No hustle and bustle

Activities in South Korea
09. to 16. November 2008

 instigation

Implementing the cynological activities in the combination of form value, usability and readiness for action in the rescue dog sector has been a future-oriented goal within the SV for over five years now.

The president of SV Wolfgang Henke has already committed himself to this with the aim of presenting the German Shepherd Dog here in all its versatility around the world. So far, however, it is quite rare for canine organizations to pursue these lofty goals.

However, the young WUSV member Korea Kennel Club has been dealing with this complex for some time. Rescue dogs are also trained in one of its sub-departments. Not yet on a sporting level, but overall very seriously and, above all, successful. As a member of the IRO, a Korean has already passed the very difficult and demanding field test.

So, on the recommendation and request of Wolfgang Henke, I have now traveled to South Korea to hold seminars for protection and rescue dogs and ultimately to judge an exam. Despite the rather tight schedule, I accepted the invitation and really didn't have to regret this decision.

The Asian hospitality is certainly known, but expectations were exceeded on this visit. The friendliness and good support from Mr. Chang, who perfected the Hundler language in German and Korean, began at the airport and should really end at the same point a week later. The KKC, under the direction of the always friendly President Shin, Gwi Shul and his charming, hardworking wife Park, Ae Kyung, brings together a dedicated team to ensure that all canine activities run smoothly. Nothing was missing for the whole week and it was possible to hold the seminars up to and including the exam without a hitch with a lot of concentration.

Rescue dog seminar

A prepared specialist lecture on the previous activities of the SV and the WUSV, including a description of the respective association structures, aroused a lot of interest right from the start, especially since the KKC felt confirmed in its effectiveness of the offer of cynological diversity. In connection with the prepared film material and the possible sporting activities described, the seminar started theoretically but obviously very interesting. The lively discussion already showed openness and willingness to discuss on the first day of the seminar.

After lunch, then the practical work. Obedience to very hard-working dogs who already have a standard that is well worth seeing. A few tips and suggestions then enriched the training, which was continued in the afternoon by searching for rubble.

Rubble is actually not the right word for the huge, elongated basement building, in which, among other things, the storage material of the KKC was located. Countless pallets, boxes, cupboards and all sorts of other furnishings filled the approximately 30 m wide and estimated almost 100 m long two rooms. We have trained young dogs with a "drawn" display and I was also impressed by some excellent dogs, some of which were extremely agile on the junk and, like cats, dared to take risky jumps without losing their balance or becoming unsure. The tried and tested rescue dogs' “will to find” left nothing to be desired. The fact that the German Shepherd is in partnership with Malinois and Retrievers is also encouraging.

After two days of seminars, we end up with some difficult exercises and quite demanding search work. Already in the afternoon we go to the protection dog training, although I still practice restraint here and watch the training first.

As on the first days, the “Korean food” in the evening rounds off a successful day. In contrast to the first two days, it is increasingly possible to get the richly seasoned, exceptionally diverse food on the chopsticks. Of course I didn’t miss the opportunity to at least adopt the table manners in the best possible way from day one. On the first few days I had to get used to the variously spiced, quite hot vegetable side dishes and sauces. But if one or the other chunk falls off the chopsticks, it is not even registered. If I had eaten with my fingers, that wouldn't have been noticed as unpleasant either. The Koreans are very uncomplicated here and the well-being of the guest is obviously paramount. If it tastes good, so much the better.

Companion and protection dog training

In Germany we are subject to very differentiated laws and regulations for breeding, rearing, keeping and, ultimately, training of dogs. After compliance with these measures, those in association law will follow. This is not the case in most countries, and certainly not in Asia.

The companion dog test as a requirement for the admission of further tests, or the certificate of competence as a prerequisite for keeping dogs in some countries in Germany is new for Koreans. However, they have recognized the purpose and have already worked very target-oriented towards the introduction of these tests.

With the beginning of the seminar, the objectives of the training change, but not the active ones. Yesterday it was a rescue dog, today a companion and protection dog. The same friendly, expectant faces from yesterday when we were still training for the rescue dog work. That's how I always wanted it to be implemented in the SV. Versatility and interest in the entire range of cynology that is possible with the German Shepherd.

After lunch, which we ate in a different Korean restaurant like every day, we return to the practice area. The construction of the protection hiding places, the sleeves lying around and above all the unmistakable barking of the already excited dogs give the irrevocable signal of what is to come next.

In the meantime, the Japanese Haruo Masuda, known to all active dog athletes, had also arrived. He is undisputedly the most successful and committed dog trainer in Asia and is known as a sore thumb due to his multiple participation in the WUSV and FCI World Championships. He came specially to obtain a judge trainee exercise for the appointment as a WUSV judge.

