Sunday, March 20, 2011

Schutzhund training seminar weekend

I do not have awesome, amazing, adorable pictures of puppies tonight. :(

Won't you play with me?

I prevailed upon a friend to take over things for me for a couple of days and I took off for parts north to attend a training seminar with Bernhard Flinks. I attended one of his seminars back in 1999 or thereabouts, so some of what I learned was re-learning, some was re-awakening old knowledge, some was just plain good learning.

Flinks takes a very methodical and endgoal-focused approach to schutzhund training--but, as he says, he wishes to train "with kindness"--while still focusing on getting international levels of performance from his own dogs. (That's not to say he's not also excellent with beginning dogs and handlers--indeed, he was very good with some of the brand-new people who were at the seminar, and I very much hope they were able to absorb most of what he was saying.)

One of the conversations that was very interesting to listen into is how much schutzhund training has changed in the past 15 years--the general level of knowledge of training and behavioral theory has greatly advanced and some of the harshest training methods that used to be semi-openly used are broadly disapproved of, discouraged, and for the newer members of the sport, unthinkable. This, I think, is very good.

One of the great joys of the weekend for me, in addition to getting to talk dogs and pedigrees and training and learning theory and drives with like-minded friends, was getting to watch Bandit, the sire of Xita's puppies, go through his paces.
V Bandit v Wolfsheim, KK1a, SchH3, FH

In Bernhard's words, "He is a great dog." He had all his titles (SchH3, FH) by the time he was 2.5 years old so he could be sold, and his fast (and harsh) training left him with some training problems that his handler here in the U.S. has been picking apart and mending a little bit at a time.

Bandit brings the anger to the blind...

She has been greatly successful and I think the training with Bernhard helped to put a bit of polish on these areas of retraining. They worked on speed on the escape bite and running to meet the helper where he was going to be rather than where he had been

I had seen Bandit work in tracking and obedience and had seen videos of him in the bitework. But it was significantly better to watch him in person. He is there on the field with all his heart and is thrilled by the fight with the helper. His courage tests were impressive as he sped up and launched himself in the last feet of the run down the field.

Finally, I got to watch a 7-month-old Bandit daughter get her start in protection...


Dom said...

AWESOME photos.

Christine said...

Thanks Dom--my focus is just a bit off in some of them, which is frustrating, but not that surprising--fast moving dogs and humans and iffy light and amateur photog. :)

I love your photos, btw!

Country Girl said...

When you said fast and harsh training really struck me. I've always believed in slow and steady and it's funny how the more I learn about my various disciplines, it becomes so clear that being thorough is so important. Thanks for sharing! Love the pictures. Absolutely beautiful dogs.

Larry said...

awesome photos, wonderful dogs!