Military policeman Pavel Petr is the best military working dog handler
The 34th year of the All Army Championship of the Best Dog Handler and Dog of the Defence Department took place from 23rd to 26th September. The competition was revived after ten years and its organisation was under the auspices of the Director of the Military Health Agency, the Brigadier General Zoltán Bubeník. Fifteen dog handlers, not only from the Army of the Czech Republic and the Military Police, but also the Prison Service and the Customs Administration, competed for the title. Winners‘ Cups were handed over by the Chief of the General Staff of the Army of the Czech Republic, the Army General Aleš Opata.
They competed in six categories, the best shooter, scent work, general training, combined arms training, defence and guard, and the Award of Sergeant Major, in memoriam, Tomáš Procházka and, of course, the overall ranking.
The categories were selected according to the tasks that the military working dog handlers and their dogs perform in the service. “We have guard dogs when the dog itself guards the position, and patrol dogs when the animal works with the dog handler in patrol. Moreover, we train dogs to search for weapons, explosives and drugs. Concerning the dog handlers, they have to be primarily military professionals – that is the reason why the categories, such as combined arms training or the best shooter are not missing,” one of the main organizers of the competition, Major Pavel Říha, explained.
Apprehension of a shooter and wading
The dog handlers and their dogs had to show their skills and teamwork in the situations, such as apprehension of a shooting person or intruder with the assistance of a helicopter in the hanging position that illuminated the place of apprehension. They also demonstrated the mutual confidence while moving in the field, including, wading, which proved to be the least popular discipline for some dogs.
The dog handler of the crew of Dobronin from the Tábor Military Police, Sergeant Pavel Petr, with his four-year-old Belgian Shepherd Messi maintained the absolute domination of the competition throughout the entire time. Apart from the absolute victory, the Sergeant Petr became the winner of four other categories and finished second in the category of the best shooter.
The revival of the competition pleased
The revival of the competition – despite its complexity – attracted a large response from the competitors. And the organizers felt satisfaction, too, regardless of the difficult preparations. “It is extremely logistically demanding to organize such an event, even with the number of 15 dogs. That is why we used the premises of the military airport Sedlec u Náměšti, which allowed us to accommodate such a number of dogs and, at the same time, provided adequate training facilities,” added Pavel Říha.
The quality of competition was underlined by the participation of professional figurants who take part in competitions at world levels. This was also true for a group of arbitrators that were reinforced by professional dog trainers, who assess prestigious competitions, including the World Championship.
The relationship between the dog and dog handler is unique
“The ten-year competition pause showed us how fundamentally the service dog training has changed and, at the same time, confirmed that some things, such as the unique relationship between the dog and the dog handler remains unchanged, concluded the 34th year of the Dog Training Championship the Chief Veterinary Surgeon of the Army of the Czech Republic, Miroslav Vopršal. “I firmly believe that the 35th annual event will be organized in a shorter time horizon,” added Vopršal in the end.