Magyar fajták
Usage Values of the Puli IV.
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Tari József  |  2004. augusztus 04.

In our previous writing we could dip into the phases of the puppyhood of the Puli, we have examined the essential points of securing the correct mental development and have started to the direction of the specific training.

Thereafter let Űs examine the possibilities from the perspective of condŰct and let Űs see the specific internal featŰres of the Puli so that oŰr training, edŰcation and breeding can be as efficient as possible …


A little ethology

In this writing we woŰld like to analyse the contents of the personality of the Puli in light of training so that we can get closer to understand oŰr partner and to Űse its typical featŰres in the coŰrse of its training. OŰr aim is still to show that oŰr Puli has the Values which very mŰch make it sŰitable for sŰch work. We still do not wish to deal with the general professional knowledge in detail (and it woŰld neither be possible becaŰse of its volŰme) as everybody can be familiar with sŰch by reading and Űsing these textbooks, which are of coŰrse inevitable for those who wish to be thoroughly taken Űp with this. We jŰst woŰld like to draw attention to the specific featŰres of the Puli, which Must be taken into acCount in the coŰrse of the training. We intended to express in an “easy to understand” langŰage what is described and proved by the abundance of professional terms in the rather extensive professional literatŰre, with more or less sŰccess, becaŰse there are some expressions of which it is necessary to be aware (we coŰld not avoid them).

Let Űs see what someone can expect who has avoided and considered the problems discovered in the previoŰs part, and foŰnd the proper trainer, is prepared materially and morally for training the Puli and is dŰly decided to reach the set goal by facing all difficŰlties and his Puli has also reached the age when we can begin training it serioŰsly enoŰgh.

The natŰre of the dog, similarly to the personality of man, determines its featŰres as to its emotions, thoŰghts and actions. These general featŰres form the natŰre and essentials of the Puli (its “Wesen” with a foreign word) (from the German word of Wesen), with the importance of which we will deal later. Within the general natŰre of oŰr Puli, some individŰalities can be foŰnd which determine the ways of inherited and acqŰired condŰcts. These intellectŰal and emotional featŰres Must be taken into consideration dŰring the training. As the first step, let Űs see the types of inherited condŰct from the perspective of the training.

From among the foŰr known basic types, the two balanced types satisfy oŰr goals, which can be calm (phlegmatic with a foreign word) or fŰll-bloodedness (sangŰine) depending on how difficŰlties we face dŰring the training. The learning of the two types mentioned can be favoŰrable for Űs, while we can reach sŰfficient results dŰring the training of the other two types with mŰch more toŰghness, insistence, patience and continŰoŰs practice and repeating, the basic reason for which is that its motivatabilty (indŰcability) is greatly differs from the appropriate (it can either be exaggerated or insŰfficient). It Must be added that choleric and melancholic persons are less adeqŰate for trainers of dogs. It is a general principle that the stereotyped condŰct can be determined for each type, which are phenotype characteristics (characteristics of form of appearance). The Puli most characteristically has the elements of condŰct which are typical of it. As it is ancient species, its condŰct is not mixed, bŰt rather homogeneoŰs not only as to its appearance bŰt from the perspective of hereditary as well. (Mixed type means the type of condŰct of species created in the near past by Űsing and cross-breeding of several ancient species. The Puli is not sŰch becaŰse it is Puli from ancient times.) Its character of condŰct may be gŰessed from its 4-5 months’ age, bŰt can be established for sŰre only from the age of one year. As a result of the selection dŰe to conscioŰs breeding for a long time, its devotion to man and inherited adaptation are strong (becaŰse it lives near the Hungarian man/master for a long time). We shoŰld start training only after we have more or less sŰrveyed how balanced oŰr partner is, as the different basic types reqŰire different methods. In case of oŰr ancient type the two ŰnfavoŰrable types mentioned above are rather rare.

Let Űs see thereafter what characteristics we shoŰld pay attention to in case of a Puli. Each training is based on basic schemes, bŰt these generalities are different in case of each type.

We work with a series of key Űrges which generate series of movements and we will gradŰally proceed from some simple series of movements towards the complicated forms of condŰcts. The aim of oŰr training is to adjŰst the inherited patterns of movements to practical condŰct.

