Schutzhund 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.
Schutzhund work concentrates on three parts. Many familiar with the obedience work of the American Kennel Club’s affiliates will recognize the first two parts, tracking and obedience. The Schutzhund standards for the third part, protection work. are similar to those for dogs in police work.
While dogs of other breeds are also admitted to Schutzhund trials, this breed evaluation lest 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.
This working dog sport offers an opportunity for dog owners to train their dog and compete with each other for recognition of both the handlers 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.
The Three Parts of a Schutzhund Trial
THE 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 30-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 to scent, as well as its mental and physical endurance.
THE OBEDIENCE 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. Finally, 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 woman.
THE PROTECTION PHASE tests the dog’s courage, physical strength and agility. The handler’s control of 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 grips firmly. The decoy is searched and transported to the judge with the handler and dog walking behind and later at the decoys right side. When the decoy attempts to attack the handler, the dog is expected to stop The attach with a firm grip and no hesitation.
The final test of courage occurs when the decoy is asked to come out of a hiding place by the dog’s handler from the opposite end of the trial field. The dog is sent after the decoy when he attempts to run away. Just when the dog is about to catch the decoy, the judge signals the decoy to turn about and run directly at the dog, threatening the dog with a stick. All bites 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.
There Are Three Levels of Schutzhund
Each progressively more difficult. Schutzhund III being the master’s degree. The exercises in Schutzhund III and total points for each exercise are as follows:
TRACKING: 100 points
The track will be laid by a stranger. It will be approximately 800 paces long and at least sixty minutes old, using three articles. The track includes at least four right angles and the starting point should be marked. The tracklayer will drop the first article about 100 paces, the second article half way into the second or third leg, and the third article will be dropped at the end of the track.
OBEDIENCE: 100 points
Heeling off leash: 10 points
Sit out of motion: 5 points
Down with recall: 10 points
Stand out of walk: 5 points
Stand out of run: 10 points
Retrieving 4 lb. dumbbell on flat ground: 10 points
Retrieving 1 lb. dumbbell over a 39-inch high jump: 15 points
Retrieve over 6 ft. inclined wall of an article belonging to the handler 15 points
Go out and down: 10 points
Long down under distraction: 10 points
PROTECTION 100 points
Search for the helper: 5 points
Hold and bark: 5+5= 10 points
Escape and defense: 10+25= 35 points
Back transport: 5 points
Attack, pursuit and courage test; 10+10+25 = 45 points
Fighting instinct: pronounced, satisfactory, unsatisfactory.
The Schutzhund Trained Dog For Police Work
A dog that performs well in Schutzhund work is obviously a very good candidate for police work. Police dogs. like other service dogs. must have temperaments with a good foundation of intelligence and utility. A minimal amount of additional training makes many well-trained Schutzhund dogs ready for active police duty. Such fearless police dogs can also work around children and in crowds without worry on the part of their handlers
Police dogs are entered in Schutzhund competitions specifically for the police (IPO). The exercises the dog and handler execute perform reflect activities they perform on the job
TRACKING: 100 points
Tracking on a strange trail, approximately 600 paces long. 60 minutes old. three right angle corners and four objectsOBEDIENCE: 100 points
OBEDIENCE: 100 points
Long down as a group exercise: 5 points
Heeling off leash including sit. stand and down in normal and in running mode: 20 points
Behavior in a group and during gun shots: 5 points
Stand stay. down and sit from a distance: 20 points
Recall in running mode: 10 points
Jump over a wire mesh hurdle with a stand stay and pick up by handler; 10 points
Retrieve over a brush hurdle 15 points
Jump over the wall and stay stand and return )ump; 15 points
PROTECTION: 100 points
Searching for helper 10 points
Hold and bark. search for weapons and dismissal of the helper 10 points
On watch. pursuit of a fleeing suspect with barking, finish, search and back transport; 23 points
Attack by a second helper, finish, disarming and arrest. 30 points
Transport, pursuit of a fleeing person, biting holding and transport 25 points