My favorite breed is the Rottweiler.
Dmitry Dudukin is 44 years old and lives in Moscow, Russia. He graduated from the University of Economics and Statistics of Moscow. He has been working in an investment and management company for last twenty years. Together with his Rottweiler Cid vom Rottberg they became the World Champions of the ADRK World Family in 2015 (best tracking and best obedience), the IFR World Champions in 2016 (best tracking and best protection) and the Champions of the Grand Prix in Rottweil in 2015 (best obedience and tracking).
Dmitry, you are the IFR 2016 World Champion. Is this result your biggest achievement in dog sport so far?
It is the result of many years of our training. But I think that our biggest achievement in competitions within the Rottweiler breed is to become the Champion of both the IFR and the ADRK World Family.
How old were you when you got involved in dog sport and what was your first dog like?
My first dog appeared in my house 20 years ago and it was a female Rottweiler. My wife got involved in IPO sport with her. I had time only for work during those years. But I learned what the IPO dog sport was. When time came to buy a new dog in 2004, a new female Rottweiler called Welldan Dolce Vita arrived in our home. We decided that I would become her handler. This was the starting point in the dog sport for me. We competed a lot in IPO and IPO-FH with Dolce Vita and we had reached satisfying results for the beginners. We won many competitions in Russia and we took part in the IFR Championships as well as in the Grand Prix in Rottweil.
Have you always owned Rottweilers?
Yes. I like this breed very much. The dogs are always on the first place for me, the dog sport is on the second.
Why did you choose this breed? Why do you like the Rottweiler and how popular is this breed in Russia?
I am very comfortable with Rottweilers. I like many breeds but the Rottweiler is my favourite breed. I love the way those dogs look, the way they work and how they play… There are many Rottweilers in Russia, but unfortunately most of them have never been involved in any kind of training. There are recently only about four of five Rottweilers with IPO 3 in Russia.
I remember you competing in IPO 1 category in German Rottweil Grand Prix. Do you train abroad and do you take interest and monitor dog sport in other countries?
We are very friendly with Milan Skoric, who was the organiser of the Rottweil Grand Prix (GP) until this year. I competed in each GP of Rottweil from 2010 to 2015. In 2014, we decided with my trainer to compete in IPO 2 category because my dog was too young (2.5 years old). I sometimes train a little with my friends in Germany before the competitions, but most of my training is done in Russia. Russian handlers training IPO learn a lot from friends from many other countries.
How is actually Russian dog sport doing? Are Russian dog sport handlers organized anyhow and if so, how? Do you have enough dog clubs, training grounds, helpers and good people around with whom you can do your training? Or do you have to travel far and the situation is difficult?
I live in Moscow and we have some good clubs with good people there. When we are looking for the tracking fields, we sometimes have to drive hundreds of kilometres one way. There are experienced dog trainers, but not everywhere in Russia. Our country is too big. Some people have to travel more than five hundred kilometres one way for the protection training.
To what extent is IPO dog sport a usual and favourite activity for dog owners in your country?
Russian dog sport progressed well over last decade. But in general, only a few dog owners are interested in dog training. Most dogs are going to the dog show or sleep at home.
Dog sport has changed a lot during last decades in the world. That transformation was quite significant in some countries, e.g. the Czech Republic, but in other countries there has not been such a difference. Have you noticed any changes in Russia?
I think that progress in dog training has accelerated thanks to the international exchange of experience. On the other hand, significant changes in dog training methods were also caused by the pressure of the legislation. In Russia, we do not have any strict rules and so much pressure on dog trainers from the legislation as in some European countries.
Dmitry, back to your dogs and your way of training. Well, how do you train your dogs? 🙂 I mean, what training methods do you use and what kind of motivation?
I use any available kinds of motivation. I prefer using food motivation with a young dog. When the dog gets to know how to do the exercise correctly, I use variable motivation depending of dog’s feeling at that moment.
Do you have a special trick or method that you are using in your training?
I think that every handler uses many different little tricks. However, I’m not a fan of a special methodology such as a clicker training for example. Maybe, I’m simply not experienced enough for that, but I really enjoy learning different methods and using them in some situations. I like analysing what my dog needs at that moment.
How many dogs have you already had? How many Rottweilers and what were they like? I mean their character traits. 🙂 What was it like to train them and how were they different?
I had three dogs including Cid. All three were Rottweilers. Their characters differed a lot. The first female was really extremely fast for a Rottweiler, she liked running very much and had a super drive to retrieve. The second female is my close friend. She is ready to do anything for me and especially if I have a sausage for her. She is a very good tracking dog and she can work in extremely hard conditions. Cid is a serious male from the day he was born. He really likes working. Cid has a good inner motivation for tracking and he is crazy about protection work.
Are you getting a young dog ready for career in dog sport?
Now I have my female Dolce Vita, who is twelve years old and Cid. I’m not prepared to have more than one dog in training at the same time. The quality of training will be influenced by the quantity of dogs. Therefore, I’m not thinking about a young dog for now.
Are you also a breeder? Do you have a kennel and do you attend dog shows?
