What Is Schutzhund Training

Discover the Ultimate Dog Sport: What Is Schutzhund Training?

What is Schutzhund training? You might have only just recently heard of something called Schutzhund training, and have gotten curious about learning more about the awesome sport for dogs.

Schutzhund training is a comprehensive and demanding dog sport that originated in Germany. It involves three main elements: tracking, obedience, and protection. This demanding sport is suitable for a variety of breeds, but it is particularly popular with German Shepherds, Rottweilers, and Dobermans.

In this article, we will delve deeper into the world of Schutzhund training and provide an overview of the sport and its benefits. We will also cover the key elements of Schutzhund training and provide tips for those interested in getting started.

Whether you are a seasoned trainer or a beginner, this article will provide valuable information on how to succeed in the world of Schutzhund training.

What Is Schutzhund Training?

What Are the Levels of Schutzhund?
What Are the Schutzhund Commands?
How Do I Get Started in Schutzhund?

Schutzhund training requires a high level of commitment and consistency from both the dog and the trainer, as it involves extensive training and conditioning.

The goal of Schutzhund training is to develop and test the natural abilities of working dogs, including intelligence, endurance, and strength. It helps to build a strong bond between the dog and the handler and can improve a dog’s courage and overall obedience and behavior of the dog.

In addition, Schutzhund training can provide a sense of accomplishment and purpose for both the dog and the trainer.

How Do I Get Started in Schutzhund?

If you are interested in getting started in Schutzhund training, there are a few steps you can take to begin your journey:

  1. Learn about the sport: The first step in getting started in Schutzhund training is to learn about the sport and understand its goals and requirements. This includes understanding the three main elements of Schutzhund training: tracking, obedience, and protection.
  2. Find a local club: The next step is to find a local Schutzhund club or trainer who can provide guidance and instruction. There are Schutzhund clubs and trainers located all over the world, so you should be able to find one in your area.
  3. Obtain the necessary equipment: In order to get started in Schutzhund training, you will need to obtain some basic equipment. This includes a tracking harness, a training collar, a long line, and a bite suit.
  4. Find a suitable breed: While Schutzhund training is suitable for a variety of breeds, it is particularly popular with working breeds such as German Shepherds, Rottweilers, and Dobermans. Keep in mind that Schutzhund training requires a high level of commitment and consistency, so it is important to choose a breed that is capable of meeting these demands.
  5. Train consistently: Consistency is key in Schutzhund training. It is important to set aside regular training times and stick to a consistent schedule in order to see progress.
  6. Seek guidance from a coach or mentor: If you are new to Schutzhund training, it can be helpful to seek guidance from a coach or mentor who has experience in the sport. They can provide valuable advice and support as you learn the ropes.
  7. Set achievable goals: It is important to set realistic and achievable goals for yourself and your dog as you begin your journey in Schutzhund training. This will help you to stay motivated and focused as you work towards success in the sport.

Overall, getting started in Schutzhund training requires some dedication and commitment, but the rewards can be well worth it.

By learning about the sport, finding a local club, obtaining the necessary equipment, choosing a suitable breed, training consistently, seeking guidance, and setting achievable goals, you can begin your journey in Schutzhund training and work towards success in this demanding and rewarding sport.

What Are the Schutzhund Commands?

Schutzhund dog training involves the use of specific commands, often using a german word, in order to communicate with the dog and guide its behavior. These commands are used in all three elements of Schutzhund training: tracking, obedience, and protection.

Some of the most common Schutzhund commands include:

  1. “Fuss” or “Heel”: This command is used to guide the dog to walk beside the handler with its head at the level of the handler’s hip.
  2. “Platz” or “Down”: This command is used to tell the dog to lie down on its stomach.
  3. “Sitz” or “Sit”: This command is used to tell the dog to sit on its hindquarters with its front paws on the ground.
  4. “Steh” or “Stand”: This command is used to tell the dog to stand on all four paws with its hindquarters on the ground.
  5. “Bring” or “Fetch”: This command is used to tell the dog to retrieve an object and bring it back to the handler.
  6. “Aus” or “Out”: This command is used to tell the dog to release an object it is holding in its mouth.
  7. “Such” or “Search”: This command is used in tracking to tell the dog to search for a specific scent.
  8. “Voran” or “Forward”: This command is used in tracking to tell the dog to move forward in the direction of the scent.
  9. “Zu mir” or “Come”: This command is used to tell the dog to come to the handler.
  10. “Pass auf” or “Watch”: This command is used in protection work to tell the dog to pay attention and be alert.

