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Took our GSD and Malinois to a Mondioring on Sunday. What a day!

Open field (handlers/dogs get to visit the trial field to get an idea of what the jumps look like, how big the field is, where the gates are…..before the judge sets everything up) was on Friday, trial was held on Saturday and Sunday. We had to work on Friday and Saturday, so we couldn’t make it to open field.

We got up around 2:30 am Sunday morning, left our house before 4 am, in pouring rain. Got to a local park at 7:30 am to let our dogs stretch their legs and run around a bit. Arrived at trial field 45 minutes later.

I trialed with my Mal at 10:30 am and hubby trialed with his GSD around 11 am.

This is my Mal’s second trial (first trial was an OB-only routine earlier this year). In Mondioring, a lot of handlers use contact heeling to keep the dogs with us between exercises. The actual heeling exercise can be contact, attention, or regular heel. Whenever my Mal gets super excited, she combines her attention and contact heeling. I thought I had exercised her enough before the program that I took her edge off, well, obviously that wasn’t enough. She was still very excited during our trial, as you can see in the video, she was a little goof ball :p

I am super proud of her though. At the age of 15 months, she still refused to chase a flirt pole/showed no interest in toys, I practically gave up on ever titling her in bite-work. Little did I know that she had other plans. Training her in bite-work was no easy task, her drives were so different from a typical Malinois, but hubby and I learned a lot along the way. She earned her Brevet title on Sunday with a score of 98.5 (out of 100).


Hubby’s GSD was a rescue dog. He came to us at around 15 months of age as a foster dog, no one wanted a crazy 80-lb puppy that was dog aggressive and toy aggressive, so we adopted him. It took hubby 6 months just to gain enough trust in him for him to willingly bring a toy back during fetch. He has come a long way and we are super proud of his performance. He trialed in Mondioring 1, this is his second leg so he officially earned his Mondioring 1 title this weekend with a score of 187 (out of 200). He got the highest score in Mondioring 1 category on Sunday :D

 

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Wow! Thanks for posting, great lunchtime viewing, I love the enthusiam, as always, and feel like quite the slacker whenever I see protection sports.
There is so much in there--I wish I knew enough to make intelligent commentary but I'll stick with fantastic & to you husband, thanks for showing off how awesome rescue dogs can be too.
To both of you, it's great read about how you work with your dogs & bring out the best in them.
 
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Wow! Thanks for posting, great lunchtime viewing, I love the enthusiam, as always, and feel like quite the slacker whenever I see protection sports.
There is so much in there--I wish I knew enough to make intelligent commentary but I'll stick with fantastic & to you husband, thanks for showing off how awesome rescue dogs can be too.
To both of you, it's great read about how you work with your dogs & bring out the best in them.
Thank you @Artdog!

I think hubby and I have gotten addicted to Mondioring :p Our lives nowadays pretty much revolve around the dogs and training for Mondioring.

It is a very interesting and challenging sport. Generalization during training is a big “must.” Every Mondioring trial has a theme and the trial field setup is based on that particular theme. So there is a lot of environmental variation. The theme of the trial we attended was “construction zone,” heavy machineries/traffic cones were brought in as distractions (hurdle was wrapped in orange/white tapes, LOL). The retrieve item for Saturday in the upper level was a hard hat.

Wish it was a more popular sport so more clubs would be available (there are currently 26 clubs in the the US).
 

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Great vieos @San! I wish you were close to me, I'd take some heeling lessons with you! :)
Awwwww......thank you @Aspen726

Wish I had more experience when I taught her contact and attention heeling. An experience trainer told me that during contact heeling, the harder a dog pressed against me, the better it was. Well........didn't realize that there was a huge difference between a 20-lb puppy pressing against my leg when walking versus a 60-lb dog :rolleyes:
 

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@San re: themes, it sounds like a real test of a dogs understanding and nerves. And yes, it sounds like a real lifestyle thing, I'm too much an 'in the woods' person to get serious about any dog sport, but the protection sports seem to touch on all aspects of training; I remain an avid armchair quarterback.
 

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Congratulations San!
Mondioring really seems to test a dogs ability to focus and perform in various real-life environments and circumstances. I like the use of the practical and varied distractions - I noticed someone wheeling around a wheelbarrow at one point. Do they ever have other dogs in the trial area as distractions?

Looks like a big dog contact heeling could knock the handler off balance or maybe knock them over completely if the handler wasn't careful.
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@San re: themes, it sounds like a real test of a dogs understanding and nerves. And yes, it sounds like a real lifestyle thing, I'm too much an 'in the woods' person to get serious about any dog sport, but the protection sports seem to touch on all aspects of training; I remain an avid armchair quarterback.
LOL, it really is a lifestyle. All of our spare time is now spent on Mondioring training and the dogs. Nowadays, you can find me at one of four places.... my work, home, a grocery store, or a park with the dogs :p

Dogs with weaker nerves have a hard time with Mondioring because of all the distractions/variation in field setup. With the right dog, it is a lot of fun.
 

