The dog has a social nature, just like humans. As a pack animal, it searches for contact with its mother, its siblings and fellow dogs from birth on. If this contact is withheld from the puppy, its social awareness is crippled and it is in danger of becoming a loner. Often, these dogs behave aggressively or extremely fearfully towards other dogs because of their insecurity.
Regular contact with other dogs of the same age, for example in puppy classes or – as we call them – “puppy play hours” can counteract this and give the puppy security in the contact with other dogs.
Puppy play hour means that the dogs learn, from puppy age on, to meet fellow dogs and to play and communicate with them in a social way. Even the mostly still inexperienced dog owners learn the right handling of their puppy and the most important basics of dog education in these puppy play hours. In order to strengthen the social bond between human and animal, regular play times with the dog owner take place during the puppy meetings.
Because dogs who have confidence in themselves, their owner and their environment become loyal and reliable partners for their whole life!
Adventure playground puppy meeting
Fun comes first - that is the theme of the puppy play hours at the SV local groups. All puppies over eleven weeks’ old are welcome once they have been fully immunised for health and safety reasons. The dog club of the local group is transformed into an “adventure playground” for the puppy meetings every week: The puppies playfully learn the right behaviour with other dogs of the same age, they get to know different environment stimuli and, with secure supervision, they gather valuable experiences for healthy social development. At 20 weeks, the puppy turns into a young dog and can leave the puppy play hours.
The Augsburg Model was initially launched in 1986 by the SV in order to enable all dog breed owners to participate in dog training courses. The idea behind this initiative throughout Germany is still very popular today: To pass on the trainers’ and members’ knowledge and experiences to all dog lovers, even outside the association. Membership in the SV is therefore not necessary for these courses!
Modern dog training
The Augsburg Model offers praxis-oriented dog training based to modern training methods. The course participants practice basic commands and obedience with their dogs in reconstructed situations of daily life, for example walking on the leash. The dog owner also picks up useful basic knowledge about the behaviour and body language of their dogs. Common goal of the dog training courses: A socially secure family dog.
- The dog must have a minimum age of 15 months
- Minimum age of the dog: 12 months
- A valid dog liability insurance and a valid vaccination passport are required
- An association membership of the dog owner is not necessary.
Goal of the training as companion dog is a natural, social and especially a roadworthy dog. If the dog has participated successfully in a dog training course (Augsburg model), the companion dog test will be no obstacle for him. An approved companion dog test is the basic requirement for protection dog sport and agility.
The companion dog test – for human and animal
In the companion dog test, the dog is evaluated regarding his daily life and traffic security. The dog owner has to absolve a competence test before t the test to demonstrate their basic knowledge regarding dog handling and education. Having passed the competence test, the dog owner receives a dog handler license and may begin the companion dog test.
The first part of the companion dog test takes place at the training site: Walking on the leash and natural, off-leash heeling, sitting from movement and lying down in combination with coming is tested. In the second part of the test we go into public places: the dog is led on the leash and should behave indifferently towards other people and heavy traffic. A companion dog also needs to be able to stay alone for two minutes tied up on a moderately lively street pavement– dog handler or reference person is out of sight. The dog must not growl at people or other dogs.
- The dog must have a minimum age of 15 months
- Proof of the dog’s identity though microchip or tattoo
- Membership in the SV or another association recognized by the VDH.
Sportive active dogs are not only more robust and healthy than inactive dogs physically, but also generally more balanced and peaceful in their character. The working dog sport with its three sub-disciplines trailing, obedience and protection service also provides a sportive and, at the same time controlled outlet, for the active shepherd bursting with energy – because it is in the nature of its breed to want to be challenged and stimulated. In this, neither the training as working dog nor the sport itself present a danger to others.
Character strength and physical toughness
The requirement for training as a working dog – especially for the protection dog – is a completely healthy, capable and tough dog. Character traits such as self-confidence, drive predisposition (not to be confused with aggression) and pleasure in working must be very distinctive in a future working dog.
Dog owner and trainer can determine whether a young dog fulfils these requirements after test trainings and/or character and behaviour exercises, and if it is suited for the very demanding protection service training. If the veterinarian also agrees, then dog and owner are free to start with dog sports.
The training directors in the local groups of the SV are at the dog owner’s disposition with advice, preparing the animals and handlers for the working dog trial which will then be judged by the SV trial judges.
In the agility sport, one of the most famous and popular dog sports, physical and mental fitness of human and dog are demanded at the same time. For the fast, agile and spirited German Shepherd, agility is not only an excellent possibility to let go of excess energy, but it also trains his coordination. Dog sport also strengthens the bond between dog owner and dog, as trust and wordless understanding are of the utmost importance here.
