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Deutsch Kurzhaar vom Sturmland
SOLMS and HZP TRAINING

The following describes the methods of training that I have used to train for the HZP and SOLMS.The methods described are certainly subject to change based on my changing knowledge and evaluation of each. These are not methods I invented but are a composite of methods that I have seen others use and I have had success's using. Every dog is different so modification will likely need to be made to any or all of the methods based on the behavior of your kurzhaar and life in general.

The training descriptions given below are presented in the same order that the test requirements appear in the JGHV Association Breed Test (VZPO) rule book, 1st Edt ion, 2006. It is the sole responsibility of the handler to make themselves familiar with the current VZPO rule book or the DKV Solms rule book depending on which applys to them. The methods below are offered only as guidelines based on my experience. All schematics, plans and diagrams are only examples and not meant to be exact depictions of conditions and setups that you may encounter at any test.

The HZP and SOLMS are virtually identical tests. The exceptions are that the scoring format, progression of the waterwork subjects and the distances of the drags are different. Because the tests are so much alike, I will use the word "test" herein to represent both so not to create confusion. Where differences in the requirements of the two tests occur I will make note of those.

Click Here for a HZP/SOLMS Training Checklist

NATURAL ABILITY SUBJECTS:

The subjects that fall into the category of natural ability are those that are viewed as inheritance based. That said, a dogs instinctive ability to perform each subject can and will be enhanced by providing the appropriate experience and exposure to the situations that will be evaluated.
In other words, if the dog is expected to track a live rabbit, search a field and point feathered game during the test, then the handler should have exposed his dog to those situations repeatedly in order to awaken and enhance the dogs natural predisposition to do those things well.

It is a given that most dogs instinctively have the ability to do well in the natural ability subjects if provided the right experiences. After all, the Kurzhaar and the Drahthaar have been bred towards performance for over 100 years. Even so, things can go awry and when they do, it's almost always because the dog did not get the type of exposure that it needed.

Since you would probably not be training a dog for the Solms or HZP unless it had successfully completed a Derby or VJP; it's likely that the dog has already been exposed to some of the situations needed in order for it to do well in the natural ability portions of the Fall test.
Some of the methods I've described below may be a repeat of things I mentioned in the Derby or VJP training sections. Nevertheless, many of those methods are still applicable and should be a constent part of your training endeavors.

1. Tracking (HZP Only)
_________________________________________________________________________________

2. Use of Nose
_________________________________________________________________________________

3. Search
_________________________________________________________________________________

4. Pointing
_________________________________________________________________________________

5. Cooperation
_________________________________________________________________________________

6. Desire to Work
_________________________________________________________________________________

7. Search Behind the Duck

Make sure you remove the dogs collar before you send it in the water.
_________________________________________________________________________________


Trained Subjects:

TRAINED SUBJECTS:


8. Blind Retrieve from Dense Cover


_________________________________________________________________________________

9. Gun Sensitivity in Water
_________________________________________________________________________________

10. Retrieving Feathered Game
a. winged bird
b. shot bird
c. feathered game drag
_________________________________________________________________________________

11. Furred Game Drag (rabbit)
_________________________________________________________________________________

12. Pointing
_________________________________________________________________________________

13. Manner of Retrieve
a. winged bird
b. shot bird
c. feathered game drag
_________________________________________________________________________________

During the Solms your Deutsch Kurzhaar will be required to retrieve the following game:

A rabbit from 350 meters (rabbit drag);
A freshly shot bird from cover or other feathered game from 150 meters (Feathered game drag);
A duck thrown in the water in plain view of the dog during the "Gun Sensitivity Test";
A duck from the water that has been placed in thick cover without your kurzhaar seeing it.(Blind retrieve from dense cover);
A live duck that has been released in the water and has hidden itself in cover (Search behind the live duck).

Most Dogs that fail the Solms test do so because at some point during the test they do not obey the fetch command. This usually has to do with incomplete force breaking or something related to it.

Keep in mind that a Deutsch Kurzhaar must be sent to retrieve using one command,i.e. "Fetch" to retrieve game during the Fall Kurzhaar test.
You will not be aloud to influence the dog after that command except to praise the dog and give a gentle sit command when the dog returns to you with the game.

If at some point during the retrieve your Kurzhaar decides to disobey or goes off task; you will have no recourse but to accept whatever the outcome is.For that reason there is simply no room for error with respect to force breaking your Kurzhaar.

