"My Passion for the German Shepherd Dog"
Fort Steele, B.C.
My love for the German shepherd dog began in Tuchola, Poland; a beloved land my family left behind in 1992, in hopes of a better life. It began with my father bringing home a German shepherd puppy named Cezar, it began training with my father, his dogs To the Max, aka Max, and Lady Samboya, aka Boya; and it began with my first German Shepherd, my beautiful Ossa. From then on, the rest is an amazing journey, a history, a story of compassion, love, competition, training, experience, people and dogs, a life cherished, and shared with my son, Dallevin, in beautiful British Columbia, Canada.
The memory of Cezar coming home, is as alive today, as it was when I was five years old. He was a black and tan puppy, who stole my heart at first sight. He was textbook perfect in working temperament, loyal family companion, and personal protection dog. He became my father's training partner, and together they obtained the training title of SCHH1, or Schutzhund 1. He protected me fiercely when I was home alone, and saved my life on more than one occasion. Sadly, he was left behind when my family moved to Canada, and tears of sorrow flow for forever in my heart. The memory of him, will live with me forever. From the day I clipped a clothes pin to his hear, to the day he almost knocked down the front door to scare away an unknown intruder, to the days when he decided who is allowed to enter, and who isn't, to the days spent training him in obedience, as my father had during his initial training. The pain of leaving him behind, is unexplainable, and can only be summarized as such; paw print on map of Canada, collected, shed fur, saved in a jewelry box, time to hug him on the couch before it was time to go to the airport; forever too short. Rest in peace my dear best friend, for you I stole canned Pedigree food, when there was a food shortage in our family, for you, a special place in my heart will remain, till we meet again.
Our first dog in Canada was was an American shepherd, To the Max, or Max was his name, he was a black and tan, show line shepherd.
Waldy Gorka & Max, TD
East German Working Lines vs. Czech Working lines
American Show Lines vs. German Working Lines
Cezar z Tuzholi, Schh1
To the Max, TD
Go Go Ossa, IPO2
This brings me to mention, the different bloodlines of German shepherds that have thus far been bred worldwide. Not everyone had the same ideology as Captain Max von Stephanitz, hence the German shepherd dog became a different breed if I dare say, in other countries. The main lines of this beautiful, most popular breed are: East German lines, Czech Lines, American Lines, and German Lines which further break into the working and show lines. When I moved to Canada, my family did not realize that the American shepherd was quite a bit different in temperament and structure, than the East German shepherd we had in Poland. Nevertheless, Max, became our family's best friend, and a top tracking dog thanks to my dad's patience with his fearful temperament. The American shepherd has been bred since the second World War strictly for its beauty. The sport of Schutzhund designed strictly for the German shepherd dog to test its breed worthiness, was not heard of in North America, nor was it introduced to Canada, until the 1970s. By then, the show world turned the German shepherd into an American shepherd, a breed with extreme structural angulation, weak temperaments, often very fearful, low prey drive, and an inability to prove themselves worthy in the Schutzhund courage test for breed worthiness. These qualities or lack of, proved true in our American shepherd Max. Although he was beautiful, large, and noble, he developed severe hip dysplasia by the time he was 4, and severe elbow dysplasia. The weak joints further led to two cruciate ligament tears, and two consequent surgeries. In the end, he was able to track only with lovely focus, meanwhile hide in the house for the remainder of his time. He could hardly walk, and was unable to go up stairs. At 5 years old, this beauty passed away all too early from torsion of the stomach, also a genetic tendency especially for dogs bred for size. Max taught my father and I, about the different lines of shepherds; after watching Max suffer most of his life, my father and I never looked back on another American show line shepherd ever again, and vowed to never breed a dog as such. For to breed a dog like Max, was to be ignorant, selfish, and unethical.
The next dog that inspired me to pursue working dogs and in particular the sport of IGP, otherwise known as Schutzhund, was Stormymagic's Lady Samboya. She was of German/DDR working lines, and a storm to behold in our household the minute she arrived. It was because of her, that I decided to become a sport dog trainer, and start a club in our area that focused on schutzhund sport. Samboya, had the ideal German shepherd dog temperament. She had intense prey drive, solid defense drive, natural bite, good grip, firm hold, and a loving, loyal, family companion. Samboya became an intense tracking dog, and successfully acquired her TD (Tracking Dog), TDX (Tracking Dog Excellent), and UTD (Urban Tracking Dog) tracking dog titles under CKC (Canadian Kennel Club) rules. My father was her handler, and I learned how to lay tracks, design tracks, age tracks, and of course, how to develop a consistent, comprehensive training strategy to train my future personal dogs in tracking sport.
