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What is IPO Dog Training?

IPO (Internationale Prüfungs-Ordnung) training, also referred to as IGP (Internationale Gebrauchshund Prüfung), is a challenging sport that can be used with any working breed. It emphasizes three main phases: Obedience, tracking, and protection. Although this sport isn’t a gentle hobby, it can be used with athletic dogs by taking advantage of their structural efficiency and is good for promoting confidence building and teamwork. 

The History of IPO Dog Training

IPO training traces its roots all the way back to1901. German Shepherds were the first fulfillment dogs to go through IPO training, but many other working breeds quickly followed.

The Origins of IGP/Schutzhund Training    

IPO, or IGP, started in Germany. In 1901, the herding abilities of German Shepherd dogs was falling out of favor. Instead, there was a big push toward training these dogs to work for the military or police. TheVerein fur Deutsche Schaferhunde (Association for German Shepherd Dogs) decided that pups would undergo this Deutsche Hundesport (German dog sport) to test for any undesirable characteristics. 

The Evolution of IPO Training 

IPO quickly evolved as a training and evaluation model for each German protection breed, including Dobermans, Rottweilers, Boxers, and Giant Schnauzers. Today, any dog breed is allowed to compete in IPG, although the sport mostly attracts Belgian Shepherds and German Shepherds. 

The Purpose of IPO Dog Training

IPO training, which can lead to competing in IPG, serves a dual purpose. First off, it tests a dog’s character. Due to the rigorous training that’s involved, it won’t be suitable for all dogs. Secondly, it allows suitable dogs to show off their skills and may allow them to win a championship. It’s also important to note that dogs that are able to excel at IPO are not likely to develop any off-course aggression. 

Be aware that IPO isn’t easy. In 2019,3,321 rescue dogs enrolled in IPO exams, but only 1,159 passed. 

Enhancing the Abilities of German Shepherds 

German Shepherds who go through IPO training will have their natural abilities enhanced. For example, they must exhibit ‘footstep tracking,’ which refers to keeping their nose on the ground and sniffing out certain items on a track. Dogs that can’t complete this task will be dismissed, as will pups that showcase sound sensitivity, aggression toward other dogs, or the inability to perform tricks while off leash. 

Preparing Dogs for Varied Positions 

A dog that can successfully compete in IPG will also gain the training necessary to help him or her become a police or military dog. Furthermore, these canines makegreat family pets as they have a reliable temperament and become the very picture of obedience.

Promoting Physical and Mental Stability

Some people persist in believing that IPO makes dogs aggressive, but there just isn’t any proof of this. Instead, being able to compete in all three phases helps prove that a dog is physically sound. Additionally, mental stability is an important piece of the puzzle. After all, a dog won’t be able to do footstep tracking for up to1,800 paces if it doesn’t have a level head and even temperament. 

The Three Phases of IPO Dog Training

Being able to complete all three phases of IPO training enables a dog to compete in IPG trails. They must also pass BH-VT, which tests their temperament, obedience, and confidence around strangers. 

Tracking Phase

In this phase of training, the pup’s scenting ability, physical endurance, and mental soundness are put to the test. The owner must have theirdog on a meter leash and maintain a 33-foot distance. Each time the dog finds an item, he or she must indicate it by laying down with the item between its paws. Items are not hidden in a straight direction, so this really relies on their tracking ability.     

Obedience Phase 

Obedience is tested in a large, open field with two dogs. One pup works in the field, while the other must rest in the ‘down’ position by him or herself. Obedience exercises in this phase include heeling exercises, additional retrieves, and a ‘send out.’ They must also endure some gun shots to test their reaction. This series of obedience field exercises tests whether they possess a sound working temperament.

Protection Phase 

A helper wearing a padded sleeve enters the field, along with the dog’s handler. Thus begins the protection tests. The helper hides in one of many blinds, and the dog must find them. They’ll go through many different exercises to prove that they can protect their handler, hence the name ‘protection phase.’ Once the dog is told to go ‘out,’ though, they must stop their strong pulling, release the sleeve, and let the helper go. Dogs must exhibit courage and enthusiasm to pass the protection tests of the IGP test. 

IPO Training Process 

Now that you have a better handle on what IPO actually is, let’s drill down to develop a deeper understanding of everything that’s required for your dog to pass the IPG trails.  

