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411 – Good Nerves Matter: GSD Working Dogs and Family Companions

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Good Nerves Matter: GSD Working Dogs and Family Companions

Host Laura Reeves dives into the world of IGP and working German Shepherds with Malinda Weber, Czech/East German working line German Shepherd breeder in Kansas.

IGP was created originally as “essentially a breed test for the German Shepherd dog,” Weber said. “It tests the dog’s ability to work independently of its handler through tracking, which obviously makes the dog useful in other venues such as police work. It tests the dog’s ability to handle stress and pressure through obedience and protection work. And to perform a task where the dog was being able to be used to subdue or handle subjects without using lethal force.

“(The testing) starts with the BH. The BH is essentially an obedience test and temperament test showing us that the dog has proper nerve and capability to have a relationship with its handler. (They) perform just basic levels of obedience that would make the dog a family companion dog. Once the dog passes its BH, the dog is allowed at that point to progress onto the IGP title.

“Most people who have had dogs of any breed would know there are some dogs that have issues with gunfire,” Weber said, “They have issues with vacuums. They have issues with fireworks. … There’s some people that say ‘hey when people walk into my house, my dog barks a couple times and then takes off running for the other side of the house.’ Our breed should be bold. It should be confident and when things like that are happening, regardless of whether it’s gunshots or fireworks or someone knocking on our door, our dog should go forward and say ‘I’m here. I’m letting you know that I’m here. I’m not afraid of you and I’m willing to be protective of my thing, regardless of whether it’s my person, my home, or my sheep that I’m supposed to protect.’

“Our breed is described as being a confident, aloof, bold, not easily startled type of dog. Those good nerves that we want in our breed is something that a lot of people seem to overlook when it comes down to ‘just a family companion.’ Even if you just want a wonderful family companion, that is one reason why we would encourage people to look for the Breeders who are still testing their dogs in manners such as IGP. Because even if you’re just looking for a family companion, you want to make sure that the breeder you’re purchasing your puppy from has tested the parents and the puppies for all of these things, so that you can have the most wonderful possible family companion that you can enjoy long-term.”

Enjoy this deep dive into a fascinating sport and the versatile GSD.

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