Lenett Jensen: I Am Proud of the Rottweilers
First, I would like to thank you for this opportunity. I also would like to thank you for the work you and ProfiDOG team do. Well, I come from beautiful Denmark, where I have a small farm with space for my 3 dogs and a couple of horses. I am educated as a graphic designer and work currently as a freelancer. I am in a relationship with Tim Jagd Møller.
Lenett, I dare to say that you are one of the top handlers in the world connected with the Rottweilers (RTW). I do not remember that you would miss the IFR World Championship (the International RTW Federation) in the last years. And that is great, because you always belong to the smiling handlers whose performances are worth watching. 🙂 So let me introduce you and your life with RTW to our readers. When did you get your first Rottweiler? Why did you choose this breed?
Thank you for your kind words. They make me very happy. Well, I got my first Rottweiler in 2003. In the hindsight, it was a little crazy. I lived in the centre of Copenhagen and had no personal experience with training dogs. It was a coincidence that I got a Rottweiler, and to make things worse, I chose a male. But I was quite aware of the need for training. I was so lucky to meet a very dedicated couple who introduced me to IPO sport and to some of the best Malinois handlers in Denmark at that time including Tim Jagd Møller.
What do you love about RTW regarding their character and appearance?
To me, the Rottweiler is an incredible and charismatic breed. They have a lot of personality, are incredibly loyal and powerful. At the same time, they are not the easiest breed to handle and that is a challenge to me.
How many Rottweilers have you had so far?
I have had four Rottweilers in total. I still have three Rotties – Joka, Joshi and Akali.
Did you grow up in a dog-friendly family? Did your parents support you in dog sport?
I have grown up in a family where it was natural to have a dog. But it was actually equestrian sport that we participated in. And I rode dressage at the competition level.
When did you start with dog training and when did you get fully devoted to dog sport – I mean competitions and championships? How did you adjust your life to this sports world that is very nice but also demanding? It is connected with never-ending effort and trainings.
As mentioned earlier, I started training when I got my first Rottweiler in 2003, and I was completely fascinated by the IPO sport. My life was turned upside down. I went from being a smart city girl to moving to the countryside. I have my own training ground and tracking areas just out of my door here, which makes everything a little easier.
Who helped you in your beginnings and influenced you? Are there many training clubs in Denmark? Or an experienced coach takes friends and colleagues to his/her team and the training goes in such groups? Are the clubs public or private? Can you use for example sports fields for training before the trials?
In my beginnings, I was lucky to meet some of the best dog trainers in Denmark at that time. One of them was Tim Jagd Møller, who has been my great inspiration and is also my helper. IPO is a team sport and my results are also his. There are not many clubs in Denmark and not many handlers are interested in IPO, so it is not easy to get involved in it. Personally, I train both in a public and private clubs. I often use sports fields for training before the trials.
Do you have sufficient number of tracking terrains? I would like to know how it is in Denmark – can you go tracking anywhere or do you need the land owner´s permission? We in the Czech Republic can actually go tracking anywhere, but it may happen that the owner of the land has bad experience with dog handlers and may not like tracking at all…
I am fortunate to have sufficient number of tracking terrains. In Denmark, you must have permission from the land owner.
Lenett, could you remember what methodology of training did you use in your beginnings and which one do you use now, when you are a seasoned competitor who participated in trials with Dondil and Joka?
Dondil was my first dog. His training was influenced by the fact that I had no knowledge of dog training, and I quickly became fascinated by it and by IPO, and wanted to compete as quickly as possible. Already after 3 years of training, I participated in my first WCH with Dondil. My method was learning by doing, and the results were that Dondil was quite out of control in protection and not as correct as I would like him to be especially in obedience. So after my first WCH, I used the time to correct the mistakes. Although I learned a lot, I decided that with Joka I would ensure that the exercises were properly learned before I began to compete. And when it was achieved, I used the training time to ensure his high level and motivation. And especially the desire, the energy and motivation is important to me with a Rottweiler. Especially when the goal is higher than just a few championships.
