ACTIVITIES WITH YOUR LARGE MUNSTERLANDER
Contact the Events & Training Co-ordinator, Helen Kitchen, to be put in touch with an experienced person living in your area who would be willing to offer advice and helpful information.
Although Large Munsterlanders are essentially a gundog and we would always want to encourage you to think about gundog work in its various forms, we recognise that there are very many activities in which LMs excel. Large Munsterlanders are dogs which need to use their brain and be kept active, and the LM Club Committee has therefore prepared this sheet about the different activities that you may like to try with your Munster.
If you would like to talk to someone about individual activities, or link up with Munsterlander folk who already do one of them, please contact Helen (details at the bottom) and she will put you in contact with someone hopefully not too far from you.
IMPORTANT: LMs do not fully mature until they are at least 18 months old, and should not take part in jumping or over exercise too early. Many of the activities below can be trained for at an earlier age, but over exercise too early can cause permanent damage to their developing joints. Please talk to the breeder of your pup, myself, or Sue Wood, the Health Co-ordinator if you are in any doubt.
There are several activities that use the LM’s built in desire to hunt and retrieve. Many of these do not involve actually shooting birds. A good place to start is some basic gundog training. There are clubs all over the country, many of whom meet monthly, others meet eg, weekly during summer months. Contact Helen for information on training facebook and web pages. Try to link up with trainers who are used to training HPRs as opposed to just ‘gundogs’ as you will find your LM works differently from your average Labrador and spaniel.
Scurries: These often take place at Game Fairs or County Fairs or similar and will involve retrieve races against the clock, usually over small obstacles like straw bales, sheep hurdles etc, sometimes in straight lines, sometimes several retrieves in different directions.
Gundog Working Tests:A good event to start with to see how your training is going. GWTs are competitive events outside the shooting season around the country open to HPRs. Except in exceptional circumstances, these will have 4 parts – hunting, a water retrieve and two land retrieves. In puppy, Novice and nearly always in Open, dummies are used, though occasionally cold game may be used in Open. Great opportunity to watch and learn from fellow competitors; judges give a feed back to you as well as to the competitors in general at the end of the day.
Working Gundog Certificates: These are tests/assessments on your training which may be trained for at your local gundog club. The Kennel Club also assesses for this at their GWT and at other times. Can be either on dummies or game.
Pointing Tests: These are aimed at testing the natural ability of a dog to hunt and point game. Whilst not competitive dogs are graded on the basis of ground treatment, hunting and pointing with an element of steadiness to flushed game on open ground, spring crops or moorland.
Tests can be run either in Spring or Autumn.
Field Trials These have developed to test the working ability of Gundogs in competitive conditions. Trials resemble, as closely as possible, a day's shooting in the field and dogs are expected to work with all manner of game, from rabbits and hares, to partridges and pheasants.
You may well have watched this on television. It involves jumps, ramps, weaving poles, tunnels etc. Fast and furious, and by all accounts, very addictive. There is a Club Team; sometimes competitions have team events.
Rally involves you and your dog working as a team to navigate a course with numbered signs indicating different exercises to perform; think of it as a sort of 'obedience exercise obstacle course'.
A competitive sport based on the civilian equivalent of police dog work, including agility, tracking and scaling fences.
Team relay event where the dogs run up a strip over low hurdles and to a ball-delivering device on which they tread to release the ball. Dogs catch it and run back. Fast, furious and competitive. Many dogs who do this also do agility.
A notch or two up from your average puppy classes! Again, you may have seen this on TV at Crufts – heelwork at different paces and angles, send away, down and stay, scent work.
Training your dog to find different scented things, differentiate between smells with different decoys. LMs enjoy this sort of thing a lot.
In Germany blood tracking is one of the key uses of the LM. This involves looking for spots of blood on a track (usually deer); the dog usually works in a tracking harness with a longer lead. As dog develops, longer and older tracks are used.
Search and Rescue
Local teams are involved in looking for lost people – not just in mountainous areas. There is a long training period before dogs are put in serious scenarios.
Heelwork to Music
Heelwork and different manoeuvres (including going backwards, sometimes on two legs only). Participants devise a routine of up to 4 minutes to perform with their dogs. You may well have seen Mary Rae, who has been doing shows at Crufts for years, though not everyone gets to that standard.
Running with the help of your dog pulling you, dog in special harness. Great fitness is achieved – and needed.
Cycling with the help of your dog pulling you, with dog in special harness. High speeds are achieved, and dog becomes very fit. It is a very hot activity for dogs, and short-coated breeds are probably better suited to this activity than munsterlanders.
There are shows all over the country, pretty much all the year round, from the bigger Championship shows to smaller local shows, to Companion shows (usually fund raisers). A judge will assess your dog’s confirmation and movement against others in the class, against the breed standard. (See http://www.largemunsterlanderclub.co.uk/the-breed-standard.html).
Training for showing is usually done at ringcraft classes, though there are parts of the country where these are few and far between. The Kennel Club website should be able to help you find somewhere if local dog owners or the breeder of your puppy cannot help you. Helen is also happy to put you in touch with someone fairly local who shows and might help direct you.
Helen Kitchen, Events and Training Co-ordinator
Contact me via facebook,
Phone: 01904 448230
There is also more info on the links below!