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Schutzhund is a German competition dog sport that had it's origin in the early 1900’s.  It was formally a test of the German Shepherd Dog to determine which of those dogs where suitable for breeding and which had true working ability. There was a  growing demand for working dogs. These dogs were needed for herding, police work, border patrols, customs inspections, and the military. 
       

 As a result, more sophisticated tests and more in depth training became necessary.  As these tests evolved, more people participated just to see if their personal dogs could be trained as effectively.  It has been over sixty years since the first formal Schutzhund rules were introduced.  Today there are tens of thousands of people participate in the sport each year.

 

Schutzhund tests three specific areas of a dog's training and behavior: tracking, obedience, and protection. Tracking requires the dog to track footsteps over mixed terrain, change direction and show absolute accuracy and commitment to finding the track. It must also find dropped articles and indicate their locations to the handler. Often this is done under less than ideal circumstances with difficult cover, bad weather conditions and an aged track. Many find tracking to be the most satisfying experience in training, when only the handler and dog are working together. It is certainly the most peaceful part of Schutzhund.

 

The second phase is obedience. There is heeling, both on and off lead.  Stationary and moving exercises are inclusive. In addition to the normal dumbbell retrieval, the dog must retrieve over a one meter jump and a six foot wall.  Down stays and a long send away conclude the test.  Generally, the trails are held on soccer or football sized field. Some exercises require the dog to work under the noise of a firing gun.

 

The final phase is protection.  This test is the one that is most misunderstood by the general public. The most important point to understand when watching a protection routine, is the relationship between dog and handler. The dog must never bite the trial helper, unless either the dog or the handler is attacked. Then it must attack fully and without hesitation. But here the real difference becomes apparent. The dog must stop biting on the command of the handler and guard the trial helper without further aggression. Often people confuse Schutzhund protection training with police dog or personal protection work. The Schutzhund dog is capable of the feats of never being  aggressive except under those specific situations it is trained to face, and even then it must always be under the absolute control of the handler.                                                                           

 

Alone, the aforementioned tests are difficult enough.  An even greater demand is that they all happen in one day at Schutzhund  competitions that are held all over the country. The are held by local clubs and include regional and national championships. Each dog is judged by a complex point system that ultimately determines the winner of the trial.

 

When a dog successfully completes the first trial, it is awarded a title of Schutzhund I.  It can then progress to Schutzhund II, and eventually the highest award being Schutzhund III.  Naturally, each progressive level makes ever greater demands on the dog’s training.  Any Schutzhund participate will tell you that a high scoring Schutzhund III dog is the ultimate working dog.

 

Today, Schutzhund is more than the small group that started in Germany so long ago.  The organization has grown to several hundred thousand members including Europe, North America and several other continents

  

 

 

                   

 
 

 

 

 
                                             Links

DVG America Home page

East TN DVG

Hondensport Ohio Schutzhund Club

Mid Tennessee Schutzhund Club

Tri State Schutzhund Club

Tulsa Schutzhund Club

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