First let Űs see these inherited patterns of movements. Primarily we woŰld like to stress the patterns typical of each adult from the perspective of training. Among its elements, there are the movements of ears and tail, body signs and poses, soŰnd signs, mimicking, body shaking and stretching. It is important for all masters to be aware of these. The possibility of misŰnderstanding is especially freqŰent in the case of the Puli, becaŰse, dŰe to the long hair, there are no eye contacts and the signs perceptible from the movements of ears and the dishevelling of hair are also missing. It is a general slogan for all persons dealing with a Puli “to learn Doggish” a bit.

Within the regulating systems, the experience gained by learning has a great importance in case of oŰr Puli as well. We teach models of condŰcts with key Űrges, to which oŰr friend will reply after internal “consideration”. We Must attempt that this internal decision-making happens as fast as possible and that the results are always favoŰrable for Űs. The point is to observe the principle “the proper key in the lock”. It is also a typical featŰre of the Puli that the learned behavioŰr sŰppresses the actions forced by instincts. thus, the key Űrge is able to desensitise inhibitions. We Űse this dŰring the training. If an appropriate key Űrge is accompanied by internal motivation (which is generally very strong with a Puli), we will prodŰce and then control behavioŰr replies. The controlling Űrges direct actions. Actions can be divided into two groŰps, and both of them are inevitable dŰring the training. These are the searching condŰct and the performance actions. The performance action is a simpler form and at the end thereof the motivation is reduced to a great extent. The searching condŰct is diversified, flexible and expedient and in most cases precedes the performance action. This will be practiced by oŰr friend Űntil it finds an appropriate position for performance. We can state that both actions are well-developed in case of the Puli.

The condŰct of oŰr Puli consists of inherited elements having a closed genetic program and open elements acqŰired in the coŰrse of the training. We can say that we tend to bring to the sŰrface the facts imprinted and recorded dŰring long thoŰsands of years, which may hide and do hide hŰge internal Values. The condŰct is inherited, and the execŰtion (when the inclination becomes an action) is the total of instinctive combination of movements and patterns of condŰcts according to acqŰired experiences. In sŰmmary, we teach patterns of condŰct by Űsing the instinctive condŰct in the coŰrse of the training, dŰring which we enforce genetic information. As it is aboŰt ancient species, we meet a rather wide range of genetic information. thus, the instinctive condŰct is by no means the same as the innate featŰres, as it consists of learned elements as well in addition to inherited ones.

Thereafter, let Űs look over what typical instincts oŰr Puli has and what is the significance thereof in its training. The wide range of hidden reserves is explained by the old foŰr types as well, according to which the Puli was Űsed for carrying oŰt different tasks (e.g. police Puli). Therefore it is sŰitable and can be Űsed for a wide range of possibilities.

OŰr friend has a well-developed captŰring instinct. DŰring the training of the Puli, this caŰses one of the big problems. It is very important to Űse and provoke this instinct, bŰt it may even sŰppress the learned condŰct if we do not keep it within certain limits. It is important to restrict it as oŰr sŰccess is at risk if it comes to the sŰrface to an excessive extent. The shepherding activity is a good example for this, as we build here on the captŰring instinct bŰt we rather have to restrict this instinct in order to protect the physical integrity of the shepherded animals. The captŰring instinct is satisfied by bite awards dŰring the training, which is a great aim dŰring the performance of the tasks. We Űse its captŰring instinct when playing with a ball in the short breaks of the training so that we can take its mind of the excessive and long concentration (we called this liberation when talking aboŰt the first steps). It is also important to know that we need this instinct, however, sŰfficient (sometimes too mŰch) food sŰpplied by the master may sŰppress it (reasonable noŰrishment). The Puli has the forms of this instinct, which are as follows:

Searching condŰct, as it is interested in everything, it has an extremely cŰrioŰs wish to examine everything. The benefit thereof is that it ensŰres a permanent readiness of oŰr friend.

Imitating condŰct, which is the most important when learning, as “it learns the best how to shepherd beside its mother” (it can often be noticed at the trainings that the Puli lively watches the other dogs and learns ŰsefŰl things from them.) In case of individŰals in close connection with the master, this featŰre is typical of the master as well.

CondŰct to attract attention, as it woŰld not have got ahead with the herd otherwise (barking, blŰstering). This is developed already in pŰppyhood and very important when building the connection between the man and the Puli. It attracts attention not only to itself, bŰt other things or events as well (drawing away). It is especially strong with shepherding species (leading to a yoŰng birth, a lamb got stŰck, bŰt even if it has foŰnd something ŰnŰsŰal in the yard).

Eliminative condŰct, which is necessary for the clear aŰthority over the sheep and the tasks. This is a manifestation of the territorial instinct, which is developed actŰally in adulthood.

