What is an Irondog Pentathlon?
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The two types of trials and the two different certification tests necessary to compete in these trials are similar but designed to measure different things.
The Iron Dog trials and the GD are designed to measure the qualities that make athletic guard dogs.
The Working Dog Companion trials and the WDC are designed to measure the attributes that produce athletic companion dogs.
The purpose of Iron Dog International Inc. and its trials and certifications are the following:
1. TEST THE DOG, NOT THE HANDLER
2. To promote working Bulldogs with excellent temperaments
3. To promote the breeding and training of protection dogs and/or companion dogs
4. To promote canine athleticism
5. To provide breeders a standardized selection process for working ability
6. To provide handlers and dogs a competitive sport suited for American Bulldogs and related breeds
7. To promote a wholesome image for the American Bulldog and other Bull breeds
Test the dog, not the handler means that everything we do measures the innate qualities that make a dog a better guard or companion, not how much training he has.
Our basic philosophy is that a companion dog or guard dog that has the right temperament for his job should also possess as much strength, speed, agility and endurance as possible. Breed selection should therefore be made on temperament and athletic attributes.
Iron Dog International Inc. provides working breeders a precise measuring stick to determine the athletic and mental ability of a given dog. Irondog International Inc. promotes and registers the following titles:
GD - Guard Dog Temperament test.
A dog that passes this test has the basic temperament necessary to continue protection training. He is eligible to compete in an Irondog trial.
IDT3 - Iron Dog Triathlon Trial completion.
Any dog that passes the GD and finishes all three events in an Iron Dog Triathlon trial is awarded this title.
IDT5 - Iron Dog Pentathlon Trial completion.
To earn this title a dog must pass the GD and complete all five events in an Iron Dog Pentathlon trial.
A dog that takes first place in a local trial is eligible to compete in a regional trial.
If he wins or places in a regional trial he may then compete in a national trial and have the opportunity to earn these titles:
IDT Ch. 1 - The winner of a national Iron Dog trial
IDT Ch. 2 - Second place in a national Irondog trial
IDT Ch. 3 - Third place in a national Irondog trial
WDC - Working Dog Companion test.
Passing this test means that a dog has the basic mental attributes for advanced obedience training and the temperament to be a reliable companion dog.
WDT3 - Working Dog Companion
Triathlon trial completion.
After passing the WDC and completing a Working Dog Triathlon trial this title is awarded.
WDT5 - Working Dog Companion
Pentathlon trial completion.
The WDT 5 means the dog has passed the WDC and completed a Working Dog Companion Pentathlon trial.
There are not yet any national trials scheduled for WDC.
Guard Dog Temperament Test (GD)
The GD is designed to be the first test in the beginning of a dog’s career as a trained guard dog. It measures the dog’s courage, desire to protect itself and its handler, the capacity to learn obedience exercises and overall temperament.
A dog that passes this test is not necessarily ready to perform real world protection activities or advanced sport protection work. Instead, the GD insures the dog is ready to begin training for personal protection or sport protection.
Passing the GD is a requirement for competing in Iron Dog Pentathlons and Triathlons. It is also designed to be a tool for breeders that don’t want to put advanced titles on breed candidates. Therefore, every attempt has been made to lessen the requirement for training and to focus on testing the dog’s innate genetic ability.
The basic tenet of the GD is to test the dog, not the handler. The test is pass/fail. Points are not awarded. If a breeder is using the GD as a breed suitability test he is advised to also X-ray for hip dysplasia and incorporate other scientific screening methods in his breed selection process.
There is no GD II or GD III, and there never will be.
For further testing the breeder is encouraged to pursue advanced canine sports such as the Iron Dog Pentathlon and Triathlon.
Rules for participation:
1. The handler cannot administer corrections during the dog’s evaluation (this includes voice).
At all times it is permissible for the handler to encourage the dog with gentle handling - either physical or voice. If the dog refuses to out, compulsion of any kind cannot be used.
2. The dog must be two years old and intact.
3. Bitches must not be in heat.
4. The dog must be in good condition and not show any signs of stress, injury or abuse.
5. The dog must wear a flat collar and a leash at all times.
A protection harness and leash are permissible during the bite work.
Choke, prong and shock collars are not allowed.
