What base do you train your dogs for? *
Currently for the Military Command Unit, formerly Military Police, Border Guard, Police, Army, basically the entire sub. We have been training with GOPR dogs for 1.5 years.
Are you going to a job organized by subscribers and offering dogs from your dog house?
No more. When we eat at the Police, Border Guard or Army, they now call us and order special dogs that have already been trained for specific tasks. They are happy with everything we have taught them so far. Now we have an order to train two dogs for military commandos and one for the State Security Service. I also received a phone call from the Military Police, but in the end I will get it from my sharp friend, because my hut is very expensive for them, but I help him to train. I will spend a lot of time caring for and training the dog, and the police pay less, so it’s not worth it. Besides, I have nothing to do with the dog later, I don’t know what happened to him. It is good to work with commandos, they are satisfied with the results of our students, and I know what will happen to the dog next.
How much does a trained dog cost?
60-80 min zloty.
Yes. My father and I have been raising dogs since they were born, and we sell them when they are one or two years old. During this time, he trains every day. Just calculate the cost of two exercises a day – 100 zlotys. Moreover, medical care, food. Alone, I traveled the world before training and studied for many years. The ten-day course with mentor Bart Bellon, the creator of the NePoPo method of teaching dogs, costs 10,000 euros. And there were many schools where I learned to work with dogs. I don’t count how much it cost me and my father, who runs the school together, but it’s probably close to 500,000 zlotys. We know our dogs are valuable, we know what results they have achieved in their work in the sub-services, and therefore the price.
What dogs do you breed?
Belgian Shepherds. This is the least disturbed race by humans, although in Poland the generation has gone in a different direction than we expected. In the Netherlands and Belgium, these dogs have become very mixed, crossed with other breeds, resulting in more stable offspring and a better genetic pool. Many nerves in the Polish pool, lack of mental balance, dogs do not cope well with stress. Belgian Shepherds are fast, agile and dynamic, but can be aggressive, they have a frustration that does not turn into sheep instincts. They are not easy dogs, they must be trained with great sensitivity. An experienced trainer will guide each dog properly and teach each dog some skills. The question is in which direction the guardian will go with him later. That’s why we bought dogs for our dog house in Germany, crossed them with dogs from Belgium, they have little Polish blood. The only Faro we bought from Polish livestock, we sold to commandos a few years ago. We did not like his tendencies at all. It’s great for work, but not necessarily for cultivating and transmitting genes.
How do you know this particular dog will work for you?
I appreciate its height, miniature structure, focusing on the hips and joints. He must be healthy and strong. But these are general requirements. Every man wants something different, wants something different. Subscribers do not have the sample dog described. The criteria to be followed are, first of all, genetic health. The second criterion is how the dog reacts to stress mentally. It’s hard to test this with a puppy, so we need to know how parents behaved at least a generation or two ago. The third element, and perhaps the most difficult to find, is a suitable flock of sheep that motivates the dog to work. This gives us a chance that the child has the right tendencies. Genes are a key factor in what a breeder will develop when a baby is born. We start working with them on the second day after birth.
Do you know in which direction a dog should be formed?
At this point, he begins to show inclination, and stupidity would push him to save, for example, when I saw that he was not talented. After all, he can work differently, he will be great at finding drugs, but then he needs to be trained differently. The dog needs to be watched at every stage, because it only takes a little time to show what it really is. Years of experience allow me to judge the dog intuitively, but more than once I look at my little boy and say: it will be great in the rescue, and then it turned out that the dog went in another direction. There are no rules. We trained dogs to watch, look for drugs, explosives, and work in defense. Sometimes a guide will come to train the guard dog. We try, look and tell him that it is a waste of time, the dog does not deserve it. We will reach a certain level in his science, but in the end we will jump off the wall. Many people insist, stay true to their opinion, nothing comes from me. As a trainer, I can vaccinate my dog a lot, but I can’t do some things. If you want to get to the top of the sub with a dog, you have to have a “what”.
What should a child learn to work in the future?
To start, it is best to bring the chicks to their managers at the age of 7 weeks. If this is not possible, break them up, separate them from each other, because they adapt more quickly to the individual. The longer they stay in the group, the later they will break up and get used to the new person. After 2-3 weeks in a new place, the dog shows its true self, because in the herd, it behaves differently, adapts differently to a new situation and a new person. During this time, the puppy learns three basic things most quickly: head use, nasal surgery, and dental work. The first tendency is meditation: obedience, standing up, sitting on command, and other skills at the head of the dog. The second tendency is the use of the lungs, the dog’s natural use of the nose. Another thing: how much he wants to play. In the beginning, we develop these three tendencies, and then we can guide the dog according to what he has best. The finale is that no matter what the dog shows and differs after the end of the year, I can let him go in any competition and he can handle it because he has a strong foundation, he has developed universally.
You are doing this training for non-native dogs, including sub-dogs.
Usually, a dog purchased for a sub has the basics of obedience instilled by the breeder, but sometimes he knows almost nothing.
It often happens that the dog is taken only by a person who is about to become a manager. A man can’t do anything, a dog can’t do anything, work under our control. I had the opportunity to observe different instructors, but unfortunately not all of them were professionals. You still have to learn, learn new techniques, develop, and this is not standard in the Polish sub-sectors. We decided not only to teach dogs obedience, but also to teach them special services, rescue, odor search, protection, depending on the needs and orders. When we take our pet dog, we show him a “guidebook” and teach him how to communicate and guide the animal. Then we train dozens of times in additional training courses to maintain a high level of training. Sometimes commandos come to us for training, sometimes we eat with them. The person pays for it.
I watched your training with GOPR dogs and an exercise that surprised me a little: the dog was stepping on a small tin box on the ground, and it was given a mane and flavor. What will this teach him?
Both of these and most exercises will teach your dog one thing: to think. Everything else is extra. Plaque or any other element in training is a facilitating or hindering factor. The engagement is fun because many dogs like the sound it makes, then they have more fun doing the task in their hands and feel the frustration we use. The dog steps on the tin and at the same time is controlled by the manager to look at it at that moment. The repetitive dog encourages him more when he pushes him and hears a sound, so he does it with more joy. We give him a taste for a good deed, and then we ignore him. When we send the dog forward, call it to its feet, and bark, we use such teaching aids that the dog should stand in the right place, not five meters away. Everything that makes a sound is attractive to a dog. Some don’t want to touch the board from the beginning, some try the apk, if the board isn’t wrg, some are happy with it from the beginning.
* Excerpts from Katarzyna Olkowicz’s book “Atypical uniform. Dogs for special tasks”