Linda Calamia with Amida and Alida
v. Flandrischen Lowen
I have always enjoyed the performance events, working as
a team with my dog. In the late '70's I saw a group in the
park working their dogs in what I later learned was schutzhund.
I knew I would like to do something like this with my dog
but, not understanding the concept, I thought I should have
at least a UD on my dog so that he would be under total
control. Years later, on a trip to Europe, we were able
to visit some training clubs, talk to handlers and trainers,
and really see what the sport was all about. It is like
a triathelon. An ultimate test of man and dog working together
as a team. It is also a terrific breeding tool, allowing
a breeder to test all the major drives of the working dog.
Other protection sports have found favor with many but schutzhund
is very balanced in that it tests so many of the major drives
in a working dog. Another positive aspect is that it has
a wider base of acceptance and there is greater availability
of trials and clubs to train with.
do you choose your personal dogs?
We have been very lucky in this respect. We have been able
to import some excellent adults mainly due to friendships
we have developed in Europe. We also relied heavily on their
expert advise when the time came to choose a stud dog. We
place a lot of value in a balanced dog. A "V"
rated animal in conformation that is fit and capable of
doing the work for which it was bred. Balance is the key.
After visiting several kennels, shows and trials, we found
a highly respected breeder/judge whose dogs had a long history
of doing well in both conformation and working events. Our
foundation bitch, Amida v. Flandrischen
Lowen, was obtained from Jens Kollenberg / vom Norden
Stamm. In her pedigree you will find some of the top working
and show dogs of the time. She was a beautiful bitch with
very well balanced drives. She was very social with people
and was a great ambassador at club meetings and yet she
would hit as hard as any dog I've seen in protection. I
look for this same type of dog in puppy I plan to keep.
I put a lot of value in the temperament testing we do at
7 weeks and of course their daily interaction also plays
a part. Structure is also high on the list, again striving
Give me a timeline for a well bred
dog, competant owner, and good club without any distractions
or interruptions. From puppy to Schutzhund III. When it should
be on the rag, sleeve, BH, etc
you could have ideal conditions....an excellent dog, an
experienced trainer, and a good club nearby with competent
helper, it is feasible to get a Schutzhund III on a dog
by the time it is 2 years old. My first bitch, Amida did
this. Her former owner was Ottmar Vogel. Ulrika v. Adlercrest
gained all her titles from BH through Schutzhund III, IPO
III (and also had a litter) in 10 months, picking up some
top scores at SV and ADRK working trials. She was a mature
bitch (2 1/2) when she started and so was able to progress
at an accelerated pace. She was trained by Allison Kollenberg.
To what do you owe your great sucess?
A lot of hard work, breeding for the type of dog that we
like, and a bit of luck. It seems that there are a lot of
other people out there that appreciate that same type of
dog that we do. You will always find people that want extremes,
whether that be the gorgeous show dog or the working dogs
with extremely high drives. I want a dog that I can compete
with and be proud of. I want a dog that can be social and
be taken out in public without fear of lawsuits. I want
a dog that I know will protect me when out walking late
at night, I want a dog that is healthy, AND I want a dog
that is a pleasure to look at. Yes, I want to have my cake
and eat it too!!
is the general status of the American working Dobermann?
The "American" Doberman, for the most part, has
lost most of its working drives. Although all Dobermans
descended from the same root stock, the Doberman bred here
in America has for generations been bred only for the show
ring. A dog that could be crated for hours on end traveling
from one show to the next, a dog that would stand mesmerized
staring at a piece of liver for 10 minutes at a time, a
dog who would allow anyone to enter the motor home and take
him out to the show ring and a dog with an extremely elegant
neck, exaggerated rear angulation and a terrier tail set.
In the past few years though, Doberman enthusiasts who value
the working Doberman have been bringing in some excellent
stock from Europe and the Doberman as a working dog is being
reborn here in America.
What is the single most important thing
an enthusiast can do to support the American working Dobermann?
Working Doberman people are few and far between and it is
hard to make an impact by ourselves. It is good to get the
dogs out there competing to show the GSD folks, etc. what
a good Doberman can do, however, I think the greatest threat
to our dogs are the politicians and the public at large.
Anti dog legislation and problems with insurance and shipping
are escalating. We need to enlist a much larger support
group to protect our dogs and their future. There are a
lot of misconceptions of what a working dog is, even within
the Doberman community at large. We spend most of our time
training, trialing, and hanging out with like minded friends.
We need to get proactive, showing people everywhere that
a trained working dog is a good citizen. When "The
Great Schutzhund Debates" were going on in 1989. I
used to take Amida to DPCA chapter club meetings. I would
let her smooze with the members, begging cookies, pets,
etc. Then we would put on a videotape of her doing protection.
People couldn't get over the fact that the "attack
dog" they were seeing was the same dog they were petting.
She was a great ambassador. Right now we have a great opportunity
to rally support. There has been some renewed interest in
breeding working dogs since 9/11. AKC is actually showing
some willingness to support working dogs and they have the
power and the money to help us protect our dogs and their
heritage. This could all change quickly though with high
profile news stories of dog attacks. Just witness what happened
in Germany a few years ago after the sensationalized "pitbull
attack". We have to take the time from our busy schedules
to educate the masses and gain support for our dogs.
plans on competing on a national level (DVG etc) soon and
with which dogs?