Choosing the Right Handler

Although many owners choose to be their dog’s human handler, it isn’t a requirement. It’s more important to locate a handler who can safely and humanely lead a pup through each phase. They must help the dog become their best selves, regardless of their instinctual drives. Trust is essential and will help bring your dog’s natural abilities to the surface. 

Starting with Basic Obedience 

If your pup isn’t able to follow basic commands such as sit or stay, he or she won’t be able to complete the IPO training process. Therefore, each dog that takes an IPO course begins by showcasing his or her level of obedience. 

Building Drive and Focus in Dogs

Drive and focus can be built through a combination of toys/treats and your voice. Dogs are very motivated by rewards, so use this to your advantage. Make sure you teach them the ‘look’ command, as it’s integral toward building up their level of focus. Work on these steps a bit at a time, and gradually expand the amount of drive and focus they must exhibit. 

Advancing Training Degrees in IPO 

Proving that your dog is Schutzhund material requires them to pass a prerequisite andthree subsequent levels of international rules. Each level becomes harder than the last. 

  • BH – Dogs must pass this prerequisite to continue. It tests their basic level of obedience and their temperament. Must be at least 15 months old. 
  • IPO1 – Must be at least 18 months old and have passed BH. 
  • IPO2 – Must have passed IPO1 and be at least 19 months old. 
  • IPO3 – Must have passed the previous levels and be at least 20 months old.

  • Working with a Training Director 

    A training director will have a very high level of knowledge about training dogs. It’s their job to make sure the animals under their care end up as self-confident dogs that make excellent companions, can put up with strange people, and can pass courage test exercises. 

    Important Factors in IPO Training

    It’s essential for your dog to have the correct working temperament. Bad training can harm your relationship with your pup, but if it’s done correctly, he or she will build physical endurance and mental stability. Be sure to properly vet your chosen IPO training facility. 

    The handler on command should bring out positive traits in dogs. As long as everything is done correctly, you’ll end up with happier companions that can successfully complete exercises in obedience, protection training, and even dumbbell retrieves. 

    The Importance of Temperament in IPO

    When it comes to IPO, proper temperament is the name of the game. A dog that has any mental instability will not be able to move through IPO’s three level tracking titles, also known as the IPO-FH tracking degrees. 

    Traits and Characteristics Desired in IPO Dogs

    A dog needs to have the followingtraits and characteristics if he or she is expected to complete IPO training: 

    • Protective instincts
    • Mental soundness
    • Perseverance 
    • Strong bond with their handler teams
    • Trainability 
    • Intelligence 
    • Courage
    • Strong desire to work 
    • Scenting ability
    • Agility 
    • Endurance 
    • Strength 

    Ensuring Proper Temperament for Breeding

    Passing the IPG trails is a fantastic way to make sure a dog should be able to breed. In fact, dogs in Germany must be able to pass at least one level before they’re given the okay to breed. 

    The Role of Temperament in IPO Success

    IPO is rigorous training that cannot be completed by every dog. They need to have a good initial temperament to even enter the training. Without this crucial component, it won’t matter if they have strong natural instincts or can complete additional walking stand exercises. Without an even temperament, they won’t be a good candidate forloose leash walking or doing a mile endurance test. They also require an even temperament to pass separate obedience tests. 

    The Benefits of IPO Dog Training

    IPO can give your pup many benefits, including building their confidence, control, and power. 

    Excelling in Other Dog Activities

    Each skill your dog picks up from IPO training is directly translatable to another part of their life. For instance, if your dog can pass the tracking phase, they’ll become much more adept at helping you hunt. Also, if they can pass the protection phase by finding the hidden person, they’ll have demonstrated their intelligence, which will help them with anything else they want to do!

    Creating Happier and Well-Balanced Companions

    Certain breeds are simply much happier when they have a job. By letting them do what comes naturally, you’ll be empowering them to become happier, better-balanced companions. Their wagging tails are all the proof you need! 

    Strengthening the Bond Between Dogs and Handlers

    Building trust and respect are vital pillars that will strengthen you and your pup’s bond. Doing IPO training together allows your dog to experience the joy of discovery and learning, and they’ll relate this back to being with you! 

    The Perfect Tools for IPO Dog Training

    Are you looking for the perfect tools to assist your dog with IPO? Tactipup produces strong, durable products that are perfect for German Shepherds and other working dogs.Purchase our over-built dog gear for your beloved four-legged companion today!