DOG TRAINING METHODS BY BREED PURPOSE
Barbara J. Andrews, Publisher,
SAAB and Research Staff
Breed type and function is first when judging or selecting breeding partners but every breed should shine in Obedience if trained according to its genetic heritage.
Even as many breeds have
improved in show ring pizzazz, more than a few have lost the essentials of breed
type as defined by temperament, intelligence, and activity level. In the quest
for ever greater size and “presence” many large breeds have lost soundness and
contrary to the breed standard, gained loose skin and wrinkles.
Some Toy and Non-Sporting breeds have become cardboard cutouts with little
personality but tons of coat or exaggerated features no pet owner wants to deal
with. Hound and Sporting breeds present glorious side gait but have lost the
heart and stamina needed for the field. Showmanship is important but who wants a
Rottweiler that accepts every stranger, a Pekingese who thinks he’s a guard dog,
or a meek and mild Terrier?
People chose purebred dogs because their size, behavior, and physical
characteristics are predictable but prospective dog owners also want
intelligent, trainable pets. So why do purebred dog breeders put sooo much
emphasis on conformation and not enough on the rewards of Obedience training?
Trainability Can Be Found At The Shelter!
That is precisely is why so many people are looking at shelters and rescue for a
family pet. They’ve been convinced by the onslaught of “adopt a pet” advertising
and animal rights rhetoric - while AKC and purebred dog breeders do NOTHING to
promote the predictability of purebred dogs!
Once the epitome of class and social standing, purebred dogs are demeaned by
animal rights and the politically correct levelers of society. Go to a public
park or obedience class and tally purebreds vs. mutts. WHY? Because we dog
breeders unconsciously tout beauty (breed standards) over brains (breed purpose)
when most people just want lovable, healthy (!) dog.
Not enough dog breeders attend Obedience classes so they fail to realize that
most owners want to teach their dog some kind of “tricks” or at least, basic
manners. I speak with decades of authenticity because I
was a professional Obedience trainer who specialized in private training for
problem dogs but I also conducted well-attended local classes in St. Pete and
Having Fun With Obedience Training
Our Doberman finished her
CD degree in 3 shows and made me a “breeder” by whelping a record-setting litter
of 16 puppies. Hella vom Asgard was blind in one eye due to an injury that in no
way compromised her brain. We did traditional training in preparation for
Hella’s obedience degrees but we most enjoyed the inventive part because that is
what real dog training is all about. My husband started it. He taught Hella to
mold herself inside a truck tire so that he could roll her around in It. Bill
then convinced her that climbing the split-trunk tree in the front yard was a
fun thing to do. Admittedly he had to earn her trust to get her down.
The Doberman-Up-A-Tree caused traffic jams on our rural road as people craned
their necks in disbelief. One of our favorite demonstrations for other obedience
groups was this… Bill taught Hella to go over the high jump with an egg in her
mouth, do a perfect return, sit, and present the egg so that he could break the
raw egg into a bowl as the audience went wild …
Our first show breed was the Rottweiler in the late 60s. Ch. Asgard Anna vom
Kongslien, CD finished her obedience title in 4 shows and her championship (also
owner owner-handled) in 3 shows. Was that a fluke? Stacked entries? Politics?
Hardly! She was simply what a Rottie should be.
My inspiration was William (Bill) Koehler
(head trainer for Disney Studios) whose book
The Khoehler Method Of Dog Training was illustrated with Bull Terriers! I still
have his 1971 Howell Book House edition. We bought our first Bull Terrier from
George Schriber and another from Winkie and proved that any breed can be trained
<smile>. Some dogs are smarter than others, sometimes more than the handler or a
trainer who doesn’t understand the breed.
I say this as a former obedience instructor. Bill and I went well beyond Utility
with our Dobermans and Rottweilers. Agility hadn’t even been thought of back
then but Bill loved teaching “weird stuff” as much as the dogs loved “taking a
break” to do it… We gave up on dog training when we moved on to the Akita, a
breed not suited for formal obedience. Hopefully you chose your dogs because of
that breed’s characteristics and purpose. If he isn’t an obedience star that’s
okay as long as he exemplifies correct breed character and temperament.
If you elect to do formal obedience training, you should realize that most
obedience enthusiasts today don’t know or care about the Breed Standard.
Likewise we should accept that many of today’s AKC breed judges don't know
diddly about Obedience.
If you chose a dog in the Non-Sporting or Toy Group he should do well in
Obedience as most have been bred as by-your-side companions. Breeds in the
Herding, Hound, Sporting, Terrier and Working groups were generally developed
for specific purpose, often independent of direction or close proximity work but
they can and should easily earn a basic degree.
All dogs instinctively know their purpose is healing hearts and bringing
laughter, joy, and comfort in the service of mankind. Come to think of it, all
dogs, purebred or mutt, were specifically created for that noble purpose…
Related Purebred Dog Information
Purebred Dog Owner Study
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