Category Archives: Training

Schutzhund

I just read a very interesting article about how to become a Schutzhund. That is a dog for policework, like chasing criminals! I think it is pretty cool if a dog does things like that, so I read the article carefully. It turns out you have to be very good at tracking, obedience and protection. That sounds promising! I am learning to become a tracker, I am already a very obedient dog and I am extremely good in protecting M and P. I might look sweet and skinny, but I can be very intimidating when I want to.

But, and this is the difficult part, I do not quite understand how these things relate to each other. I mean: when does one have to be obedient and when protective? I have some trouble with this, to be honest. I protect our house and M likes me doing this, she tells me that is what a dog should do. When there are friends visiting the house, M is relaxed and so am I, I do not have to protect her then. That I understand and find easy. But last week we had this situation: a man came into our house and M was friendly to him, but I sensed danger. So I growled at him , ready to chase him away. He got the point and backed off, but M told me to shut up and invited him in!

In our house this is a rare situation, because most of the time only friendly humans visit us.  But outside it gets more difficult. Especially when we sit somewhere to have a drink. M and P like doing this, so it happens often. I am sure it is my duty to protect them when we do this. These are high risk environments, with unknown humans and canines getting too close to us. I want to make all of them very clear they have to back off and if M let me, I would do exactly that. But, and this is the difficult part: most of the time M won’t allow me to.

I guess this is the obedience part in the Schutzhund training and I am sure it is the hardest part. I lie next to M or P on the floor, trying to suppress the urge to attack humans and dogs coming too close. It is very hard, I have to keep in control of my natural instincts all the time. Maybe I could handle it easily when we only sat down for a short while, just for M and P to have their coffee. But no, they do not only have coffee, but food too and then another drink. It takes them ages and all the time I am lying down, trying to be obedient.

I’d almost say it is not fair, but that is not true. Last weekend we went on a long walk and then they had a long lunch. I managed to stay calm and obedient during the entire lunch and as a reward I got this, when we were outside again:

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It is a Dutch herring. It is de-li-ci-ous. Salty and very juicy. P bought it for me in a special shop. I waited outside, still being very obedient, as you can see (that is not very hard, when you have the promise of the reward right in front of your nose):

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M wanted to make a picture of me eating this herring, but – as usual – I was a bit too quick. In this picture you only see its tail, well, a small part of it. Of course, I ate it all. Yummy.

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I do wonder what a Schutzhund eats. Will he get herring every day? Maybe I should make some inquiries into their diet, before I enlist. When you are a Schutzhund reading this, could you tell me more about your work and the food they give you?

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Tracking

We started a new training and it is awesome. I am learning to become a tracker! As I wrote before, hunting training did not turn out the way we expected. M wanted me to bring back dummies, but I did not see why I should. Had it been real ducks or partridges it would be different, those I would have brought to her (after eating the juicy bits).

So M, insisting to do some training together, went in search of something else and found this! Last week we had our first Official Training. We met in a forest near a lake, it is a place I do not know. It has lots of interesting smells! But there was one smell I had to focus on: that of the woman that was the missing person.  She hid herself and I tracked her. Simple! My nose is exceptional, so I did not find this difficult. There was only one spot where the training was hard, because there was a dead duck lying in the grass. After investigating the duck, I was back on track and found our missing woman. Then she hid herself again. Okay, that is a bit silly, because she is not really missing or lost, she is just pretending. M says that if I get really good at it, I could locate real missing persons. Like for instance when my boy friend gets lost, I can find him and bring him back home! That would be totally cool.

Tracking

This is a picture of our training. The missing woman took the picture, as you can see I was very near. M and the trainer are walking behind me, M is holding a very long leash so she won’t lose me. Because, you know, if that should happen I do not only have to find the missing person, but M and the trainer too! That is for advanced students. I guess in a training or two I will be ready for that.

Misty morning

I am sure it is a Sunday today, usually a day when I have to make a lot of effort to wake M or P and have them go out with me. But not today! M woke me when it was still dark. I did not feel like getting up, I had such a nice dream about ducks when she woke me. Besides, I really like my new snoozebag.  It is warm, while outside it was very cold this morning.

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But M insisted, so I got up and we walked and had breakfast. Then we went into our campervan and drove to a place that is a bit familiar to me. We had hunting training there before, but I thought we had stopped this training, because our trainer Ilse resigned.

It turned out we went to a new school! There were a lot of other dogs I don’t know, and people too. It was all very thrilling, but it was a big disappointment to me to discover this school also trains with stupid dummies. I told you before about them: they are made of cotton and filled with sand. They do not resemble the wild ducks or rabbits I am designed for to hunt. Not in a million smells!