Samboya also taught me about health testing German shepherd dogs for breeding, and the health testing required by the SV - German Kennel Club. All shepherds must have certified hips, certified elbows, certified degenerative myelopathy, and LTV, or lumbosacral transitional vertebrae testing complete. Health testing, and or reading health results, proved to be a challenge in itself, and an area that I had to educate myself in order to understand, health scores or grades, appropriately and make ethical breeding decisions. Samboya was diagnosed with Grade 1 left elbow dysplasia, and Grade 2 right elbow dysplasia. This evaluation left me baffled and in search of concrete answers. I learned that, Grade 1 ED is a mild condition and is permitted in breeding under the SV and OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) standard. Grade 2 however, is considered a moderate evaluation and therefore not permitted for breeding. With one joint failing testing, I was truly devastated. Samboya's hips were rated FAIR, and permissible for breeding. With these health evaluations, I began comparing the OFA system of grading to that of the SV system of grading, and have since, always put my dogs through both systems in order to get consistent, accurate results. In the sport of IGP, and breeding of German shepherd working dogs, ONLY SV-Germany health certifications are acceptable; this means OFA results are not admissible for breed evaluations in Germany. Because of the one moderate dysplastic joint, Samboya was never bred even though her temperament was a ten out of ten. She did teach me that, dogs even with permissible results, should most often not be used for breeding, and my standard of allowing dogs into my breeding program, was elevated to Excellent, Good, Fair, or Normal results only. In Germany, this meant A stamps for hips of grades A1-A2 and elbow grades of A1 or A2, and LTV-Type 0 or 1 only.
With a first hand experience in health testing, results, evaluations, and comprehensive experience in training a dog to track, with a start to a small training group, at the time called the Cranbrook German Shepherd Working Dog Club, I felt I was ready to bring home my first German shepherd puppy; her name became Go Go Ossa von Wendelin. Upon extensive research on the bloodlines Wendelin Farm (Ossa's breeder) had available, I chose the sire and dam of my future Ossa, and waited 8 months for her conception, birth, and arrival home. I chose her based on the parent's health testing, and the parent's working dog titles; I also chose her because she was a balance of German working lines and Czech working lines and the curiosity of the mating outcome had me pick her. She was of outcross breeding, meaning there was no common ancestry in her five generation pedigree, and she brought both worlds to the training field. With my Michael Ellis online courses completed, I departed on a journey in the sport of IGP, then known as IPO, and the rest is history!
Bringing Ossa home was an awakening to the type of puppy I had decided to bring home. The first night I had put her in a small crate next to my bed, all night she cried and barked, whined, and screamed to be let out. It got so bad I had to put ear plugs in, and then cover my head with a pillow! I knew crate training was of the most importance for any dog, and understood that I had to persevere and not lose the fight to crate train my new, very determined, strong willed puppy. Three days and four nights into the sleepless nights, and Ossa finally decided she was going to cooperate, and become agreeable to the idea of her crate. Her crate training continued throughout her first 12 months, as she had found new ways to test the idea of being fully crate trained. For example, she also rode in a crate in the canopy of my truck. Her crate in the beginning was a wire crate, and one day Ossa decided she was going to start barking, and launching herself at passing dogs; again, I had to come up with ideas to teach her quiet behaviors in the crate. I fixed this new problem by covering her crate with a blanket so that she wasn't able to see any dogs out the little canopy window. The blanket worked and eventually, on command, Ossa and her crate became one. Essentially, it was easier to train her to her first tracking test the TD, that she passed at 9 months old, versus fully crate training her! However, being able to say "Kennel," and have Ossa run and jump into her crate from ANY distance within vicinity of my vehicle is priceless.
Because Ossa was my first dog, I kept a log book of our daily training sessions. I broke the logs into tracking, obedience, and protection, and kept a detailed log explaining our success, failures, and daily endeavors each bringing us closer to a title in the dog sport world. The first title she attained at an early age of eight months was her CKC, tracking dog title, the TD. She was a super tracking dog with intense hunt drive. Tracking with her became a pleasure until it came time to pass our next tracking dog title, the TDX, or tracking dog excellent. Here, we endured our first failure, second failure, third, and finally, on our fourth try, passed the prestigious title of Tracking Dog Excellent. I recall the experience vividly! Falling to my knees and hugging Ossa, Ossa laying down, sticking by her article indication with tongue hanging out, panting from the extreme 40 minutes we spent casting, and searching for the correct track, falling knee deep into a body of water, casting belly deep through the water, and finally arriving at the third, and final article! 40 minutes was a long time to pass a 1km track, however, because I was a new handler, the hard part in the sport of tracking wasn't so much the tracking itself, but the ability to read your dog on the track, and to trust your dog, and allow your dog to lead you to the finish. Ossa would have passed her TDX on her first try, it was due to my mistakes, that it took us four. By the time I had trained Ubi-wan to her TDX, it took us a mere 4 minutes to complete in comparison.