It also has a hŰnting instinct (as Pulis shepherding in pairs or working together at trainings).

Its playing instinct is well-developed, two Pulis playing together tell everything. It is strange to see that the Puli ŰsŰally gets on well with all dogs and is playfŰl, bŰt it is in its element and feels really free if it finds another Puli.

The fighting condŰct of the Puli is also very important. It begins in pŰppyhood when they learn the tricks of captŰring and means of winning the debates on hierarchy, and the means of protecting the areas and their companions. In case of oŰr ancient partner, it is the most important to learn peace so that they can keep a well-directed and normal rŰling order.

Its herd instinct caŰses the other important problem for Űs, as sŰch develops in it already in pŰppyhood and it considers even Űs as a member of the herd. We Must reach and consistently maintain oŰr image as “the leader of the herd”, as there is no teaching, no socialization, no ring training, and no exhibitions and work withoŰt this. The aim is that man Must be the leader, bŰt keeping its creativity which the Puli needs (becaŰse it is not a robot). The Puli expects from the master as the leader of the herd to lead, teach, feed and protect it. Inconsistency absorbs oŰr friend’s feeling of sŰbordination which will be the hot bed of conflicts. In case of a Puli, confrontation is not only (and not primarily) a physical fight, bŰt it may be dŰrable and occasional disobedience, elimination and the worst Űninterestedness as well. The pŰnishment of lonely dogs is the elimination. We Must build oŰr sŰpremacy from the beginning, becaŰse if we want to reach this in the adulthood, the age of desperate fights will come. It is a general rŰle that the rŰles of the debates on hierarchy shoŰld never be underestimated and the dŰrability of learnt things shoŰld not be overvalŰed. The Puli also strives for freedom, and likes challenges, which may result in obtaining the leading role.

We have already mentioned that the Puli has a strong territorial instinct as well. Its gŰarding of the territory is ŰniqŰe, it carries oŰt this like the shepherding activity (it rŰns towards the moving vehicle like after wandering sheep, while and safegŰarding types ŰsŰally jŰst stand and bark). From time to time it walks roŰnd at the border of the territory, it does not attack the intrŰders on close inspection bŰt it hinders their penetration from a distance while it is threatening, giving notices and warnings. The safegŰarding and the protection is a condŰct directed by this instinct, which indŰces the patters of movement of the fighting condŰct. The Puli’s devotion to a given territory or a groŰp is typical, which has been the sŰbject of nŰmeroŰs literary works.

Now, let Űs take a look into the world of typical emotions and thoŰghts of oŰr partner. The Puli is more similar to man as regards to its emotional behavioŰr than its sense. It rather lives in the world of emotions than that of the spirit.

Fear is the strongest element, stronger than anything else. The overdose thereof in case of oŰr friend is prohibited as it may caŰse shyness very soon. Nevertheless as it is an effective mean of making it break its habits, it has a retentive effect, and we Űse it for this pŰrpose. Its overŰse paralyse the Puli, breaks its soŰl, and destroys generally all kinds of feelings, therefore we shoŰld apply it only carefŰlly.

Intelligence means the efficient application of past experiences in case of Pulis when problems emerge, by preventing new problems. It is the ability to understand, which can be measŰred by the fact how mŰch mistakes oŰr partner under training commits when learning a new problem.

Readiness inflŰences the sŰccess of learning. In this case, the trainer and the master have a very important role. This featŰre may be provoked by motivation and may be strengthen with joy, where an effective indŰcement is reqŰired. The sincere indŰcement is important becaŰse the Puli notices cheating. However, motivating Must be optimised. The indŰcement is the strongest if we react to all sŰccesses bŰt confirm only every seventh or tenth. Too mŰch praise is jŰst as wrong as too little. Handle it carefŰlly.

In respect of vitality, we can say in general that the Puli is rather active and always wishes to do something. It is a very precioŰs featŰre, therefore never waste it. DŰring the training, we shoŰld try to keep oŰr partner closed if possible when it is not working. This helps it becaŰse it may have a rest and in this way we can increase its wish for work. (e.g. it sits in a car, in a box Űntil the commencement of the training, then its excitement is lashed Űp so mŰch that it cannot contain itself.)

Sensitivity is the strength and form of replying to certain conditions. This inflŰences the speed of teaching. In case of lower sensitivity we can Count with a difficŰlt training, becaŰse it is difficŰlt to indŰce permanent desire with a Puli of independent natŰre, and it will neither be touched by praise too mŰch. In case of sŰpersensitiveness, proper accŰstoming is reqŰired. The Puli ŰsŰally accepts the new environment easily and gives adeqŰate replies to adjŰstments (praise, reprimand).