Rules for administration:
1. Judges and decoys must be certified by Iron Dog International Inc.
2. Each test will have two judges, one decoy and one friendly stranger.
The head judge will decide if the dog passes each of the five exercises and the overall test.
The second judge will time the dog during the attack on handler.
3. If a dog fails any of the exercises in the Obedience or Protection portions of the test, he fails the GD.
If a dog fails the Meeting a Friendly Stranger or fails the Attack on Handler he may not retake the test.
If a dog fails the Obedience test or the Appraisal bite he may retake the test one more time.
Requirements for Obedience test:
It must be performed on field separate from protection field.
Any field that is out of site of the decoy or blind is considered a separate field.
1. Walk on leash and finish - The handler and dog begin at a designated starting point by the judge. The judge will command “walk” and the handler and dog must walk forward 10 paces and stop. The dog must come to a stop with the handler and the leash must be slack at the end of the exercise. The dog may walk on either side or in front of or behind the handler as long as the leash is mostly slack. To pass, the dog must not surge forward to the point of needing a correction or lag to where it needs a correction. The handler must walk at a normal speed.
2. Meeting a friendly stranger - A friendly stranger (a person the dog does not know) walks directly toward the handler/dog team in a non-threatening manner and stops directly in front of the handler. The handler will say “hello” and extend his hand to shake with the stranger. The stranger will shake hands and say “hello.” Hands are lowered and the stranger steps backwards, turns 90 degrees opposite the handler/dog team and walks away. The dog must show disinterest or mild curiosity to the friendly stranger.
3. Recall- The handler puts the dog in a stay and walks ten paces away from the dog. The handler counts three seconds and calls the dog. Multiple recall commands can be used. The dog must go to the handler but not necessarily in a straight line. Walking or running is acceptable. The handler grabs the dog’s leash and the test is finished.
4. Criteria for passing - The judge is looking for a dog that has obedience potential. He is not looking for picture perfect obedience but an aptitude for further training.
Requirements for Protection test:
1. Appraisal bite - Trial decoy will be standing on the protection field wearing a sleeve or a bite suit. From a designated spot, handler and dog will move toward the decoy. Dog must be wearing a protection collar or harness. The handler stops on the decoy’s instruction. After mild agitation or prey attraction, the decoy will give the dog a low stress bite. If the dog bites the decoy will quickly slip the sleeve or suit jacket. Dogs may be outed or torn off pant bites. The dog is taken off the protection field. The decoy and judge confer. If the dog is deemed suitable by the judge for the next test, the decoy will go into a protection blind and the handler/dog team will be called back onto the field.
2. Attack on handler - The handler and dog begin at a designated spot. On judge’s signal they move toward the blind. The judge will give a signal to the decoy when the dog is twelve feet from the blind. The decoy will leave the blind and attack the handler. The handler must give at least one bite command. He may also give multiple bite commands and verbal encouragement. The handler may move forward but must stay behind the dog. The dog must engage the decoy or the exercise is halted. The decoy stops moving forward once the dog makes physical contact, holds his ground and works the dog with lateral arm, leg or torso motion for three seconds. The dog may re-bite as many times as necessary but must press the attack for three seconds. The timing judge counts three seconds and yells, “freeze.” The decoy will freeze on the timing judge’s command. After the decoy freezes, the equipment is immediately slipped. A dog may be outed or torn off a pants bite. The judge and decoy will confer. The judge will decide and a pass or fail will be announced.
3. Criteria for passing - The judge is looking for protection potential. He is not looking for signs of advanced training but an aptitude for further training.
The rules for Irondog Pentathlon and Triathlon:
1) These are motivational competitions. There will be no coercion used on any dogs. Handlers will not be allowed to give corrections to their dogs at any time during the competition. Your dog may not wear a constricting or pinch collar. You may not give your dog obedience commands at any time. Furthermore, handlers may not out their dogs, except inside your crate in your designated area, even then you must not raise your voice or cause a scene while outing your dog. The only exception is in Freight Train, if your dog bites a suit pant leg. You are responsible for bringing your own tug toy that is equipped with a snap. After Tug of War and Hangtime you must unsnap your dog from the rope and leave the field with the toy in the dog’s mouth, again, without outing your dog or using any obedience commands or giving any corrections.
