Archive for June, 2010
Tuesday, June 29th, 2010
In the world of dog sports there are many varied organizations and events. One such event is known as the Bundessieger show, and is held at different locations within Germany each year. The show is organized and conducted by the Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde (SV), which literally translates to “Association for German Shepherd Dogs”. However, several organizations hold their own test competition, known as the Bundessieger Prüfung, in preparation for the national event.
The Bundessieger show has close ties to the German dog sport Schutzhund, and is, in essence, a National Championship competition for Schutzhund. Be careful not to confuse the terms Sieger with Bundesieger. The Sieger show, also organized by the SV, is strictly a conformation beauty show, and is not associated with Schutzhund or sporting dogs in any way.
Much like standard Schutzhund trials, the Bundessieger show focuses on three main areas: tracking, obedience and protection. The exercises themselves remain largely unchanged from standard Schutzhund exercises, but the setting of the Bundessieger show provides an added challenge to competing dogs and handlers. Bundessieger events are held within a stadium, with a relatively large audience. Handlers must ensure that their dogs do not get confused by the noise and large crowds present at the event.
It takes both a well bred dog as well as a skilled handler to be successful in the sport of Schutzhund, and to win the Bundessieger championship is an extraordinary feat. However, one must always remember the difference between working dogs and sporting dogs. No matter how impressive a German Shepherd sporting dog may be, the fact remains that it has been trained only for sport. The work of a true protection dog or guard dog requires training in real-world scenarios, for real danger.
Thursday, June 24th, 2010
The Cane Corso is a large molosser type breed of dog with a muscular build. It has a square muzzle that is typically about as wide as it is long, and naturally drooping ears. The Cane Corso is commonly seen with cropped ears and a docked tail, although the controversial practise of docking tails and cropping ears is discouraged in many dog shows, and has been made illegal in several countries. The coat is short and smooth with black and fawn being the most common colour variations.
The Cane Corso was originally bred in Italy as a working dog where it was used both for hunting, as well as guarding livestock. It’s name comes from the Latin “Cohors”, meaning “guardian”. Like many European breeds of dog, the Cane Corso nearly vanished after the Second World War, but has been making a steady comeback due to the efforts of enthusiasts who have been working to revitalise the breed since the 1980s.
Relative to many other breeds, the Cane Corso is exceptionally intelligent and easy to train. However, while they have a long history of guarding livestock against wild predators, this does not always translate to the ability to guard against criminals as a guard dog or a protection dog. For work as a guard dog today, it is best to stick with working breeds, such as the German Shepherd or Belgian Malinois, who have demonstrated clearly that they posses the nerves required of a true guard dog.
Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010
The burger bite, meaning “live bite” in Dutch, is a very serious bite to train and test in the canine world. We at Command Control K9 test all of our protection dogs before we deliver them. One would be very surprised by how many personal protection dogs there are in the world that will not take a burger bite. The majority of the dogs that we test are equipment orientated. This is fake security; even if one uses a new hidden sleeve, the dog can smell the jute. We all know that a criminal does not come into your home with a bite suite on. We at Command Control K9 have no interest in a dog that is fixated on the sleeve or bite suit. It may look good in the sporting world, but it has no purpose in the real world.
To test for a burger bite, one must be a very experienced decoy, also known as a helper. This is not something one would fool around with. I’ve seen too many people get seriously hurt with these exercises. To do the exercise properly, the decoy/helper will take an old, thin phone book and wrap it around the forearm with duct tape, then take an old sweater, or jacket, and slip it over. It is very important that you not only use a lead, but also have communication between the decoy and the handler.
Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010
The Koninklijke Nederlandse Politiehond Vereniging, or KNPV, is one of the most popular dog sports in the world. Handlers put an incredible amount of time and effort into training their dogs to participate in KNPV, and often do so strictly out of enjoyment, and passion for the sport. Once a dog has received its first title, known as KNPV PH1, the handler has a choice of either continuing training with the dog in order to attempt to gain more specialised titles, or to sell the dog as police protection dog.
While KNPV was originally created in Holland as a way of training and testing potential police dogs, the reality is that the training a dog receives for KNPV isn’t sufficient for real work alongside a police officer, or as a personal protection dog. The dog essentially has to be re-trained in order for it to make the transition properly.
The first step in re-training a KNPV dog for personal protection is to fill in any gaps in obedience training. While KNPV dogs are taught to heel properly, many are never taught to sit. Training for obedience takes time and patience. It is best to start slowly, leaving the dog in a “sit-stay”, and only taking a few short steps away. Gradually work up to greater distances and more distractions.
Correcting bite-work in KNPV dogs is extremely important. In KNPV, a dog is allowed to continue biting as long as the decoy moves, so having the dog correctly release on command is essential. Start by having the decoy stop moving when the release command is given, and gradually begin adding more movement in order to associate release with the given command rather than the level of movement. Upon release, a KNPV dog will have been trained to guard the decoy. In a real life situation, this is unnecessary and may interfere with the police officers’ attempts to subdue and handcuff the apprehended criminal after the release command has been given. It is important not to immediately correct the dog for behavior it has been specifically trained to do. This will only create stress and anxiety in the dog. It may be necessary to put the dog on a long lead, and calmly pull the dog out of guard after a release. Being able to call off the dog is also very important.