With tracking surely underway, our obedience felt like it was coming along nicely. At times, I doubted the evolution of our heeling command, however at some point in our training, the heeling command seemed to have fallen into place, and Ossa came through with an enthusiastic, high drive, focused heel that made me feel confident to finally enter our first ever, GSSCC, German Shepherd Schutzhund Club of Canada, IGP, International Utility Dog, Trial. We chose to enter the Ice Breaker Club Trial, hosted by the Prairie Storm Schutzhund Club of Canada, in Edmonton, AB. Ossa and I entered the entry level obedience test, the BH, and the breed endurance test, the AD. My father, also came along with me and entered his dog Kazan, in the breed endurance test, the AD as well. This is one of the reasons this trial will be memorable forever, as it was a trial, a first and last, that both my father and me, took part in. It was at this trial, that new friendships were made, a the journey into the sport of schutzhund truly began. Ossa passed her BH with flying colors, and both Ossa and Kazan passed their AD tests without skipping a beat. From here, we begun getting ready for the Prairie Regionals, hosted by the German Shepherd Schutzhund Club of Calgary, and our first ever working dog title, IPO 1.
Our journey to our first ever IPO1 trial, was the most beautiful adventure I had even been on. The excitement of competing in a three phase sport was exhilarating; the fact that I did it with my beloved K9 partner Ossa, priceless. We started with phase A, tracking; 400m track, 20 minutes old, 2 articles, first turn a success, a bit fast, second turn, slight cast, article indication, successful, final score, 88. Second phase B, obedience; heeling off leash, dumbbell retrieve, 1m jump, A Wall jump, send-out, exhilarating heeling pattern, final score, 92! Final phase C, protection, nerve wracking, blind search easy, hold and bark...dirty, clean out, escape...awesome, the helper was extremely fast! final long attack, and test of courage, breath taking, final score 80 points, rated 'a' for courage. Overall placing, 1st place!!! Words cannot express my extreme gratitude to this little dog called Ossa (Wasp in Polish), for rising up to the challenge in the sport called schutzhund. From then on, Ossa went on to attain her IPO2 at K9 Force Summer Club Trials, earning 1st place again, High in Tracking, High in Obedience, and High in Protection. After this trial, Ossa advanced to Queen of the house, and has been the Queen Bee since. This was also a time, when I decided to buy my second dog, Ubi-wan Kenobi von Wendelin. During the time of Ossa's training success', Ubi-wan was just a little puppy, who slowly stole every inch of available space within my heart, and who became the next lady, to step into the paw prints that Ossa left behind.
During the Regionals, I had entered Ossa in a conformation class where she earned an 'SG' or Very Good in conformation, Kazan also earned an 'SG' and my baby Ubi-wan was entered in the 3-6 month puppy class. Ubi-wan got 1st place out of 6 puppies in her class, earning a VP1, Very Promising 1st place! Among the black and tan puppies, the beautiful dark brown eyes, the show pups, my Ublet, with light green eyes, golden sable coat, was chosen as top female puppy! I was very excited and beyond words to have the judge recognize that her sable coat was absolutely the richest of gold tones, and her eye colour did not impair her impression! Because of the pandemic, I have been unable to show her again in a conformation class, however, the moment this opportunity arises, Ubi-wan will be presented to a Show judge to receive her official conformation rating, I am optimistic, that she will receive a 'V' rating, or Excellent.
Bringing Ubi-wan home was unlike bringing Ossa home. Ossa was a gremlin in her crate, hard to house-train, but a gem to work with in sport. Ubi-wan, I though house-trained herself by 12 weeks old; I was wrong, she only learned to eat her droppings faster than I could find them. She was a gem in her crate, but a monster outside of her crate...a terror to behold, a wild alligator terrorizing the house and all its habitants! Her biting was non-stop until she turned 9 months old. Due to her extreme puppy biting behaviours, Ubi-wan spent her free house time living in an exercise pen, and she also had a doggie house sign that read 'Enter at your Own Risk!' I had to teach my son how to respect this sign, and respect the fact that Ubi-wan was puppy who loved to bite, but that this biting would one day stop. With Ossa, I taught my son to tie her toys on a string, so that he could play with her. He would run circles in the house and Ossa would chase the toy versus chase his ankles. When she was done playing, she would calmly rest in the house. Ubi-wan on the other hand, would chase the toy, and when my son got tired of playing, she would continue to bite his hands, arms, ankles, shoes, socks, underwear, gloves...yep!!! Pretty much anything was game for biting. I was never worried about this behaviour becoming worse. I managed her intensity as a puppy, channeled her biting into appropriate items, managed her exposure to potential biting situations, and at about 9 months, she grew up into a golden lioness, calm, elegant, noble, and ready on command.