By using these commands consistently and accurately, the handler can communicate effectively with the dog and guide its behavior during Schutzhund training.

It is important to remember that the commands must be given in a clear and firm tone, and the dog must be well-trained in order to respond accurately. Overall, the use of Schutzhund commands is a crucial aspect of successful Schutzhund work.

What Are the Levels of Schutzhund?

What’s the Difference Between IPO and IGP?
Can Any Dog Do IPO?
What Does IPO Stand For in Schutzhund?
What Are The Judges Looking For In Schutzhund?
The Different Schutzhund Titles

Schutzhund training is divided into three levels, each of which tests the dog’s abilities in a different way according to different Schutzhund standards. These levels are:

  1. Schutzhund I: This is the first level of Schutzhund training and serves as an introduction to the sport. It involves basic tracking, obedience, and protection work. The tracking portion of the test consists of a simple track laid by the handler, and the obedience portion includes basic commands such as sit, down, and stay. The protection portion involves simple defensive work, such as barking and holding a bite sleeve.
  2. Schutzhund II: This is the second level of Schutzhund training and involves more advanced tracking, obedience, and protection work. The tracking portion of the test consists of a track laid by a stranger, and the obedience portion includes more advanced commands such as recalls and retrieves. The protection portion involves more advanced defensive work, such as escapes and attacks on command.
  3. Schutzhund III: This is the final test and the highest level of Schutzhund training and is the most demanding of the three levels. It involves advanced tracking, obedience, and protection work. The tracking portion of the test consists of a track laid by a stranger with multiple turns and obstacles, and the obedience portion includes even more advanced commands.

The Different Schutzhund Titles

Schutzhund titles are awards that are given to dogs that have demonstrated their proficiency in the various elements of Schutzhund training, including tracking, obedience, and protection.

These titles are recognized by the International Association of Canine Professionals and are used to indicate the level of achievement of the dog and handler.

There are several different Schutzhund titles that can be earned, including:

  1. BH: The BH, or “Begleithundprüfung,” is an entry-level obedience title that is designed to test the dog’s basic obedience skills and temperament.
  2. AD: The AD, or “Ausdauerprüfung,” is an endurance test that is designed to evaluate the dog’s physical stamina and endurance.
  3. IPO: The IPO, or “Internationale Prüfungs-Ordnung,” is a three-part test that involves tracking, obedience, and protection work. There are three levels of IPO titles that can be earned, including IPO1, IPO2, and IPO3.
  4. FH: The FH, or “Fahrtenhund,” is an advanced tracking title that is designed to test the dog’s ability to follow a complex scent trail.
  5. VPG: The VPG, or “Vielseitigkeitsprüfung für Gebrauchshunde,” is a multi-faceted title that involves tracking, obedience, and protection work. There are three levels of VPG titles that can be earned, including VPG1, VPG2, and VPG3.

By earning these titles, dogs and their handlers demonstrate their proficiency in the various elements of Schutzhund training and their ability to work as a team.

What Are The Judges Looking For In Schutzhund?

In Schutzhund training, the overseeing judge is looking for dogs that demonstrate the necessary skills and abilities to be successful working dogs. These skills and abilities are tested in three main categories: tracking, obedience, and protection.

During tracking, judges are looking for dogs that are able to accurately follow a scent trail and indicate the presence of articles along the way. Dogs should be able to show focus, endurance, and attention to detail in order to succeed in tracking.

During obedience, judges are looking for dogs that are able to perform a variety of exercises, including heeling, recalls, and retrieving. Dogs should be able to demonstrate control, precision, and reliability in order to succeed in obedience.

During protection, judges are looking for dogs that are able to demonstrate courage, control, and confidence in defensive and offensive situations. Dogs should be able to show the ability to protect their handlers and control an adversary without causing unnecessary harm.

Overall, judges are looking for dogs that are able to demonstrate the necessary skills and abilities to be successful working dogs. They are looking for dogs that are physically fit, mentally sharp, and have the temperament and character to excel in the demanding and challenging sport of Schutzhund.

What Does IPO Stand For in Schutzhund?

IPO stands for Internationale Prüfungsordnung, which is the international trial and testing rulebook for Schutzhund. IPO is also sometimes referred to as IGP, or Internationale Gebrauchshundprüfung, which translates to “International Utility Dog Trial.”

In the context of Schutzhund, IPO refers to a system of evaluating a dog’s abilities in three areas: tracking, obedience, and as a protection dog. Each of these areas is tested in a series of trials, and the dog must pass all three trials in order to earn an IPO title.