Finally, a KNPV dog must be re-trained to correctly track and search. A KNPV dog will have already been trained to track human scent from the ground, but must be re-trained to do article searches, and to indicate at the article rather than mouthing it.
Whether you’re training your German Shepherd or Belgian Malinois to be a guard dog, police dog or personal protection dog, it is important to remember that KNPV is just a sport. Working in the real world requires training for real world scenarios.
Thursday, June 17th, 2010
Canines are, by nature, very social animals. They often enjoy the company of other dogs, and are able to establish a social structure between themselves without human interference. However, your resident canine may not be used to having other dogs as house-mates. If this is the case, introducing a new puppy into the home may be problematic.
Preparation is the most important step in introducing a new puppy into the home. The first impressions between your new pup, and your resident dog can mean the difference between a smooth transition or the start of a long series of headaches. Resident dogs being over-protective of the home or their belongings can be one of the biggest problems in introducing any new dog into the home. In order to avoid this, it is a good idea to introduce the dog to your new puppy in a neutral environment, such as a park. Be careful not to use a park where you frequently take your dog for walks, as it may feel territorial over this area as well. Be sure to have a second handler with you, as holding both leashes yourself will make the dogs feel forced upon each other. Do not hold the puppy during the initial meeting, as this may make it feel trapped. Let the dogs approach each other at their own pace. It is also extremely important to purchase separate food bowls and arrange separate sleeping areas in advance. Forcing your dogs to share food bowls or beds is simply asking for disaster.
When it comes time to bring the new puppy into the home, make sure you’ve prepared the space where they will meet for the smoothest possible introduction. Clean up the area so that the dogs do not feel anxious by excess clutter in the home. The area where they meet inside the home should not contain any food bowls or toys that the resident dog may feel protective over. It is also best to avoid putting the two in small or confined areas where they may feel trapped. Providing that the initial meeting in the park has gone well, you may walk both dogs into the home as if it were a regular routine. Let your resident dog off its lead first, and let the puppy explore the area while still on lead.
If, at any time, you notice signs of aggression, you should separate your dog and the new puppy immediately. Do not, under any circumstances, let your dogs fight. Be aware that your resident dog may show behavior similar to that of dogs in a parental role, such as nipping at the puppy’s neck. This is very different from aggressive behavior, and should be permitted.
Whether you have a new Belgian Malinois puppy, Dutch Shepherd puppy, or German Shepherd puppy, taking the proper precautions and ensuring a smooth introduction will help your new puppy and your resident dog from a positive relationship that will last for years to come.
Wednesday, June 16th, 2010
With our recent delivery of Cobra, a female Belgian Malinois, it is now official that we at Command Control K9 have placed our protection dogs in almost every part of the world. After a very long 12-hour flight, we finally made it to Istanbul, Turkey. Cobra was everything that her new owner was expecting; she acclimated very well into such a busy household, with five small dogs and a big family of ten. Cobra is one example of the top quality of personal protection dogs that we deliver to all of our clients. It is deliveries like this the make my job so rewarding, and to know that Cobra will protect her family 100% as a true protection dog.
Tuesday, June 15th, 2010
Healthy growing pups normally have incredible appetites for their size, so when your puppy stops eating, it can be cause for great concern. Knowing what to look for and how to respond is the first step in ensuring a strong and healthy German Shepherd puppy with a strong appetite.
As a general preventative measure, it is good to maintain a strict feeding schedule and build proper eating habits with your pup. Try to feed your puppy at consistent times from day to day, don’t feed it scraps from the table, always place the food in your pup’s dish, and remove the dish after 20 or 30 minutes have passed in order to help condition your puppy to eat at the proper times.
Assuming you’ve been maintaining a good schedule, and your puppy has been eating regularly, there are a number of reasons why your puppy may suddenly stop eating. One of the most common reasons is due to teething. Do what you can to reduce the discomfort from teething and ensure meals are eaten.
Unfortunately, other reasons your pup may stop eating could much more severe. Digestive illness, injury to the abdomen or parasites may all prevent your puppy from eating properly. As well, regardless of the cause, lack of food for extended periods of time can be fatal. Whether you have a German Shepherd puppy, Dutch Shepherd puppy, or Belgian Malinois puppy, you should always consult the expertise of your veterinarian if your puppy has gone more than 24 hours without eating, or shows any symptoms of illness.
Thursday, June 10th, 2010
In today’s world, the risk of cancer is incredibly high. Thankfully, society has been working harder than ever in the effort towards cancer prevention and treatment. Considering the importance behind early detection of cancer, the thought that a canine might be able to detect early signs of cancer by scent alone is extremely promising.