Similar to Ossa, Ubi-wan earned her first title of TD, Tracking Dog at an early age of 9 months. She was EASY to start in tracking, it was almost as if she already knew exactly what the task at hand was, and I simply needed to harness the wild horse and catch the long line before she was off to the races. The tracking was easy, however getting her ready to track not so much. Ubi-wan hated equipment, she was very much like a wild horse who did not want to give in to the saddle, bridle or harness. Because of her wild teenage like nature, I did not want to hinder her talents through disciplined handling, rather, I slipped the training gear on while she was bouncing and biting me, ignoring her behaviour completely, trying to clip the harness on as fast as possible to endure the least blood shed to my hands and, the minute she heard the clicking sound of the harness clip her nose went down to the ground, and business as usual...sniff, sniff, sniff...find :-) Completing my TDX with Ubi-wan was exhilarating in experience. In four minutes flat she turned on a dime in this 7 corner, 4 hour old, 2 cross tracks, 3 article test. All the judge could say at the end was, "Well, next time you should wear a Go-Pro! So others can see how beautiful she tracked." The TDX track that Ubi-wan and I passed, will forever be the track I am most proud of; the proudest moment in my training journey, was having the honour to hold the line behind this talented scenting fury. Ubi-wan...what can I say my beloved baby! My IGP3 dog, I cannot find the words at this time to finish your story, but I do know that you are forever retired to live the rest of your life with me and Ossa, in our home, on my couch, and whereever else you so choose to sleep. To be continued...
Owned by my father and I, Kazan is, and remains to this day, my father's dog. He was only mine in training, for the times when, I took him from my dad for titling purposes, to prove him as a working dog; him and I, earned our BH-VT, TD, TDX, and FPR1 together. The future of our journey was cut short, when a family emergency put a stop to our titling endeavors. Kazan came home to my father when, my dad was at the peak of running his own machining business, hence, my father's training ambitions were quietly set aside, as family matters took precedence; while I, got the opportunity to work with another working dog, and gain experience training a dog that sees me as his best friend, not his master, my father invested in his business, and helping me learn how to be a better trainer.
With Kazan, I had the opportunity to train him to a TD and TDX, both earned at Wild Rose Tracking Society of Alberta, and two very amazing, once in a lifetime, extraordinary seminars with the renowned trainer, handler, and helper, Jan Bohm. I also titled Kazan in the BH-VT & FPR1, we earned our BH-VT, entry obedience, traffic test, and temperament test at the GSSCC Prairie Regionals, and our FPR1 or GSSCC Tracking 1 at K9 Force Club Trials; Kazan and I also entered an APR1 or GSSCC Obedience 1 class, however we did not earn enough point to pass. We earned 58 points, and a passing score was 70 points. It was a hard trial for us in more ways than purely training, this was the trial that the opening night of, I received a call from my mom telling me that my father suffered a severe heart attack and was heading to the hospital. While other competitors were laughing excitedly, and eager to receive their official entry welcome gift bags, I sat there wondering if, I should get up and drive home, or continue sitting there until someone moved me. I was frozen in time. Tears frozen behind my eyelids. Panic frozen within. My mom's last words on the phone were, "Dad said to tell you not to come home, to finish the trial, and come home afterwards." With these words racing through my panic stricken mode, I sat there during opening ceremonies long enough, to stay. I wasn't sure if this was a decision I would regret, or if this was a decision that would put a smile on my father's face. Kazan completed his tracking test with too much power and speed for schutzhund style tracking, his extreme power took me off guard as typically, he was a concentrated, steady tracker. With too much speed and one false indication, we received a low score of 73. The obedience round was interesting in that seeing another male dog on the same field, something we have not prepared for, really took us off guard as well. He was focused on the other male dog most of the time and I am thankful that, regardless of this extreme distraction, he remained by my side in the heel position. His heel was not focused on me, rather the other male dog, however, he kept a steady position. The jumps and retrieves went well I thought, and the send out unfortunately insufficient. We were so close! I am positive that should we have had a second opportunity, or attended a second trial sometime down the road, he would have been successful in attaining his first leg in obedience of IGP1. Kazan did not officially start his IGP training until he was 4 years old, to come so close in such a short time of training him is a victory I must cherish; he was one of my best teachers, in the hardest of moments. Upon returning home, my father transferred hospitals and underwent a quadruple bypass heart surgery. His surgery was successful, and he came home to us, to his beloved family, and anxiously awaiting canine companions, Kazan and Samboya. From this day on, even though my dad wanted me to continue to pursue competing with Kazan, as a trainer I knew, that for my dad to give up his best friend so he may live with me during his training, was too hard on my dad emotionally. For me to train a dog who lived a spoiled life in another home was logically difficult. Hence, the obvious priority of Kazan living out the rest of his life as an emotional therapy, and business security dog along side of my dad, was the right choice to be made.
The best part about working with Kazan, other than his gorgeous, handsome, beautiful self, was the experience gained in the area of sport and civil protection. The debate of prey versus defense drives; or civil versus sport protection training became the hot new learning experience. Kazan has extreme food drive, he was trained with food in all aspects of his training. His ball or prey drive was extinguished, once developed starting at 4 years old however, his ball drive was high. Experiencing the task of developing prey drive for me was a first, and with an older dog who, was raised in another home, and under a different owner. During our tracking training, I encountered this dilemma however it did not affect our tracking training as the job at hand involved minimal handler help and maximum dog effort. In obedience and protection however, the reality of Kazan living under my roof became a must.