If your someone that thinks they can achieve the same result by means other than force breaking please do not purchase a vom Sturmland Kurzhaar. I would like all of my Kurzhaars to pass the test when it comes time.

Force breaking can begin as soon as your Kurzhaar's adult teeth are in (Approximately 7 months of age but ask your Vet). If done correctly you should have plenty of time to prepare for the Solms.

Some hunters like to wait until after a dog has completed the Derby Prufung to begin force breaking. Their reasoning is that they believe force breaking may establish a tendency in the dog to jump in and retrieve game thus be detrimental to the development of pointing. I've force broken dogs before and after the Derby and have noticed no difference.

For any Versatile Hunting Deutsch Kurzhaar to successfully complete the Solms (Kurzhaar Breed Test) it must be completely and properly force broken.

Force Breaking:

Force breaking is the necessary component for you to really get down to training your Deutsch Kurzhaar for the Solms test. In order to give your kurzhaar a command to retrieve game from the water or field the dog must be force broken to retrieve. With out force breaking your kurzhaar will fail the Solms Prufung and even worse, will be of little value to you as a hunting companion.

As I mentioned in the section on obedience I see the down command as a very important command that will help you establish your position as leader of the pack in your Kurzhaars mind.

Force breaking your Kurzhaar to retrieve should completely affirm that you are the leader and reinforce the need for the dog to comply and fully submit. With force breaking there is no ifs, ands or maybes. The dog must retrieve whatever you request it to retrieve after being given a single (one, uno, mono ) command and it must do it consistently, i.e., every time.

Force breaking is really the part of training a versatile hunting Kurzhaar that requires the most mental and physical work for both the handler and the dog. Though it's easy enough to describe the steps required to get from point A to Z, it is an art that is better learned by watching than reading.

In the following paragraphs I will try and describe each step and some of the subtle requirements of the methods of force breaking that I have learned from others that have worked for me and some that haven't.

I strongly recommend that you find a mentor experienced in the art of force breaking before you attempt to take the task on yourself. If not done properly and with caution you can cause yourself and your Kurzhaar many problems down the road and even ruin what might have been a great Kurzhaar.

By good fortune as I write this I happen to be starting the force breaking process on my young Kurzhaar, Ayla. Because of that coincidence I will be able to provide photos of many of the various steps and circumstances that arise.

I am hesitant to ascribe time periods for each step because the time it takes to get through each step can vary greatly depending on each dogs temperament and leaning ability.
I will do it just to give you an idea how long this particular dog took to move thru the process but do not use my time line as a go by schedule. Only you and your Kurzhaar will set the schedule for completion of force breaking.

Day 1-4
The first four days of Force Breaking (FB) were spent getting the dog comfortable holding something in it's mouth. For this very important step all that is needed is a leather glove, a couple of small treats and a lot of patience. It is important to understand that every step of the process is necessary and has a reason behind it. Each step must be carried out fully and come to the proper conclusion which is a Deutsch Kurzhaar that is confident and understands and willingly performs the task.. When completed, the dog should confidently perform the task without hesitation.

At this point I have already given the pup some treats on the training bench, sat on the bench with her, petted her and generally made her feel comfortable on the bench. The dog readily jumps up on the bench at the beginning of each session and I give a single treat then proceed with the task. I also end the train ins session with a single treat.

I usually put the glove on my right hand and hold the dog by the collar with my left hand. I carefully but deliberately put my hand in the dogs mouth. This may require a little prying but you should be able to slowly work your hand into the dogs mouth. Do this as gently as possible but make sure you do it. Your hand should be completely flat with fingers extended.

Do not hold the dogs lower jaw or force your hand to far back in the dogs mouth. Make sure that you are not pinching the dogs lips between your hand and its teeth.Your hand should simply be resting in the dogs mouth steadily but with as little force as possible.
Use your un gloved hand to keep the dogs head and body still while you keep the gloved hand steadily in it's mouth.

Some Kurzhaars will take the gloved hand with nothing more than a little struggling and twisting of the head each time you insert it in the dogs mouth. Others will pitch a fit, twisting, pawing and doing everything they can to resist and/or escape and get your hand out of their mouth.

Your job is to hold your hand in the dogs mouth as gently as possible until the very instant the dog quits struggling. At that very instant push your hand back firmly and quickly into the back of the dogs mouth and remove it as you voice your real ease command. I use the word "give" as my release command some use "out". Whatever command you choose, do not change it.

hold collarhold hand steadilyinitiate gag reflex

The dog must associate the "give" command or whatever word you wish to use with the gag reflex that you have initiated by quickly pushing your hand backwards in the dog mouth and removing it.

