Archive for the ‘Sporting Dogs’ Category
Friday, November 12th, 2010
Starting in the early 1900’s Koninklijke Nederlandse Politiehond Vereniging (K.N.P.V.), translated as “Royal Dutch Police Dog Sport”, was created to test the breeding potential of working dogs to ensure their bloodlines remained strong. This program has provided trained working dogs to police, military, and rescue organizations. Certificates that are offered in this organization are among the most coveted and respected in world. Dogs that undergo this training are demanded of great character, physical strength agility and stamina. There are many different exercises and training programs that the dogs go through in K.N.P.V.. Points are given in each each part of the K.N.P.V., each part of it consists of different exercises with over 50 exercises in all. An example of one of these training exercises is the bicycle exercise.
The K.N.P.V. bicycle exercise is an essential exercise that evaluates the dog on how it will handle an assailant fleeing on a bicycle. The exercise reviews the dog in five different areas; waiting & obeying command, way of pursuit, way of stopping, out, non biting and guarding. Each area starts out with a decoy (playing an assailant) fleeing on a bicycle, each area of this exercise has a max score of 5 points. The handler will give the dog a command while the decoy is fleeing on the bicycle and in one of the areas of the exercise the dog must bite the decoy in an attempt to stop him. Early in K.N.P.V. this part of the exercises the dogs were trained to bite the decoy on an arm or upper body but after some time they had to change the bite location to the legs because too many decoys were being injured falling off of the bicycles. The total points scored in the complete K.N.P.V. bicycle exercise is 30 points out of the complete 440 points for a perfect K.N.P.V. score.
Even though K.N.P.V. is a sporting title and not all of the exercises relate to a personal protection dog, there are a lot of exercises that do relate such as the bicycle exercise. If you were robbed or injured by an assailant and he tried fleeing on a bicycle your personal protection dog could possibly attack or stop the assailant.
Thursday, August 12th, 2010
French Ring Sport is a European dog sport that originated in France during the 1900′s. It shares a common history with Belgian Ring Sport and has a similar set of rules. Although the idea of dog sport began as a way to test the working ability of participating dogs, French Ring and Belgian Ring have always been somewhat of a spectator sport, intended to impress on-lookers with feats of canine agility and bite-work. This has lead to the development of some of the most physically demanding exercises of all dog sports.
One of the toughest exercises in French Ring is known as the palisade. It is considered an advanced agility exercise, and is only required for Ring II and Ring III titles. The palisade is essentially a vertical wall that the dog is expected to scale. The palisade must be jumped twice in a single exercise: once over, and once more to return to the handler. The minimum height for a palisade is 1.7m (5.5′), but an additional 2 points are awarded for extra 0.1m of height added to the palisade, for a maximum of 2.3m (7.5′). To put this in perspective, most municipalities impose a limit of about 2m (6.5′) on fences surrounding residential property.
The palisade in French Ring is built from horizontal planks of wood stacked one atop another and held in place by two wooden posts. During training, an incline is sometimes added to one side of the palisade to allow the dog to descend easily rather than dropping the full height of the palisade to the ground. This incline is, of course, not present in official competition.
To train a dog to scale a 2.3m palisade is certainly an impressive feat, but one should keep in mind that impressive feats in sport do not always translate to effective protection in real life. A dog that can take on a palisade with a smooth wooden top may have a great deal more difficulty attempting to scale an uneven chain-link fence. Respect should be given to those who put in the immense amount of dedication required to train their German Shepherd or Belgian Malinois for French Ring, but true protection work should be left to dogs who have been properly trained for protection work in the real world.
Thursday, August 5th, 2010
French Ring is one of several European ring sports, with the others being Belgian Ring Sport and Mondio Ring Sport. There are small differences between each, but these differences are far outweighed by the many similarities. French Ring sport, in particular, was developed in France after the popularity of sporting dogs took off in the neighbouring country of Belgium during the early 1900′s.
Like other dog sports, French Ring awards titles to dogs who perform well in exercises. These exercises are divided into three categories: obedience, agility and protection. Between dog sports, many of the basic obedience and agility tests remain the same, although each incorporates its own methods and rules for how each exercise should be performed.