The idea that a dog’s sense of smell might be powerful enough to detect cancer took off after a victim of skin cancer noticed their canine repeatedly sniffing and showing an interest in a skin lesion, which turned out to be melanoma. It is well known that certain breeds of dog are able to detect certain chemicals in the air in quantities as low as parts per trillion, and considering that certain cancers release specific toxins not released by healthy cells, it may be entirely possible for a dog to detect cancer. Over the past 4 years, there have only been a couple studies testing the theory that a dog can detect cancer in a patient. While both studies have had promising results, showing a rate of accuracy as high as 88%, they were both only preliminary tests, and used only a small sample of the population.
Regardless of whether or not a dog is actually able to detect cancer by scent, it remains that any type of sniffer dog must be specifically trained for that purpose. However, the incident that originally sparked interest in cancer detection brings up an interesting point about dogs, such as personal protection dogs, that work closely with their owners; canines are incredibly in-tune with the health of their handlers. Whether or not your German Shepherd or Belgian Malinois has been specifically trained to sniff out cancer, there is a good chance that it will recognize and respond to any kind of illness.
Tuesday, June 8th, 2010
Dogs bred and trained to be guard dogs or protection dogs are often among the strongest, most agile and most intelligent dogs in the world. While these are all necessary traits for a working dog, it means that your German Shepherd or Belgian Malinois guard dog is far more capable of escaping its dog crate than a standard house pet.
The act of escaping confinement is usually not out of a dislike for the crate itself. Canines, by nature, feel safe and secure in confined places, and often enjoy relaxing in their crates. However, escaping the dog crate can become somewhat of a game to your dog. It is a self-rewarding experience that your dog will repeat. In the event that your canine escapes his crate, it is extremely important that you take immediate action to prevent further escapes. If you move your dog directly to a more secure crate after repeated successful escapes, it may injure itself in an attempt to escape the new crate.
The weakest parts of a crate are the hinges on the gate, and the latch. If your guard dog has escaped its crate, it is most likely that it has done so by pulling on the gate to bend the hinges, or by knocking the latch out of place. In both cases, a more expensive aluminum crate will be much harder for the dog to escape from, but more important than the crate is ensuring that the dog’s behavior is corrected. Securing the gate with cable ties, or bungee chords will make it more difficult for your dog to escape, and can be implemented immediately after your dog’s first escape, or sooner as a preventative measure. Positioning the crate with the gate against a wall or solid surface can also help prevent further escapes. It is important that your dog associate the crate with a calm and relaxed state of mind rather than an energetic or playful one, and removing the reward of escape can help accomplish this.
Purchasing a more expensive crate may prevent further escapes, but it may also cause your guard dog to injure itself. With proper training and reinforcement, your German Shepherd or Belgian Malinois will view the crate as a place of sleep and relaxation rather than a challenge or game to be overcome.
Thursday, June 3rd, 2010
In German Shepherds, standing ears have been a staple of the breed’s appearance since the very first were bred in the early 1900′s. Unlike other breeds whose ears must be painfully cropped, the German Shepherd has been bred for ears that stand naturally, without the need for unnecessary surgery. Not only do standing ears give the appearance of alertness, but they more effectively channel sound, and are less prone to dirt and infection.
Many people take it for granted that a German Shepherd’s ears have always stood erect. However, German Shepherd puppies go through a process of growth in which the cartilage in their ears firms up, allowing them to stand. When the puppies are first born, their ears are much too soft to stand on their own. In the majority of puppies, the ears will naturally begin to stand between about 3 to 6 months with no extra help. Unfortunately, some puppies are born with softer ears than others, or cartilage that does not firm up enough for the ears to stand. The process of taping ensures that their ears will set properly, in the shape which was intended for the breed. It should be stressed that the majority of pups will have ears that stand naturally. Ear taping should only be used on pups who have shown no signs of standing ears after about 5 or 6 months.
The process of ear taping should not be left too late. In many cases, starting taping at 7 or 8 months may already be too late. It is important to monitor the growth of your dog’s ears, and how they react to noise. Making noise and giving commands will encourage the pup to work the muscles around their ears, and encourage standing. If, by the 5th month, your pups ears have not shown signs of beginning to stand, you should consider taping. While it is recommended to have a vet tape the ears, it can be done at home as well. The most important consideration is to make sure that the right type of tape is used. Only clean surgical tape should be used. Any other type of tape, such as duct tape or scotch tape, can seriously damage your dog’s ears. It is also important to purchase a safe adhesive, specifically designed for use on skin. The process of taping the dog’s ears is fairly simple. You will need some form of soft cylindrical form to place in the ear-flap. The foam inside of hair-rollers, with the hard plastic parts removed, often work well. Apply the skin-bond glue to the foam, being careful not to apply excessive glue, allow the glue to contact your own skin, or allow the glue to drip into the ear of the dog. Gently place the foam along the inside flap of the ear, in an upright fashion. Leave space between the foam and the ear canal. Tape the ear around the foam in a cylindrical fashion, starting from the bottom. Be careful not to tape too loosely or too tightly, and you should be done.
Whether you have a police dog, a guard dog or a personal protection dog, healthy ears are an important part of your German Shepherd puppy‘s development. If, at any time, you are in doubt about the health your puppy, you should never hesitate to contact your veterinarian for advice.
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