It is imperative that your Kurzhaar make the connection between your real ease command and its own gag reflex. Down the road this will go a long way towards getting your Kurzhaar to give up game without any problems.

I do not give any sort of fetch command to initiate my hands entry into the dogs mouth. It is not the intention here to get the dog to associate that command with taking something into its mouth at this point. The intention here is to merely get the dog to hold something, i.e. your hand, in its mouth because you want it there and to associate the gag reflex with the release command.

When your Kurzhaar lets your hand remain in it's mouth with know struggle and does so consistently it's time to move on the the next step. Knowing when to move forward or backward is an acquired knowledge so get some help from someone with experience.


2. Rabbit and Feathered Game Drags:

Note: Of all of the requirements of the Solms/HZP an unsuccesful rabbit drag results in the most failed tests. For that reason it must be given significant attention while training. Though force breaking is the basic reason for failing a rabbit drag there may be other reasons as well. In this section I will try and provide you with some tips that may help your kurzhaar run a better, more deliberate drag track.

To successfully complete the VGP your kurzhaar MUST be sufficient at retrieving of game over the obstacle OR retrieving of game other than the rabbit from the forest. One of the furred game drags in the forest MUST be a rabbit and your kurzhaar MUST complete that successfully to pass the test.

The variables:

I've lumped the furred game drags in the forest together since they are essentially the same except for the game used for each, i.e. one rabbit drag and one fox drag*. From time to time I may refer to both drags as if we were discussing just one:

The primary difference between the game drag in the woods and the game drags that you have done while training for the Solms/HZP is the, terrain, distance and potential for distraction. In addition one of the drags is done with a game animal other than a rabbit, i.e. fox, coon, bobcat or coyote.Of those differences the change in terrain is most note worthy. A dog is much more likely to become distracted by game trails and other scents in the forest than in a more open environment. There is the added disadvantage that you most likely will not be able to see your kurzhaar for most of the drag.

The Test:

At the test the game will be drug on a drag cord by a judge for 300 meters and the drag will have two obtuse angles. The handler may work the dog the first 20 meters on lead if desired.

For a Schematic Plan of the Rabbit Drag Click Here


For a Schematic Plan of the Feathered Game Drag Click Here

The drag will likely start just inside the edge of the woods but may start in an open area and then enter the woods. A small amount of the game animals fur will be removed (usually from the belly) and placed on the ground to designate the beginning of the drag. The dog should follow the drag scent until it comes to the game, pick the game up without hesitation and return it to the handler.

I find that it is to your advantage to moisten the game lightly with a water before handing it off to the judge. A moist piece of game leaves more scent on the ground for your kurzhaar to follow. In windy conditions that can be a plus.

The Game:

Since game type should not be a factor with a completely force broken dog we won't discuss it much here but it is addressed in the section on force breaking. It suffices to say that for success on furred game drags in the forest your kurzhaar must be force broken for the game you will use. Also, the game,i.e. fox, coon, bobcat or coyote must be the required weight of at least 3.5 Kg (7.7Lb). There is no published weight for rabbits but a grown rabbit of around 3-5 Lb. is normally used. Some judges frown on the use of rabbits that are predominantly white in color. I can find no specific color requirements for rabbits in the VGP rule book. Try and obtain natural color rabbits for training and testing purposes so there will be no concerns.

Drag Strategy:

As mentioned above; the variables of furred game drags in the forest are: terrain, distance, difficulty and game type.

I believe it's important that you gradually change the difficulty of the drag and more importantly the distance should be changed each time you do a drag. A dog that begins to understand that the game can always be found at a certain distance will probably learn that it does not have to begin using it's nose until it gets to the area where the game has been left. That means that the dog may not follow the scent of the track and may go into more of a field search mode as if it were looking for birds. Even if it finds and retrieves the game it will be given a lower score since it did not use it's nose to deliberately follow the drag track.

Presuming you have had success with rabbit and feathered game drags and your kurzhaar is force broken on the type of game that you intend to use, we can begin by discussing the strategy for laying a drag track:

It is very important that you have a helper for dragging game. If you train for this by dong the drag alone you will have no way of knowing if the dog is bringing you the game or running off into the next county. At a minimum you will have no way of knowing how your kurzhaar performed along the last part of the drag or how it acted when it came in contact with the game.