2) Dogs must at all times either e in their crates in the designated crate area, in transit to an event (on leash), in the on deck area (on leash) or on the playing field participating in an event. After each event dogs must (on leash) go straight into their crates. Dogs may not be tied up except in the on deck area with the handler nearby and attentive. If a dog is not in the on deck area and ready to go immediately before his turn prior to any event he will forfeit that event. If any dog is not on leash or in his crate at any time other than while directly participating in an event he and his handler will be expelled.
3) Only dogs participating in the Iron Dog will be allowed on the playing field. All dogs that are not participating in the Iron Dog must be leashed or in a crate. Each participating dog must have two handlers. Only these handlers will be allowed on the playing field. All participating and non-participating dogs must be kept under control. Unsportsmanlike behavior on the part of handlers will be grounds for dismissal. Out of control dogs will be dismissed from the trial.
5) The head judge will assign each dog a spot in a roster for each event. He will have this roster on a clip- board. It is your responsibility to know your place in the roster for each event and be ready to go in the correct order.
6) Dogs must participate in all five events for Pentathlon and all three events for Triathlon, there will be no spoilers.
Participation is defined as the dog completing the task at hand.
In Weight Pull he must at least pull a loaded weight cart forward and past the finish line in 60 seconds or less.
In Sprint Race the dog must run from the start line to his handler.
In Freight Train he must engage the decoy.
In Endurance Test he must complete the course in the proscribed time limit.
In Tug of War he must grab the tug toy and pull backwards.
Dogs that complete all the events in a trial will be awarded either an IDT3 or IDT5 title, which means they have completed a Triathlon or Pentathlon respectively.
7) Bitches may not compete that are in heat, pregnant or nursing puppies.
8) Dogs that score first place in a given event are awarded ten points. Dogs that score second place are awarded nine points and so on. The Endurance Test is worth ten points to any dog that finishes in the time limit, so it is pass/fail and dogs may not race against each other for the fastest time. Total points are added together and the winner is the Bulldog with the greatest number of points.
9) Dogs that are entering the Irondog Pentathlon or Triathlon must first have passed the Guard Dog (GD) test as administered by Irondog International. Dogs are also illegible that have earned Schutzhund I, Schutzhund A, Ring Sport Brevet or BST/WST. 10) Dogs must be 24-months or older to compete in an Irondog Triathlon or Pentathlon.
Specific rules for each event are listed below.
Freight Train is the only mandatory event in Pentathlon.
Each handler/dog team must pick five and only five of these events for the Pentathlon:
Weight Pull - There will be baiting allowed, either food or a small tug toy. Judge must approve tug toy. We do not use traditional weight pull rules, each dog will be given four (or less) pulls all at once without alternating between other dogs as would be the case in a traditional weight pull. This is done to save time and allow for an entire Pentathlon to be completed in one day. The heaviest weight load of any of these four (or less) pulls will be your dog’s official weight pulled and this is what will be matched against other dogs in the Triathlon or Pentathlon. In the event of a tie the fastest pull wins. Dogs will have 60 seconds to complete a pull, time will begin when the handler gives a verbal command. The primary handler may brandish a tug toy after giving the verbal command. Two handlers are permitted. One may hold the dog while the other baits him. Once the verbal command is given neither handler is allowed to touch the dog but may stand or move anywhere on the pull track. Contestants are responsible for supplying a proper fitting harness. The distance of the pulling track will be 16-feet from the point the front wheels of a cart or runners from a sled begin to the point where the same wheels or runners cross the finish line. Cart pulls may be done on any paved surface that is covered by carpet or on level packed earth. Sled pulls may be done on a level earth/sand surface or level snow. The sled track must be raked smooth and packed down after a dog has finished his four turns pulling the sled so the next dog has a comparable surface to pull on. Dogs may wear only a flat collar without a leash. There are no weight classes. The contestant will determine the initial weight of his first pull and the amount of weight added for the next three pulls. One foul will be permitted in the event of a twisted harness. In the event of a foul the judge will stop the pull and let the handlers straighten the harness. The pull will start from that spot and the time that has expired up to that point will be charged against the 60-second limit.
