LIVING WITH A KUVASZ By A. Laurie Leslie Leevy O ur life with Kuvasz began more than 33 years ago, when the fi rst perfect, white fl u ff ball entered into our family of 2
adults, 2 young children, a cat, a rat and some birds. At the time my husband was a marathon runner attracted to the idea of a dog who could e ff ortlessly run long distances. We both were intrigued with a breed that could be good with children, was an exceptional guard and was able to act on his own initiative. I smile at that last phrase, for it has been the key to many interesting moments in our lives as Kuvasz owners. Our fi rst Kuvasz puppy, like all those that followed, was easily housebroken, clown-like in play and an early candi- date for socialization. I had met Kuvasz who had never left their homes and though exceptional guardians, they were also quite di ffi cult to manage in a mod- ern world where dogs must be driven to the vet and handled by strangers. Th e most experienced breeders were right: In our present-day world, one must social- ize a Kuvasz pup to everything one will want them to experience in adulthood. We were o ff to classes and out into the world immediately. A Kuvasz is a very smart dog, but not necessarily a dog that will do 20 repeti- tions of the same activity. One must be creative, fi rm, fair and positive while training a Kuvasz. Kuvasz can learn to work happily but will shut down in response to tireless overtraining or abuse. A Kuvasz wants a job and is happiest when in the middle of things, watch- ing the family or livestock and keeping an eye on its property. Th is is an animal that needs time, attention, training and a securely fenced environment.
Though a born working dog who competes in dog sports, Rebel Ridge Big Easy Music, CD RN CGC (Jazz)—is playful and affectionate.
Perhaps most interesting are the many things one does not have to teach a Kuvasz. Somewhere in the fi rst year of life, the young Kuvasz will begin guarding, which translates into growling and barking at any person or thing that is new and di ff erent. Our fi rst Kuvasz barked madly one morn- ing while staring out the window into the front yard. When we looked, we saw
that a large, fallen limb was the object of his consternation. Years later, we were awakened in the middle of the night to a wild barking epi- sode. My husband and I took turns going downstairs to investigate and seeing noth- ing, told the dog to hush. Th is Kuvasz, who was normally silent at night, quieted for a moment, until the racket began again;
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