Dog trainer Leiferder doesn’t think everything about a dog license is optimal

Dog trainer Leiferder doesn’t think everything about a dog license is optimal

Leiferde.Violent attacks by large dogs dominated the news across the country a good ten years ago. The children were seriously injured, the dogs were euthanized. The state of Lower Saxony reacted. Such terrible messages should be a thing of the past, another goal was to improve the welfare of animals through more experience on the part of the owner. Gina Hasenfuss from Leiferde also contributed from the beginning.

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In 2011, a law was passed that is still much discussed – a dog license. About ten years have passed. Since July 1, 2013, everyone who buys a Dachshund, Mastiff or Doberman is required to pass an exam for a dog handler’s license. Gina Hasenfuss accompanies teams of humans and dogs that must pass a test to obtain a cynologist’s license. Interview with the head of the dog translation school.

About ten years of dog driving licenses in NS – in your view, have the goals of fewer bites and more experience for dog owners been met?

Gina Hasenfuss: Biting attacks are unnoticeable. Therefore, the numbers are unknown. They often run in families. Especially due to isolation during the Corona period, dogs are often no longer used to strangers. And if a dog burps in the family, it is rarely reported. Dangerous dogs that have attracted the attention of the public are becoming known. And then the owners are required to lead their dogs in a muzzle and on a leash. In addition, the experience must be confirmed by a test of character. There is also a hefty tax increase for dangerous dogs.

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Dog license coming soon

With few exceptions, in Lower Saxony every dog ​​owner, regardless of breed, must obtain a cynologist’s license. Animals also need to be microchipped so that their origin can be determined if necessary. They must be registered with a central registry and liability insurance is required so that the owner can pay for any damage caused by the animal.

Procedure: Before buying a dog, you must pass a theory test. There are 35 questions in total, the examiner can also take the test online. Topics include: fear, aggression, learning, health, attitude, caring, race.

Practice Test: The dog must be at least twelve months old. Basic commands such as sit, lie down, stand, call back, check ears, teeth and paws without protest of the animal, drive on a leash, face situations with strollers, walkers, bicycles and cars. Owners must show that they can guide their dogs reliably, recognize dangerous situations, and are able to prevent danger.

Cost: Practical and theoretical exams from 40 euros and more.

Well done: Julia Hasenfus demonstrates the stance - the dog must keep a distance.

Well done: Julia Hasenfus demonstrates the stance – the dog must keep a distance.

You offer training and exams yourself, since when?

Gina Hasenfuss: I’ve been participating since I got my license as a cynologist, about ten years.

How many exams have you already passed?

Gina Hasenfuss: The trainer has been taking exams ever since the dog handler's license came out.

Gina Hasenfuss: The trainer has been taking exams ever since the dog handler’s license came out.

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Gina Hasenfuss: I didn’t count it. But theoretical tests are documented, it would be necessary to check. I usually do two or three exams a week. Every Tuesday there are practical tests in the Schlosssee and in the pedestrian zone, and every Thursday there are theory tests which I can also take online.

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Have there been dog owner teams that have failed?

Gina Hasenfuss smiles: They always prepared well.

How often can you retake the exam?

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Gina Hasenfuss: There is no limit. Thus, the dog handler’s license is not fully developed in this regard.

Dog driving license VDH

Udo Copernicus, a spokesman for the German Kennel Club (VDH) based in Dortmund, confirms that a dog handler’s license and therefore a certificate of examination is required by law only in Lower Saxony and Baden-Württemberg. But Copernicus also talks about the “VDH dog license”. This training offer operates on a voluntary basis and is comparable to a course, but according to Copernicus, it “does not have any legal significance.” According to the spokesman, the VDH driver’s license is “an examination for the man-dog team.” Copernicus sees this course as a seminar run across the country by VDH cynological sports clubs, which was founded in 2011 and has 650,000 members. A VDH driving license is the beginning of preparation for further courses. According to Copernicus, the test is not yet very rigorous. He compares: “If, during the later companion dog test, the dog is required to remain still as if it were tightly tied, this is not considered as closely in the VDH dog driver’s license test.”

The number of dogs is said to be steadily increasing, and not just after the coronavirus. How high do you rate the number of unregistered owners who keep an animal without registration, without a driver’s license, without insurance?

Gina Hasenfuss: Someone was talking about 50 percent recently. This is probably too high. I think 20-30 percent.

Not everyone needs to take this driver’s license. For dog trainers or pet owners, hunters or veterinarians, relevant experience is required and they do not need to take the test. People who have kept a dog for at least two years in the last ten years without any problems are also exempt from the dog license requirement. How do you see this regulation?

Gina Hasenfuss: Maybe someone made the same mistakes with the first dog as they did with the current animal with the kennel, the chain, the newspaper punches. This is not covered in the dog license requirements. In addition, some dogs require at least three years for their social maturity and appropriate training. It also doesn’t match the two years required to obtain a cynologist’s license.

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There is still much to be learned: the young bitch is being prepared for the practical part of obtaining a male license.

There is still much to be learned: the young bitch is being prepared for the practical part of obtaining a male license.

After the introduction of driving licenses for dogs, Lower Saxony was highly regarded. Which countries followed suit, and was there even a need to introduce the much-discussed canine license in Lower Saxony?

Gina Hasenfuss: In addition to Lower Saxony, since last year a dog license has also been mandatory in Baden-Württemberg under a similar scheme. The advantage of the test is greater animal sensitivity due to experience gained and therefore greater animal welfare. And although some complain about the test under the motto “Children’s driver’s license does not exist,” after passing the test, you can also hear “I didn’t do it stupid.”

Hilke Kottlik

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