Posts Tagged ‘French Ring’
Tuesday, September 28th, 2010
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.
Tuesday, August 24th, 2010
One of the most important aspects of a good protection dog is good nerves. If you’ve ever seen a pet get spooked in a loud thunderstorm, you know how loud noises can often throw an animal off-guard. Even most humans jump at the sound of a large bang. For police officers, recognizing the sound of gunfire, being able to remain steady and calm, and being able to act quickly and effectively to neutralize the threat are all life-saving necessities. The exact same is true of protection dogs.
In French Ring sport, there is an exercise intended to test the nerves of a competing dog, and how it performs during gunfire. In this exercise, the decoy/helper is given a gun that fires blanks. The dog is instructed to take a bite on the decoy, and the decoy fires the gun twice during the approach. The decoy fires once more during the bite, and then freezes, at which point the dog lets go and begins to guard the decoy. The judge then signals for the decoy to attempt two escapes, during which the dog will take two more bites to prevent escape. Finally, the judge signals to the handler to disarm the decoy and end the exercise.
It is important that protection dogs be trained around gunfire, and this exercise certainly accomplishes this. However, French Ring dogs are being trained with a fatal flaw that could end disastrously in a real-life situation. The third shot fired by the decoy is made after the dog has already taken a bite. In a real-life situation, this would be fatal to the dog. A criminal with a gun is not simply going to fire blanks into the air during a real confrontation; he’s going to aim at the dog biting him. A true protection dog should always be trained to target the weapon-arm as a first priority. Waiting for the handler to disarm the opponent is simply absurd, and could quickly end in death. The sooner that the gun is out of the criminal’s hand, the more of a chance there is that all involved will survive without serious injury.
The Belgian Malinois, and German Shepherds that compete in French Ring exercises are certainly impressive, but when it comes to true, functional protection work, you need dogs that are trained for real protection in real-life scenarios.
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.
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