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Working dogs

Skise

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I don't know if this counts as a "sport", but one of my summer hobbies is training for working dog trials (in the past when I wasn't as lazy and I managed to have dogs that were healthy enough I actually also went to tracking trials with them). So tomorrow I'm leaving to a "dog camp" with my youngest dog Äde. Or I'll take all the other dogs too but I'll only be training Äde.

Last year all the "gurus" who saw Äde agreed that there is no way she'll ever pass even level 1 tracking trial and I should either sell her or leave her laying on the sofa and get a new dog. Well, one person can only have so many dogs and I already have four so I'm training her anyway. Since I don't plan to attend WC or anything like that I can afford to train a no good dog :laugh:
 

LilaBear

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Tell us more about what the working dog and tracking dog trials are. It would be interesting to know what you are doing.

I love to see dogs and man work together. We used to have a TV program every week in the UK showing sheep dog trials. One man and his dog, or two dogs, would round up a small herd of sheep, get them around obstacles and then into a pen, usually separating a chosen one from the herd. They'd call to the dogs in Welsh, or Yorkshire dialect, or control them by whistling commands.

I like the idea of you training a no good dog. If this were Hollywood that would be the dog that won, or saved your life, or had a lot of very cute puppies. :D
 

Skise

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I'm all for changing the section to off-season "Hobby" instead of off-season "sport". I'll put in my favorate hobby which is eating ice cream! :D

:laugh:

We have several different working dog trials in our "system" in Finland (direct translation would actually be "service dog trials" but for some reason "working" is usually used.) I've trained for tracking where the dog follows the track of a person who has walked in the forest + points to the owner 6 sticks of natural wood that the person laying the track has dropped there - in real life those would of course be whatever items the person that is being tracked has dropped but in trials they are of natural wood because that is difficult for the handler to see, so the dog really has to point them. In addition to tracking part there is also an obedience part and separate part of searching items in an 50mX50m area where the handler is not allowed to go.

With previous dogs I've also trained for searching trial where the obedience and item searching are the same but the third part is searching for persons in trial area where tracking is impossible (the area has been walked allover) and the dog has to search for the scent in the air. The handler is only allowed to walk straight line in the middle of the area and send dog to both sides in the forest to search for the people hiding there.

Search and rescue dogs usually need both of these ways of using their nose to be efficient. The dogs patrolling on borders usually only use tracking because it's enough for them to find tracks crossing the border and follow them.
 

litterbug

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I actually attended a sheep herding contest once. It took place at the base of a tall wooded hillside near Heber, Utah. We sat in bleachers at the bottom in front of a small corral. The competition started with the dog and his/her owner standing by a post. When the clock started, the owner whistled to direct the dog up the hill to a herd of around 10 sheep located in near the top of the hill. The challenge was be the fasted dog to herd the sheep down the hill and herd them around the post and into the corral. The precision with which dog and owner worked was impressive. The sheep were not happy to be herded and at least once or twice one tried to butt the dog before it got control of the herd. One or two dogs got so excited that they overshot the sheep and took off over the hillside, which caused both the dog and the owner quite a bit of embarrassment. But you never saw happier dogs.

I love watching agility trials, too.
 

Skise

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I've trained for agility trials too (and competed with one dog), but at the moment none of my 4 dogs are healthy enough for agility.

My boxer Ella (already dead now) used to love the A-frame. She would run over it, and over, and over and then after a few runs stop on the top and look at me sheepishly because she was supposed to do something totally different and I was screaming with all of my face bright red for her to come and do that something else.
 

Skise

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Oh, and my no-good-dog Äde decided not to track today. At all. Sigh. There are days when I think we could get somewhere and then there are days like today... But she was not completely hopeless, last summer she had days when she wouldn't do anything, just be very very passive. The people who don't know her think she is so calm and has good nerves when in reality she gets very easily overwhelmed and totally shuts down.
 

altagirl

Moderator
Staff member
I've trained for agility trials too (and competed with one dog), but at the moment none of my 4 dogs are healthy enough for agility.

My boxer Ella (already dead now) used to love the A-frame. She would run over it, and over, and over and then after a few runs stop on the top and look at me sheepishly because she was supposed to do something totally different and I was screaming with all of my face bright red for her to come and do that something else.

Haha!

I've done some agility training with my dog too. She was only about 6 months old at the time and her attention span needed some work. I should try again now that she's about 2.5 years old. The problem with her is following the rules and not jumping on and off things from a distance and going all th way to the end of the boards. She's made of springs, I think!

But we do just playtime agility at home. I have a hula hoop she jumps through and she's a crazy frisbee dog who likes to do little flips and rolls in the air. Let's see if I can put together a sequence...

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skinewengland

Certified Ski Diva
Oh, and my no-good-dog Äde decided not to track today. At all. Sigh. There are days when I think we could get somewhere and then there are days like today... But she was not completely hopeless, last summer she had days when she wouldn't do anything, just be very very passive. The people who don't know her think she is so calm and has good nerves when in reality she gets very easily overwhelmed and totally shuts down.

I have English Setters that I train to hunt and also field trial. I have 3 females, bred by me, 2 of the 3 dogs are hard-driving bird-finding machines, the third, Hannah, would rather hunt for dog treats than birds. I have seen some "shut down" behaviour in Hannah and have decided she is a great pet, will be run and hunted, but will never be the best bird dog ever. Sometimes dog owners are "kennel blind" and it is hard to realize that all dogs are not created equal and no matter how much nurture you put in, the nature may be just lacking. When I hunt Hannah, sometimes she stops to eat grass, copious amounts, I think it is a form of avoidance/nerves. Nonetheless, she still loves to get out and work, just a lot less driven than my other 2 setters.
 

Christy

Angel Diva
Altagirl, great photos! Skise, I'd love to see some photos from your trials, if you ever take them.
 

bounceswoosh

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
The part that amazes me is the control the handler must have over the dog's exact location. Cooper knocked some rotten rock down onto DH's leg a few years ago when we were hiking up to a climbing spot. This made me aware of how much we let the dogs range around us.
 

mustski

Angel Diva
I have friends who train "working dogs" for the police. It's got a lot of the same elements as Shutzhund sport training. These dogs are serious athletes and so are their handlers during training. If the dog is on the run, so are you. I had wanted to train my current Shepherd as Shutzhund but, sadly, she had a shoulder injury during the 1st year which meant zero jumping. Since then, she has had an abundance of medical problems so it would not have worked out anyway.
 

bounceswoosh

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Schutz with a C! It means "protect" in German. Do they spell it without in the program?
 

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