Civil, or real, versus sport protection? Let me start by pointing out the objective of the schutzhund sport as it was originally created by Captain Max von Stephanitz; (Grab a coffee :-)
"The Motto for work on Man, of any and every description is firstly, obedience, secondly, obedience, and thirdly, lastly, and always obedience. The dogs obedience testifies to the intelligence and ability of his TRAINER. The Dr. Jekyll of the service dog gives way to the Edward Hyde of the descendant of the beast of prey. The protection dog must be sharp, but his sharpness must be disciplined by raining, turned in the right direction, and conditioned by the most perfect obedience. Sharpness has absolutely nothing at all to do with a proneness to bite; a biting dog is proof of wrong training and keeping. Indeed, the biting dog often bites out of sheer anxiety and irritation, for he believes poor neurasthenic that he is, that this is the only way to save himself from the danger that is the fiction of his own imagination. The dog who has been made too sharp is a continual danger in the house and street, because when put to any work, can find in every harmless treatment and casual movement as assault on his master. The dog who is sharp as he ought to be is harmless and good tempered, even to strangers, although he is always reserved. He warns and threatens first, he does not fight at once, and above all never bites immediately and senselessly when he can accomplish his purpose without a fight. Training must give us dogs of the right sharpness, produced by intelligent keeping, careful training, purposeful schooling, which completes the work of the breeder. It is always good for the owner to have the dog thoroughly under control so that he might keep him from misunderstandings and their consequences, and to accustom him to the word of command which will incite him to increased watchfulness in times of danger. Every good shepherd dog is born watchful; that this statement does not include the poor prisoners of the kennel we know by sorrowful experience. During the practice of this exercise, gripping and seizing, as in sport, the dog must on no account be beaten. In a real struggle with a man, the chief consideration is that the dog helps his master quickly and efficiently, and not bother his head too much about overpowering his adversary according to the "Queensbury Rules." The dog must learn that a man who stands still must only be barked at, never attacked, this must be rehearsed over and over, and be thoroughly acquired, otherwise the dog is useless and a public danger. The notion of 'man' should convey to his mind something sacred and inviolable, and he must only make exception to this in the most unusual circumstances, and then too only on the word of command. These then are the duties which the protection dog would have to discharge against men, barking, guarding, holding, gripping due to attack on handler. The further 'manwork' of seeking and routing out and escorting of one who has been arrested are duties of a working service dog, for which we must not use our protection, who must never be trained to attack men. Before I conclude my remarks on manwork, I would like to once again utter an emphatic warning against working the dog too much in this respect and making him too sharp." - Captain Max von Stephanitz
So many key statements are mentioned here I am not sure where to begin in my summary of this reference through which, I learned from experience. Firstly, I would like to suggest, that the writings of Captain Max v. Stephanitz be re-read, re-read, and then again re-read to truly, and fully understand the philosophy behind the sport of schutzhund, now known as IGP. The three key statements that I will try to explain are, firstly, "The dogs obedience testifies to the intelligence and ability of his trainer." Secondly, "The dog who is sharp as he ought to be is harmless and good tempered, even to strangers, although he is always reserved. He warns and threatens first, he does not fight at once, and above all, never bites immediately and senselessly when he can accomplish his purpose without a fight." Thirdly, "These then are the duties which the protection dog would have to discharge against men, barking, guarding, holding, gripping due to attack on handler. The further 'manwork' of seeking and routing out and escorting of one who has been arrested are duties of a working service dog, for which we must not use our protection dog, who must never be trained to attack men."
"The dogs obedience testifies to the intelligence and ability of his trainer." The dog can only be as good as the trainer can teach him, and the dog only responds to the information it has been given. Sometimes, to the trainer, it feels like all relevant information has been taught and the dog now must do! This is so far from the truth it is often difficult to observe these situations in real life. Most of the time, as a breeder, I hear of similar situations from new puppy owners who struggle to attain their goals of "perfect puppy." And, are quick to blame the dog itself. You must first ask yourself, did I receive all of the education, or information necessary to successfully train my dog? If you answered yes to this question, you are probably the one having problems. The journey towards learning how to be a good dog trainer and handler is endless; the journey of learning never ends. If you are a beginner trainer and training your first dog, ask yourself, have I done the appropriate learning required to teach my dog? How can I prove it? Who can I ask for guidance along the way? Training a dog is not easy. Blaming the dog is. Most problem dogs arise due to the inability of the trainer. When encountering a problem, first ask yourself, what did I do, to cause this behaviour? Then, ask yourself to whom you can turn to ask for help. Typically, the first trainer you ask, may not be the one to give you the answers you seek. Finding an experienced trainer, in all three areas of schutzhund training, is not easy. Trainers who have priceless knowledge in dog training, are humble people, who quietly go about their day, their life, living their passion on the competition field; not a CKC indoor arena, not a dock diving competition, not on a tracking field, but on the sidelines of a schutzhund club field, pondering the day's problem a club dog posed for them that day, willing to talk about it for hours, to those who are willing to listen. I have had the enormous pleasure, to have worked with some amazing trainers and handlers over the last six years. From Canadian National Champions, to WUSV Competitors, to FMBB Champions, and Czech National Champions. Currently, I am under the guidance of two very special people, whom without, this sport would not be where it is today, and two very special handlers who, are willing to share their gift of training.
