So long! Helka’s litter
Aug 08, 2012 – 11:17 AM | No Comment

We are proud to announce the birth of three little miracles (Galga, Gercse and Gemenc) on August 31 by Chankazz Helka and Galla-Hegyi Nótás! Read more on the page for our G litter!

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Home » Working pumis, Recommended

Agility and pumis

Submitted by on Apr 08, 2010 – 4:40 PMNo Comment
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Many thanks to Andrea Szabó for her assistance in writing this article.

Dog agility is a sport in which a dog moves through an obstacle course with the guidance of his or her handler. Originally loosely modeled on equestrian stadium jumpers competitions, the sport has evolved its own additional obstacles, scoring systems and performance ideals. Dogs run off leash, so the handler’s only controls are voice and body language, requiring exceptional obedience training of the animal. In competition, both accuracy and speed are important.

Chankazz Helka
So how do pumis fare in this canine sport? Dogs of medium build that come from breeds and/or lines of breeding that have retained their original working abilities tend to be the most successful in agility competitions. The pumi, a well-known workaholic shepherd dog, has all that it takes to become a champion:

  • physically: an athletic build with good body proportions, a combination of speed, cornering, and proprioception (knowing where all the parts of your body are),
  • mentally: motivation and responsiveness both to verbal and hand signals, and
  • emotionally: a playful character full of enthusiasm and a desire to please its owner.

As good as it sounds, training a pumi for agility is not without difficulties. Although it takes a while to exhaust your pumi physically, their concentration often erodes due to their easily excitable and and fervent nature. They become hot-headed and almost impossible to control through the course. The best way to deal with your overzelaous pumi is to take frequent breaks to avoid such outbursts of excitement. Train for short periods several times a day.

Also, pumis find it extremely difficult to stay put in front of the first obstacle when every muscle in their body is twitching to start running the course. They often express their frustration by barking incessantly, sneaking closer and closer or even jumping over the first obstacle and then trurning back in mid-air when the owner is not looking! To avoid getting disqualified with your pumi even before you started your run, make sure you teach your pumi the stay command thoroughly. Now that is difficult. You may find yourself “escorting” your pumi back to the startline ever so often.

Next, dealing with contact obstacles would be simple for any dog with the build and without the vehemence of a pumi. While their relatively small pace ensures that at least one of their feet touch the safety contact zone at the ends of each board, their courage and athletic nature often makes them jump off any heights without having second thoughts. You will probably find this the most difficult aspect of agility training with your pumi, so it is very important to teach a solid, reliable 2ON/2OFF contact behavior from an early age. In this position, the dog is taught to stop at the end of the contact with its forefeet on the ground and its hind feet on the contact. The 2 on / 2 off is a clear, specific position that most dogs find easy to learn and perform. It also requires the dog to wait until you catch up and release him, which allows for better handling of subsequent sequences.. This is how Andrea and Helka train with the 2ON/2OFF method.

As a breed of medium size, pumis are built to compete in the medium category but you will find that they do not have any problems with maxi-sized obstacles either. Considering the standard height of pumis, you are more likely to get a medium agility dog if you buy a female (standard size: 38-44 cm), rather than a male (standard size: 41-47) pumi. To make things difficult, it is almost impossible to tell the adult size of a pumi puppy – the size of the parents and the actual size of the puppy compared to its littermates might give you some clues, but you should be prepared for anything, really. The breed itself is not yet as homogeneous and “predictable” as to jump into conclusions about the height of dogs.

Agility champion pumi MiklósBut do not get disheartened if your pumi overgrows the midi category – just think of Miklos, the most successful pumi in agility up to now, who – due to the different classification in his time – achieved his champion status in the maxi category. A healthy pumi should not have any problems with tackling even the highest obstacles, although – just as is the case with any dog i any category – due care must be taken not to strain his muscles and joints too much.

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