Monday, October 13, 2008

What I did on my Vacation - or - I'm baaaaack!

Hey - I'm baaaaaack - back from 5 days in Florence, Kentucky, where I got sunburned to a crisp. October. Sunburn. Kentucky - who knew? We're so pale here in Canada - we don't even have to go to the topics to get badly sunburned.

I went to the world German Shepherd Schutzhund competition. What the? Whosis? Schutzhund - pronounce that shutz (rhymes with "puts") hund (rhymes with "fund"). Schutzhund is a dog sport that was initially developed to test the merits and strengths of the German Shepherd Dog breed - designed by the breed's founder to, as he put it "keep my dog -- a working dog." It is an extremely rigorous event - for both the dog and the handler - similar in scope to a triathlon or the 3-day event for horses - as it combines many different skills and disciplines. It tests the dogs ability to think and solve problems and work independently and the ability to work as part of a team.

It involves 3 distinct parts: tracking, an obedience routine, and a protection phase. The tracking involve finding and following a track left by a stranger walking through a field, and finding dropped items along the way. The obedience routine involves heeling, retrieving, heeling through a crowd, and more complex exercises, such as the "running stand" - where you run with your dog and tell him to stop and stand perfectly still - while you keep running without a pause! The final phase is the "protection" phase - where the dog demonstrates both courage and control. The dog searches for and finds a "bad guy" and then stops him from escaping and attacking.

The sport is extremely complex - and as you can see - you can't just describe it in a single sound bite! It also serves as the wellspring for breeding and training police, service and military dogs - as there are many skills and traits that are common to both and many people who participate in both at one point or another.

This video clip shows just one part of the sport - the protection phase - and I have dubbed a narration over it to explain what is going on.

What does this have to do with beads? Well - all work and no play makes a dull beader! And it totally explains why I have no concept of what "free time" is!

If you want more information on the sport of schutzhund, you can check out:
The German Shepherd Schutzhund Club of Canada
Schutzhund USA
or email me with questions.

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