The Nordic countries have been relatively recently (for some 10 years) connected for us here, in the Czech Republic, with amazing obedience phase, which was somehow difficult for us to achieve with RTW at first. Fortunately, it is different today. What made your obedience so great? Was it thanks to clicker that came to our country later, or was it something else?
One of the factors that characterizes Rottweilers is that these dogs are doing super nice obedience. It makes me proud of our breed. I am using clicker and positive training. But I think it is all about good timing and learning the dog to work in high drive. That makes the difference.
Do you have enough good helpers in Denmark or do you have to travel to train protection properly?
In general, we have few good helpers. I am very privileged having Tim as a helper.
If I am right, even in Denmark there have been discussions and maybe some measures against certain breeds. The society can be prejudiced and xenophobic regarding some breeds. How is the Rottweiler taken in Denmark? Do those dogs have to wear a muzzle outside and are there any restrictions when you want to get a Rottweiler?
In Denmark, we have 13 dog breeds that are banned and the Rottweiler was on an observation list. Fortunately, the observation list is now deleted. But the Danish society is indeed prejudiced, especially the media. However, recently there is a period of “peace” regarding our breed. The Danish Rottweiler Club does a lot of work for our breed and we have breeding restrictions. We cannot breed our Rottweilers without having passed a temperament test. However, we are not forced to use the muzzle.
No matter where we live, the owners of RTW simply must be prepared to experience not good reactions from other people sometimes – that we have a “fighting” breed etc. Have you met with such labelling? If so, how do you react and what do you think can be done about that?
I have often met with prejudices. And sometimes I think it would be easier for me with a Malinois as not so many people, who do not train dogs, know this breed. It makes me sad, because I think the Rotties are the best dogs if they are active and trained. But over time, I pay less attention to the opinions of others.
Lenett, you competed with Dondil von Hause Nomis, then with Joka Nomis and now you are preparing a male Akali that you bred in your kennel Team Arenta. His mother is your only female Joshi, Joka´s sister. How did it happen that you became a breeder? 🙂
When I had Dondil, I started to look for a suitable female. There were several litters born from Dondil. Although the bitches were very different, he was very dominant, and so I wanted to have a puppy after him. When I organized a seminar later, Uli Nomis was participating and I met her new bitch Asina Von Der Mattesburg there. She was exactly what I was looking for. I was so lucky that Uli agreed to have this litter and I bred it at my place. Initially, I kept Joshi because she was extremely promising, and I wanted to find the right dog handler for her. And she has stayed with me, because I fell in love with her. It quickly became a dream to have puppies after her, and hereby continuing the genes. So that is why I became a breeder.
What are your goals in breeding? Do you plan to have more brood bitches and more litters?
I will only breed litters if I need a new competition dog. Therefore I am not going to breed many litters while I am competing. My goal is to breed a perfect competition dog for me. This means a mentally strong dog with great will to please and work, high drive, a good tracking nose and hard firm grip. I already have my future litter planned in my head, but it will take three or four years to become reality. I know exactly which lines I want to include in my breeding program. Now I just have to find a bitch I can borrow when the time comes.
Lenett, name “Arenta” is a part of your kennel´s name. You sometimes add this name also as a part of your surname, is it your maiden name? I am asking, because I never know if I have to write “Arenta” or not… 🙂
Arenta is first name like Lenett. But I am only called Lenett. My surname Jensen is very often used as last name in Denmark. Sometimes people find it hard to spell my two very unusual first names and then it is disappointing for them to see my usual surname Jensen. So I´m not using it every time. And now that I use Arenta with Team in front of my kennel name, it feels wrong. In many ways, I am a humble person. 😉
What conditions does a dog have to meet to become a stud dog/brood bitch? Do you have any character or health tests compulsory?
