torstai 7. toukokuuta 2015

Protection dog lifestyle

Our protection group consists of 10-15 active people that are building together all group members and their dogs to the top. You cannot really talk of a hobby in our group but more or less of a lifestyle. We all aim at (top level)competitions which means that all our free time is hooked with dogs. We are so fully concentrated in dog training that sometimes it really gets you, but success on the road gives you more strength to keep going.
I think almost the most important aspect in dog training is how to make a handler capable of handling and responding to his or her dog. Since all of us aim at competitions, handler training plays a big part of our practices, how to handle the dog well in a competition and show off the best of it and cover the worst.
How to prepare for a competition?
What kind of practices should be done before a competition?
How to prepare a dog while you wait your turn to the stadium?
How to present your dog with the minimum body language but still feeling the dog’s emotions.
A good handler knows how to help a dog when needed and predicts situations by constantly responding to the dog and not just concentrate on personal excitement.
Our practicing evening begins with obedience. Every one of us has their own “right arm” that observes everything a person does, helps in everything and knows the handler and the dog so well inside out that there’s almost no need to talk.
Cooperation has to be fluent but trusting the “right arm” is essential. Problems are solved together and progress is observed with care. For us a team member’s success is almost as rewarding as personal success. That is because everyone participates somehow with a co-handler to everyone’s practices. Everybody knows each other’s dogs, so we all can step in if the regular co-handler is not there, for some reason.
We have trainings approximately five times a week. Plus tracking during summer time! Commitment is crucial in order to make progress.
Every now and then progress goes backwards. When it happens we all focus on the problem and figure out how to solve it. It may take time, effort and also despair, but since there are capable people around, we are always making at least a workaround to diminish the problem.
In protection training everybody helps in everyone’s practices. Some have their regular co-handlers joining and helping almost in each practice they make.
However, a helper is the key and makes the solutions we all depend upon. There must be a huge trust between a helper and a handler, both ways, to make results. Practices are planned together and those must be discussed in a constructive way afterwards.
Handler work here is also very important, because handler must be able to take care of his or her job. Handler must work hard and prepare the dog technically so well that a helper may concentrate more on a dog than guiding a handler.
Helpers are familiar with the dog and know the best practicing method and speed of progress. Cooperation must be seamless. We have truly capable and professional helpers that are a pleasure to work with. Our helpers give their 100% to the dog and handler and make their everything to bring up the dog’s best sides.
As competitions get closer, we concentrate on current “problems” (if there are any) and we either make more or less practices – depending on a case.
This is done for the LOVE of dog sport and german shepherds <3

Kati Saine

The autor is training in OC Kotka with experienced WUSV competitors, like group helpers Teemu Parviainen, Tommi Vanhala and a helper behind several winning dogs and handlers, Timo Helynen. Other representatives from OC Kotka have been  in WUSV, Harriet Läike, Pekka Kuitunen + Susanna Tunturi, and FMBB, Elina Ämmälä.

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