Before you begin the drag, discuss with your helper what you will each do if the dog does not perform as planned. For example if the dog picks up the game and takes it to your helper instead of to you then you will want your helper to be perfectly still and remain silent or you may want your helper to signal you to call your kurzhaar. If your kurzhaar comes in contact with the game and does not pick it up you may want your helper to give your kurzhaar a fetch command or even pinch the dogs ear for you and make the dog pick up the game. At the very least you will want your helper to let you know immediately what has happened so you can take action if your kurzhaar is not compliant.

Having someone other than yourself dragging the game is also important because it gets the dog used to the scent of others so it does not get spooked if it happens to scent or see a stranger in the woods. The more different people that you can have drag game for you the more confident you can be that your kurzhaar will not get spooked or distracted by a stranger in the woods. I make a habit of introducing my dog to all of the judges at the beginning of a test for that very reason. Once the dog is familiar with their scent it should have no problem when it comes into contact with them.

As with your first rabbit drag, it's a good idea to let your kurzhaar see your helper start the drag. 75 meters is plenty long for the first drag in the woods. Try and pick a location that either inclines or declines enough that you can see and evaluate your kurzhaars performance the entire distance. You needn't put any obtuse angle is the drag the first few practice sessions. Initially you should just try and make an assessment of your kurzhaars performance and make corrections or rewards as necessary.

Take the wind conditions into consideration before laying the drag track. You want to drag the game with the wind so that your kurzhaar will have to keep it's nose to the ground to stay on the scent and locate the game. If you do otherwise the dog may scent the game in the wind and go into a search pattern instead of deliberately following the drag track. Even if your kurzhaar finds the game that way it will adversely affect it's test score.

Also, keep in mind that if the track is laid with a breeze crossing it, the dog may parallel the drag track on the down wind side since the scent will likely be stronger there. There is nothing wrong with the dog paralleling the drag track as long as it finds and retrieves the game. In fact you may encounter similar wind conditions during the test. Seasoned judges will be aware of the existing wind conditions.

To begin the drag your helper should remove some of the animals hair and place it at the starting point. The helper can also pull the game back and forth on the starting spot to give the spot a little extra scent. Your dog should watch the entire ritual the first couple of times so it gets the idea.

The helper should drag the game the desired distance and after removing the drag cord from the game; leave the game in a relatively open place. You absolutely do not want a flailing drag cord to swing and hit your kurzhaar or make it trip when it is headed back to you with the game in it's possession. After removing the drag cord, your helper should continue on the same line as the game was drug and hide as not to be seen by the dog. After hiding the helper can signal you to release your kurzhaar. A pair of short wave radios work great for communication when training for drags but a loud yell will do just as well for short drags.

The Slip Lead:

Experienced handlers may use a slip lead like the one in the photo below for releasing there dog on drag tracks. The slip lead is looped around the dogs collar and the handler grasps both ends of it in his hand. Using this type of lead allows for a smooth real ease with no jerking or stopping when the handler releases the dog while moving the dog down the scent line.

I like to use a slip lead that's around two meters in total length and one half inch wide. For someone my height that's long enough to allow the dog to get it's nose on the ground but not long enough to allow the dog to get off of the track or create a tripping hazard for me. Any strap, ribbon or even a small diameter rope can serve this purpose.

slip lead hold

Releasing Your Dog:

With your kurzhaar in the sitting position, slip one end of the slip lead under the front of the dogs collar forming a loop. Holding both ends of the slip lead in your release hand bring the dog up to the starting spot.

Show the dog the spot by touching the spot with your hand and showing that your are interested in the spot; then let your kurzhaar sniff the spot and get the scent. It's important to give the dog enough slack so that it can get it's nose down to the ground. Lead the dog down the scent line until your comfortable the dog is on the track, give it your fetch command and release the dog. Make sure to release the bottom half of the lead and not the top when sending the dog. If the top is released it may slap the dog on the head as it is pulled thru the collar. An accidental slap on the head may confuse and distract the dog.

show the spot

Remember you can work your kurzhaar up to 20 meters down the drag. That is especially important in breezy conditions so that the dog heads out in the correct direction. Many handlers forget this even though it's to their advantage to do it. I have forgotten it myself out of nervousness at the test.