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Congratulations San!
Mondioring really seems to test a dogs ability to focus and perform in various real-life environments and circumstances. I like the use of the practical and varied distractions - I noticed someone wheeling around a wheelbarrow at one point. Do they ever have other dogs in the trial area as distractions?

Looks like a big dog contact heeling could knock the handler off balance or maybe knock them over completely if the handler wasn't careful.
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Thank you! Mondioring really tests how a handler and his/her dog work together as a team. A dog has to be able to focus on the task at hand and be able to generalize behaviors through different distractions.

Trial theme determines the distractions. One trial may have people throwing beach balls, another one may have people playing badminton at a distance, I've also seen one where a person pretended to be cleaning out a room/moving boxes around.

Mondio does not use other dogs as distractions. But a dog has to have a CGC, a BH (IPO/Schutzhund), or pass a sociability test before he/she can trial in Mondioing. They want to make sure a dog is socially stable with other humans/dogs prior to trialing.

LOL, I know, contact heeling can easily knock a smaller handler off balance. Hence the reason why her whistle recall is to go between my legs. She knocked me off my feet a couple of times when she came back to my left leg at full speed :rolleyes:
 

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Wow, look at how far she's come from a teeny pup! Been following her growing up a bit to satiate my wild Mal puppy fever. I'm pretty set on a Mal for my next dog in ~3 or 4 years. Unlikely I'll have the stability (financially or in housing) to add a third dog, let alone a Shepherd breed, until then.

Mondioring is definitely a sport I have interest in- to me it really seems like it tests stability of the dog above all, and it's harder for a good trainer to title with a weak nerved dog than in other bite sports. Of the bite sports, it's the one I'm most attracted to, and I'm very passionate about trying to work dogs in the venues they've been bred for/they shine in, so I'd love to do some kind of bite work if I got a Mal.

Would love to hear an elaboration on how her drives differ form a typical Mal- is she just not toy/tug motivated? How did you get around this in bite work?

And look at that heeling :dog-love:- talk about contact heeling lol
 

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Wow, look at how far she's come from a teeny pup! Been following her growing up a bit to satiate my wild Mal puppy fever. I'm pretty set on a Mal for my next dog in ~3 or 4 years. Unlikely I'll have the stability (financially or in housing) to add a third dog, let alone a Shepherd breed, until then.

Mondioring is definitely a sport I have interest in- to me it really seems like it tests stability of the dog above all, and it's harder for a good trainer to title with a weak nerved dog than in other bite sports. Of the bite sports, it's the one I'm most attracted to, and I'm very passionate about trying to work dogs in the venues they've been bred for/they shine in, so I'd love to do some kind of bite work if I got a Mal.

Would love to hear an elaboration on how her drives differ form a typical Mal- is she just not toy/tug motivated? How did you get around this in bite work?

And look at that heeling :dog-love:- talk about contact heeling lol
Thank you @Moonstream!

I don’t know much about French ring (FR), but I think it is relatively similar to Mondioring(MR). We were in a PSA club for a few years. I’ve never participated in IPO but I’ve seen some trials. Between FR, MR, PSA, and IPO, I like MR the most. A dog with weak nerves could probably do okay trialing on his/her home field, but unfamiliar environment in addition to new distractions would be too much.

An ideal dog for protection sports is one with high prey drive and some defense drive. Bite-work foundation is all done with prey drive. A dog that does not have good prey drive can still do bite-work, we would have to wait for her to mentally mature and tap into her defense drive (but decoys always try their best to do foundation work in prey). Biting in prey is fun for a dog, biting in defense is stressful.

My Mal didn’t have any prey drive as a puppy, didn’t want to chase ball/toy/anything. When her prey drive finally turned on, it wasn’t high enough for her to engage with a decoy, at least not enough for sports bite-work. We had a lot of problems with grips (shifting of grips and commitment). We were told it wasn't a nerve issue, she just wasn’t taking bite-work seriously.

Dogs like her are usually washed out from protection sports because there are much easier dogs to work with, ones with natural strong full grip and high prey drive. Our club decoys, although very experienced with Mals, are used to working with your typical sports Mal, the ones where a decoy barely wiggles his leg and the dog is already latched on :rolleyes:

My Mal, on the other hand, has more defense drive than prey. Now we could tap into her defense drive once she turned 2, it would theoretically make her grips better and improve her commitment, but at the cost of making bite-work more stressful/less fun for her. We weighted the pros/cons, and decided to just keep developing her prey drive and leave her defense drive alone.

We also ended up seeking the help of a European decoy (went to his seminars in the US), he flat out told us that my Mal didn’t have the typical drives of a Mal, so we shouldn’t work her as such. He taught us how to work her using her natural tendencies, and it really turned her bite-work around. He understood that we didn’t want to touch her defense drive, and was able to work around it.

Main thing about defense drive is that my Mal doesn’t have high prey drive, I am afraid that if we tap into her defense too much, without enough prey drive to neutralize the stress, it would turn her into a reactive/nervy dog. I am also worried that working her in defense too much, her OB would suffer (it’s one thing to “out” a dog when a dog is in prey mode, totally different when a dog thinks she is fighting for her safety/life), and it would create more conflicts between us.
 
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