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Posts Tagged ‘Dog Sport’
Although most dog sports are essentially built around the same basic principals, each sport is unique in its own way. One of the exercises that makes French Ring sport different from other competitive dog sports is its retrieval exercises. There are three types of retrieval exercises, but only dogs competing in French Ring III, the most advanced level of French Ring titles, are expected to perform all three.
The first of the three exercises is known as the thrown retrieve. In this exercise, the handler throws an object, and the dog is simply expected to retrieve the object and return it to the handler. The throw must cover a distance of at least 5 meters, and the dog is only given 5 seconds to complete the exercise. Due to the time restrictions, the dog must move quickly, but it is also important that the handler be able to throw appropriate distance. Throwing further than 5 meters will obviously cost you time as your dog is required to run farther than the minimum 5 meters. Practise and coordination are required by both the dog and the handler.
The thrown retrieve exercise is performed in all three levels of French Ring. In French Ring II, a new retrieve is introduced, which is known as “seen retrieve”. The seen retrieve involves the handler and dog heeling down the field. The handler drops an object in plain site of the dog, and they continue moving. Finally, they stop, and the dog is instructed to run back and retrieve the object. In French Ring III, another variation of this is introduced, known as “unseen retrieve”. The unseen retrieve is essentially identical to the seen retrieve, except that the object is dropped without the dog seeing it.
Retrieval exercises are certainly nothing new to dog owners. It is certainly not uncommon to see dog owners from all walks of life teaching their pets to play “fetch”. French Ring tries to go a step further by incorporating elements of obedience and agility into the exercises. Of course, it’s important to remember that French Ring is just a sport. Sporting exercises are wonderful entertainment for handlers, dogs and spectators alike, but one should never confuse a sporting dog for a true protection dog. If you want a true canine protection, you need a dog that has been trained for protection, not for sport. A sporting dog should never be sold as a protection dog, regardless of whether it’s a German Shepherd, Belgian Malinois or Dutch Shepherd.
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.
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.
Schutzhund is one of several European dog sports established in the early 1900′s as a way of testing the capabilities of working dogs to ensure that only the best were bred and allowed to work in police and protection dog roles. Having originated in Germany, the German Shepherd dog is the breed of choice for the sport, although other breeds such as the Belgian Malinois or Dutch Shepherd are permitted to compete.
In Schutzhund, dogs compete to earn titles which are awarded for sufficient performance various trials and exercises. Based on their score, dogs are given grades of excellent (V), very good (SG), good (G), satisfactory(M), unsatisfactory(U). During the protection exercises, dogs are also graded on their nerves and ability to handle stress. For this, judges award the dogs a grade of insufficient (nicht genugend), present (vorhanden) or pronounced (ausgepraegt).
Before a dog and handler may compete for Schutzhund titles, preliminary trials must be passed. Three certificates are offered at this level: Begleithunde (BH), Wachthund (WH) and Ausdauerprufung (AD). However, only a BH certificate enables a dog to participate in more advanced Schutzhund trials. The BH certificate shows basic obedience while WH is intended to test low-level watchdogs, and AD is simply a physical endurance test.
Once a dog has obtained the Schutzhund BH certificate, it may compete for proper Schutzhund titles. The basic title is the Schutzhund 1 (SchH1) which tests tracking, obedience and protection. There is also a Schutzhund 2 and 3 title which offer the same basic tests, but with intermediate and advanced levels of difficulty. There also obedience (OB1-3) and tracking(TR1-3) titles, again offered in three levels, which focus purely on either obedience and tracking.
Even though Schutzhund was originally intended to train and test dogs for their ability as a working police dog, its adaptation into a sport has made it somewhat ineffective for this purpose. One should always remember that Schutzhund is just a sport. If one wants a true German Shepherd or Belgian Malinois protection dog, one must train for real world scenarios; this includes working in water, and targeting the weapon hand, neither of which are covered by Schutzhund.
KNPV is a lot closer to real protection work than many other dog sports because it comes the closest to mimicking real scenarios. One scenario seen in KNPV that isn’t seen in other sports is the presence of water in the environment. In the real world, a police protection dog must not only be able to swim, but must be able to do so with speed and efficiency in order to engage a target across a body of water, or to rescue a drowning person from a river with strong current.
KNPV uses two exercises to test a dog’s swimming ability. In the first exercise, the dog is instructed to swim across a canal with a minimum distance of 15 meters, wait at the other side, and then return to the handler when instructed. Unfortunately, while it is admirable that KNPV would include water exercises, this exercise does not come close enough to a real scenario to be effective as training for a true protection dog. In the real world, the dog will be sent across a body of water in order to perform a task, such as engaging a target. To have the dog sit and wait for a second command to be given on the other side of a river is absurd, and wastes valuable time. The dog should be trained to swim the distance and engage the target with one command.
In the second exercise, the dog is instructed by the handler to retrieve a large object in the water, approximately 7 meters out, and bring it back to shore. Again, it is admirable that KNPV would include this exercise, but it is still not close enough to the real scenario. The most important thing a dog could be bringing back to shore in this instance would be a human life. To depend on a dog that has only been trained to haul an inanimate object in calm waters to save a living human being is simply unacceptable.
The bottom line is that KNPV is just a sport. Whether you’re training a Belgian Malinois, a Dutch Shepherd or a German Shepherd as a police protection dog, it must be trained for the real world, using real world scenarios and real danger. There is simply no substitute for true protection dog training.
KNPV is a term that comes up often when speaking of working dogs, and with good cause; KNPV is one of the most challenging and well-respected dog sports in the world. Between 800 and 1000 dogs get their KNPV PH1 title each year. Of these, only about 5 will be German Shepherds. KNPV titles can only achieved in Holland, where the sport originates, and the vast majority of competing dogs will be Holland’s favoured breed: the Belgian Malinois. For a German Shepherd to achieve a KNPV title is an extremely difficult task that requires a hard dog with strong nerves. KNPV also requires a dog that is intelligent, loyal and sociable as well.
Training a dog for the KNPV PH1 title takes dedication and commitment. Training normally takes been 2-3 years to complete. To train a dog for this long, with the level of intensity required for KNPV takes a true love for dog sport and dog training. Training German Shepherd puppies or Belgian Malinois puppies must begin at a very young age.
While KNPV is the closest dog sport to real protection work, one should never forget that it is just a sport. However, KNPV forms the basis of breeding standards in Holland. Only the best dogs make it through to achieve a KNPV title, and the litters bred from KNPV titled dogs are ensured to have the strength and nerves required of true protection dogs. Very few KNPV dogs are female, as the best females are always held back for breeding.
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.
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.
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.
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