Secondly, "The dog who is sharp as he ought to be is harmless and good tempered, even to strangers, although he is always reserved. He warns and threatens first, he does not fight at once, and above all, never bites immediately and senselessly when he can accomplish his purpose without a fight." This statement, describes Kazan beautifully. He is a dog of courage, loyalty, kindness, devotion, and a watchful dog. He does not see threat, or reason to react, unless it is real. This is the aspect in which, was difficult for me as a trainer, to mold into a sport dog, after he has been a real, watchful, protection dog most of his life. The idea to him at the age of four to bite a woman, or man who was not threatening in any way waving a sleeve around simply did not turn on his button. Some trainers said his prey drive was low, some said he had weak nerves, I said they were wrong. Working with Jan Bohm, a Czech National Champion, proved me right. We trained Kazan in foundation protection using his prey drive. His prey drive with Jan was excellent, Kazan was motivated and enthusiastic in his pursuit, he was powerful in his bark, and he had a death grip once settled into the session. Towards the end of the seminar, Jan was able to teach Kazan to have a powerful grip on the bite pillow, and when he achieved this bite, he looked at me and smiled, and pointed to Kazan as if to say, "I told you he can do it." I firmly believe, Kazan would have attained his IGP1 title, should I had decided to continue with his training program. Starting Kazan at four years of age, taught me the difference between a civil dog, and a schutzhund dog. Should I have decided to start his training career early, I may have missed seeing the difference in its natural sense or form. Training Kazan, helped me realize the type of dog that I wanted to breed; not a sport dog, not a civil dog, rather a schutzhund dog, who could do any task asked, from sport, to service, to search and rescue, to family companion. This being said, the German shepherd dog remains a working dog, and as such must be in the 'right' hands.
"These then are the duties which the protection dog would have to discharge against men, barking, guarding, holding, gripping due to attack on handler. The further 'manwork' of seeking and routing out and escorting of one who has been arrested are duties of a working service dog, for which we must not use our protection dog, who must never be trained to attack men." This is the difference between Schutzhund and Civil dog. Does it make sense? Can this debate be over now? Probably not! Civil dogs are dogs who are currently in active law enforcement duty. Sport dogs are schutzhund dogs; schutzhund dogs are protection dogs trained in tracking, obedience, and protection, they are family dogs, personal protection dogs, NOT dogs trained to attack with intent to cause harm to people. Yes! The dog will act out of courage on command should the handler be attacked, however a schutzhund dog will not bite for no apparent reason. A civil, active duty law enforcement dog, will bite people because it is their job to apprehend perpetrators on a daily basis, this is a dog who perhaps once was a schutzhund dog, that is now trained to be a civil dog (civil = bites for a living, schutzhund = bites for sport). All shepherds, regardless if deemed 'civil' or for 'sport protection only' or for 'personal protection only' can be trained to become obedient, titled schutzhund dogs; not all schutzhund dogs can become civil active duty dogs. Schutzhund titled dogs, are then the basis of the German shepherd dog; to be deemed worthy of breeding, the dog must prove itself in sport; the dog must first become a schutzhund dog to be considered into a breeding program based on the Breeder's Code of Ethics. From there, individual dogs may be selected for temperament appropriate placements.
Breeding dogs suitable for schutzhund sport is my primary goal; seeing some of my puppies succeed in ALL venues of life, is my reward, because to me, breeding a versatile schutzhund dog is to breed an ideal German shepherd dog, just as the breed's founder intended it to be, and as I too, agree it should continue to be. I do not agree that they should be bred for show, and I will not promote the show dog due to ethical reasons. I do not agree they should be bred by the police for the sole purpose of police work unless, the police department competes and participates in sport such as KNPV, or IGP and, title their dogs in the sport open to the public to prove their training abilities as handlers, and to prove their dogs. I do not agree that police training remains hidden, and what comes of many police dogs, remains unknown.
