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.