So I decided not to fetch them. I want to work with the real stuff. The other dogs did fetch them, but hey, they were labradors and retrievers. I think M was a bit disappointed in me, although I did the obedience part very well. Like sitting when she asked, and staying and running to her when she called me, past the other dogs. I even ran past a labrador-beagle mix I really would have liked to measure forces with. But I did not, so M was proud of me. And we did enjoy the countryside, the weather was fine:

Misty morning

I don’t think we will go to this training again, because I did not fetch the dummies. I hope M will find a school where we train with real prey! That would be swell. We are home again, now, so I will sleep the rest of the afternoon and dream about hunting ducks and rabbits.

Confused

I am a bit confused. We had hunting training again and I will show you what happened. We went to a spot with meadows and (oh no, not again!) muddy water. Fitch was the first one to do the training. He is a big strong golden retriever – not the kind of whitewashed retriever humans keep as a pet, but a really cool dog from a line especially for hunting. Fitch and his human went on a little hill. When his human spoke the magic word he came running down. If you look carefully, you can see him crashing through the plants:

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Then something odd happened. He ran right past our trainer Ilse and plunged into the water!

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I was wondering what the *** he was doing there. When he came out…

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… he was soaking wet. He ran back to his human to bring the dummy (he found a dummy! In the water!) and got his treat.

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Then M told me to walk with her, to the water. Ilse was still standing there, with my dummy. I wanted to collect it from her, but she threw it into the water! Way too far for me to fetch it!

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It was impossible to get hold of it. I really tried, but one has to be realistic. If humans ask the impossible, you simply cannot do it. So I discovered some very good looking duck shit and I lost interest in the stupid dummy. Had it been a real duck, I would have gone and fetched it, of course. I know how yummy duck can taste! Dummies, on the other hand, taste of nothing but old cotton.

Anyway,  while I was investigating the duck shit, Ilse’s dog was fetching my dummy. The show-off.Hunting training 1

 

 

 

Muddy waters

Hurray, yesterday we had hunting training again! Our trainer, Ilse, has recovered from her horse riding accident (extremely dangerous animals, horses! Have you seen their teeth? Horrendous!). So we gathered in the morning in some nice spot with meadows and little woods.

We did all kind of fun stuff. We collected dummies, ran back and forth, walked heel through a meadow. There is only one part of the training I do not like. I do not understand it, either. But I appear to be the only one, the rest of our pack knows what to do. This is it:

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We wait on one side of this ditch. Ilse is on the other side, with a dummy – still not a real duck, alas. She throws the dummy, we are supposed to get into the water, get to the other side, climb out of it, fetch the dummy, get into the water again and swim back to our human.

I don’t object to water, I like the sea and little mountain streams. But this water is different. It is tricky. It is dark and black and I can’t see the bottom. It feels slippery between my toes. There are things growing in it, tall grassy things. It is not clear where there is room to get on the other side, because all these grassy things are growing on the shore. Most important of it, it is only a ditch. I can run around it in a split second, fetch the dummy and run back, without my feet getting wet. But that is not allowed, strangely enough.

So: I do not understand this part of our training. I have to get this right, though, because I really would like to get to the next level. The level where we are allowed to work with real ducks. So I pay a lot of attention how the other dogs do it:

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Maybe I will get it, one day.

Hunting

My boss really loves me. She did something awesome: she enlisted me in a hunting training! She did, because she suspects me to have hunting skills…. She watches all this Cesar Millan shows on television and he shows it works well to put dogs in their natural role. Like sheepherding or guarding. One evening she looked at me and said I might be a hunting dog. Ha! I could have told her a year ago I have hunting skills, because my predecessors were hunting dogs to the Greek nobility. I am sure about that.

So now we train every week, with a group of impressive other hunting dogs. M was first a bit reluctant, because she doesn’t like the idea of hunting. You know, killing other animals. I don’t understand this, because we eat meat. Meat is dead animals. It has to come from somewhere, doesn’t it? In my opinion, you’d better eat a rabbit that enjoyed a wild life in the fields than a poor chicken that has never seen daylight in her life, because she grew up in one of these awful chickenfactories (I know this, because M supports groups who are against this industry. If I get bored, I read their stuff, too. Mainly because they show pictures of tasty animals).

So far, the training is colossal. We search and run and bring back… pink dummies. Alas, we don’t chase animals. Not yet: they tell us that if we perform well, we will hunt real rabbits and ducks and partridges. My mouth is watering. I will really, really do my best to get to this next level!

This is a picture of me, concentrating during hunting training. I am wearing a cool hunting leash (which is matching the pink dummy – one has to be stylish, always):

Hunting training