen looked to be enough
to feed a small army!
Everyone was encouraged to ask anyone, from any club to help, and any
helper from any club to work their dog.
Of course, this time of year is hot and humid in the central
Florida area, and thunderstorms are always a threat. We started around
6:00 PM to beat the worst of the heat, and while the t-storms threatened
and a brief sprinkle tried to dampen spirits, the weather actually cooperated
nicely for us.
While Jason kept folks moving in an orderly fashion on and
off the training field, folks had the opportunity to meet new friends
and socialize with those they hadn’t seen in a while. Training
went on until every single dog there to be worked had had an opportunity
to be on the field. While many had to leave earlier, there were those
who stayed until the very end of the evening – past midnight.
I heard lots of people comment on the great evening of training
and how nice it was to see everyone together. Also noted and very much
appreciated was how the most experienced helpers took the lead in mentoring
the younger ones, demonstrating techniques and giving constructive suggestions.
We plan to keep these “super-mega” training sessions
going on a monthly basis if possible, rotating hosting duties around
all participating groups to continue this goodwill between members.
A big “Thank You” goes to Amanda for hosting this
first event and helping to set the tone for the ones to come!