When will you finally get yourself a real sport dog?
I have heard this question multiple times while being with Gapcio; at obedience seminars, competitions and trainings.
My answer is constantly the same; I already have three sport dogs! I do not want to get caught up in a lemming-like fervor to buy myself a “sport dog”, whatever that is supposed to mean. Usually, what the the authors of the above question had in mind was supposed to depreciate the “value” of Gapcio as a competition dog. Because he does not have a natural motivation and engagement or it could have been destroyed – he is an abused rescue. Nevertheless, you have to work really hard to make training fun for both sides.
First of all I adore mutts and I will have mutts for the rest of my life. Gacek-Gapcio’s or Gunia’s types are my favorite ones. I am fervently opposed to breeding pure-breds in the manner which is done now.
I am not talking about puppy mills. I mean registered Polish Kennel Club kennels. Currently, every second person who has a Border Collie or Toller (these two are a the most recent fad victims) decides to have a kennel and what follows : puppies! The reasons to multiply are tremendous; they have beautiful colors (yep, I have seriously heard an argument like this), because the dog has a pedigree, the dog is fast, has made a decent score in a competition, there is a demand for this breed, because it is fashionable/trendy.
In my opinion, a good kennel is the one that is based on biology, genetics, Caninology, and passion. In such a kennel you have to register yourself in order to get a puppy and situations in which a dog will not find a home are extremely rare. Being a breeder is tough work and it requires a lot of experience. So it drives me crazy when I see teenage girls who buy a Border Collie and reproduce him without any fundamental knowledge. In my mind’s eye I can see these next generations of puppies filling up shelters, because they turned out not to be so perfect and smart. There is also another side effect, more and more dogs do not have the traits of the breed. Border Collies which do not herd and Tollers which do not retrieve.
There is no doubt, the number of dogs is too high and breeding should be regulated/limited and not allowed to be done by anyone who has a dog with a pedigree.
The other thing is that I love to work with so called “difficult” dogs. Obedience training with Gapcio is extremely enlightening. I would have not learned as many things I had with Gapcio working with a dog that has no motivational issues . We have gone a long way together. Starting with a dog who was stuck in one place for 40 minutes, to today’s training where I am able to do a chain of 4 behaviors with a happily engaged dog who pushes me to do more.
This road was not ideal (you can read about it here). There is still a long road ahead of us. A bumpy road with ups and downs. We will encounter some difficulties but I look at them as good challenges and I can not wait for what solutions we will find together. I do not work with Gapcio to get a high score or to brag. I want to create the best possible team together. I want him to love working with me as much I do with him.
I think a sport dog does not have to be genetically engineered. I truly believe that I can achieve a lot with a mutt or with a breed not labeled as a sport one. It will require more work than if I had a puppy from the best kennel but it is not impossible. I am happy to have the choice to have a dog which I dreamed of. That is why I do not understand ironic questions
Slowly pushing the boundaries with my work with Gapcio is fascinating for me. Each and every day I am discovering, a new thing I can work on. Recently, we have been working on motivation for work. Yesterday, for the first time since April I have done a chain of 3 behaviors. Gapa was amazing, energetic, drivey, fully engagement and I was more than happy. For the long time he was lagging in heeling. Thanks to the fundamental changes in our work and few exercises, now I have to focus ona forging dog :) because Gapcio is heeling with so much fun he started to forge!
Dog training – it is a never ending story; a story we create together as a team. I can not imagine, it would not make me happy or I would not have enough patience. I simply love it.
That is why you should never bother when someone tells you that your dog is: “weak”, “poor”, “not enough good to compete”, “that you can achieve more with a better dog”, or “that you deserve to have a real sport dog”. You are the one working with your dog and both of you have to have the best possible fun out of it. No one can take that away from you.