Dog trainer Uwe Friedrich offers training to become a “golf companion”. “Actually it should be the perfect symbiosis,” thought Uwe Friedrich secretly when two new clients told him that they had given up their hobby of golf with a heavy heart. It wasn’t because of health problems, but because they got a dog.
“It was inconclusive for me why you have to give up golf when you get a dog. Because when you play golf you are outside, you have exercise and the dog can be there,” recalls the dog trainer. A short time later, Uwe Friedrich met the manager of the Hammetweil Golf Club, Frank-Hagen Spanka.
Soon the topic of “golf companion” was in the room, and a common training concept was eagerly discussed. With the result that the dog expert first started playing golf. “I don’t want to offer anything in my dog school where I can’t stand behind it myself and overlook the problems that dog owners can face,” he explains.
In the meantime, Uwe Friedrichs not only has several years of golf practice, he has also made countless dogs fit for the golf course. Because it is precisely the inadequate upbringing and lack of discipline of many dogs that are to blame for the fact that four-legged friends still do not have access to many golf courses. The now enthusiastic golfer hopes to be able to change this in the long term by setting a good example and setting a good example.
A golf companion dog must not be disturbed. © Stock.adobe.com/Stefan Körber
In order not to disrupt golf, the first training sessions always take place on the grounds of the dog school. The offer ranges from day and weekend seminars in groups to individual training. Only when the elementary things are in place is obedience training refined on the court.
Since dogs must always be on a leash on golf courses, they are of course not allowed to pull the leash if it is to be a relaxed round for the owner. In addition, the sporty companion should not hunt golf balls, rabbits, deer or game birds and should not show any aggression towards people or other species. He must always stay close to his human and wait patiently in the place assigned to him while the master or mistress carries out the next blow.
And although humans and dogs march through nature for hours, piles of dogs are a stumbling block on golf courses too. That is why the well-behaved sports comrade learns to do his business at a command – which, of course, is carefully disposed of by the owner with the plastic bags he has brought with him. An exercise that is also beneficial in the city or when traveling, where there is sometimes little green space available.
Dog poo is taboo on the golf course! © Stock.adobe.com/PiyawatNandeenoparit
So that the four-legged friend does not get excited when the owner is happy about a successful shot, the golf companion dog learns to only react to clear announcement and resolution signals. If the clearance signal does not come, the owner can do somersaults, and he still remains unmoved. If the signal is given, he can of course be happy with his human. “Did I get the dog across correctly during the training when I am satisfied with him and when I am dissatisfied, and if he knows exactly when he is being addressed, he will not relate it to himself if the owner is angry about a devious ball” , says the former service dog handler of the Stuttgart police.
Despite all these ifs and shoulds, the dog’s needs are of course not neglected either. “If you teach him to wait to be rewarding, he can even enjoy it,” says Uwe Friedrich. “We start the training with short sequences and build in a retrieval game at the beginning after every exercise, later after every second and then alternately after the second and eighth holes, until the dog can go 18 holes. We prefer to work with a feed dummy or like in the rescue dog work with a small piece of fabric as a gift and clicker. “
Since the dog owner initially has to concentrate on the dog during training, the quality of the golf game will of course initially suffer. With increasing practice, however, humans and dogs will soon understand each other without words and enjoy the time together. “The whole thing also has a pleasant side effect,” says Uwe Friedrich. “The golf assistance dog, who has learned to accompany its owner over 18 holes on the fairway, rough and green while pitching, putting or chipping, will also be a reliable partner in everyday life.”