The dog should methodically follow the scent line to the game, pick the game up without hesitation and return it to you. It's ok if the dog goes past the game and finds your helper as long as the dog comes back to the game and brings it back to you. Since some dogs tend to do exactly that; many handlers choose to use two game animals.

The general theory behind using two game animals is that if the dog passes by the first game animal and goes to the person who did the drag; the dog will pick up the second game animal which is left on the ground at the location where the person doing the drag is hiding. I have used two game animals at a test in the past with a dog that I thought might pass by the first one and go directly to the judge. Ironically, the dog picked up the first rabbit with no problem so the second game animal wasn't needed.

rabbit drag

If your kurzhaar performs successfully you should praise the dog heavily as soon as it is in hearing range. If the dog comes back without the game you should get to the dog immediately and apply the ear pinch while proceeding to the game. Make the dog keep the game in it's mouth while you both walk back to the starting point. If the dog has been unsuccessful you should probably shorten the distance considerably and try it again praising the dog heavily for success but applying immediate discipline for failure. It a good idea to have some treats available to reward the dog for good behavior.

Changing the Variables:

If the dog completes the 75 meter straight drag with no trouble you can begin to increase the distance and put a slight turn in the drag during your next training session. Within a few sessions your kurzhaar should have no problem following drags with two obtuse angles and the full 300 meters.

Once your kurzhaar has performed successfully at a full distance drag with two obtuse angles successfully 3 or 4 times you should start changing up the terrain. In other words do the drags in different types of forest such as oak bottom land, pine forest, thick underbrush and so on. You should also make an effort to train in different weather conditions such as rain and snow.

The only rabbit drag that a dog I trained failed during a test was one that was drug in forest that cattle used for grazing. Not being used to livestock being present and livestock dung my dog simply would not focus on the scent of the drag. The more different types of terrain and conditions you train in the more confidence you can have in the way your kurzhaar will perform.

Setting your Dog up for Correction:

If your kurzhaar has had complete success training for furred game drags in the woods and has done everything perfectly with no corrections then we need to set the dog up for failure followed by some correction so that the dog knows that it MUST perform. A dog that does everything correctly all the time has no idea what the consequences are for not doing it's job.

The simplest way to set the dog up is to have your helper drag the game thru the woods to a location where you have a tree stand set up. Instead of leaving the game on the ground the helper should take the game up into the tree stand. When the helper is sure that your kurzhaar is headed back to you without the game; the helper should drop the game from the stand onto the ground and signal you that your kurzhaar is coming back to you. When the dog arrives, the handler should immediately apply the ear pinch and take the dog back to pick up the game pinching it's ear all the way.

Once you have disciplined the dog give the dog the opportunity to redeem itself by being successful on a short easy drag. Praise the dog like it brought you a gold bar and give it a treat when it comes back with the game.

You shouldn't need to set your kurzhaar up like that more than a couple of times before it gets the message that retrieving game on the drag scent is a MUST do. In addition, I don't recommend that you follow this procedure on consecutive training sessions. You don't want to discourage your kurzhaar from believing that retrieving dragged game is a pleasure.

Training for this once or twice a week at the most is probably plenty to get you where you need to be. Like all training if you over do it your kurzhaar will become bored and will probably begin to waiver from perfection or shut down.

Most dogs catch on pretty quick to following drags thru forest since they usually have ample previous experience doing drags in open areas.



3 - 4. Rabbit Drag and Feathered Game Drag:



The variables:



The Test:

At the test the game will be drug on a drag cord by a judge for 300 meters and the drag will have two obtuse angles. The handler may work the dog the first 20 meters on lead if desired.

For a Schematic Plan of the Drag Click Here


A small amount of the game animals fur will be removed (usually from the belly) and placed on the ground to designate the beginning of the drag. The dog should follow the drag scent until it comes to the game, pick the game up without hesitation and return it to the handler.

I find that it is to your advantage to moisten the game lightly with a water before handing it off to the judge. A moist piece of game leaves more scent on the ground for your kurzhaar to follow. In windy conditions that can be a plus.

The Game:



Drag Strategy:

By now your kurzhaar has likely done a number of successful drags in open areas with both furred and feathered game. The training you have done for that is the basis for training for drags in wooded terrain. Like any training you should start off by determining what the variables are and take small steps. As mentioned above; the variables of furred game drags in the forest are: terrain, distance, difficulty and game type.

