“Schutzhund?” a reader queried in response to my mention the other day that our friend Bob Schneider, who is working on the documentary about Dionne, trains dogs to participate in that sport.
Schutzhund, I should have explained, is a pastime in which dogs and their handlers compete in demonstrations of the animals’ ability to track, obey (a large number of commands), and “protect”(finding simulated bad guys who wear protective padding — and then releasing them upon command.) It started a long time ago in Germany and originally had strong ties to policing work, but today people participate (in America and many other places around the world) largely for the pleasures of working closely with their pets on complex and demanding behaviors.
Bob has had four dogs who were specifically bred (in Belgium!) to excel at the sport. He competed seriously with two of the three, and is now hard at work training a handsome young fellow named Lux.
|The irresistible Lux|
|Here’s Bob’s dog Bico when he was at 5. He’s now 11 and no longer competing. But he loves romping with Lux.|
|The highlights of movie nights for Dionne are when
she gets to love it up with Bob.
This background makes Bob unusually attuned to the demands of puppy-raising and training. While raising a schutzhund champion differs in many ways from raising a service dog, the two activities also have a lot in common. Certainly Dionne adores him!