Sunday, 22 January 2012

interview with a dog trainer: Antonio Rappazzo

The dog trainer that we have to deal with this month come from Italy and exactly from Sicily. Antonio Rappazzo , a "all around" trainer , he train agility, obedience , disc dog and organize dog trekking events. With some friends he have founded the first disc dog club in Sicily and they are very motivated to evolve this sport on their island and in Italy.
Another very nice interview :D

Antonio and the warm up questions...
Last thing that you eat?
The salad

Your favorite color

What song plays in your head this week
"Ciuri Ciuri" mixed version, it’is a popular song of our Sicily ...

Ok , I think is enough , let's be more serious begin with the interview
Could you tell our readers a little about yourself
I'm from Bafia, a small hamlet in Castroreale, where I spent my childhood, I climbed on the wall full of rocky coves until I reached the nests of kestrels (cacciaventuli) and up on the pine trees to reach nests of magpie(caccarazze) and every kind of raptor. I competed with my friends who had sighted more eggs or birds’ nests, looking for lizards(lucirtuluni) and snakes and I was racing with the donkey(scecchi), my grandfather had got two. I had the availability of a room where I breed, small birds: canaries, blackbirds (merri i fattina) ,snakes, hamsters, guinea pigs(Uzzi), goldfish and river crabs (iambiri)

 When did you get your own first dogs?
I ‘ve got my first dog when I was 13. It was the result of a crossbreed of two hunting dogs. It was a male, smooth and brown coat with the final part of the tail white. I took it home against my parents wishes but fortunately they soon accepted him. I think he had no more than 30 days (unfortunately I had not much knowledge at the time). I called it Joi and I remembered I was on seventh heaven. Joi was my shadow. I didn’t teach a lot to Joi but we understood each other on a sight. Our favorite game was to chase each other, to fight and to play hide and seek.

Tell me a little bit about your start in dog sports?
When I was 18 years old I enlisted to army leaving my affections, my nature, and Joi. At work, unable to keep dogs, I started to read magazines, I still collect them with training manuals. In my spare time I’ve attended centers and observed dog training. At that time (80’) dog training, in fact, was very coercive. At the beginning I attended courses, often organized by the associations who practiced IPO and when I had the opportunity of being in contact with the dogs of my colleagues or people I knew, I offered to teach them some exercises to practice with their dog. Since then I never stopped and I never felt more gratified, of course I offered my experience without demanded money. Soon I realized that people considered me an expert, I taught them how to gain respect from their dog and not only, in fact, in 1999 I knew the sport of Obedience and I felt in love. Thanks to the knowledge transmitted by Carlo Marzoli, a great dog lover that I admire so much, I tried to spread it in Sicily. My training methods were completely different from those commonly used here and the traditional local trainers snubbed me especially when I used the clicker.

Tell me about the Associazione Cinofila ACDOS "Dog Obedience Society" ? How it's all started?
When I moved to Sicily and in particular in Barcellona PG (2000) I didn’t find training centers practicing different sports from IPO. However I continued to help friends and acquaintances to manage and control their beloved dogs. Following the philosophy: to live for dogs and not with dogs, soon I became a reference point for a group of people who shared my same passion. I began to organize competition and Dog Trekking, to elaborate special regulations that was closer to other regulations of the North Italy. So it was necessary to found an association that should govern the way I practice dog training, and the 27.09.2001 was born ACDOS. This decision was shared by my friend Gianluca Sidoti who supported me since my arrival so as did Franco Cutugno. Since then we had been always side by side and we went forward in unison learning Sicilian obedience, agility and ultimately Disc Dog. We are the instructors of the center and everyone define us the twins. I am happy and proud to have met Franco because we help each other and support each other like real brothers.

In February Mark Muir comes for a disc dog Workshop at your club.
Why did you choose him ?
During a seminar on Rally-Obedience, performed by Barbara Soprani Professional Dog Trainer, some games with discs were included and this was so amusing that we were spurred to undertake the discipline of the Disc Dog. It was Barbara to provide us the foundations of the discipline, giving us all his knowledge sparing no effort, as do "someone". We began to study it in all its entirety and then from the point of view of the handler and dog. Netsurfing on line looking for models to follow we got enthusiastic about Mark Muir. We like the way Mark moves or plays Disc Dog. We believe that he’ll give us a lot. It is a little over an year that we practice this discipline so before moving to the next level, to avoid making mistakes, we want to grow slowly following a guideline in tune with the way we interpret ”love of dogs”, focusing our efforts to do our better without leaving space for improvisation. We understand that the professionalism, experience and the basis for judging of Mark is indispensable for a discdogger.
Mark! we look forward to your arrival

What courses are most attended at theACDOS?
The basic education courses. Our Association take courses for the insertion of man and dog in the social environment, we spread canine culture in leaflets that we distribute free in shops and activities during our performances in the squares, in parish recreation center, in school and during Grest. These demonstration activities are completed by the students themselves so that people realize that everyone can achieve these results . In this regard we also have a magazine format that we have titled "Canine" by which sensitize owners to take greater care and knowledge of the canine world so that they realized the importance to attend centers managed by professional instructors. At the end of the course we issue the license for dog-handler with the permission of the dog training school of "Il Biancospino" with which we work since 2002.

