The beginnings of Canine Sports go right back to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In those days, however, this was not about sports, but about the business of utility dog training, applied in practice. Over time, Service Dog Trials gave rise to modern-day Canine Sports. Nevertheless, utility dog training has become a self-standing offshoot. This branch applies to training dogs that serve in the armed forces, the police, army, prison service or customs & excise. Service Dog Trials guide dogs towards a particular focus, to help in specialized work. Some dogs are excellent protectors, others specialize in scent work, etc. When it comes to versatility and emphasis on all-round training, this is still the emphasis in Canine Sports.
In today’s world, Canine Sports belong to the most demanding of dog training disciplines, given their all-rounder brief. Contests and trials consist of obedience, protection, and scent-work components. In the Czech Republic the discipline comes under two sets of ordinances – the NZŘ aka the National Examination Rules and the IPO, or Internationale Prüfungs-Ordnung. Karolína Kristová trains by, and adheres to, the IPO. The International ordinance is more focused on sports performance than our own national rulebook, attending more to detail, the precise execution of the exercises, a joyous expression on the part of the dog and overall teamwork. If the dog is to manage all 3 disciplines, she needs to be mentally balanced, a good learner, easy to inspire, while remaining steadfast in nature, and confident enough to work with great gusto. It was for these qualities that Karolína Kristová chose the German Shepherd breed.
Training the canine athlete starts “from the cradle”. From 7 weeks old the puppy start working by playing, building mutual trust, learning to follow the hand that bears the treats. Karolína Kristová uses positive methods and considers her relationship with her four-legged partner very important. She rewards with balls, toys and treats. Her most popular treats include Fitmin Soft&Juicy, or “soft granules” and when it comes to the more demanding tasks, the reward comes in the form of FFL dog meat pouches, or FFL dog meat menu mix.
The expert handling of all 3 areas of the sport is a long-term process of training which takes several years. The dog must develop skills in parallel from the various disciplines – scenting work, where the basic of tracking are followed by negotiating past cross-tracks, notifying found objects, stranger-tracking and track ageing work. In obedience and protection modes the demands made by the respective elements are gradually increased, requiring greater precision, speed and the dog’s full commitment. It is essential that the canine athlete be in excellent mental and physical condition, which is why Karolína Kristová is very choosy about proper nutrition. In her case this turns out to be Fitmin Medium Maintenance and during heavier load times Fitmin Medium Performance. She also makes use of Fitmin Solution, due to its distinctive hypoallergenic composition and high palatability. Dietary supplements used are salmon oil, Fitmin Klouby (for the joints), Srst (for the coat) and Sport.
When we watch Karolína Kristová with her dogs, the strong bond between the dog and her handler, the joy of shared pastimes, harmony and fellowship, these are all very much evident. It is that kind of bond which puts good results in Canine Sports challenges within their reach.