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Raising a Kuvasz

Every person is different, every dog ​is different, and therefore it is not possible to set in stone detailed advice and practices regarding the upbringing of the Kuvasz. There are, however, some guidelines, the implementation of which can provide clues on the subject.


As with all breeds, in the case of the Kuvasz, an important starting point is the purpose for which this particular dog was bred. This basic information should not be ignored when buying or adopting a dog. Although the world and the human way of life have changed a lot over the centuries, the basic instincts of dogs and dog breeds have not been erased. A terrier with the right character still behaves like a terrier today, the golden retriever is still driven by its hunting instinct, and it is the same with the Kuvasz. The Kuvasz is a working dog, therefore only expectations that are consistent with the character of the breed should be placed on it. He cannot be expected to suppress his properly functioning protective instinct. In his area he can't be expected to greet those who approach with impure intentions with a happy tail wag. Throughout it's work, this dog was designed for continuous and close cooperation with humans, so it cannot be expected that it accepts and tolerates the lack of human contact. The Kuvasz protects the area, patrols and works together with humans.

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Therefore, the Kuvasz is protective, active, needs a lot of exercise and is attached to its owner. The same way as it has carried these basic duties for centuries. In connection with these, the Kuvasz is not suitable for keeping in an apartment, isolated, chained or locked in a confined space. This destroys the Kuvasz, just like other dog breeds, and it can become aggressive.


On the other hand, it is suitable for territory protection, persistent work, traveling large areas, living together with other animal species and is family-oriented. "Keep the animal according to its nature," said the old Hungarians. Keep the dog as a dog, the Kuvasz as a Kuvasz. This is the basis of his health, balance and harmonious coexistence with the breed.


"A dog is an animal and not a child. The owner is not a mother or a father, and not a herd member, but an owner. If there is a system in the dog's life, then he is not bored or destructive, but he is also able to relax and live a family life. He can adapt, but only if there are rules. It's still cute when your puppy bites you at a young age, but when it weighs 30 kg, it will become a serious problem. You have to set boundaries from a young age, and then you can live everyday in harmony. (C. Rebeka, dog school manager, Hungary)


"The first thing I taught each of them was: 'No!' The "Law of No" must be taught to the dog. It took at least two months, when we had to teach the very first dog that when my husband pulls up in the morning with his car, the Kuvasz puppy should not run out when the gate is open. If it's a human, if it's a dog, if it's a cat outside, not even then. There is a three-meter-deep drainage ditch between the two streets, a strip of forest on both sides, cars, coming and going, so I had to teach them for their own sake. Then they taught each other. They grumbled at each other if someone didn't want to follow the gate rule."(Eva B., breeder, Hungary)


Kuvasz is not a plush toy or a Barbie doll, but a strong, characterful, extremely intelligent and valuable dog. And as a dog, from the time of separation from the mother, at the age of eight weeks, the system of rules, boundaries and routines must be established. Rules, orderliness, prohibitions and reinforcements - within these frameworks, he can live according to his nature as a dog. Consistency and love - this is what you need to have a full and worthy life as a sentient being.


Raising a Kuvasz actually means real work, the guiding principle of which is continuity. The primary aspect is getting the Kuvasz used to people, animals, sudden stimuli, and everything that surrounds the dog in accordance with the needs of the breed - this is the basis of its confidence. In addition to continuity, the principle of gradation is another key element, so that the dog meets all these stimuli in a way, at a pace and with an intensity appropriate to the maturity of it's nervous system.


 "Socialization in the broadest sense is primary necessity. Machines, vehicles, city noises, busy streets, strange spatial layouts, veterinary clinics - and the list could go on and on - in the midst of all kinds of stimuli, an inquisitive, indifferent behavior is desirable. The confident, well-socialized Kuvasz can be handled well in any life situation. Inadequate socialization can result in fear or excessive aggression, which often also stems from fear or insecurity due to lack of socialization. If we talk about training, if we don't train the dog, it can be just as much a mistake as if we don't train the Kuvasz according to the breed. Same is true if we overcomplicate the training and reinforce behaviors that feed aggression. I believe that the Kuvasz does not need to be trained in the classical sense of the word. You have to spend quality time with the Kuvasz. The Kuvasz must be able to be handled well, has to be confident, and in an emergency, the dogs's protective instinct should kick in." (T. Gábor, dog trainer, Hungary)


Dog schools also play an important role in socialization. In addition to providing basic socialization to the dogs, here, with the support of a specialist, the owner learns the correct handling and techniques for the given breed of dog. The manager of a good dog school supports the owner with his serious professional experience, especially in terms of handling the breed. Dog schools also have a special role in helping to recognize in time the small signs that indicate the dog's dominant behavior, and in providing professional support on how the owner can recognize them and how to react correctly to situations. If this happens in time, the situation does not progress to dangerous levels.


The key to all of the above, is that only dogs with a stable nervous system are involved in breeding. Breeders and judges have a special responsibility to ensure that only the offspring of dogs with the most appropriate characteristics are sent to future owners. (You can read about how the breeding test works in practice in Hungary here.)  The role of breeders and professionals is also critical in that, with their guidance, they can recommend a puppy to a specific family, for specific circumstances, in accordance with the dog's future function. (You can read about how to buy a Kuvasz puppy here.)

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