By Rudey Downey
Special to the Star
It’s not very often that you hear of people making a Scutzhund competition a part of a holiday, but that was the case in Deer Lake last weekend.
Angie Parsons, a member of the Newfoundland Schutzhund club since 2010, said that a man judging the competition flew in from Germany for the event.
He was coming to Deer Lake to watch the Newfoundland Schutzhund club host the eastern regional qualifier for eastern Canada. Competitors came from P.E.I., New Brunswick, Quebec, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.
The competitors and their dogs with the highest scores in the regional competition will go on to the Schutzhund nationals in Calgary, Alta. There is a western regional qualifier and central qualifier as well as this one.
Parsons estimates that around 55 people attended the event and says Schutzhund is a sport for large dogs but the breeds vary.
The sport isn’t mainstream but tests dogs to see if they can face challenges like doing search-and-rescue work, odour detection as well as being able to do police work.
The fields are set up with ramps and shelters while dogs try to find people behind the shelters and do other tasks such as jumping the ramps with objects in their mouths, at the trainer’s command.
This is the first time Newfoundland has ever hosted an eastern regional qualifier. Last year the event was held in New Brunswick.
There are three different stages of a Schutzhund competition: tracking, obedience and protection. The tracking stage was held in Cormack, where Eric Spears, who owns land in Cormack, donated his fields for the dogs to track on. The obedience and protection stages of the event were held in Bowater’s field in Deer Lake.