I've had a fantastic time today finding out about the dog sport of Schutzhund with the Leicestershire Schutzhund Club. I'm researching an article for Dogs Monthly, and recording interviews for DogCast Radio too. I was offered the chance to be the "helper" - the one who wears the glove. I jumped at the chance, and although as you can see in the first photo the force of lovely German Shepherd Susie's jump surprised me at first, all she wanted to do was play tug of war with the glove. If the glove is thrown on the floor, the dog picks up the glove and ignores the person who has thrown it on the floor. It's just like a game of tug you might play with your dog with a rope toy.
The German Shepherds we saw today were having a fantastic time, and went home happy, having exercised both brain and body. The visit to the Schutzhund club was the end of a funny week for me, which highlighted the range of dog breeds that exists. I interviewed Bel Mooney about her book Small Dogs Can Save Your Life. She fell in love with a tiny rescue Maltese dog who helped her rebuild her life after her divorce from Jonathon Dimbleby. Bel's book is full of praise for the role small dogs take in our lives. It was special to be reading a book focusing on a small white dog, while our small white dog was lying beside me, still recovering from her surgery. I admitted to Bel that before Star came into my life I did not fully appreciate the charm of small dogs, but she has won me over.
Another interview I did this week was a Dachshund breed profile, with Molly Morlino from Hill Country Dachshunds. This brought home to me that there's a dog out there for everyone, because they vary so much not just in appearance but in character and temperament too. Molly was saying that there are so many Dachshund around these days that roll onto their backs when approached. Now I am most familiar with Labradors, and this is their favourite position, so I thought this was praise. However, Molly went on to bemoan the fact that that is not the true Dachshund spirit - they should be feisty and independent.
So it doesn't matter whether you want to lounge around with a lapdog, or have a conveniently small canine companion that has a big attitude, or if you want a bold, larger dog to share an energetic sport with - you will find your match in the doggy world, and be able to live in harmony with a four legged friend. The interviews with Bel Mooney, and Molly Morlino from Hill Country Dachshunds and from the Schutzhund club will be in episodes of DogCast Radio soon, and I have enjoyed meeting and talking about such different dogs very much this week. Next week I'm interviewing a lady who knits with dog fur -I love my job and it's certainly never boring!