|Many people believe that, once they buy their chosen breed and decide which discipline they wish to pursue (if any) with their new companion, the dog must stay with that particular area. The Cesky Terrier can not only be shown in the breed ring, but also be used for obedience, agility, junior handling as well as working. The Cesky’s ability to take part in a multitude of dog ‘sports’ may be due to their intelligence, or the fact that they will do anything for a tit-bit.
The Cesky can be easily trained in Obedience and responds well to praise both verbal and with food. They are a very intelligent breed, with many achieving awards in the Kennel Club Good Citizen Scheme, which although not obedience, assists owners in training their dog basic commands.
As Ceskys are a stubborn breed, they should be greatly praised when doing exercises that are correct, while heavy correction should not be taken as the Cesky will refuse to work.
Cesky puppies can easily pick up simple commands such as sit, stay and stand in a matter of weeks and this goes for older dogs too, even those who have only been shown. Harder commands such as stay can also be learnt quickly by building up short times in both the down and sit stay as well as the distance between the handler and the dog. This goes for the recall as well, where calling the dog from a short distance can be built up to longer distances. In addition to these simple tasks, many other exercises exist dependent on the experience of the dog.
Local dog clubs schedule obedience classes and dogs are entered in the class for which they are eligible, normally depending on their previous wins, Special pre-beginner classes allow for the absolute beginner handler and their dog, with on the lead heelwork and recall and shortened stays.
Many Cesky Terriers have passed their Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme award. These awards test not only the dog’s basic training but also the handler on the knowledge needed to be a responsible dog owner, with the need for an identification disc and poop scoop. The dog must walk controlled through a gate and stay for a period of one minute, be able to be groomed without a struggle (this is essential for the Cesky), and return to the handler. The handler is also questioned on the responsibility and care which they owe to their dog. When dogs and handlers pass this award they receive a certificate and rosette.
The Scheme is split into various sections (from Puppy Foundation to Gold) with increasing difficulty. Many Cesky’s have passed the Bronze award, including ones with no formal obedience training, while fewer have passed the Silver and Gold. However, all are easily passable with effort due to the commitment of the Cesky to their owner/handler.
Agility is not only fun and enjoyable, but also great exercise for dog and handler! With their intelligence and eagerness to please their handler, the breed is relatively easy to train in this discipline.
Although there are fewer Ceskys competing in agility than obedience, the breed has had many placings and one Cesky made the KCJO (now YKC) agility semi-finals.
Obstacles such as the A-frame, sea-saw, tunnels, weaves and jumps make this discipline great fun and requires lots of on-the-spot thinking while running (both dog and handler!)
Junior Handling is very similar to breed shows, and therefore is easy for the Cesky, providing it knows what it is doing in the show ring! While it is the handler that is being judged, the Cesky needs to work to complement the handler’s ability, and their passion to please their handler creates a formidable team.
In some cases dogs need to be used to working with different handlers. Although not a normal part of handling, some judges like handlers to swap dogs to assess handlers’ ability to relate to different breeds. The Cesky is described as a ‘reserved’ dog and extra socialisation with different people and dogs can be extremely useful.
Of course the Cesky makes a wonderful pet, and is an overall friendly dog and good with children. The principal reasons for the Cesky’s versatility is their eagerness to please their handlers, and their laid back approach to most things.
The laid back nature of the Cesky helps them become ideal dogs for Pets as Therapy (PAT), which is a programme that was set up for owners and their pets to visit retirement homes, hospices, nursing homes special needs school and a variety of other locations to bring happiness to the people and to allow them to have company. This scheme is run by volunteers and their pets who regularly visit people so they no longer feel isolated.
These animals help take away any bad memories or pain that the resident may have and gives them a distraction. The pets act as a stimulation for activity, allowing residents to pet and stroke animals creating exercise for those who are less active than others.
Before they can socialise with the elderly, they have to be temperament tested by PAT and be certificated by the vet, confirming their friendly nature. Foremost, dogs must be calm and friendly and have no sign of aggression or fear as well as being able to follow basic commands.
Ceskys are very easy-going and get on well with Residents. Although most patients know how to treat dogs, they still don’t seem to be worried with those who are more disturbed. They get on well with all patients, especially when they are given a biscuit by them with each visit.
More information about Pets as Therapy can be found at www.petsastherapy.org