Tug of War - We use traditional Tug of War rules except each pair of competing dogs will be allowed to tug against each other only once, not best two out of three. This is to save time. You must bring your own sturdy tug toy that has a snap. Each dog must have a loose line attached to a non-constricting collar and a handler manning this line. A second handler will be used to get the dog to bite the tug toy. The long leash can only be taut if the dog is starting to wrap around the barrier. A round robin elimination system will be used if there are more than two dogs in one weight class. There must be a barrier between the two tugging dogs, a full sheet of ½ inch plywood, set up lengthwise with a sturdy frame or securely staked, with a two and one half inch round hole 15-inches from the bottom with the center of the hole two feet from either side. The hole should have the edges rounded off to minimize wear on the rope. The tug rope must be 30 feet long and of high quality hemp or nylon with heavy-duty bull snaps with swivels attached to each end. Powdered chalk lines will placed on the ground to designate starting and winning positions. A dog has won when his opponent has been dragged to within two feet of the barrier. Three judges will be used, one on either side of the barrier and one as a starter. The handler may not touch his dog, the tug toy or rope after the command “TUG” is given. If handler touches dog, tug toy or rope the judge will call a foul. If a foul is called the tug starts again. Only one foul allowed. Once the tug is over both dogs’ tug toys are unsnapped and dogs are led away on leash without being outed off their toys. Weight classes for this event are:
1) Under 60-lbs.
2) 60-lbs. to 80-lbs.
3) 81-lbs. to 100-lbs.
4) 101-lbs and over.
Vet certified weights that are two weeks current must be presented to the head judge before the trial, or a scale may be used the day of the trial.
Sprint Race - Dogs will run one at a time on a 100-yard straight track, running against the clock. Two handlers must be used. One will hold the dog by a harness or collar at the start line. The second handler must be standing downfield, ready to call the dog. The second handler may bait the dog with food or a bite toy but not a sleeve or a body suit or any part of a body suit. Judge must approve of tug toy. On the judge’s signal the starting line handler releases the dog and throws his hands upward. The clock will start the instant the starting line handler’s hands are raised and will stop when the dog crosses the 100-yard line. The second handler may run backwards after he calls the dog. Times will be compared and Dogs will be ranked from first place to last place. Times must be recorded and given to Irondog International.
Freight Train - This event is loosely based on the Schutzhund courage test. A decoy wearing a sleeve or a full body suit will aggressively agitate the dog from a distance of 20 to 70 yards. The handler is allowed to give a single bite command then release his dog. Dog must streak downfield and engage the decoy. He will drive it briefly but not administer stick hits. The decoy will then slip the sleeve as the handler approaches. If a bite suit is used and the dog bites the jacket, then after the bite the decoy will slip the jacket. If the dog bites the pants, the handler may out the dog or tear him off. Each dog will be evaluated by the trial decoy as to how hard it hit and its commitment to the bite but the head judge will decide the winner and all subsequent placements. Each dog is allowed one warm-up bite with the trial decoy prior to the competition bite. Suit dogs and sleeve dogs will compete equally against each other, only one decoy will work every dog. No radar guns will be used, just the decoy’s judgment.
Free-style Hangtime - This event must come last in the Pentathlon. The first handler holds the dog back while the second handler teases him with his tug toy that is attached to ropes, springs and a pulley system hooked to a large tree or tower. On judge’s signal the dog is released and bites the tug toy. The handlers then hoist the dog up until all four feet are off the ground and secure the rope onto a stanchion attached to the base of the tree or tower. The clock starts when all four feet are off the ground. Each dog is given three minutes on the spring pole before his handler is required to lower his dog, unsnap his bite object and calmly lead the dog on leash off field and into his crate without outing off the toy until the dog is in the crate. A point is deducted off the dog’s score for each time he slips off the tug toy or has to re-bite. For a perfect score of ten points, a dog must bite the tug toy cleanly with the initial presentation and hold on steadily for the entire three minutes.
Endurance Test-A Veterinarian certification must be provided stating that the endurance dog is in good health and capable of running the 12-mile course before entering this event.