Jumping exercises are one example of how the same basic concept can be performed quite differently from one sport to another. In French Ring, the agility exercises take on an element of classic track and field. For the long jump exercise, a metal “key” is placed on the ground, which the dog is expected to jump over. This key consists of hurdle-like bars that are knocked out of place should the dog fail to jump the entire distance (a minimum of 3 meters), thus allowing judges to measure the length of the jump. While it is commendable to test the distance-jumping ability of a dog, there is a big difference between jumping over a metal platform in sport, and jumping over a gap or ditch in the real world. On the other hand, KNPV makes more of an attempt to mimic real world scenarios through their hedge jump and ditch jump exercises.
Of course, you should always remember that any dog sport will never be nothing more than sport. Training German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois for real protection work requires real protection dog training.
Thursday, July 29th, 2010
French Ring Sport is a dog sport that originated out of France in the early 1900′s. It shares a common history with Belgian Ring Sport which also originated around the same time, and the two sports are very similar. The purpose of French Ring Sport, like many dog sports that have come out of Europe, was to test dogs for their character and suitability for work and breeding. Since then, the rules have been changed and refined into a proper sport.
Dogs competing in the sport perform exercises in front of judges who award them a point total based on their performance. Regardless of which title the dog is competing for, it will be awarded a rank of Non Classe, Bon, Tres Bon or Excellent, corresponding with less than 60%, 60-70%, 70-80% and over 80% point totals. However, only dogs that achieve a score of over 80%, and a rank of Excellent, will qualify for the title and be able to compete for more challenging titles in following years.
Before a dog can compete for proper titles, it must pass an introductory test of obedience, intelligence and character known as Brevet. Just as with full titles, a dog must obtain a score of 80% of higher in order to pass and move on to full competition. After the initial introductory tests, there are three levels of French Ring titles simply known as French Ring 1 (FR1), French Ring 2 (FR2), and French Ring 3 (FR3). Each title tests obedience, agility and protection with FR1 offering the least difficult exercises and FR3 being the most challenging. Unlike most dog sports, dogs must compete twice for each level, in front of two different judges. A dog that has passed the first judging in FR1 is considered to be Level 1, while a dog that has passed both is considered to have the full French Ring 1 title. The same is true for both FR2 and FR3.
Unfortunately, while French Ring Sport is commendable as a sport, it is a far cry from real-world protection work. Whether you have a German Shepherd, Dutch Shepherd or Belgian Malinois, it is imperative that you train it for the work it will be doing. Training a dog for sport just isn’t good enough for real protection dog or guard dog work.
Thursday, May 27th, 2010
The Koninklijke Nederlandse Politiehond Vereniging (KNPV) is a dog sport originating in Holland that uses a number of exercises in an attempt to mimic situations encountered by police k9 units. One such exercise is centered around guarding an object.
For dogs with a natural protective instinct, training to guard an article should not be a difficult task. The same guard drive that a canine would have experienced in the wild to protect food, a den or young puppies, can be applied to any object. For the K.N.P.V. exercise, the dog’s are trained to ignore distractions such as a people walking past the article, and to attack the decoy who will attempt to take the article. The article can be any object, but medium-sized objects such as a bag, or coat are often used. After the dog has taken a bite on the decoy, the decoy will release the object and step back, at which point the dog will return the article without any outside command.
As with many K.N.P.V. exercises, the idea behind it is well-intentioned, but the execution of the exercise as a sport is inevitably unsuitable for a real world scenario. The scenario that this exercise depicts is one in which someone has carelessly left something of value in a wide-open, public space. Imagine that you have something of great importance that you need protected, but instead of locking it inside of a building, within a contained, fenced-off area, you have left it out in the middle of a park. This is, essentially, the K.N.P.V. scenario. In a real scenario, guard dogs are most often used to prevent intruders from entering a specific area rather than guarding a specific object. This is due to the simple fact that if you have an object valuable enough to hire highly skilled guard dogs to protect it, you are better off preventing intruders from even coming near the object rather than waiting until they have fully grasped it.
Although we have great respect for the K.N.P.V. dog sport, one should always remember that it is only a sport. Guard dogs and protection dogs should be trained for real world scenarios, not for sport.
Thursday, March 25th, 2010
Schutzhund and The KNPV are the two most popular dog sports in Europe today. Schutzhund was developed in the early 1900′s by German Shepherd breeder Max von Stephanitz as a way to determine the character of a dog and its suitability for breeding. KNPV, an abbreviation of Koninklijke Nederlandse Politiehond Vereniging, roughly translated as Royal Dutch Police Dog Association, was developed in the Netherlands during the early 1900′s as a way to determine which dogs were suitable for police work. While the two sports are similar in that they were developed at around the same time, for similar purposes, the number of differences in the exercises performed make them remarkably different sports.
