Visitor info

Big Sky Working Dog Club
Visitor’s Agreement

Big Sky Working Dogs welcomes you to participate in our training in support of the sport of IPO/Schutzhund. As such, we base our training on teaching our dogs to be willing partners in tracking, obedience and protection. Our members primarily have German Shepherd Dogs and Belgian Malinois, but we appreciate a good working dog regardless of the breed. As stated on our website, if your dog is mentally and physically sound, has a confident and stable temperament, loves to retrieve and play tug, is not dog aggressive and you think you might be interested in learning about the sport of IPO, you’re welcome work with us and then decide if you wish to join the club.

What we are not:

  • Our club sessions are not training classes. We are here to work our own dogs and obtain input from other club members. You should watch, ask questions, and then be prepared to train on a regular basis on your own. We will help you but we will not train your dog. If you want more instruction and wish to progress more rapidly, we strongly encourage you to take classes especially if you do not have a background in classical and operant conditioning.
  • We do not do personal protection training. IPO is not about personal protection and a successful dog/handler team must be proficient in obedience, tracking and protection.

Expectations:

  • Please keep your dog on leash and under control and ask if you should bring it onto the training field or into the building if we are training indoors.
  • Do not let your dog socialize with other dogs unless specifically told by the other handler that it is acceptable (this is rare – we are here to bond with our dogs, not let them bond with others).
  • Be courteous of dogs and handlers who are working.
  • Feel free to ask questions and talk with a club member about what someone is doing with their dog while they are training.
  • And we expect you to enjoy yourself and learn!

NON-MEMBERS AND VISITORS:  New people (prospective members and visitors) are welcome to come out, attend training, ask questions, etc. for THREE times WITHOUT A DOG before they can starting training with a dog.  This also includes a requirement of attending at least one tracking session.  After attending  without a dog, visitors may attend and participate in up to three training sessions with a dog at $10/session plus a percentage of any fees associated with use of the facilities (e.g., barn rental in winter).  After three sessions with a dog as a prospective member, there will be an evaluation to determine if the handler and dog are suited to the sport of IPO.  If so, the prospective member will then be required to submit a membership application for a vote prior to any further participation.  The applicant will be informed if their dog is not suited to the sport; however applicants with good nerves, humor, interest and motivation in the sport will be accepted and their dog trained to the best of the team’s ability.  We welcome new people to the sport, are happy to have new members, but want some demonstration that a new member shows dedication and commitment to training and the goals of our club.  VISITORS with a knowledge of the sport may participate in training only with the prior consent of the training director.

SEMINARS:  Visitors and new prospective members are welcome and will be charged $30.00 for attendance at a seminar WITHOUT A DOG.  This will cover our costs of insurance, food and field preparation.  Visitors and non-members may participate in seminars with a dog only at the discretion of the training director. If you wish to visit during a seminar please contact ahead of time for location, times, and cost.

Full Members will be expected to participate in all three phases of training if you plan to be part of the club. Some dogs are not suitable for protection work. That’s OK, there are still ways you can participate and earn titles in obedience and tracking if you wish to become an Associate Member. Note that the requirement to track is waived for October through April.

Please read and sign the visitor’s agreement, available here in Adobe pdf or MS Word, and bring it with you when you come to visit.