No. I’m not ready for this. I spend all my free time training my dog. We participated in the dog shows with Cid several times, because the owner of a brood bitch and mother of Cid´s puppies asked us to do so. But I’m not happy to be there.
Are there any dreams for you in dog sport that you are following or do you just let things come and you do not have many future plans?
I achieved my long-held goal to become the World Champion this year. Nevertheless, I know that we can do even better. Therefore we will keep training and competing. We will find new good friends in IPO world. I think that my dream for now is to show the power of a Rottweiler in all-breed competitions.
It seems to be a long way to travel anywhere from Russia. Do you go by car or do you fly to the competitions? What was the furthest country you have travelled to trial?
I prefer travelling by car. I compete in Europe several times per season. One way of such trip is about 2,500 km. This year, I competed at the IFR WCH just a week after the FCI WCH. I travelled from Slovenia directly to Finland and the whole two-week journey was about 7,000 km.
Actually, how many great competitions have you competed in so far and with what dogs?
I competed three times at the IFR WCH, three times at the ADRK WCH, we participated once in the GP of Rottweil and once at the FCI WCH with Cid. We competed twice at the IFR WCH and four times at the GP of Rottweil with Dolce Vita.
How are you enjoying being on the competition field at that moment? Do you get nervous? You are mostly smiling and it looks like you are ok, calm and cool throughout the trial. 🙂
I’m really fine being on the competition field. I’m happy to be there and to show results of our successful training.
How did it feel to stand on the podium as the IFR World Champion in Finland?
I enjoyed it very much. It is our greatest success and a confirmation of our good performance. The dog is in a really good condition and I’m sure that we deserved to win.
Please, could you recollect that competition and comment on each phase for us?
The Championship started for us by obedience. The first part of it was in our normal style of work. Unfortunately, we made a few big mistakes during the retrieves, which cost us many points. I was sure that this performance limited our chances to get on the podium.
After one-hour waiting, we went to do our protection round. It was fine and without any big mistakes. The protection judge was really good and strict. However, our score from protection (93 points) seemed not sufficient to compensate our low points from obedience.
Next day we were in the last tracking group. Some handlers were really nervous because the field was not easy. They were looking for the ways how to have another draw of the track. We had to start our track only within three minutes and without a normal time left to prepare the dog due to the new draw. The field was not so easy, but was much better than our field at the FCI WCH previous week. On the last leg of our track I realized that the podium actually might not be so far away for us as we thought. Cid has been very good at tracking during this season. We took part in five competitions and he got best tracking award in three of them.
Is there anything regarding the IFR WCH 2016 that you feel sorry about? Of course, I am talking about your performance.
I feel sorry about not showing our otherwise excellent retrieves and jumps. All other parts of our performance were not so bad.
Which phase do like as a dog handler the most and why? And which phase does your Cid vom Rottberg enjoy the most?
I like all three phases. I’m happy when our trainings are successful. My dog also likes all three phases, but he is absolutely happiest during protection.
This year, you took part in two World Championships. The FCI Championship of all breeds in Slovenian Nova Gorica preceded the IFR WCH and there was just one week between those prestigious trials. How did Cid manage to cope with the two difficult competitions and how did you cope? Have you not been worried a bit to enter those top events which followed tightly one another?
We participated in three World Championships this year. You forgot the ADRK WM in Rottweil in October. But you are right, just one week gap between two competitions is a special situation. Of course, it would be better if we had the possibility to train more times between the competitions, but my dog was ready for that situation. We had finished the competition at the FCI WCH on Saturday and we had the opportunity to train tracking twice before leaving to Finland. Our performance in Finland confirmed that this preparation was sufficient for us.
What was it like to compete among other breeds? How are you satisfied with your performance at the FCI IPO WCH?
I was very happy and satisfied with our results from obedience and tracking. Especially from tracking, where due to the draw we were tracking on a very difficult field. However, our performance was better than performances of many other dogs. When I compete in Rottweiler breed competitions, we support our favourite breed. All dogs have the similar physical characteristics. At the FCI WCH, on the other hand, we compete with many super dogs and super handlers. This is a good experience and a perfect opportunity to understand better what is the level of performances which the leaders in the IPO world have. Then, you can set new targets and plans for yourself. I’m not worried that my level is somehow lower now. I think it is a pity, that Cid was the only Rottweiler competing in this year´s FCI WCH. I do have plans to participate in the FCI WCH again next year.
What are your future plans and goals in dog sport?
Our plans are to train and to improve. To take part in competitions and show that we are able to achieve great results.
Do you have a life motto or a message for our readers?
Life is what you make it.
The very last question – how are you going to celebrate Christmas? Are your dogs going to be given any presents? 🙂
I was born in the USSR, where we did not have the tradition to celebrate Christmas. We have Christmas holidays nowadays, but not on the same date as in Europe. Some people are celebrating this festival on the 7th of January. Our tradition is to celebrate the New Year and it is really popular in Russia – people are eating and drinking all the night. I don’t like this very much, but we also have the traditional dinner at midnight, and all our dogs are given a good piece of meat.
Interview: Draha Mašková
Edited by: Eva Fiedlerová
Photo: Tereza Suchánková, Club DOGCiTY, Moscow and authors archive.