Being an IPO Newbie – Part Ten – Things You’re Doing to Annoy Everyone

Happy Tuesday, Newbies!

Today I want to take a break from the serious and talk about all of the annoying shit that you are probably doing that is driving everyone around you up a wall. All in good fun, of course, but really though – stop doing these things.

To be clear, I, too, am guilty of…a lot of these. BUT. We should strive to be better, right? Right.

1. Showing up late on club days.

If club starts at 9am and you are consistently rolling up at a time that isn’t 8:55am, you’re being annoying. By the time you’re arriving, there is probably already a dog on the field working, and you’ve just made yourself a huge distraction to everyone.

The dog is distracted because “New person!”

The handler is distracted because “You better not be pulling a dog out.”

The Training Director is distracted because “You better not be pulling a dog out AND you’ve effed up my board”.

Seriously – be on time or don’t come at all.

2. Ignoring the posted order.

If you regularly just pull your dog out whenever you feel like it, completely heedless of those around you, you’re being annoying.

We have a sometimes-club-member that does this EVERY TIME. Rolls up (usually late – strike one) and immediately pulls a dog out and barges onto the field, regardless of a posted order OR if a dog is already on the field. She will then do it AGAIN with her second dog, immediately after putting the first dog away.

As a new person especially, it is important to respect your fellow club members and WAIT YOUR FREAKIN’ TURN!

3. Showing up unprepared.

“Oh, I didn’t bring any treats, a toy, a leash, a collar, a crate for my dog, or any water or bowls! Whoopsies!”

No really, stop doing this. I don’t mind lending out gear or supplying treats when someone forgets things – I don’t always remember everything I should, either. But when you’re consistently showing up on club days with NOTHING but your dog, you’re being a problem.

And exactly how were you planning to train with no leash, no collar, and no rewards, anyway?

4. Ignoring the Training Director’s advice.

Look, you’re brand new to the sport. You know nothing. Stop ignoring your Training Director when they’re trying to help you. I don’t care what DVD you watched last night or what internet forum you’re getting your advice from – when you’re at training, listen to your damn Director!

If you don’t find what your Training Director (and more experienced club members) has to say valuable, why are you even here? Find another club or go train at home.

You’re wasting everyone’s time when you do this.

5. Leaving early. 

We all have lives. We all have other things to do. But it is disrespectful to be the one that leaves early EVERY SINGLE WEEK.

Other club members stood around and watched your dog work, gave praise and advice, and generally invested their time and attention in you. It is disrespectful as all hell for you to accept that investment and then run off without bothering to return the favor.

Part of being in a club is learning from watching everyone else. Can’t be bothered? Go somewhere else.

6. Talking about yourself and your dog NON-STOP.

We’re all excited for you. Really. IPO is super fun and your dog is super awesome and the whole world is an exciting and awesome place for you.

But please shut up, occasionally.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched while someone is trying to clarify their training plan with the helper or the Training Director before they grab their dog, and someone else (always an over-excited newbie) barges into the conversation with questions and comments about their own dog.

When it is your turn to work – all eyes will rightfully be on you. Until then, please sit down and shut up so we can get all of the dogs worked before midnight. Thanks.

7. Relatedly, stop asking questions of someone that is actively working a dog. 

When I am working my dog, my attention is mostly on him. If we’re screwing around in group obedience, I’m happy to chat. But if I’m working my dog through a pattern, tracking my dog, or biggest of all, working my dog in protection, I absolutely, 100%, do NOT have the time to talk to you. Once my dog is put up, I’m happy to chat and answer questions. I’m a social person! But please let me concentrate when I have my dog out!

The same goes for your Training Director, too. If they have their dog out, that’s where their focus should be. You can wait to ask what color fursaver you should get until they are done and their dog is put away.

8. Focusing on the bite work, to the exclusion of anything else. 

Yes, protection is the most fun and exciting phase. It’s what drew us all to IPO. BUT. It should not be your entire focus for training.

IPO is mostly obedience – you need obedience to track, you obviously need it in obedience, and you ABSOLUTELY need it for protection.

If you are only showing up on protection days, or only show up in time for protection on club days, and are clearly in the club exclusively for the Facebook profile pic of your dog biting a sleeve? We all hate you and you’re wasting  everyone’s time.

Protection may be the coolest part of IPO, but it is also a teeny-tiny piece. Maybe teach your dog to sit before you start harassing the helper for long-bites.

9. Putting others at risk. 

This is my biggest pet peeve and it should be yours, too.

If you have a dog that is dog-aggressive, people-aggressive, etc…, and you do not have it under 100% control AT ALL TIMES, you are being a problem.

If you do not have 100% confidence that you can recall, platz, or otherwise stop your dog from endangering others, and you take your leash off, drop your leash, or otherwise relinquish control, YOU ARE BEING A PROBLEM.

Honestly, everything else on this list isn’t really a big deal. Annoying? Sure. But you aren’t going to cause the end of the world by being chronically late or chattering non-stop.

But if you are putting other people or their dogs at risk for the sake of your pride or your stupidity, you need to find another sport.


We all make mistakes. We all get on each other’s nerves sometimes. But, in my opinion, IPO is a team sport and should be treated as such. Have respect for your teammates and their time. Have respect for your Training Director and your helper. Have respect for your club. Have respect for the dogs and for the sport. Or GTFO.



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