With pleasure, I would like to announce a new addition my kennel; please welcome Griffin vom Gorka, call name Grin-Fin-Fin, or just Fin! Fin was the 8th puppy born in my 'G' litter, also Ossa's last litter. I am honoured to keep her last puppy, and make her a part of my home. Fin's sire is Bolle vom Drachenwolf, AD, IGP3, a powerful, mega-stacked, power dog! And having the pleasure of watching this dog perform is an added plus. Bolle, finished as Canada's number one IGP3 in 2021. Fin, is a very special female. After multiple puppy testing, this girl showed her true colours, and clearly was the hidden gem. Owning all sable dogs, I really wanted to keep a black female, or a bi-colour female. Three black ones were born in the litter and I was excited and determined that one of them was going to be the one. "Not another sable Mom", my son exclaimed! I told him definitely not, surely, a black female would prevail. I had my eye on the black females all the way up to 6 weeks, I was sure one of them would be the one. Up until this time, I did not even take notice of Fin, as she was quietly eating, sleeping, and growing in the background; she truly was a gem in the rough. When I first tested the litter, I was devastated that the bi-colour beauty did not seem to have the working potential, I was devastated that one of the black females developed a small hernia, hence not suitable for breeding, and I was devastated when the third black female showed a lack of prey drive, and some environmental nervousness. I was so saddened by the results of my tests, and sure that when I re-tested in two weeks, one of them would outshine the others. When I finally sat down that evening to evaluate, and synthesize my results, it could not be any clearer that Pink girl, aka Porsche, now known as Fin, and yes another sable, was the top female; her nerves were solid, bite hard and full, natural, prey drive innate, ability to engage in a new environment, superior. I am excited to work with this dog, and could not be more proud to announce she is my up and coming schutzhund competition dog.
With the New Year upon us, I am excited to welcome 2022 with hopes of a better year. Ossa, and Ubi-wan are enjoying their retirement in my home. They will never be rehomed elsewhere to make room for more breeding females. I take a strong stand when it comes to retired dams, where they must retire as members of my family, and not be rehomed elsewhere to make room for young females. To me, this is an unbearable thought, of giving my beloved girls away because they are old, after they have given me so much. My retired dams, are priceless, and deserve nothing better than to remain loved members of the family. While Ossa is retired from being a mom, Ubi-wan is preparing for her second litter due January, 21st 2022. Griffin, or Fin, as I call her, is growing nicely and is showing all the desirable qualities a German Shepherd must have. Her x-rays came in normal, and I am so excited for her future. Her sire, Bolle, is preparing to compete at Regionals, and hopefully Nationals this year. Kazan, is also enjoying retirement with my father, and is healthy and happy as his 7th birthday nears. He is still an active stud for my kennel, however I am exploring outside possibilities as I look to purchase my upcoming male shepherd. The upcoming purchase of my male dog, is very exciting, and I am looking forward to announcing his addition when his purchase is confirmed. At this point, I would like to dedicate the next part of my story, to the first dog kept, that I bred; Dalek's Delsi vom Gorka.
Until now, Ubi-wan stole the spotlight as Dalek's Delsi, or Delsi, was growing into a powerful German shepherd female. Unlike Ossa, and unlike Ubi-wan, Delsi has a unique personality of her own. She has extreme pack drive, and rank drive, making her a one handler dog, that only I can handle. She is the type of dog who stays at my side, while the others run and chase wild game. At home, she is the only dog that sleeps with my son rather than in my room with the others. On the training field, she takes her job seriously, and protection to her is not a sport, it is a serious job. Delsi is, a natural guard dog who will protect her handler, she is civil, environmentally stable, and powerful dog; not an ideal sport dog, however truly an amazing dog to own and have the privilege learning from. I feel she is, a representation of the old style, Czech Patrol dog, like her sire, Kazan.
At 14 months old, Delsi attained her first working title the CKC, TD, or tracking dog title. Like her dam, Ossa, and Ubi-wan, she passed this 500 pace, 4 corner track without issue. At two years old Delsi passed her entry level obedience test into IGP, by completing the BH-VT, basic obedience/temperament test. At the same time, she completed her endurance run, the AD, a 21km run to test the health of the dog. During our endurance test, I was barely breathing trying to bike the 21km, while Delsi didn't even break a pant jogging at my side. She is a stealthy animal, strong stamina, excellent health, and strong structured female.
During my training of Delsi, I had undergone personal growth as a trainer, and as a result, underwent the implementation of various other training methods that were new to me. With the pressure of learning new methods, and being able to deliver them to fellow club members, I feel, that I made the most training mistakes with Delsi. With mistakes made, I decided to take her back to the beginning after our BH-VT, and re start our training from square one. I am very pleased with the results so far, and am excited to show case her abilities on the trial field this year.
In 2014, my father urged me to start a training group in our area. So, together we started the Cranbrook German Shepherd Working Dog Club, later changing to the Cranbrook Working Dog Club, and finally evolving into an a GSSCC, German Shepherd Schutzhund Club of Canada, accredited club, K9 Utility Cranbrook Working Dog Club, on August 28th, 2021, seven years later. The commitment, and dedication spent building this club, dedicated to the working breeds of the world, is beyond words. From early mornings, to late nights, to daily training, and re visiting of training methods, to training delivery, and mentoring other handlers put my ability as a trainer to the test, and was tested every time I stepped on the field. During this time of club development, new friendships were gained, and other friendships lost. New training methods applied, and old training methods lost. The journey to find myself as a trainer, a trainer that had a clear goal in mind, was as difficult, if not more difficult, than actually training a dog to a competition title. Establishing K9 Utility CWDC took place after I titled Ossa. While Ossa was retired from competition, I eloped on the journey to create a dog club, at the same time, begun training Ubi-wan for competition. My growth as a handler ventured through many roads, beginning with my foundation in the Michael Ellis marker training, to joining other clubs such as: K9 Force, Calgary Working Dog Club, the German Shepherd Dog Club of Calgary, Inferno Canine Working Dog Club, and lastly following the West Coast Schutzhund Club, through seminars. Along this journey, came with me my Delsi, getting a melting pot of information as I tried to piece together a program that I wanted to follow. I think finally, I feel like I have my training hat back on, and am ready to undue the mistakes, Delsi allowed me to make in my search of the trainer in me, and actually, I look at the mistakes now, not as mistakes, but some of my best learning moments.
