Agility & Obedience Training
is a German word meaning “protection dog.”It refers to
a sport that focuses on developing and evaluating those
traits in dogs that make them more useful and happier
companions to their owners.
work concentrates on three parts. The
three parts are :-
Protection are similar to those for dogs in police
work. While dogs of other breeds are also admitted to
Schutzhund trials, this breed evaluation test was
developed specifically for the German Shepherd Dog.
Schutzhund is intended to demonstrate the dog’s
intelligence and utility. As a working trial,
Schutzhund measures the dog’s mental stability,
endurance, structural efficiencies, ability to scent,
willingness to work, courage and trainability.
working dog sport offers an opportunity for dog owners to
train their dog and compete with each other for
recognition of both the handler’s ability to train and
the dog’s ability to perform as required. It is a
sport enjoyed by persons of varied professions, who join
together in a camaraderie born of their common interest in
working with their dogs. Persons of all ages and
conditions of life --- even those with significant
disabilities --- enjoy Schutzhund as a sport. Often,
it is a family sport.
addition to the Schutzhund titles, the GSDCA-WDA offers
three additional training degrees. Two of these, the FH1
are advanced tracking degrees that require the dog to
follow tracks over changing terrain, discriminate between
cross-tracks and is at least 3 hours old.
third is the BH. The
BH is a degree for traffic-safe companion dogs that tests
the dogs temperament in and around people. It includes
basic formal obedience - heeling on and off leash, sits,
downs and recalls - as well as practical tests of the
dog’s character in everyday situations. These
include reaction to normal situations involving crowds of
people, strange noises, joggers, cars and other dogs.
Before being allowed to enter for a Schutzhund I title,
the dog must first have successfully completed the BH.
are three levels of the Schutzhund test for which titles
can be earned.
I the dog must be at least 18 months old and
pass an initial temperament test by the judge.
The dog must heel on the leash and off, demonstrate the
walking sit, the walking down, and the stay tests, as well
as, the send-out. It must retrieve on the flat
and over a hurdle. In tracking, it must be able to
follow a track laid by its handler at least 20 minutes
earlier. There are also protection tests.
II the dog must be at least 19 months old and
must already have earned its Schutzhund I degree.
It must again pass all of the obedience and protection
tests required for the Schutzhund I degree, but those
tests, for Schutzhund II, are made more difficult and
require greater endurance, agility, and above all,
control. There is an additional retrieve
required over the six foot slanted wall. In
tracking, the Schutzhund II candidate must be able to
follow a track laid by a stranger at least 30 minutes
III the master’s degree, the dog must be at
least 20 months old and must have earned both the
Schutzhund I and the Schutzhund II titles. Again,
the tests now are made far more difficult. All
exercises in obedience and protection are demonstrated off
leash. There is the additional of a walking
and running stand. In tracking, the dog must follow
a track that was laid by a stranger at least 60 minutes
earlier. The track has four turns, compared with two
turns for Schutzhund I and II, and there are three
objects, rather than two, that must be found by the
dog. The picture of obedience, strength,
eagerness and confidence presented by an excellent
Schutzhund III team is a beautifully illustration of the
partnership of human and dog.
Three Parts of a Schutzhund Trial
tracking phase includes a temperament test
by the overseeing judge to assure the dog’s mental
soundness. When approached closely on a loose leash,
the dog should not act shyly or aggressively.
The track is laid earlier by a person walking normally on
a natural surface such as dirt or grass. The track
includes a number of turns and a number of small, man-made
objects left by this person on the track itself. At
the end of a 33 foot leash, the handler follows the dog,
which is expected to scent the track and indicate the
location of the objects, usually by lying down with it
between its front paws. The tracking phase is
intended to test the dog’s trainability and ability to
scent, as well as, its mental and physical endurance.
phase includes a series of heeling exercises,
some of which are closely in and around a group of people.
During the heeling, there is a gun shot test to assure
that the dog does not openly react to such sharp noises.
