What lies ahead for the ZAP?
After the character judgment (ZAP part 1), the alternative path into breeding is, of course, a work element that is fit for working dogs, whose assessment is far more focused on our dogs’ disposition and health. This assessment can be made from the age of 18 months. If a dog does not pass the assessment, it is possible to repeat the work element twice.
As a result, traditional evaluations based on points will no longer be required. In line with the WBU, a dog’s work in the individual sections/exercises will be described using adjectives and reliability ratings. The adjectives and reliability ratings will be entered in SV DOxS. This provides breeders with guidance when planning future litters. However, statistical evaluations relating to behavioral traits in various breeding lines are also possible using the corresponding reliability ratings.
As with the IPO examination/breed regulation, the ZAP work element consists of the three established sub-sections, whereby the focus is on the dog’s skills in cooperation with their trainer:
I. Nose work: How intensely does the dog work (following the tracks) – and how does the subject solve any problems that may arise while out on the tracking course (working at angles, objects)?
II: Obedience exercises: (The dog is on the lead out on the field): How does the dog work with their handler (dog/handler interaction, teamwork), what techniques do they use, how are sound signals implemented, how does the dog retrieve, and last but not least, how does the dog jump?
III. Defense exercises: How easy is the dog to handle during the exercises, how intense are the wait and guarding phases, and how can the dog’s defense behav- ior be assessed?
At the SV BV 2017, it will be proposed that all GSDs bred within the SV and born after 07/01/2017 must have proof of passing the character judgment as part of being permitted for breeding. Furthermore, it is necessary to decide on the intro- duction of the SV ZAP at the BV. Regardless of whether the dog is later used for breeding, participating in character judgments must be supported in general. A breeder can already sow the seeds by encouraging those who buy their puppies to enter the dog for a character judgment. The more dogs within a breed that are checked and statistically recorded, the more meaningful the evaluations and tendencies of behavioral problems within a breed or breeding line will be.
In future, character judgments will be essential and there will be no alternative. The society and its bodies will provide the necessary framework conditions for the assessment, and will also provide the necessary aids and information as far as possible. Revive the events happening in your local committee and provide this platform. Therefore, if we admonish ourselves in future for all pulling on the same string, we must not forget that we all need to be pulling in the same direction. After all, questions about nature and the future of our dogs are first and foremost human questions, and how we handle ourselves.