Does he bite? - Or: Why do IPO Sport?

Our dogs (ought to be allowed to) bite. Nevertheless, in everyday life we often find that people do not believe us. After all, the dogs are so friendly; allow themselves to be touched, love to cuddle, always stay relaxed... - people often say incredulously. We are convinced that their behavior is not like this in spite of the sport, but because of it.

IPO Sport (In the past: VPG Sport) stands for training and working with the dog in subordination (gymnastic and dressage), tracking and guarding. The abbreviation “IPO” stands for “International Prufungsordnung” – International Examination Guidelines of the FCI. We take part in IPO sport in order to enable our dogs to satisfy their natural impulses in a controlled way. Sport should engage dogs mentally and physically, enable them to resolve situations safely, improve the communication between human and dog and strengthen the bond with their handler.

Love of animals is all too often misinterpreted and pets in particular tend to be humanized. That is even more the case for dogs, probably also because the dog, unlike all other pets, is accepted by humans as a social partner and his behavior adapted to the "human pack". Nevertheless, thousands of years of domestication have not been able to change anything about the fact that: The dog is a predator. Instincts, genetic memory, senses and impulses were perfected by evolution for survival in an environment in which the predator and his kind are not given anything on a plate. He has to forage, hunt, slay, conquer and sometimes defend to the death if he and his pack are to survive.

Depending on the breed (and the individual), impulses vary in their form and degree. In the so-called “utility dog breeds” – among them the Hovawart, with their breeding objectives as watch or guard dogs – the predatory and active defense impulses are, as a rule, stronger and the bite inhibition is weaker than in others.

In most people’s everyday life, the so-called “family environment” provides dogs with hardly any opportunities to live out their elementary impulses. Foraging for prey, chasing, slaying, confronting and barking at intruders, “biting” – as a rule that is undesirable (at home) or even strictly prohibited (in forests and fields). It is therefore "drilled out of them" or suppressed. However, suppressed impulses build up. And built up impulses can - in catastrophic cases – break out uncontrollably.

Modern dog sport aims to activate the dog’s cycle of impulses and to open up outlets to live them out in a controlled way. The control is achieved through the training (conditioning) of the so-called impulsive behavior. The dog “learns” that in case of an impulse, only certain - required – behavior leads to success (gratification).

Hardly any other type of sport, apart from guarding, provides the dog with as many or good opportunities to live out his natural predatory and guarding impulses. Particularly the advanced levels of training demand everything from the dog: courage, strength, vitality, dominance, stamina, resilience and (pack) discipline. A dog that is consistently successful (gratification) in the face of these challenges gains self-confidence becomes predictable in behavior, competent and even-tempered. Is such a dog a greater risk for his surroundings than an insecure, uncontrolled, imbalanced one with an accumulation of built up impulses?

That - and because we see the intense pleasure dogs get out of this sport – is why we do this.Schlusspunkt

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