I started working with police dogs in high school in 2005 in the SF Bay Area (Calif.). When I went to college in 2006, I wanted to continue my work with police dogs, but I moved Los Angeles so my police K9 connections did not exist.
I used the Internet to try to connect with some police K9 officers to try to open doors to training and ended up contacting some people in French Ring. I met a French Ring dog handler who invited me to come out to a training session. I did not have a dog at the time because I was in college, so I spent my training days watching, learning, and doing photography. I was even suited up to learn how to do French Ring decoy work. I learned more about dog training through sport work that I ever imagined possible.
Since graduating from college in 2010, I travelled Europe to learn how to train dogs. I worked with many clubs all over Western Europe (Holland, Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, England, and Ireland) to learn how to train dogs better. I also continued my training in California once I got back to the states.
To sum up what French Ring is, according to Wikipedia, “French Ring Sport is a dog sport involving jumping, obedience, and bite work. It is most similar to Belgian Ring and KNPV, but also sharing common elements with Schutzhund and Mondio Ring.
To participate in French Ring Sport, a dog must first pass the Certificate of Sociability and Aptitude for Work temperament test. French Ring Sport defines three earned levels, after earning a Brevet certificate for dogs of defense; Ring I, Ring II and Ring III. Each introduces progressively more difficult situations and makes greater demands from the dog. The trial is divided into three sections: Jumps, obedience, and protection. Obedience is emphasized in all three sections.
When competing in Ring, the dog has no collar or leash on at any time except during the heel on leash. No food rewards or physical corrections are allowed at any time while competing. Also, excessive praise or petting will result in a loss of general outlook points. Points for an exercise will be lost for multiple commands, incorrect commands, or failure of the dog or handler to perform the exercise correctly. Control is emphasized from the moment the dog/handler team walks onto the field, until they leave at the end,” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Ring_Sport. It is a very challenging sport for the dog, and for the handler, which makes each title earned a true success.
I use everything I know about French Ring training in my police dogs as well. Many thanks to Ruben Murietta of SteelTown Kennels (http://www.steeltownkennels.com/) located in the Los Angeles area to helping me with some of my dogs. Ruben and I train together when I go to Los Angeles. He does what I do – utilize aspects of sport training in police dog training. We work our sport dogs in warehouses, getting them used to doing street work. He, along with Oscar Mora in Pomona, California (http://www.nolimitdogtraining.com/los-angeles-dog-training), helped me majorly with a young dog sold to the police a few years ago. I made sure she had fabulous French Ring foundation work since she was originally going to be my French Ring competition dog, but when I was asked to sell her by her co-owner, I had to turn her into a street dog quickly. Ruben and Oscar helped me instill confidence in her to do building searches and car apprehensions, which she still utilizes today as a police dog.
I also utilize the training aspects of Schutzhund to help my dogs with obedience and bite work targeting. Schutzhund is a sport sharing characteristics of French Ring but alongside obedience and protection, Schutzhund also includes tracking. According to Wikipedia, “Schutzhund (German for "protection dog") is a dog sport that was developed in Germany in the early 1900s as a breed suitability test for the German Shepherd Dog. The test would determine if the dog displayed the appropriate traits and characteristics of a proper working German Shepherd Dog. Today, it is used as a sport where many breeds other than German Shepherd Dogs can compete, but it is a demanding test for any dog that few can pass.
Schutzhund tests dogs of all breeds for the traits necessary for police-type work. Dogs that pass Schutzhund tests should be suitable for a wide variety of tasks: police work, specific odor detection, search and rescue, and many others. The purpose of Schutzhund is to identify dogs that have or do not have the character traits required for these demanding jobs,” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schutzhund.
I started training with a Schutzhund club in my early years and still continue to do so.