There is also a series of field exercises in which the dog
is commanded to sit, lie down and stand while the handler
continues to move. From these various positions, the
dog is recalled to the handler. With dumbbells of various
weights, the dog is required to retrieve on a flat
surface, over a one-meter hurdle and over a six-foot
slanted wall. The dog is also asked to run in a
straight direction from its handler on command and lie
down on a second command.
each dog is expected to stay in a lying down position away
from its handler, despite distractions, at the other end
of the obedience field, while another dog completes the
above exercises. All of the obedience exercises are
tests of the dog’s temperament, structural efficiencies
and very importantly, its willingness to serve man or
phase tests the dog’s courage, physical
strength and agility. The handler’s control for
the dog is absolutely essential. The exercises
include a search of hiding places, finding a hidden person
(acting as a human decoy), and guarding that decoy while
the handler approaches. The dog is expected to
pursue the decoy when an escape is attempted and to hold
the grip firmly. The decoy is searched and
transported to the judge with the handler and dog walking
behind and later at the decoy’s right side. When
the decoy attempts to attack the handler, the dog is
expected to stop the attack with a firm grip and no
final test of courage occurs when the decoy is asked to
come out of a hiding place by the judge from the opposite
end of the trial field. The dog is sent after the
decoy when he refuses to listen to the handler’s command
to stop. The decoy then runs directly at the dog
threatening the dog with a stick. All grips during
the protection phase are expected to be firmly placed on
the padded sleeve and stopped on command and or when the
decoy discontinues the fight. The protection tests
are intended to assure that the dog is neither a coward
nor a criminal menace.
is the Judge looking for in the Dog?
all three stages --- Schutzhund I, II and III --- each of
the three phases: obedience, tracking and
protection, is worth 100 points, for a total of 300
points. If a dog does not receive a minimum of 70%
of the points in tracking, 70% of the points in obedience
and 70% of the points in protection --- or if the dog
fails the pretrial temperament test ---- it is not awarded
a degree that day and must repeat the entire test, passing
all phases of the test at a later trial. In every
event, the Judge is looking for an eager, concentrating
and accurate working dog. High ratings and scores
are given to the animal that displays a strong willingness
and ability to work for it human handler.
Schutzhund Trained Dog in the Home
Schutzhund is the demonstration of the German Shepherd
dog’s most desirable characteristics, dogs well trained
in Schutzhund are usually excellent companions in the
home. The German Shepherd Dog --- like any other
working dog that possesses mental stability --- has trust
and confidence in itself, allowing it to be at peace with
addition to sound structural efficiencies for long,
arduous work, the standard for the German Shepherd Dog
calls for mental stability and a willingness to
work. The dog should be approachable, quietly
standing its ground, showing confidence and a willingness
to meet overtures without itself necessarily making them.
It should be generally calm, but eager and alert when the
situation warrants. It should be fearless, but also
good with children.
German Shepherd Dog should not be timid or react nervously
to unusual sounds or sights. A dog that is overly
aggressive because of its overall fears of people and
events can be extremely dangerous. The Schutzhund
sport is designed to identify and eliminate such dogs from
breeding stock. Because Schutzhund training gives
the owner a great deal of control over the dog the owner
is able to let the dog have more fun. Not only is
Schutzhund training itself enjoyable for the dog, but the
Schutzhund trained dog knows how to please its owners,
creating a stronger bond between dog and owners.
a Puppy for Schutzhund.
every breed, the pedigree is the key to knowing the
potential of the puppy. Schutzhund revolves around
working lines --- generations of dogs that have proven
themselves and produced similar characteristics in their
offspring. These characteristics include not only
the physical structure of the dog, which is very
important, but also its temperament.
the bloodlines from which you want your puppy may require
advice. Information from breed surveys can help.
Of course, it makes sense to discuss your objectives with
reputable and experienced Schutzhund handlers or
you have determined that the bloodlines of the potential
dam and sire are of high quality, you should observe the
parents, especially the Mother, if that is at all
possible. The dam will be the main influence on the
young pup for the first six weeks of its life. If
the dam is nervous or unsure, chances are this uncertainty
will be transferred to the offspring.
you are able to see the litter, watch the puppies together
and also separately, to try to determine which is the best
puppy. Obvious structural defects or health problems
should be watched for.
is important that the puppy have intense instinct to stalk
the prey --- a ball, a toy, etc. --- and also be the
leader in the sense of bullying the other puppies.