Unfortunately, I rarely compete on a national level unless
it happens to be in my own backyard that year. Most of the
big competitions are in the Spring and Fall and my vacation
time is Summer and Christmas break. Most of the time I have
myself spread too thin, working 3 to 4 dogs at a time. It
is not a problem in titling the dogs but to bring a dog
up to the level necessary to compete successfully at a national,
you really need to focus on one dog at a time. I have, from
time to time, competed in regional events when they were
close by and went to the FCI championships in Belgium one
top DVG trainers have been incorporating electric into their
training what are your thoughts on it?
When used correctly, e-collars can be an effective training
aid. As with any method of training, you need to thoroughly
understand the proper use of the collar. I have used it
occasionally but not on a regular basis.
Have you seen any of the new American
protection sports (PSA, K9 Pro sport, street ring, etc) and
what are your thoughts on it?
I have not, as yet seen PSA or K9 Pro Sports but hope to
In all honesty what would you love to
change or improve about Dobermanns?
Generally Dobermans are pretty firey but what is lacking
in many is really thick nerves. If you can put all that
fire and drive with thick nerves you've got the ultimate.
Both Ebo v.d. Groote Maat and Falko de los Valientes
had the thick nerve costume - I would say they were "bomb-proof".
Ebo v.d. Groote Maat
of your buyers are outside the US. Are these show, working,
or pet homes on average?
Isha Isaba v. Adlercrest
Wylla Winona v. Adlercrest
I would say equally show/working. Some people bought primarily
for show and then found that they also had a great working
dog. In the US people who want European Dobermans are primarily
working people. In Europe the top show winners also need
working titles and the pups are doing extremely well in
these events. Isha Isaba v. Adlercrest, a young pup
sired by Pelangistamm Armin out of Wylla Winona
v. Adlercrest has just won her Latvian, Lithuanian,
Estonian, and Baltic Jr. Championship title and is also
doing well training for her IPO I. A daughter of Via
v. Adlercrest, Zonsierraz Zorina, was the second
highest scoring bitch to ever pass the Swedish Korning (the
Swedish Korung) this year and then she went Best in Show
at the Swedish Dobermann Club Show. Hargos v. Adlercrest
went BOB and Group 4 from the Young Dog Class at a big show
in Panama at only 13 months old. He is also actively being
trained in Personal Protection.
Via v. Adlercrest
Hargos v. Adlercrest
do you screen buyers and test puppies in order to make the
Interaction with the puppies on a daily basis finished off
with temperament testing gives us a pretty good picture
of what each puppy's potential will be. The trick is to
listen to what a prospective puppy buyer is telling you
about the type of dog they want. Sometimes what they
say they want and what they can really handle are two different
things so you have to probe and ask a lot of questions.
I learned that with our second "European"litter,
sired by Falko de los Valientes out of Kira v.
Norden Stamm. Everyone was asking for a really tough
dog. I got half of the pups back by the time they were 6
months old because they were TOO TOUGH. Experienced working
homes are great but sometimes a novice trainer turns out
to be a real diamond in the rough. I had some reservations
when Kyle Nunn bought Misha v. Adlercrest. Kyle turned
into a super trainer/handler competing with Misha at National
events and even going to Europe.
Let's say I am a buyer looking to
get a dog that won't get laughed off the field in Schutzhund.
How do I make a decision?
First you need to do your homework and find out as much
about the pedigree of the dogs you are considering. Just
because the sire or dam was a great working dog doesn't
mean the pup will be. You will get a lot more consistency
in a litter that is line bred than an outcrossed one. Outcrossing
is necessary, but you will bring in a lot more variables
to the equation. Working with a good club is of utmost importance.
You can have the best dog in the world but unless you get
the right training you won't go anywhere. A big part of
your decision also depends on your personal preference.
Some people like an extremely hard dog and have a few battles
along the way (hopefully while the dog is still fairly young)
to establish who is "alpha" in the pack. The type
of dog that I prefer is extremely trainable and has a high
desire to please. This, coupled with high prey, good defense
and a thick nerve costume makes for a dog that is flashy
and really enjoys working. Some good corrections are needed
but it isn't a constant battle over who is the leader.
are you a member of the UDC?
The working Doberman is definitely in the minority both
in the dog world and in the Doberman world. Originally,
the United Schutzhund Clubs of America catered to the working
enthusiast and didn't discriminate against other breeds.
However, they gradually added conformation shows, breed
surveys, and registration services for the GSD and then
discontinued accepting advertising (except in regards to
the AWDF section) from the alternate breeds. Today those
of us with alternate breeds are really second class citizens.
We pay full dues but only benefit from about 1/3 of the
services offered by USA. UDC was formed to promote and support
the Working Doberman. Yes, there are differences of opinion
and blow ups. The biggest problem that I see is that the
Sport Dog enthusiasts are so busy training and competing
that there is no time to run for office or serve on a committee.
There are people in every organization, whether it is PTA
or Girl Scouts, who are always out there volunteering to
do the grunt work. They spend their time and money running
the club and they get the brunt of criticism when they make
a decision which others disagree with. If you don't like
the way an organization is being run it is up to you to
become more proactive and work for change. The Doberman
fraternity is so small. We should be working to make a strong
cohesive group not splintering into smaller factions. Personally
I think the UDC needs to consolidate and do a few things
well. You can't be all things to all people but you can
offer something unique that people can't get elsewhere.
Schutzhund is a sport of exuberant
precision. The dogs have to be exact, yet look like they are
having the time of their lives. Do you use motivation (treats
toys etc) or compulsion or both?
I use both. When teaching an exercise I like to break it
into small components and use rewards when I get the desired
behavior. Once the dog understands what is expected I proof
the exercise and use corrections for undesirable behavior.
I think that the Doberman is a bit of a mercenary. He likes
a paycheck when he does his job well.