Belgian Shepherd Sets New National Speed Record
How did a thrown out dog wandering in the streets become an unbeatable running champion? We have talked about Maya, whose name is familiar to everybody participating in speed dog races, with its owner and trainer, Andrea Nagy.
Julius-K9: Since when has Maya been with you, what should we know about it? Andrea Nagy: I adopted Maya (a Belgian shepherd, Malinois) in the autumn of 2016 as a one and a half years old saved dog. It was very problematic, it dreaded everything, and compensated for it by attacks. I had been interested in the breed earlier, so I knew that it needed to be paid a lot of attention, both its mind and body needed to be trained, worked on a daily basis.
Julius-K9: How did you discover its talent? Andrea Nagy: We had been attending guarding and obedience training, greyhound tracks, coursing races (dogs chase an artificial lure – ed.) for some time, when a dear friend of mine lent me a mechanical treadmill developed especially for dogs for 4-5 days.
A big advantage of a mechanical treadmill compared to an electric one is that the dog is free to choose the speed of progress, as its mood, physique or health permits. There is a frame on the treadmill, to which the harness of the dog can be attached, and when the owner stands in front of it and calls the dog (using any luring object, fur, ball, bite tug…etc.), the dog starts to run, thereby driving the tread surface below it. On both sides protective walls prevent the dog from accidentally stepping down. The advantage of mechanical treadmills is that the dog always runs at its own pace, if it doesn’t want to run, it can slow down or stop, or doesn’t even have to start, but if it loves to run, there is no limit, it can run on the treadmill at a speed of 30-40 km/h in complete safety.
This was the first time in its life that Maya met this sports equipment. At the beginning it was very afraid of it, for 2-3 days I could only lure it with treats to step on, walk across and jump off it. By the fourth day it was used to it, and on the following day ran 500 metres on it in 2 minutes. Then the owner, Laci Karafa came for the treadmill, and showed me how to effectively lure a dog, so half an hour later Maya ran 800+ metres in 2 minutes. And he also mentioned that: if Maya could run at a speed of above 30 km/h throughout a race, it would be unbeatable.The treadmill is not only an excellent training partner, but also the equipment of prestigious international dog running races. They measure the distance run by the dog on the treadmill in 1 or 2 minute races.
Julius-K9: How has Maya become an unbeatable champion? Andrea Nagy: Some weeks after its first experience with the treadmill we entered the first race of our life, where we arrived relaxed as an underdog, but left as a champion, setting a national record. Maya became the first in Hungary (and probably in the neighbouring countries) to surpass the dream limit of 1000 metres in a 2 minute race. Its result was 1003 metres.
Since then Maya has been unbeaten both in Hungary and abroad, and loves training on the treadmill so much that when I leave it home, I have to cover the treadmill to prevent it from “training” on its own.
Later last year it improved its own national record first to 1015 metres, then to 1020 metres, and was awarded the title of “2017-Treadmill Queen”.
Julius-K9: What equipment did Maya need to achieve such wonderful results? Andrea Nagy: Maya ran on each occasion in a Julius-K9 harness, a so called IDC Powerharness. This year it received a test harness, and we were anxiously looking forward to its performance in this elastic harness facilitating movement in this year’s Hungarian Treadmill Championship. Although it was not an easy day, because before the professional 2 minute race Maya was entered in the two times 1 minute race as well, moreover the race was held on a warm summer-like day, Maya and the test harness were true to their form: with 1023 metres in 2 minutes it once again set a new national record!
Julius-K9: Congratulations to this amazing performance. What’s next? Andrea Nagy: Maya will not enter amateur races any more, we would like to pass the baton, but as its owner I believe that the national record could still be improved by a few metres, we’re working on that. Any time I look at its work, sports achievements, I’m astonished that once someone threw this dog out. It’s unbelievable that we found it on the edge of a forest in a shattered state, and now it’s a multiple champion on the greyhound track, skilful in wall climbing, long jumping, puller sports, on the treadmill, and we are preparing for the IPO exam… a true Miracle.