Kraftwerk K9 Unites IPO and Practical Protection
We at Kraftwerk K9 emphasize the practical application of our dogs within everyday life, not just on the competition field. We are constantly upgrading the leading edge of obedience and protection qualities of the German Shepherd Dog. Our team of experts use IPO trained dogs and prepare them to be family companions as well as protection specialists. Building on a long-standing foundation in IPO, we are now going a step further. The Maximum Versatility Protection Dog Challenge is a one-of-a-kind course only found at Kraftwerk K9. It is used to test IPO trained dogs even further, proofing their ability to protect under extreme environmental stressors and situations. In this way, our protection dogs are trained and tested to handle and overcome the most stressful, life-threatening situations. They can move just as swiftly and think just as clearly with or without the presence of a hostile weapon.
Today, there are several training facilities around the United States that unfortunately devalue the importance of IPO training. IPO is an intensive test that was developed to put stress on the dog and the handler, evaluating the ability of the dog to function in even the most high stress scenario. Dogs that are IPO titled have been temperament and nerve tested by a licensed judge (third party). At Kraftwerk K9, we hold high value in the importance of this training, testing, and strict judging by an unbiased professional. Our clients do not want to take just anyone’s word that a dog is trained, and IPO provides them with proof and peace of mind. This is the foundation of our practical protection candidates.
So, What is IPO?
IPO was designed as a breed worthiness test specifically for the German Shepherd Dog. It is a dog sport focused on the development and evaluation of the versatile qualities that make an effective working dog and trustworthy companion. Dogs can achieve different levels based on their ability and training. It is impossible for a dog to be successfully trained in IPO without the proper traits and a balanced, stable temperament in every environment. The tests very accurately assess the dog’s true character and versatility under a variety of stressors.
The BH is a degree for traffic-safe companion dogs, to test the dog’s obedience and temperament around people and environmental stimulus. It includes formal obedience, on and off leash, and tests of the dog’s character in everyday situations, such as crowds of people, other dogs, joggers, bikers, cars, and noises. The BH degree is awarded pass/fail and must be earned before a dog may be allowed to enter a trial for an IPO title.
Once a BH degree has been earned, the dog can go on to earn an IPO title. There are three levels, IPO1, IPO2, and IPO3. The dog must earn each one before he can attempt to move on to the next, more difficult level. Each level consists of three separate “phases” to test the dog, each demonstrating the important characteristics which make an outstanding protection dog and family companion.
Why is this important for a Practical Protection and Family Companion Dog?
Phase 1 Tracking
Phase 1 is Tracking, in which the dog follows the scent left by footsteps of a tracklayer and indicates on “articles” dropped by the person. For a dog to achieve success in the tracking phase, he must show the following:
- Natural ability and instinct
- Problem solving
Phase 1 Tracking
Phase 2 Obedience
Phase 2 Obedience
Phase 2 is Obedience, which is performed off leash. The obedience routine includes heeling exercises, working around people, reaction to a gunshot, recall to the handler, retrieves on the ground and over walls, as well as a send away from the handler and commands such as sit and down away from the handler. Obedience requires, even more, traits to achieve success:
- Desire to please
- Intelligence/ propensity for learning
- Balanced temperament
Phase 3 Protection
The most exciting and adrenaline packed portion of the IPO test. In this phase the handler’s control over the dog is of extreme importance. The dog performs a search to find the decoy (a person posing as a threat) and guards him until the handler approaches. The dog pursues the decoy without hesitation when he attempts to flee or attack, holding him with a firm grip until commanded to out. Throughout the phase, the dog’s tenacity is tested by the decoy with threats and hits with a padded stick. As the ultimate test of the dog’s courage, the decoy comes out of hiding a football field’s length away, aggressively charging at the dog and handler. The dog is sent to bite, and must quickly and confidently engage the decoy who continues to run directly at him, yelling and threatening with a stick.
The IPO Protection phase tests temperamental qualities that no other dog sport can so accurately assess. The test is designed to expose the true character of the dog as well as any potential weakness (underneath the training). An unwilling dog can’t be “made” to do protection work, but rather he must possess the necessary qualities:
- Balance of drives
Phase 3 Protection
Each of the three levels of IPO become progressively more challenging for the dog. The tracks are further and aged longer, more obedience commands and exercises are required, and the protection phase requires additional grips, transports, and control. Each phase at every level is worth 100 points, for a total of 300 points. The dog must receive a minimum of 70 points in each phase, as well as pass a pre-trial temperament test in order to pass these rigorous evaluations. The judge awards higher points to dogs who are eager and willing to work for the human handler, with focus and accuracy throughout the routines.
It is clear to see how the amazing qualities of a well bred, trained, and IPO titled dog are exactly the same qualities needed in a superb home protection and companion animal. When “Bad Guys” see a confident, protective German Shepherd, the words “Police K9” immediately come to mind. Criminals would much rather take on an empty home than one with a barking German Shepherd. Their instincts and training drive them toward their ultimate purpose of overpowering the attacker and protecting their own, no matter the cost. We are committed to providing protection by supplying highly skilled working dogs with revolutionary (advanced) training techniques. All german shepherd training is performed by Kraftwerk K9 Certified Master Trainers here at our location in Rochester Washington state. The dog training shown above is very specialized and should not be attempted by non-professionals. When scheduling a visit please check flights from both SEA Seattle Washington state and PDX Portland Oregon.