Dog trains man

Friday, December 20, 2013

Wizard Bernard, and his Hovawart, Boef

I am very excited to introduce you to one very active Hovawart Wizard, Bernard!

Bernard trains IPO and agility, and takes wonderful photo's to show for it as well.

Thank you for participating in the Hovawart School of Witchcraft & Wizardry!

Hovawart Wizard: We are a family from the city of Almere, Netherlands. Consisting of wife Mirjam, daughters Kim and Stacey and son Demian all around 20 years of age and me, Bernard. In daily life I sell IT equipment, Networking and security gear.

Hovawart: In August 2011 we amended the family with Boef, a sturdy blond Hovawart boy.

Boef doesn't really have a blog or webpage. He is just very photogenic and I happen to like shooting pictures a lot. As a result he has quite some pictures published on Flickr.

We got Boef from a family which took breeding Hovawart's to an almost scientific level. The father was selected carefully from far away in Germany, mum Layca and the pubs were taken great care of and meticulous attention was paid to socialization.

To our surprise we couldn't claim a preference for a pup based on the looks (I wished for a Black&Tan since I did not want our pup to look like the Golden Retrievers we had before). Instead the breeders decided which pup would go to which owner based on a behavioral test and the daily situation and prior experience with dogs of the new owners. As it turned out we got the first-born, blond and most lively and sizable blond boy pup "Bono van de Gouwestreek". We called him Boef ("villain/rascal" which turned out to be quite characteristic).

As said we previously had 2 Golden Retrievers. Our Boris passed away about a year earlier. We thought we were decent and experienced dog people. But Boef managed to surprise us. Whilst I love the initiative, intelligence and independence of him some family members really had a hard time adjusting to the complete difference in character and behavior. He is extremely kind and loving for his family. The big "but" though is that a family with kids in their late teens or early twenties gets many friends visiting. To which he turned out to be very guarding. Barking and impressing the sh*&^ out of friends visiting suddenly became a problem. By putting him in the bench when visitors come and only releasing him after 10 minutes with instructions to the guests on how to behave has overcome this problem to a large extend.

Still I would never want another breed. I love the character and the laser focus on his boss and his pack. At least twice a week we go on a bike ride, he runs 25 kilometers easily. Twice a week we train IPO. Last 2 months I dropped the man-work because we attend to a special socialization-training. He still is too bullish to some dogs in the neighborhood and some dogs he runs in to when running free on the beach.

My advise to other Wizards & Muggles is: don’t mistake size and appearance for self-esteem. Much of the defensive behavior our dog demonstrates is caused by my misconceptions that given his size and appearance he can take care of himself with other dogs and people. I learned the hard way that that's not true at all. Our Hovis have no idea of their size and appearance and submit to the same dog hierarchy as a small dog. We still have to stand up for them and take care of them when meeting new individuals.


Hovawart Wizards, like Bernard, try to provide real life information for Muggles - those not yet touched by the Hovawart's magic - to learn more about Hovawarts in the Hovawart School of Witchcraft & Wizardry. A place where Muggles can read how we play, what kind of training and activities we undertake. What makes Hovawarts special to us, and how they made us into Wizards. The role they came to play in our lives. And the hard times we shared. Helping Muggles to make the best choice possible if a Hovawart could be the Magical Creature for them, or at least what to expect.


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