Administrator & Alpha Bitch of the Wild Bunch
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Michigan, USA
Re: Where do your Schutzhund dogs live?
This argument is as old as the hills.
Many people will say competition dogs must be kennel dogs, not house/family dogs in order to build drive and desire to work, prevent "house manners" from interfering with training, etc.. And that if the dog has manners instilled, or gets free time with the handler playing and interacting without having to work for it, it will harm the work.
I have found this to be most common amongst serious competitors, as well as the "old school" type people. There are some few cases where it may be advisable to do so. The rare dog who's great at sport/work but doesn't make a good companion. Or a household where only the handler is interested in dogs or SchH, and other members of the family are not or would not work with the handler in balancing work/home life and would create serious problems.
But in my experience, most people who advocate this sort of lifestyle are carrying over myths that have been perpetuated for decades and they themselves have never tried any other way.
While there may be some truth to it, my personal feelings are:
My dogs are first my friends and companions. SchH comes second. I got into this because I love dogs, love having dogs and living with dogs and working with dogs. They aren't sporting equipment.
If a dog must be deprived of attention in order to want to work, either it doesn't have the correct temperament or the trainer/handler is incompetent. Either pick a new dog or a new sport.
I have found that the bond and relationship developed through living with my dogs as companions pays dividends in training and is not a handicap.
So to answer the question, our dogs live in the house. They are allowed on the bed and furniture, spend a lot of time just hanging out and being dogs, get lots of "free" play with us and the other dogs, go for walks, swim in the pond, take trips to the pet store, go to work with me on occasion, and all the regular pet things.
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