What techniques do you use for training ?
The technique of the "gentle way", which, of course, is very personal. I think every instructor is different from another because - as a dear girl friend of mine said - everyone has its own style. I try to give my style to pupils fascinating them with the results that they achieve. I work a lot on the owners, they may have confidence and practicality in handling the animal generating mutual respect. In any case, this question deserves an answer much broader, but then we would fill many pages, it depends on the situation , the dogs are all different (age, temperament, breed predisposition, attitudes, experiences, and docility, temper, temperament, power forth and so on) as several owners are with their habits and the environment in which they fit their dog. Finally I would say that my technique is very calm, very carefully and it conducts analysis of dog and owner in the right direction.

You are involved in rally Obedience and disc dog. Which category you prefer in discdog?
Yes, last year, I started at a competitive level with the discipline of Rally O I’ve participated at the Dog Olympic Games that it was held in Lignano Sabbiadoro enjoying an excellent result with Sabbia (female Labrador retriever). On this occasion I reached the final finishing in second place. Then I directed my energies in the diffusion of this discipline, leaving at the moment, the competition because I believe that this discipline is the launching pad into other more challenging disciplines.
As before mentioned, it’s thanks to Barbara and Franco, who was captured by the first disc, I was dragged, with good will, in this world. At the age of 42 years is not easy to compete with young people, but the fun has prevailed. I had to change the setting of my dog ​​Scoobydoo - Border Collie that still follows me. I am not yet ready to face challenging competition, but I have a clear idea of ​​what is this sport . It 's a matter of time.

I started with the Regulation Skyhoundz. I find it suitable for beginners because there is more possibility of inventive and there are no compulsory figures, however, I admit that the regulation USDDN it’s more complete and, for me, it reflects the best part of the DISC DOG focusing on owner/dog and even more, the same association promotes the safety of the dog by introducing a table of penalties.

What are the achievements you are most proud of?
Those of my students! I admit that I like to compete, I like to compare myself with strongest people, this is exciting and makes you grow, but I’m very proud when my pupils collect appreciations during the races and when other recognized our style. However one of the success I am proud of is that of my daughter Roberta, at the age of nine years, during a competition of obedience, beginners class, she was ranked in second place, with the title of excellent, to a point after the first (professional). I don’t find funny to talk about my successes, but I can’t mention the semi-finals of the DOG when Franco and I have passed the turn to reach the exact same result. This exalts our work that puts us on the same level that we never tires of calling "style."

Who has had the most impact on your life?
Obviously the family who encouraged me in pursuing this passion and still supports me, often making great sacrifices.

How goes a typical day in your life?
I wake up at 07:00a.m .I work from 08:00a.m until 2:00p.m.,break until 4:00p.m. and then back to work until 8:00p.m. unless there are any complications. Unfortunately, the work is not always planned, and so sometimes I am forced to do different shifts, especially at night. However I can find few moments to training with my four dogs (Frida female Labrador two years, Sabbia female Labrador7 years, Scobydoo border collie 2 years, Drak Swiss pastor 3 years). My job demand me many responsibilities, that's why I said that I live for dogs and not with dogs. Love for dogs is a nice small world that separates me from everyday life that often has devastating aspects (see finally the inundation 22.11.11. that kneels down the city of Barcellona PG where I work.)

What music can you not leave home when you go to a competition ?
I like country music. I always prepare a CD, various artists, I listen to during the trip.

Where you see yourself in the 2015?
In Sicily! involved in arranging the Disc Dog event of the year

Do you have any advice for who begins working with dogs?
Work is a big word, I personally believe that to work is a synonymous of responsibility, dedication and passion. Unfortunately, many young dog lovers attending courses to obtain recognition as dog trainers and once they get it they jump in this world opening new centers, they go in the square or at home, with no training experience, from the point of view of practical activity, to manage situations, even with the same dog, in different circumstances, that might need to be addressed differently. My advice is that before you start working with dogs you have to come abreast of professionals, people who don’t hide anything that is in their knowledge and they openly get involved in, they recognize errors, people who love dogs ,who don’t seek the prestige ,who safeguard the welfare of the animal and the handler and then last but not least in order of importance you should rely on people who have fun while doing their "work", people who are gratified by the success of their students.

Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview! Do you have anything else you would like to add?
Thank you for giving me voice it was very nice.
Dog lovers, enjoy yourself


the photos are a courtesy of Antonio Rappazzo

RALLY OBEDIENCE September 5, 2011 at the  ACDOS Barcelona  PG (ME)
Judges: Barbara Soprani, Antonio Rappazzo Franco Cutugno
by iolandagitto

ACDOS Obedience -esercizi in gruppo-
By marianofrancocutugno


petdoginsurance said...

Thank you for posting. Very informative.
Dog sitter Austin

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