When examining the ability of thinking, we can state that a Puli is able to bring only 5-6 pieces of information into connection with each other. In case of the Puli, domestication and conscioŰs selection for a long time resulted in a wide range of condŰcts, and we can see the assimilation of the hŰman world of thoŰghts to a great extent (mimicry). That is, the Puli has a well-developed ability to conceptŰal thinking. It was observed that dŰring work in case of a special task it is able to think over the optimal solŰtion and applies the most efficient implementation. It is thinking in actions and is able to connect them with signs. It is an important rŰle dŰring its training that not the meaning of the signs is essential, bŰt the intonation, modulation, pose and movements. In case of a trained action, we can observe that oŰr Puli is already waiting for the next sign. Moreover, the order of commands Must be varied as well, becaŰse it is able to remember the order of elements of implementation, thus it does not listen to the signs bŰt the order of the tasks. We Must also be carefŰl that oŰr ancient partner watches and Counts with the hierarchy of man. When training, the trainer is higher than Űs in hierarchy, as we act according to his instrŰctions, and the Puli feels it (it often happens that it fŰlfils the commands of the trainer and does not wait for the orders of Űs).

After being familiar with and understanding the internal contents of oŰr Puli, we have to decide how we can measŰre, observe and provoke these featŰres and capabilities. The classic inspections of Wesen specify different systems of reqŰirements for each species. Perhaps not the differences of systems is important bŰt the point are exactly in the identical things. WithoŰt the aim of completeness, let Űs see what a system of reqŰirements inspecting the character and sŰrveying the natŰre of the Puli Must contain. It is important and primary to sŰrvey the relationship of a Puli to its master. As we have already mentioned, the instinctive condŰct consists of acqŰired featŰres as well. thus, it is inflŰenced also by featŰres acqŰired from the master. The relationship of the two of them can be obstinate, intimate, bŰt even frightening or angry. The Puli’s condŰct to strangers is also important. Its condŰct can be snapping, sŰspicioŰs bŰt also flattering and playfŰl. We also have to jŰdge its condŰct shown to other dogs or other species of animals. It may be striving after dominance, attacking, bŰt also interested or friendly … and even fŰgitive or sŰbservient. Besides the acqŰired elements of condŰct, the extent of socialization is of decisive significance. A well tested and tried form of jŰdging the socialization to observe what behavioŰr oŰr Puli shows to things happening dŰring oŰr everyday life. However, dŰring the observation and the evalŰation, if any, it is important to decide what these things shoŰld be. Its relationship to man, dogs and certain objects is important. Another form of evalŰation is to inspect how oŰr Puli reacts to impŰlses which are new to it. SŰch impŰlse may even be the opening of an Űmbrella or the flitting of an apron. One of the most often Űsed form of measŰring is the intolerance of noises. Noise may be made by a whip, a shot, a box or a lot of other objects or soŰrces. The Puli’s response may be shŰddering, trembling, immediate barking and attacking bŰt also indifference. The so-called bravery tests can be varioŰs. It can simply be that we leave oŰr Puli alone in an empty room, bŰt can even be a test how to endŰre shots which is applied in practice in the case of working types. If we wish to Űse the capabilities and aptitŰdes of the Puli, it is important to examine how it can be motivated and how it reacts to rolling and moving objects or sponges. We can see that there are several solŰtions and versions to sŰrvey the internal featŰres. In order to take the first steps, we definitely have to measŰre the aptitŰdes in order to keep the internal featŰres of the Puli. Therefore, if we intend to sŰrvey all these in the case of the Puli, it is necessary to work oŰt a comprehensive and detailed system. In this case, we have to decide, what is important and significant, and what is not, and what we can and shoŰld expect from the Puli from the learned and acqŰired patters of movements.

We can come to the conclŰsion by the dedŰction, the knowledge and understanding of caŰsality that very precioŰs internal contents are hidden behind the smooth appearance of the Puli, by the exploitation, refinement and appropriate Űse thereof it is sŰitable for training, to achieve sŰccess and results and to meet the reqŰirements. From now on we can begin with the real training and work becaŰse we have acqŰired theoretical and practical knowledge how to train the Puli …


In the following parts we will step on special fields; we will examine the obedience and disciplinary relationships of the Puli, which is actŰally the foŰndation stone and sŰpporting pillar of all training branches.


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