Equipment- What do I need to have to do IPO?

If you are new to this sport and wondering just what you will need in order to get started we have put together a little list for new handlers.

#1 Crate - You will need to have a good sturdy crate to keep your dog contained in your vehicle while you wait for your turn. Even the most well mannered dogs have been known to chew seatbelts and car seats when protection training is going on. During IPO training we typically have one, maybe two dogs out working at a time so your dog will need to have a safe and secure place to be while others train. It is beneficial for new handlers to watch others so they can get better acquainted with the techniques utilized, and you will not want to have to continuously check that your dog isn't eating your new car. Most dogs are fine in a standard plastic airline crate but some dogs may require a more heavy duty Ruff-Tough or aluminum crate. You can purchase Ruff Tough crates here.

#2 Fur Saver - A fur-saver collar will be the collar you trial your dog in. It is a simple slip chain collar make of large links. It can be used like a choke-chain, however it is rarely utilized for this purpose. They come in nickel, stainless steel, curogan, brass, and chrome. They also have "coated" fur-savers that come in many colors, but this coating often wears off very quickly. You will typically only be using your fur-saver collar on the "dead ring". This means you will attach your leash to the ring of the collar that does not tighten when tension is pulled against it. You can purchase fur savers here.

#3 Harness - Your dog will need a good agitation harness for beginning protection training. If you are buying an already trained schutzhund dog you may not need a harness, but if your dog is new to IPO training you will need a harness. You want to select an agitation harness that fits your dog well and does not cause choking when the dog pulls against the leash. You don't want your harness to apply pressure to your dog's trachea when they are trying to learn how to bark. Your harness should be snug but there also needs to enough room left for your dog to be able to take large deep breaths. You can order agitation harnesses here.

There are also Bottcher harnesses which are used for tracking training. These are more of a personal preference, but some dogs and some handlers prefer them over tracking in collars.

#4 Pinch Collar - Your dog will likely need a high quality pinch collar for higher levels of training after obedience commands are established. Smaller link collars are my preference but larger links serve a purpose as well. Pinch collars can also be used on a live ring and a dead ring. For the live ring effect you attach the leash to the swivel. For the dead ring effect you attach the leash to both the swivel and the ring on the collar. This prevents the collar from getting tighter around your dog's neck. You can purchase pinch collars here.

#5 Trial Leash - You will want a leash that you use in trials that fits either around your waist or over your shoulder and clips onto itself. In IPO trials you are required to have a leash on you whenever your are on the field. We recommend a sport leash that is either 3' or 4' long depending on your preferences and size. You can purchase sport leashes here.

#6 Tracking Line - You will need a 10m tracking line for both training and trials for IPO / Schutzhund training. Tracking training is largely reliant on your dog being able to work independently so it is beneficial for you to have an idea of just how far behind your dog you will be in a trial. We recommend synthetic tracking lines which can be purchased here.

#7 Training Tab - While not completely necessary, it is convenient to have a training tab leash available. A tab is simply a short leash without the handle. Having a shorter tab leash allows you to train many tasks without the worry of your dog stepping on or getting tangled in their leash. You can purchase training tabs here.

#8 Clicker - Also not completely necessary, but is a training tool we often use with puppies and sometimes older dogs. Clicker training is a segment of marker training and some handlers find it easier to utilize a clicker as their mark than a vocal marker. You can purchase clickers here.

#9 Balls and Tugs - Your future IPO prospect will needs balls or tugs or both depending on what they like and what is easier for you. Both balls and tugs have good points and bad points so utilize whatever works best for you and your dog.

#10 Tracking Articles - You will need an assortment of leather, wood, and carpet articles. These are small, approximately 1"x4" pieces. Your dog will learn to identify articles on the track. You can order articles here.

#11 Electronic Training Collar - Many dogs can be trained without the use on an E-Collar, however they are very handy for many situations. E-collars are great communication tools allowing you to have contact with your dog no matter what. We recommend E-collar technology brand collars. You can purchase E-collars here.

This is the main equipment required in IPO training. Some clubs have different lists, but this is a fairly complete list of what you will need for both training and trialing. Different dogs may occasionally needs different equipment. Use this as a starting list for what you and your dog can plan on needing for IPO / Schutzhund training.

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