Fit with Agility
Agility is what is most demanded when entering the agility course: a course consists of various obstacles the dog needs to overcome, cross or run through. The most common elements of an agility course are: walls, hurdles, a-frames, dog walk, teeter-totter, panel or spread jump, tunnel, tire jump and weave poles.
Experienced dogs and their owners can compete in agility tournaments. In these competitions, dog and handler have to master a standard course within a certain time without any mistakes. The team receives penalty points for exceeding the time limit or mistakes at the obstacles.
Despite great enthusiasm: Dogs need to be at least 12 months old for agility dog sport. Bone structure and ankle joints have to be sufficiently developed before starting jump training. The first contact with the obstacles, e.g. a tunnel, can however already take place at puppy age.
A special form of obedience training is the dog sport “obedience”. This is less about physical maximum performance and more about concentration, self-control and absolute social compatibility of the animal. Harmony and trust between dog and dog handler are strengthened by the obedience exercises and are a prerequisite for this dog sport.
Many of the obedience exercises, such as “heeling” or “stay at distance” are already familiar from the training as companion dog and as working dog, but are combined differently and extended. Some exercises, e.g. distance control or smell identification of objects, are introduced only in the special obedience training.
Communication and mental exercise
Precision is paramount in obedience. The obedience exercises are manifold, diversified and intensify the bond between human and animal through the permanent communication. Such training can unhesitatingly be given to any dog that enjoys new tasks and mental exercises. As the physical strain of the obedience exercises is much less than in working dog or agility sport, this dog sport is also suitable for older dogs. The SV organises a special championship in obedience every year for especially ambitious dog sportsmen.
Rally Obedience (kurz: RO) ist eine aus den USA stammende Hundesportart und ist für alle Zwei- und Vierbeiner - auch mit Handicap - geeignet.
Abwechslungsreiche Vielfalt und jede Menge Spaß erwartet die Hundehalter im Rally Obedience, die mehr als nur spazieren gehen möchten.
Die Aufgabe in diesem neuen Hundesport besteht darin, einen Parcours mit verschiedenen Stationen in der richtigen Reihenfolge und in einer bestimmten Zeit abzuarbeiten. An den bis zu 24 Station befindet sich ein entsprechendes Hinweisschild mit der auszuführenden Übung. Jeder Parcours ist stets unterschiedlich zusammengesetzt.
Rally Obedience kombiniert verschiedene Fuß-Lauf-Übungen mit Sitz, Platz, Steh sowie Drehungen, Wendungen und sogar Futterverweigerungen in einem Parcours. Dabei darf der Hundeführer ständig und jederzeit per Handzeichen und Körpersprache mit seinem Hund kommunizieren. Um die Motivation beim Partner Hund aufrecht zu erhalten, kann dieser an bestimmten Stationen sogar mit einem Leckerchen belohnt werden.
Wettbewerbe werden in 4 Leistungsklassen ausgetragen, die sich durch die Schwierigkeitsgrade der Übungen unterscheiden: die Klasse Beginner, 1, 2, 3 und zusätzlich Klasse S (Senioren-Klasse für ältere Hunde ab 8 Jahre).
Für eine Turnierteilnahme ist keine Begleithundprüfung gefordert. Es kann in den Klassen Beginner und 1 wahlweise mit oder ohne Leine geführt werden.
Ob bei Erdbeben, Überschwemmungen, Explosionen oder Lawinenunglücken – Rettungshunde sind oft die letzte Hoffnung für Helfer und Verschüttete. Nur durch ihren Einsatz und ihre feinen Spürnasen können in kurzer Zeit relativ große Trümmergebiete nach Überlebenden abgesucht werden, viele Menschen in Not rechtzeitig gefunden und gerettet werden. Weltweit verdanken tausende Menschen diesen Rettungshunden ihr Leben.
Ausbildung zum Rettungshund
Um als Rettungshund arbeiten zu können, muss der Hund unbedingt wesensfest, aggressionsfrei und körperlich fit sein. Für die erfolgreiche Rettungshundeprüfung durchlaufen Hundeführer und Hund eine lange Ausbildung und proben auch danach ständig den Ernstfall, um jederzeit für den Einsatz vorbereitet zu sein. Trainiert werden beispielsweise die Geländegängigkeit auf beweglichem Untergrund, das Begehen von Leitern und Röhren sowie die Sucharbeit und das Anzeigen eines „Fundes“.