When you look through breeder ads in the American
Bulldog Review, the AB Journal, the AB Chronicle or even on the American
Bulldog Message Boards, it is very common to see litters advertised as
"a true working litter" or "for working homes only" or "out of performance
lines". While we are happy that there is value to the consumer in
purchasing a working pup, we are always a bit amused by what our competitors
claim to be a "working" litter. In investigating these "working"
litters, you may find out that the sire and/or dam have obedience titles
or weight-pull titles or therapy dog titles. Now, far be it from us to
say that these are not valid working venues......they are indeed.
In fact, our own dogs have titles in all these and more. But when
we, at Topline, think of a "working" litter, we are thinking of pups that
will grow up to be extreme in drive; superior in confidence; possessing
a certain quality that will empower them to have the ability to work in
ANY and ALL venues set forth for it. We feel that in order to produce
such a litter, it is really important to test the mettle of the parents.
So, how do you do that? We feel that there is only one working venue
for any working breed of dog that tests them in every which way.....and
that is Schutzhund. Weight pulling tests a dogs strength and desire
to work for their owner. Boar Hunting (which, by the way, is high
on our list of valuable titles that your AB can achieve) tests the courage,
prey and fighting drives and strength of a dog. Agility tests, well,
the agility of a dog and Obedience tests the desire of a dog to perform
for it's master. But Schutzhund is the only venue which tests all
of the above and ads a very difficult temperament test!
Schutzhund is a triatholon for dogs! It combines 3 phases: Obedience, Tracking and Protection.
Obedience: The obedience in Schutzhund is a test of a dog's willingness to work for it's master. It is done on and off lead and it is necessary for the dog to have a very upbeat demeanor. A sad, beaten-down dog will not score enough points to pass the obedience portion of the test. The obedience in Schutzhund is an agility test. The dog must retrieve over a 6-foot A frame and a 3-foot wall. The obedience in Schutzhund is a temperament test. It is in the obedience portion of Schutzhund that the judge will "push" the dog to expose any weakness in temperament. If the dog has shy, aggressive, insecure or fearful tendencies, they will be exposed during this portion of the test. The obedience in Schutzhund is an intelligence test. The dog must learn subtle differences in commands ie: the difference between the 3 out of motion exercises. The dog must learn difficult commands such as the send-out. The obedience in Schutzhund is a test of the dog's confidence and sociability. The dog is put into a variety of situations and must show complete comfort in all. The obedience in Schutzhund does more testing of a dog's true fiber than any other obedience test out there!
Tracking: The tracking in Schutzhund is a test of the dog's ability to scent. This type of tracking is the foundation for search and rescue work, drug work and a variety of other "tracking" venues. The tracking in Schutzhund is a test of the dog's ability to stay focused. Schutzhund tracks are long. An unfocused dog doesn't have a prayer to find the hidden articles and make it to the end of the track. The tracking in Schutzhund is a test of the dog's willingness to work for it's owner....again, demeanor here is important! The tracking in Schutzhund is a test of a dog's drive. A dog without drive will never be able to learn tracking.
Protection: The protection in Schutzhund is a huge test of the dog's courage! In Schutzhund the dog must commit to a bite on a man who is attacking him. The protection in Schutzhund is a test of the dog's willingness to protect it's handler....this is done in the "attack on handler" phase of the protection test. The protection in Schutzhund is a test of the dog's drive. A dog needs plenty of prey drive to learn the protection work and lots of defense drive to stick with it! The protection in Schutzhund is a test of the dog's fighting drive.....it exposes dogs who would rather turn and run for their life than stick and fight for their life. The protection in Schutzhund is a test of the dog's willingness, above all other drives, to obey it's master. There is nothing more difficult for a dog in drive than to take complete direction from an outside source!!
As you can see, Schutzhund really is the ultimate canine sport ...and the ultimate test of a dog's fiber. There is nothing you could want to do with a pup that Schutzhund trained parents won't produce! If you want a puppy that can work.....really work......REALLY WORK......Schutzhund trained parents WILL produce it! The qualities a Schutzhund dog MUST possess are genetic and are passed down from generation to generation. Schutzhund has been around 100 years proving it! Many clubs are inventing their own little organizations to award "working" titles to their dogs that cannot cut it elsewhere. We've seen "iron dog" titles, hard-hitting dog titles and all kinds of ridiculous titles that don't really push or test the mettle of the dogs. These events should be competitions, not titles. Because of the triathalon nature of the Sport of Schutzhund, a dog must not only meet a minimum standard to succeed (as is the case with many of these other tests) but must excel! We at Topline American Bulldogs train all our dogs in Schutzhund. So, when we say that we produce "TRUE WORKING PUPS" out of "PURE PERFORMANCE LINES" we aren't just talking.....we're proving it every day on the training field!
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