In Denmark, we cannot breed unless our dogs are mentally tested and, of course, have passed those tests and also passed the Hip and Elbow dysplasia examination. Personally, I would like our breed to keep up to the standard mentally, in appearance and in health, but the most important are working abilities. I am convinced that most Rottweilers can take an IPO3 exam, but not every dog is able to hold that level after more IPO3 trials and competitions. It is because the Rottweilers are clever and they soon learn if there is or is not any prospect of reward. That´s how they show their true characters, and that´s exactly what I am looking for.
How often do you organize ZTP events (breeding tests) in your country and is the commission always the same so that there are the same conditions for all dogs?
The temperament test in Denmark (UHM and AK) is held approximately twice every half year. The Rottweiler Club in Denmark is trying to have the same commission for all events as much as possible.
Each breed is undergoing some development, whether it is appearance (regarding RTW, it is for example effort not to breed dogs with too short muzzle nowadays) or character – Rotties are said not to have as much drive as they used to. Do you perceive those tendencies in development somehow?
Generally, there has always been a tendency in the Rottweiler breed to choose the most beautiful breeding partner instead of the best working dog. It is absolutely clear that this effort will not make the best working dogs. When I started in 2003, there were not so many good Rottweilers. And now, 15 years later, I think you can find lots of quality working Rotties and I am really happy about that. There has been much progress in breeding in many ways in my opinion. Unfortunately, some tendencies regarding the show Rottweilers remain, such as short muzzle and nose, which is very sad. Not only I do not like this look, but some health issues are also connected with that appearance like breathing problems. I feel so sorry for our beautiful breed in that regard.
What do you think, is RTW able to compete with other working breeds?
Well, in theory yes, it is, but the reality is somewhat different. However, the Rottweiler can make a helper smile like no other breeds. 🙂
Do you have your own method, a detail or know how that is helping you in training? Will you reveal it to us? 🙂
It is a super question and impossible to answer briefly. But yes, I have my own approach to IPO training. If I should give some good advice to the Rottweiler people, it is that you can never get enough energy and drive. So play a lot and use what makes the dog happy and playful.
Which phase do you like the most and how often do you train?
I love to practise IPO generally and like all three disciplines. I train all three phases three times a week and I do some short training sessions with a young dog every day.
Do you plan to become a dog sport judge?
I would like to give something back to this amazing sport and think it might be as a judge. But it is hard to reach everything. Maybe, if I would not be able to compete at the top level, you know when I am going to be 80 years old. 🙂
Are you going to participate in competitions with Joka this year and with Akali next year? Or will it be different? What are your plans for dog sport season in 2018? 🙂
When I participated in the IFR WCH in Belgium, the veterinarian pointed out that Joka had hernia. This was basically due to an enlarged prostate which made an overproduction of hormones and had pushed the intestines out of the abdominal wall. Therefore he is not going to compete any more. Now he will be spoiled, have an active life full of balls and bitework without obedience. Just fun. And Akali is now in training as my upcoming competition dog. I am incredibly pleased with him and I expect to start taking the trails soon and participate in the competition at the end of the year, when he is 3 years old.
As I have mentioned, you didn´t miss IFR World Championships last years… What trials do you like to recollect the most? When did everything go to plan and which competition is unforgettable to you?
I took part in the IFR WCH with Dondil five times, and four times with Joka. My highlight with Dondil was our first World Championship in 2006. He was only three years old and he was my first dog in training. I finished on the 6th place and managed to beat some of the best dog handlers in the world. Unforgettable trial with Joka was the IFR WCH in Italy in 2015, where he won the best protection. It is always great experience for me to look back on a successful performance with my lovely dog.
Apart from the IFR WCH, you have of course competed on national level and you achieved much success. Which achievement on that level do you value the most?