One of the most visibly obvious differences between the two sports is the way in which bite work exercises are performed. In KNPV bite work, the decoy will be wearing a full, loose-fitting suit. This suit restricts mobility of the decoy to a small extent, but allows the dog to bite anywhere on the suit. In Schutzhund, the decoy only wears padding on one arm, and holds a stick in the other. The dog is trained only to bite the padded arm while the decoy uses the stick in an attempt to discourage the dog. Unfortunately, the Schutzhund method is fundamentally flawed in that the dogs are trained not to bite the weapon-arm of an attacking opponent. In a real confrontation, failing to target the weapon-arm of an attacker could quickly end in injury or even death of the dog and those it is attempting to protect.
The other key difference between the two sports is in tracking exercises. Schutzhund tracking exercises are more-so a test of obedience and control than actual tracking ability. The dogs are trained to track along a path in a slow, methodical manner, with their noses to the ground at all times. Points are deducted if the dog strays from the path by more than a couple feet, or misses a corner along the path by more than its own body length. In KNPV, there are no tracking exercises. Instead, the dogs are trained to do area searches to find articles or a person in the woods. The dog lifts its head to pick up scents from the air rather than the ground. Unfortunately, neither method accurately reproduces the type of tracking required by police in a real life scenario. KNPV especially makes the mistake of allowing or even encouraging the dog to mouth the object at the end of a search. In a real-life scenario, that object could be a weapon, explosives, or even narcotics.
While there are a number of other differences between the sports, tracking and bite work are two of the most fundamental. However, it is important to realise the differences between either sport versus a real life scenario. While they both make good attempts to mimic reality, both sports fail to do so. Many people have heard the phrase “practise makes perfect”, but in the case of dog sports, “practise makes permanent” may be more accurate. Consistently failing to target the weapon-arm in Schutzhund, or mouthing an article at the end of a search in KNPV both present glaring faults in training that is ingrained within the dog. A true protection dog should be trained for true, real-life protection from the very beginning.
Friday, December 4th, 2009
A gun dog, also known as a bird dog, is a type of working dog used by hunters. Their job is to assist the hunter by finding and retrieving game, usually some type of fowl. There are three types of gun dog: pointing dogs, flushing dogs and retriever dogs. Each is trained to assist the hunter in a different way. There are even a number of dog breeds developed specifically for pointing or retrieving. The Golden Retriever and English Pointer are common examples.
The difference between a pointing dog, flushing dog and retriever dog makes them appropriate for hunting different types of game, in different settings. However, personal preference of the hunter is also a factor in which should be used. Pointers, and also setters, are named after the pointing action they take upon discovering game. When game is found, the dog is trained to freeze in place, and remain perfectly still while indicating the location of the game by pointing towards it with its muzzle. The hunter is then able to flush out the game and take a shot. Flushing dogs are best used on game that is likely to run from the hunter on ground. Instead of freezing in place to point, the dog is trained to aggressively flush out the game, causing it to take flight. This allows the hunter a clear shot. Both of these types of gun dogs are trained to retrieve the downed game upon command, usually soon after the shot. Retrievers are most often used when hunting waterfowl, and are trained to sit calmly and quietly while the hunter takes shots on birds that come into range. The dog must watch the gun and mark each downed bird. After the shooting, the dog is then instructed to retrieve each mark. Retrievers are also able to take commands from the hunter in order to find birds which the dog did not see fall.
While each type of gun dog is trained for a different purpose, there are similarities between them and the way they have been trained. First and foremost, is their ability to ignore gunfire. Gun dogs are trained to sit still and calm in the presence of gun fire, and some pointers are even trained to freeze in place upon hearing it. The sound of a gunshot is loud and unnatural. Even most humans can be unnerved by it. To get a dog to ignore gunfire takes training and obedience. Obedience is another key factor in the training of gun dogs. The dog must be able to sit still, calm and quiet for extended periods of time. This is especially true of retrievers. Finally, communication is an important part of any working dog’s training. Gun dogs are not just able to understand verbal commands, but are also able to understand the situation. This is especially important when multiple pointers are used as they are often trained to honor the point of another dog by pointing alongside of it.
There is no question that the work of gun dogs and the work of protection dogs are worlds apart. A breed developed for use as a gun dog could never perform true protection work the way that a German Shepherd, Dutch Shepherd or Belgian Malinois can. However, there is one key area of training where these two worlds overlap. Training for the event of gunfire. A good protection dog needs to be able to remain calm and steady, and know how to react in the event of gunfire.