It is very important that you have a helper for dragging game. If you train for this by dong the drag alone you will have no way of knowing if the dog is bringing you the game or running off into the next county. At a minimum you will have no way of knowing how your kurzhaar performed along the last part of the drag or how it acted when it came in contact with the game.

Before you begin the drag, discuss with your helper what you will each do if the dog does not perform as planned. For example if the dog picks up the game and takes it to your helper instead of to you then you will want your helper to be perfectly still and remain silent or you may want your helper to signal you to call your kurzhaar. If your kurzhaar comes in contact with the game and does not pick it up you may want your helper to give your kurzhaar a fetch command or even pinch the dogs ear for you and make the dog pick up the game. At the very least you will want your helper to let you know immediately what has happened so you can take action if your kurzhaar is not compliant.

Having someone other than yourself dragging the game is also important because it gets the dog used to the scent of others so it does not get spooked if it happens to scent or see a stranger in the woods. The more different people that you can have drag game for you the more confident you can be that your kurzhaar will not get spooked or distracted by a stranger in the woods. I make a habit of introducing my dog to all of the judges at the beginning of a test for that very reason. Once the dog is familiar with their scent it should have no problem when it comes into contact with them.

Let your kurzhaar see your helper start the drag. 25 meters is plenty long for the first drag. Try and pick a location that either inclines or declines enough that you can see and evaluate your kurzhaars performance the entire distance. You needn't put any obtuse angle is the drag the first few practice sessions. Initially you should just try and make an assessment of your kurzhaars performance and make corrections or rewards as necessary.

Take the wind conditions into consideration before laying the drag track. You want to drag the game with the wind so that your kurzhaar will have to keep it's nose to the ground to stay on the scent and locate the game. If you do otherwise the dog may scent the game in the wind and go into a search pattern instead of deliberately following the drag track. Even if your kurzhaar finds the game that way it will adversely affect it's test score.

Also, keep in mind that if the track is laid with a breeze crossing it, the dog may parallel the drag track on the down wind side since the scent will likely be stronger there. There is nothing wrong with the dog paralleling the drag track as long as it finds and retrieves the game. In fact you may encounter similar wind conditions during the test. Seasoned judges will be aware of the existing wind conditions.

To begin the drag your helper should remove some of the animals hair and place it at the starting point. The helper can also pull the game back and forth on the starting spot to give the spot a little extra scent. Your dog should watch the entire ritual the first couple of times so it gets the idea.

The helper should drag the game the desired distance and after removing the drag cord from the game; leave the game in a relatively open place. You absolutely do not want a flailing drag cord to swing and hit your kurzhaar or make it trip when it is headed back to you with the game in it's possession. After removing the drag cord, your helper should continue on the same line as the game was drug and hide as not to be seen by the dog. After hiding the helper can signal you to release your kurzhaar. A pair of short wave radios work great for communication when training for drags but a loud yell will do just as well for short drags.

The Slip Lead:

Experienced handlers may use a slip lead like the one in the photo below for releasing there dog on drag tracks. The slip lead is looped around the dogs collar and the handler grasps both ends of it in his hand. Using this type of lead allows for a smooth real ease with no jerking or stopping when the handler releases the dog while moving the dog down the scent line.

I like to use a slip lead that's around two meters in total length and one half inch wide. For someone my height that's long enough to allow the dog to get it's nose on the ground but not long enough to allow the dog to get off of the track or create a tripping hazard for me. Any strap, ribbon or even a small diameter rope can serve this purpose.



Releasing Your Dog:

With your kurzhaar in the sitting position, slip one end of the slip lead under the front of the dogs collar forming a loop. Holding both ends of the slip lead in your release hand bring the dog up to the starting spot.

Show the dog the spot by touching the spot with your hand and showing that your are interested in the spot; then let your kurzhaar sniff the spot and get the scent. It's important to give the dog enough slack so that it can get it's nose down to the ground. Lead the dog down the scent line until your comfortable the dog is on the track, give it your fetch command and release the dog. Make sure to release the bottom half of the lead and not the top when sending the dog. If the top is released it may slap the dog on the head as it is pulled thru the collar. An accidental slap on the head may confuse and distract the dog.

show the spot

Remember you can work your kurzhaar up to 20 meters down the drag. That is especially important in breezy conditions so that the dog heads out in the correct direction. Many handlers forget this even though it's to their advantage to do it. I have forgotten it myself out of nervousness at the test.