The puppy should not show fear when away from its
littermates. It should not need to stay with the
mother. The puppy should be adventurous and active,
playing with objects shown to it by someone in the
enclosure, but it should be independent enough to take
that object and go off on its own as well.
is independence and confidence, combined with the positive
contact with the pack leader (the dam, at this time) that
will develop into the traits of trainability that you
a Puppy for Schutzhund Work.
is the most critical period for the development of the
characteristics you want to encourage. Your local
Schutzhund club can advise you about nurturing and
socializing your growing puppy.
puppy learns from it experiences, so you want to provide
only positive ones. It should be provided with
opportunity to explore and investigate new situations and
new people, but always in a non-threatening way.
Remember that your goal is to build confidence in the
young animal. Your aim is NOT to dominate or oppress
the young pup.
to different environments is crucial to the general
education of the dog and also to assure it that the world
is a safe pace. If something appears to make the dog
unsure, give it the opportunity to investigate it slowly,
but do not force the issue.
is imperative to avoid situations where your dog would be
dominated by another older or stronger dog, or by another
puppy. You also want to avoid having to discipline
or correct your puppy and thus dampen its spirit or damage
its self-confidence. You can do this by never
leaving the pup in a situation where it can cause damage
to your valuables or find itself in a dangerous
final area of development is that of drive encouragement.
The natural behaviors that you want to encourage are
playing with the ball, tug of war, hide and seek, pulling
toys on a string, pursuing you rapidly when you run away,
and finally defending itself, its family and its home.
The latter really only shows
itself between the ages of nine and eighteen months as the
pup begins to mature by barking at strangers or intruders.
is better to leave for later formal obedience training
with a young dog. The character of the puppy
is not sufficiently strong to withstand the corrections
involved in obedience training. Acceptable manners
at home and in the car and “play“ training, like
learning to sit for a food reward, with NO corrections
involved, is advisable. Real obedience work
should begin only after the dog is well on its way in the
Value to the Breed
registered German Shepherd that has earned a Schutzhund
degree has demonstrated sufficient
ability as a working dog to qualify for breed
evaluation. The breed evaluation is a very
detailed examination of the dog’s structure, temperament
and pedigree and requires both a certification of good hip
joints and sufficient performance on an endurance test
(the AD). Dogs that do well in the breed
evaluation receive a Koerklasse I or Koerklasse II.
This is a recommendation and evaluation by a trained and
recognized expert Judge as the worthiness of the dog for
breeding. Dogs rated Koerklasse II are “suitable
for breeding” and dogs rated Koerklasse I are
“recommended for breeding”. By thus screening
dogs in order to select the suitable specimens for
breeding, Schutzhund helps to maintain the quality of the
breed at a very high level. Thus, there is a very
high level of assurance that puppies born to Schutzhund
dams and sired by Schutzhund dogs are more likely to be of
reliable temperament, high intelligence, steady nerves,
extreme endurance, great strength, and sound structures.
Dogs Enjoy Schutzhund Training?
trained in the right manner, dogs enjoy working, as anyone
who attends a Schutzhund competition can see. The
joy of the dogs in working with their handlers is evident.
thousands of years, dogs have adapted to serve humans in a
mutually beneficial relationship. While dogs could
move quickly, hunt prey, and protect flocks and their
owner, the humans could provide food, shelter from the
most severe elements, and protection from larger
predators, besides tending to the dog’s injuries.
A dog’s reason for being is to serve humans.
training helps develop the dog’s natural instincts to a
high level. Self-confident dogs, doing work for which they
are well trained, are happy dogs. Wagging tails,
sounds of excitement, and strong pulling on a leash all
show an observer at a Schutzhund trial how much
fulfillment dogs find in this work.