On the weekend of 19-20 August 2023, the Czech Rescue Dog Championship took place in the small village of Rapšach on the border with Austria. PPL became the event’s main sponsor and, at the same time, die-hard fans of our colleagues, Petra and Petr Prokeš, who participated in the competition with their rescue dogs.


Only 5 Czechs met the nomination criteria for participation in the Czech Championship. Rescuers from Austria, Germany, Hungary, Slovenia and Slovakia also took part in the competition. 


How did the competition go?

After the first day and the Terrain Search discipline, Petr Prokeš and his dog Lex were in a beautiful second place behind a competitor from Slovenia who has competed in the World Championships multiple times and usually occupies one of the leading positions. On Sunday, they had to complete the second competition discipline - Obedience. Although they had never had a problem with this discipline, this time they unfortunately did not do well and dropped to 7th place. Even so, Petr finished the best of all the Czechs with the highest number of points. Petra Prokešová did less well, mainly due to health problems experienced by her female dog, Shelby -  she took 14th placein her category.

The story of the Prokeš team 

We asked our colleague Petr Prokeš, a PPL safety specialist, about his and his wife’s beginnings with rescue dog training. In the short interview you will also learn about the specifics of the training and a bit about the K-9 RESCUE CZ organisation.

 

Can you explain to all those who are not familiar with the field what rescue dogs are trained in, and what categories they compete in? 

We train rescue dogs in various terrains to search for living and dead people. Specifically, they can find people in rubble, in the woods, in avalanches and drowned in water. The competitions are usually held in the categories of Rubble and Flats (forests and meadows).

 

How long have you been actively involved in dog training yourself?

My wife and I were initially involved in another dog discipline, flyball (ed.: flyball is a dog team sport that resembles a relay race. Dogs must jump over four obstacles on a course, catch a ball from the ‘box’ and, on the way back, again jump over the obstacles. There is always only one dog on the track, ideally taking turns with another dog on the starting line), in which we became Czech champions in 2018. We started to do rescue work in the same year. Like everything, our training has been severely limited by the pandemic since 2020. That’s why we can say that we have been actively involved in rescue for only 3 years. After a year and a half of training, we passed the emergency unit test, which is important for practical deployment.

 

How many dogs have passed through your hands? And how did you and Petra get into training?

My wife used to do dog sports with her first dog. She is currently training her second dog, an almost 8-year-old border collie. I’m training my first dog, a 10-year-old border collie.
A friend introduced us to the chance to start training with the K-9 RESCUE organisation.

 

At K-9 RESCUE, do you train various dogs for other professions, or does a person always have to sign up with their own dog and you guide them through the training?

In the K-9 RESCUE organisation, everyone trains their own dog under the methodical guidance of responsible and well-known professionals who have participated and continue to participate in many foreign rescue missions.

 

Can every dog be trained, or do you choose certain breeds?

There are some breeds that are more suitable for training than others. A dog’s mental stability and willingness to work are very important qualities. The dog should be friendly towards people and animals.

 

K-9 RESCUE CZ

K-9 RESCUE CZ brings together dog lovers interested in rescue training. Its members search for missing persons, dead or alive, in the rubble of houses, in avalanches, in natural terrain and in water with the help of specially trained dogs. This association is also a member of the International Search and Rescue Dogs Organisation (IRO).

The organisation arranges a number of camps, training sessions and tests throughout the year. Most often you can meet its members in Londonka in the small village of Rapšach in southern Bohemia near the border with Austria.

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