The young helpers begin to demonstrate their skills on the dog and the operation of the whip. It is soon made clear to them that the whip is completely superfluous for good working dogs, and even annoying. Working with some young dogs also proves this. Working with the whip is no longer part of the modern standard of dog training, but only serves the ego of the helpers. And Haruo goes into this topic very intensively without us having agreed. He also condemns these tools and gets involved in the training. In harmonious cooperation, the dogs are now worked sensibly and successfully, one after the other.

The 10 or so participants took up the training with a lot of enthusiasm and discussed it until the late evening hours, of course again over Korean food. Our interpreter was very busy. However, at no time did he complain, instead tirelessly translating the conversations from one language to the other and vice versa.

Arriving at the hotel late in the evening, a few more e-mails are received and written. It's important to know what's new.

 The exam

On Friday 8 dogs lined up for them Companion dog test in front. 7 German Shepherds and a Groenendal showed safe, work-happy subordination. The beginning training for the eventing test was easy to recognize. There was then a very good understanding with the two Korean candidate judges. The well-socialized dogs had no problems in the busy streets of Seoul and 7 participants were able to certify that they had passed the test. One participant did not appear in time despite having passed the second part of the examination and was removed from the examination.

An unexpectedly lavish award ceremony then rounded off the first day of the exam.

Examining the Guard dogs took place at the sports park near Seoul Inchion International Airport. 11 participants presented their dogs after the IPO in level 1 (2x), level 2 (3x) and level 3 (6x).

The open area around the sports field was prepared for tracking work. Sparse grass growth and bone-hard ground made very high demands. The fact that amateur golfers were still doing their rounds on the site and caring about the tracks for nothing in the world, the level of difficulty was perfected.

In teamwork with Haruo, the tracks were laid in the hope that a few dogs would even make it to their destination. So it was all the more surprising to find that some dogs, admittedly a few, mastered the terrain very intensively and with concentration. After all, 7 dogs have reached the goal with at least 70 points. One dog even received the grade “V” with 98 points.

Some of the submissions were also really worth seeing. Very hard-working and above all correctly trained dogs were shown very sporty here. Training on the site or on the hurdle was not possible before the test.

The conditions in the protection service could not be surpassed in terms of difficulty. Exactly measured setting up of the protective hiding places (sports field dimensions) and very highly motivated, young helpers clearly created optimal, but difficult conditions here. Nevertheless, there were some convincing demonstrations and it was an event well worth seeing. If the points are listed in the table below, the level of difficulty of the individual departments must be taken into account with all due respect.

In the end, 2 of the 11 dogs achieved the test goal with “SG” and 4 with “G”. One dog was singled out after the impartiality test, 4 dogs failed to track and 3 dogs dropped out of the protection service because they did not let go. Despite the rather high failure rate, there was a generally good mood.

Again, a large-scale award ceremony rounded off the day of the competition. Certificates and trophies for winners and those placed, as well as photos over photos. I also expressed my thanks to the KKC, its president, his sympathetic wife with the many hard-working helpers, as well as the great appreciation to the exceptionally active participants, some of whom I have met during the rescue dog training.

Haruo Masuda has mastered his candidate exercise with absolute conviction and I am sure that he will soon be an asset as a judge within the WUSV.

Below is an overview of the exam results:

 

IPO1

IPO2

IPO3

 

IPO1-3

A.

B.

C.

Ges.

A.

B.

C.

Ges.

A.

B.

C.

Ges.

A.

B.

C.

Ges.

V

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

1

 

1

 

1

 

SG

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

2

1

2

3

2

1

2

G

 

 

 

1

1

2

2

1

1

4

3

2

2

6

5

4

B.

 

2

1

 

 

1

 

 

1

 

 

 

1

3

1

 

M.

1

 

1

1

2

 

1

2

1

 

1

2

4

 

3

5

 Finally

The KKC is one of the few cynological organizations that combines rescue dog work, protection dog testing and exhibitions. An indispensable asset for the WUSV. Several member states should get involved in this regard, so that dogs in general, but the German Shepherd in particular, can regain a more positive reputation as useful and above all ready-to-use working dogs.

After saying goodbye and the one-hour drive to the airport, I sit in the Korean Air B 747, which is filled to the last seat, squeezed between the first really fat Korean on the left and an even bigger American on the right. I write my report as best I can and read the rest of the time. Almost 11 hours without even leaving the site. Sleep is out of the question. “Flying” and the reluctance to stay away from home make it difficult to travel so far. However, if such a positive, eventful, pleasant memory that is shaped by hospitality remains, it is a small compensation.

Walter Hoffmann