Friday, October 2nd, 2009
Mondio Ring sport, sometimes spelled Mondioring without the space, is one of the world’s most recent dog sports. Mondio Ring was established in 1987 and combines the best elements of French Ring, Belgian Ring, K.N.P.V. and Schutzhund into one sport. It’s name can literally be translated into “World Ring”. Teams from all over the world are invited to participate in championships which are held throughout Europe. Despite the diversity of trainers which participate in the sport, the Belgian Malinois breed accounts for about 90% of participating dogs, with only two or three dogs of a different breed each year, usually German Shepherds.
Like the ring sports it is based on, Mondio Ring separates its exercises into three categories; obedience, agility and protection, carried out in that order. Unlike other sports, such as Schutzhund, there are no tracking exercises in Mondio Ring. Protection exercises in Mondio Ring make use of a full bite suit, no unlike those used in French Ring sport. The decoy has a variety of accessories available to use against the dog, such as a tarp to throw at the dog as it comes in for a bite, or a stick not unlike those used in Schutzhund.
Due to the improvisational nature of the protection exercises, and the fact that it combines what are considered to be the best elements of other dog sports, Mondio Ring is perhaps the dog sport that most resembles true protection work. However, this does not make it a substitute for true protection dog training. A sport is just a sport, no matter how you look at it.
Monday, September 21st, 2009
The Koninklijke Nederlandse Politiehond Vereniging, abbreviated as K.N.P.V. literally means “Royal Dutch Police Dog Organization”. The dog sport K.N.P.V. is among one of the most prestigious dog sports in Europe. In fact, the only place one can get their dog title is in Holland, and there are only, 800 to 1000 dogs that receive the K.N.P.V. PH1 title each year. Out of that 1000, only 1% are German Shepherds. The majority of K.N.P.V. dogs are of the Belgian Malinois breed.
This sport originated in Holland as a way to train and test dogs for police service work. However, while K.N.P.V title dogs are certainly impressive, they are hardly fit for police or protection service today. While the exercises closely resemble those required for true protection work, they can hardly compare to real world experience.
K.N.P.V. is only a sport. A sporting dog will not protect you and your family, whether it is French ring title, Schutzund title, or K.N.P.V. title, even if one were to cross train to true protection.
Thursday, September 17th, 2009
The sport of Schutzhund originated with the introduction of the German Shepherd into the German police forces during the early 1900s. Prior to this, the only working role for a dog was to guard or herd livestock in rural areas. In urban areas, dogs were treated as pests, and regarded as being both unclean, and unwelcome. As the role of the shepherd dog became obsolete in an increasingly industrialised society, and bigger urban centers saw an increase in violent crime and attacks against police officers, German Shepherd breeders saw an opportunity to introduce the German Shepherd as an aid to police officers. Unfortunately, due to the social stigma of being accompanied by what was then seen as a “filthy” and “vicious” animal, even police officers themselves were reluctant to bring working dogs into urban society. The sport of Schutzhund was arranged as a way to prove a dog’s worth, loyalty and obedience. It also provided a means through which they could uphold breeding standards. Only dogs who performed admirably in Schutzhund were permitted to breed.
The term Schutzhund itself means “Protection Dog” in German. While many of the activities are no longer relevant to protection work today, all of the activities can be divided into either tracking, obedience, or protection-related. Protection exercises involve the use of a decoy. Unlike other dog sports, where the decoy outfit covers the entire body, the decoy in Schutzhund only wears heavy padding on one arm, with the rest of the body being protected only by loose and durable clothing. While this ensures that the mobility of the decoy is not impaired, it creates an unrealistic scenario in that the dogs can only be trained to bite one arm.
Although I have respect for the sport Schutzhund, it is only a sport. There are too many companies that are selling Schutzhund title dogs, and selling them as protection dogs. A Schutzhund title dog, working on a groomed field, biting on a sleeve, is not a true protection dog. If one wants a true protection dog, then one must purchase a dog that has been working in the real world. We at Command Control K9 train all of our protection dogs in the real world. We not only get our dogs to bite on a bite suit, we have them do building searches, vehicle hijacking, targeting the weapon hand, food refusal, guarding surrounding premises, man scent tracking, bite on elevation and muzzle work. The Dogs not only know how to bite, but also know how to fight.
The bottom line is a sporting dog will not protect you and your family, whether it is Schutzhund title dog, French Ring title dog, or K.N.P.V title dog, even if one were to cross train.
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