"I am new to Schutzhund/IGP, where do I start? How do I find people or a club to train with?"
This is probably the most frequently asked question on social media to date! Getting involved in Schutzhund/IGP can be very overwhelming for many people. And as a person who has been training in the SPORT, (yes it is a sport and my dogs will not protect me nor do I want them to) for over 20 years, it can still be overwhelming to me. With all the new online courses out there and videos (including mine at www.davekroyer.com) the number one recommendation I have is always, FIND A CLUB!!!!! There is no better way to learn the sport than finding a club. Most new people are not familiar with "working dog" training and it can all be a bit confusing. So find a club! Contact them and ask if you can attend a training day. Don't bring your dog. It is not necessary to bring your dog. And try not to talk constantly about your dog when you go visit a club. Ask questions, help out, and even bring some drinks or snacks for members.
In this blog I will name some resources for finding a club. But keep in mind, many people drive 3-5 hours once or twice a week for training. If the nearest club to you is 3 hours away, and you can not commit to going, I would suggest finding another activity for your dog. The sport is demanding and a way of life for many.
There are a few organizations in the United States that host the sport. I will list a few and the corresponding websites. On all the websites there will be a list of clubs in your state or area and contact information. What organization should you be a part of you ask? Well, i can’t tell you that. That is a personal preference. Here is a list and the url of clubs in the united states. And for further information the current name for the sport in the USA is IGP. It has gone through a few different names over the years like Schutzhund. IPO, VPG and finally IGP (until the next name change). Here is a list and the URL for the organizations in the USA.
United Schutzhund clubs of America www.germanshepherddog.com
German Shepherd Dog Club of America www.gsdca.org
LV DVG America www.dvg-america.com
American Working Dog Federation www.awdf.net
Each website will list clubs in each state of the USA. Find a club and go for a visit. There is no substitute for going to a club if you are interested in the wonderful sport of IGP. Happy Training!