The word “Schutzhund” is the German word for “protection dog”, and Schutzund is a dog sport that was first developed in Germany early last century.
Schutzhund testing emerged as a way of testing if a dog had the necessary characteristics and traits for it to be considered to be a true German Shepherd working dog. The traits needing to be demonstrated include:
- A strong work ethic.
The idea behind modern Schutzhund training is to make the dog into a better companion for their owner.
There are three titles:
- Schutzhund 1 (SchH1).
- Schutzund 2 (SchH2).
- Schutzhund 3 (SchH3).
The Schutzhund 3 test is the most advanced. Dogs must pass a temperament test before they can compete for the Schutzhund 1 title. This is known as a B or BH test, from the German word “Begleithundprüfung“.
There are 3 distinct areas that are tested by a Schutzhund test:
Schutzhund Obedience Training
Those acquainted with A.K.C. obedience will be more at home in the obedience phase, as many of the exercises are similar.
There is heeling. This includes on and off lead.
And there are also sit, down and stay. These are also done when the dog is moving.
Schutzhund applies it’s own style to the work. The handler and dog work on a soccer size trial field.
Some exercises require the dog to heel under the sound of gunshot. In addition to the normal dumbell retrieval, the dog must retrieve over several obstacles with varying degrees of difficulty. Down stays and a long send away conclude the test.
When the Schutzhund dog is working he should exhibit willingness and enjoyment. The dog should perform the exercises quickly, with spirit and precision. Each exercise should be taught to the dog to create the desire to work in the dog. Dogs that are slow or dull during the work are penalized heavily by the judge.
Obedience training also carries a moral burden for the trainer of a dog who is also receiving protection training. It is necessary that the dog be reliable and under control in all situations. To be a safe companion, the dog must master walking at his master’s side, lying down and staying on comand in any location at any time.