The dog should methodically follow the scent line to the game, pick the game up without hesitation and return it to you. It's ok if the dog goes past the game and finds your helper as long as the dog comes back to the game and brings it back to you. Since some dogs tend to do exactly that; many handlers choose to use two game animals.

The general theory behind using two game animals is that if the dog passes by the first game animal and goes to the person who did the drag; the dog will pick up the second game animal which is left on the ground at the location where the person doing the drag is hiding. I have used two game animals at a test in the past with a dog that I thought might pass by the first one and go directly to the judge. Ironically, the dog picked up the first rabbit with no problem so the second game animal wasn't needed.

rabbit drag

If your kurzhaar performs successfully you should praise the dog heavily as soon as it is in hearing range. If the dog comes back without the game you should get to the dog immediately and apply the ear pinch while proceeding to the game. Make the dog keep the game in it's mouth while you both walk back to the starting point. If the dog has been unsuccessful you should probably shorten the distance considerably and try it again praising the dog heavily for success but applying immediate discipline for failure. It a good idea to have some treats available to reward the dog for good behavior.

Changing the Variables:

If the dog completes the 75 meter straight drag with no trouble you can begin to increase the distance and put a slight turn in the drag during your next training session. Within a few sessions your kurzhaar should have no problem following drags with two obtuse angles and the full 300 meters.

Once your kurzhaar has performed successfully at a full distance drag with two obtuse angles successfully 3 or 4 times you should start changing up the terrain. In other words do the drags in different types of forest such as oak bottom land, pine forest, thick underbrush and so on. You should also make an effort to train in different weather conditions such as rain and snow.

The only rabbit drag that a dog I trained failed during a test was one that was drug in forest that cattle used for grazing. Not being used to livestock being present and livestock dung my dog simply would not focus on the scent of the drag. The more different types of terrain and conditions you train in the more confidence you can have in the way your kurzhaar will perform.

Setting your Dog up for Correction:

If your kurzhaar has had complete success training for furred game drags in the woods and has done everything perfectly with no corrections then we need to set the dog up for failure followed by some correction so that the dog knows that it MUST perform. A dog that does everything correctly all the time has no idea what the consequences are for not doing it's job.

The simplest way to set the dog up is to have your helper drag the game thru the woods to a location where you have a tree stand set up. Instead of leaving the game on the ground the helper should take the game up into the tree stand. When the helper is sure that your kurzhaar is headed back to you without the game; the helper should drop the game from the stand onto the ground and signal you that your kurzhaar is coming back to you. When the dog arrives, the handler should immediately apply the ear pinch and take the dog back to pick up the game pinching it's ear all the way.

Once you have disciplined the dog give the dog the opportunity to redeem itself by being successful on a short easy drag. Praise the dog like it brought you a gold bar and give it a treat when it comes back with the game.

You shouldn't need to set your kurzhaar up like that more than a couple of times before it gets the message that retrieving game on the drag scent is a MUST do. In addition, I don't recommend that you follow this procedure on consecutive training sessions. You don't want to discourage your kurzhaar from believing that retrieving dragged game is a pleasure.

Training for this once or twice a week at the most is probably plenty to get you where you need to be. Like all training if you over do it your kurzhaar will become bored and will probably begin to waiver from perfection or shut down.

Most dogs catch on pretty quick to following drags thru forest since they usually have ample previous experience doing drags in open areas.


2. Use of Nose

The Test:

The Variables:

The Strategy:

The Training:


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3. Search

The Test:

The Variables:

The Strategy:

The Training:


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4. Pointing

The Test:

The Variables:

The Strategy:

The Training:


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5. Cooperation

The Test:

The Variables:

The Strategy:

The Training:


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6. Gun Sensitivity

The Test:

The Variables:

The Strategy:

The Training:


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7. Desire to Work (Derby Only)


The Test:

The Variables:

The Strategy:

The Training:


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8. Manner of Hunting

The Test:

The Variables:

The Strategy:

The Training:


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9. Behavior and Conformation Faults


The Test:

The Variables:

The Strategy:

The Training:


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10. Obedience

The Test:

The Variables:

The Strategy:

The Training:


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11. Wesen Test (Derby Only)


The Test:

The Variables:

The Strategy:

The Training:


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Summary:

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Hunting Applications:

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SOLMS/HZP HUNTING APPLICATIONS:


SOLMS/HZP SUMMARY:



Untitled Document
Deutsch Kurzhaar vom Sturmland

Gary Fleming
vectortfl@outlook.com