In addition to the above mentioned achievements, both of my boys have been the Danish Champions in IPO 3. What I also consider as a great achievement is when something I have worked on hard, goes successfully according to plan. Joka is an incredibly good tracking dog, but during the trials he suddenly didn´t indicate on the articles. This happened in Italy and Finland. It was a huge success when Joka indicated on the articles in Belgium, for me it was really rewarding that we managed to solve this problem.
…it looks as if you have best luck in competitions especially in the town Ishøj… 🙂
Joka was in his life form in 2015 and 2016, when the two trials took place in Ishøj. It was also a season when he was awarded the best protection in the IFR WCH in Italy.
How difficult is it to qualify for the IFR WCH in Denmark? What are the conditions and how many handlers usually try to qualify?
We have good handlers in Denmark. Some years, there are many of us and other years not so many. There are about 10 handlers now who have plans to qualify. We have selection competitions in autumn, one in spring, and then the Danish Championship in May. We also have the opportunity to get points for qualifying for the WCH by participating in CACIT competitions and in the Danish all breed Championship.
Lenett, if you were to describe and compare character of your three RTW males – what are they like and how do/did you enjoy training each of them?
I think it is funny and interesting that my three boys are father, son and grandson. Three generations at home have many similarities but also many differences. Dondil was on the maximum height, he was my big and beautiful, mentally strong boy with extreme prey drive and a huge energy level. He was easy to train when I as total beginner could get so far with him. He was a real gentleman who could easily relax and enjoy life also outside the training field. Joka is a little cannonball, he is not so high but of the same weight. He is extremely active and is ready all the time. He sleeps only at night not to miss anything. Joka reacts quickly, and he is definitely not a dog for a beginner. His prey drive is super and so is his amount of well-focused energy. Akali is a good mix of the two, his prey drive and energy levels are extreme. There is a little bit more aggression in him than was in Dondil, but he is more stable than Joka. They all have in common super abilities for tracking and great willingness to please.
You were competing with a Belgian Shepherd for one year – how did it come? 🙂
It was just for fun. Frejdig was a retired competition dog and I participated in two competitions with her. And we managed to become the first reserve for the FMBB WCH that year. 🙂
What a great success! 🙂 Can you imagine your life without dog sport and competitions? What does this world of dog sport mean to you and which place does it take in your life and values?
Yes, I can imagine my life without competitions and dogs, but for the time being, I do not want any changes. As long as I have fun doing dog sport, I will carry on. I love this way of life and I appreciate it. It has given me so much. I have met a lot of amazing people. And I have travelled a lot and met other exciting cultures.
Is there anything also without which you could not imagine your life?
I would not live without my family, friends and my little farm with all the animals. And I think life would be sad without joy and laugh.
How do you manage to combine care for dogs, trainings and family?
I think it is easy to combine. But I also have a family and friends who understand that it may be necessary to move a big birthday party as there is an important dog competition. That is why I am very privileged.
Do you have time for any other hobbies? What certainly will make you laugh? Can you get angry sometimes? 🙂
I like drawing, reading and I also have two Arabian horses. If only there were more time :-). My dogs often make me laugh. And I am not sure if you know what I mean, but dry black humour always makes me laugh. Don´t tell anybody, 🙂 but yes, I can get really mad and angry, especially if I feel used or misjudged. I am a bit like the troll out of the box, but I am quickly myself again.
Lenett, do you have a life philosophy that you follow even in times when things do not go to plan?
I try to live my life fully and to have a positive mind. I sing a lot, because then it is hard to be angry. Perhaps not for those who are listening to my performance as I do not have the best voice. 🙂 And I am good at moving forward when something is going wrong. When everything settles, there are always new opportunities again tomorrow.
Are you a child of fortune or do you have to fight for and earn everything in your life?
I am not a child of fortune, but life has given me so much and I feel incredibly privileged. I do not need anything more. And if I do, I just have to let it happen.
I wish you to make the best of such life struggles and not to lose your sweet smile! See you at the IFR WCH! 🙂 Thank you for the interview and greetings to Denmark,