Re-training Delsi was the best, and most educational journey. Even though it was very difficult to start, the learning moments along the way were priceless. Her heeling, her tracking, and her protection work had come such a long way, I felt finally ready to enter her in two trials this year, (2022). However, due to a series of unfortunate events, they never happened. One morning while training for tracking, Delsi lost all desire to sniff for her track. Then, one morning during obedience training, Delsi lost her desire to chase and fetch her obedience ball. I was shocked by these behaviors, and lost for words as to what may be causing this. I took her to the vet, and ran every possible test out there, all tests came back negative. So, I had the vet take x-rays of her jaw to search of any mouth problems. Sure enough, Delsi had a slab fracture in one of her lower jaw molars, the molar had to be extracted, and the vet assured me that she would be able to go back to work in a matter of a few short weeks. Once her gums healed, her tracking ,and obedience were back to normal! I was thrilled to be working her, and preparing her once again for an upcoming trial. But yet again, luck was not on our side and with a return to protection, on a bark and hold, reward, exercise, Delsi broke her lower jaw, in the exact same spot where the molar was extracted. Because of the molar extraction, her jaw was weak in that area with minimal bone strength, the moment she bit a tug and put force into her bite, her jaw snapped. This was the most horrific moment of my training career, and the feelings going through me at the time are ones, I pray will not happen again. Luckily, and it seems that luck was finally on my side, a surgery was possible for her immediately. After enduring a six hours surgery, 6 screws and 1 metal plate, Delsi returned home. There are no words, to describe, the feeling of joy having her return home, to live out the rest of her life, retired, happy, loved, and cared for, in return for all that she offered to me, all in the name of sport, learning, training, life. It has almost been two months now since the accident, and Delsi is a happy girl, healed, looking forward to her first litter. She is a kind, affectionate, extremely loyal best friend, and devoted puppy-sitter to any little ones. I am excited for her, to have puppies of her own, and I will be keeping Delsi's daughter, from her first ever litter. Her daughter, my 'J' litter future female, has a meticulously thought out pedigree, sired by a German import male, who has the working characteristics I desire in my kennel.
Training Griffin, my little Fin (my G litter female that I bred and kept back from my Ossa's last breeding to V Bolle vom Drachenworlf, IGP3, GSSCC Western Regionals 1st place, GSSCC Canadian National's 3rd place, WUSV 2022 competitor), and importing my new upcoming male from Austria, Polar Ice vom Haus Pixner, became my new journey in life, and I am excited to work with these two absolutely amazing, working dogs, who have so much talent, such excellent workability, and superb temperaments, I feel like a child in a candy store for the first time in my life. The goals for IGP sport with these two dogs are big, and I look forward to writing about them when the time is right. For now, I am looking forward to the future. Raising Delsi's daughter, training Fin, training Ice, and choosing an outside stud for Ubi-wan so that I may keep a female from her last litter too. Dream big.
be edited & continued...
Go Go Ossa von Wendelin, TD
...9 months old....
Samboya, TD, TDX, UTD
Samboya, TD, TDX, UTD
Ossa, 8 weeks old...
Ossa, 5 months old...
Ossa, 8 months old...
Ossa, 21 months old...
Ossa, BH - Pass 2017
Ossa, BH - Pass 2017
Ossa, Working Female, SG-2nd
Kazan, Open Male - SG-1st
Ossa, IPO1 - 1st Place
Ubi-wan, 4 months old!
Ubi-wan, TD - 9 months old!
Ubi-wan, Very Promising 1st
Kazan with Jan Bohm, FMBB World Championships
Czech IPO Champion - Protection Seminar, 2019.
Kazan, FPR1, 2019
Uska, IGP 3 - 86 Obedience
Uska, IGP 3 - 86 Obedience
Uska, IGP 3 - 1st PLace
Uska, IGP 3 - 1st PLace
Uska, IGP 3 - 1st PLace
Ossa, IPO 1 - 1st Place
Griffin vom Gorka, 7 weeks old
Griffin vom Gorka, 8 weeks old
Delsi, AD, BH-VT, TD
Delsi, AD, BH-VT, TD
Delsi, 7 weeks old.
Delsi, 8 weeks old.