The judge must also verify the health and general condition of the dog prior to the Endurance Test and will disqualify any dog that appears out of shape. The course may be on relatively level streets or roads, asphalt or dirt. The test starts with the handler on a bicycle with the dog on his right side. A leash must be used that is long enough for the dog to vary his speed. A springer may be used. The judge will follow on his own bicycle or a car/motorcycle if conditions permit. Dog may forge ahead slightly but constant lagging will be grounds for dismissal. An average speed of no more than 9.5 miles per hour and no less than 7.7 miles per hour must be maintained. After five miles there will be a short rest period and the judge will inspect the dog’s feet and general condition/fatigue level. Dog must be kept on leash during rest. A dog will be disqualified if his feet are sore and his condition is not good. After ten miles there will be another short rest period and the judge will again examine the dog’s feet and general condition. Again any dog showing sore feet or excessive fatigue will be disqualified at this point. Dogs that pass the second inspection may go on to finish the last two miles and earn their ten points. The Endurance Test will be performed in early morning, in cool weather and preferably the day before the other four Irondog events. In either case the Endurance test should be the first event in a Pentathlon. If it is held on the same day as the other Pentathlon events at least four hours recovery time must be provided after the Endurance Test.
11) An Irondog Triathlon must consist of Sprint Race, Weight Pull and Freight Train.
12) In the case of a tie score in either Pentathlon or Triathlon the dog that scored highest in Freight Train will beat out the other.
Rules for Working Dog Companion Triathlon and Pentathlon:
WDC trials will operate under the same rules as the Irondog trials except that there will be no Freight Train event (any other sanctioned event may substitute for Freight Train) and to qualify for a WDC trial a GD, Schutzhund, BST/WST or Ring Sport title are not necessary.
Instead, a dog must qualify by achieving a Canine Good Citizen (CGC) or a Working Dog Companion title (WDC) as administered by Irondog International.
The rules for the title that qualifies your dog to enter a WDC trial (the WDC title) are as follows:
The WDC is designed to be the first test in the beginning of a dog’s career as a working dog companion. It measures the dog’s aptitude for learning obedience commands, its overall temperament and suitability to be a well-mannered companion. The WDC is intended to be to companion dogs what the GD is to guard dogs and is to be used in the same manner, i.e. a tool for breeders and a key to enter advanced competition in the WDC Pentathlon and WDC Triathlon.
Rules for participation:
1. The handler can not administer corrections during the dog’s evaluation (this includes voice). At all times it is permissible for the handler to encourage the dog with gentle handling - either physical or voice.
2. The dog must be at least 16-months old and intact
3. Bitches must not be in heat.
4. The dog must wear a flat collar and a leash at all times. Choke, prong and shock collars are not allowed.
Rules for administration:
1. The judge must be certified by Irondog International
2. If the dog fails any individual exercise, it fails the test. It may retake the test once unless it failed due to over aggressiveness or excessive shyness.
Requirements for WDC test:
1. Walk on leash and finish - The handler and dog begin at a designated starting point. The judge will command “walk” and the handler and dog must walk forward 10 paces and stop. The dog must come to a stop with the handler and the leash must be slack at the end of the exercise. The dog may walk on either side or in front of or behind the handler as long as the leash is mostly slack. To pass, the dog must not surge forward to the point of needing a correction or lag to where it needs a correction. The handler must walk at a normal speed.
2. Meeting a friendly stranger - A friendly stranger (a person the dog does not know) walks directly toward the handler/dog team in a non-threatening manner and stops directly in front of the handler. The handler will say “hello” and extend his hand to shake with the stranger. The stranger will shake hands and say “hello.” Hands are lowered and the stranger remains where he is. The dog must show disinterest or mild curiosity to the friendly stranger.
3. Accepting a pet from the friendly stranger - The friendly stranger will ask the handler permission to pet his dog. After permission is given the stranger will calmly pet the dog on his back or flank. The stranger will pet the dog for approximately three seconds then walk away. The dog must calmly accept the petting to pass.
4. Recall - The handler puts the dog in a stay and walks ten paces away from the dog. The handler counts three seconds and calls the dog. Multiple commands are allowed. The dog must go to the handler and stop, but not necessarily in a straight line.
5. Walking through a crowd of strangers - From a designated spot the dog/handler team (on a slack leash) is instructed to walk toward a group of six friendly strangers that are milling in a circumscribed place. The dog/handler team must weave through this group until they have walked past each stranger. The dog must show only mild curiosity or disinterest in the strangers.
6. Walking past a friendly staked out dog - A non-aggressive dog will be staked out on the obedience field. From a designated spot the dog/handler team will be instructed to walk past the friendly dog. The leash must remain relatively slack and the dog being tested must show disinterest or mild curiosity to the friendly dog.
7. Criteria for passing - The judge is not looking for picture perfect obedience but for an aptitude for further obedience training.
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