THE VERSATILE APPENZELLER SENNENHUND BY AUDREY LYKE A ppenzellers, a traditional farm dog, make for excellent companions and pets. It is necessary, however, to provide sufficient activity, leadership, and training. FAMILY COMPANION AND EXERCISE COACH
The Appenzeller is empathetic and loyal, and he makes a good companion dog. He will guard the home and alert you to any unusual activity. Daily excursions and playtime or training are needed, and a large, fenced yard is recommended. This is a dog that will keep you active; many owners consider their Appenzeller their best exercise coach. They are formidable companions for walks and hiking. Most of them love a dip in a stream or a good swim. The dogs are gener- ally good with children within the family, enjoying play and forming strong emotional bonds. However, interactions should be supervised, as they may jump up if not trained otherwise. The dogs are smart, eager to learn, and easily motivated. One chal- lenge heard from owners is that these loyal dogs are, by nature, some- what suspicious of strangers. It is important for breeders and owners to provide early socialization and to commit to continued socializa- tion activities throughout the dog’s career. VERSATILE WORKING DOG Appenzellers can excel in a variety of dog sports. This working dog is an all-arounder. More than any other dog, he is able to do any kind of work with his bright and joyful eagerness to learn. Among North American owners, agility has been the most popular venue. Owners have also participated in herding, conformation, scent work, rally, obedience, tricks, parkour, schutzhund, and freestyle. Owners who participate in these sports with their Appenzeller dogs find it very rewarding. The breed community would like to see more owners participate. The Appenzell Mountain Dog Club of America ( www. appenzellers.org ) provides forums for owner discussion and support. OBEDIENCE AND RALLY Obedience is a great activity for Appenzeller owners. Beginning with the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy program and moving on to Canine Good Citizen (CGC) is achievable for most any owner. Obedience training fosters the handler/dog relationship that will be needed both for obedience titles and for competition in other venues. Appenzeller dogs are often hyper-alert to changes in their environment, and the added relationship and training from obedience work can help with focus. That said, the dogs are smart, eager to please, and can mas- ter the most rigorous criteria to achieve high scores. In Switzerland, Appenzellers have been trained as guide dogs for the blind. Owners also participate in Rally; course variations contribute to keeping the activity interesting and fun for these smart dogs.
CH Hektor Blässhunde USA CM RE (Owner/Handler Paula Webber)
Hummer Queen Elsa CGC TKN (Owners Steve and Audrey Lyke)
292 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, NOVEMBER 2021
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