The tracking portion of the IPO test involves having the dog follow a scent trail that has been laid by a person. The trail is usually about 600-800 paces long and includes turns, obstacles, and cross tracks. The dog must be able to follow the scent accurately and indicate to the handler when it has found the articles that have been placed along the trail.

The obedience portion of the IPO test involves a series of exercises that test the dog’s obedience and control. These exercises include heeling on and off leash, recalls, retrieves, and other commands. The dog must be able to perform these exercises with precision and control.

The protection portion of the IPO test involves defensive work, such as barking and holding a bite sleeve. The dog must be able to defend itself and its handler in a controlled and appropriate manner.

In order to earn an IPO title, a dog must pass all three trials and meet the requirements set forth in the IPO rulebook. This includes demonstrating the necessary skills and abilities in tracking, obedience, and protection, as well as exhibiting good temperament and control. The IPO title is a prestigious achievement that demonstrates a dog’s versatility and working abilities.

Can Any Dog Do IPO?

It is important to keep in mind that IPO is a physically and mentally demanding sport that requires a high level of commitment and consistency from both the dog and the trainer. Not all dogs are well-suited to the demands of IPO, and it is important to carefully evaluate the suitability of the sport for the individual dog.

IPO is suitable for a wide range of breeds, including German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Dobermans, and other working breeds due to their natural traits.

When considering whether a particular dog is suitable for IPO, it is important to consider the following factors:

  • Physical fitness: IPO requires a high level of physical fitness, including endurance, strength, and agility. Dogs should be in good physical condition and have a strong work ethic in order to succeed in the sport.
  • Mental aptitude: IPO requires a high level of intelligence and problem-solving ability. Dogs should be able to think on their feet and adapt to new situations.
  • Temperament: IPO requires a dog with a stable and confident temperament. Dogs should be calm and controlled under stress and be able to handle the challenges of tracking, obedience, and protection work.

Overall, while IPO is suitable for a wide range of breeds, it is important to carefully evaluate the suitability of the sport for the individual dog and to ensure that the dog is physically and mentally capable of meeting the demands of the sport.

What’s the Difference Between IPO and IGP?

IPO and IGP are both acronyms that refer to systems of evaluating a dog’s abilities in tracking, obedience, and protection.

Overall, the main difference between IPO and IGP is their origin and the breeds they are intended for.

However, there are some key differences between the two:

  1. Origin: IPO stands for Internationale Prüfungsordnung, which is the international trial and testing rulebook for Schutzhund. It was developed in Germany in the early 1900s as a way to evaluate the working abilities of German Shepherds. IGP, on the other hand, stands for Internationale Gebrauchshundprüfung, which translates to “International Utility Dog Trial.” It is a newer version of the IPO system that was developed in the 1980s as a way to make the sport more accessible to a wider variety of breeds.
  2. Structure: The structure of the IPO and IGP systems is largely the same, with trials for tracking, obedience, and protection. However, the specific requirements and rules for each trial may vary slightly between the two systems.
  3. Breeds: The IPO system was originally developed for German Shepherds, and it is still most commonly used by this breed. However, the IGP system is more inclusive and is open to a wider variety of breeds, including those that are not traditionally classified as working dogs.

What Age Can a Dog Start Schutzhund?

Most dogs can start Schutzhund training at around 18 months of age, once they have reached physical and mental maturity. However, it is important to consult with a veterinarian and a professional trainer to determine the appropriate age for a specific dog to start Schutzhund training.

It is generally recommended to wait until a dog is at least 18 months old to begin Schutzhund training, as this allows the dog to fully develop its physical and mental abilities. Starting Schutzhund training at an earlier age may put unnecessary strain on the dog’s developing body and mind.

However, it is important to note that every dog is different and may be ready to start Schutzhund training at a different age. Factors such as breed, size, and overall health and development can all affect the appropriate age to start Schutzhund training.

It is also important to remember that Schutzhund training is a demanding and physically and mentally demanding sport, and it is important to ensure that the dog is physically and mentally ready to handle the demands of the training.

Consult with a veterinarian and a professional trainer to determine the appropriate age for a specific dog to start Schutzhund training.

How Many Hours a Day Should I Train My Dog?

The amount of time that you should train your dog for Schutzhund will depend on several factors, including the age and physical condition of the dog, the trainability and willingness of the dog, the goals of the training, and the schedule of the trainer.

A good rule of thumb is to start with training sessions that last between 15 and 30 minutes, and gradually increase the duration as the dog’s fitness improves. It is also important to incorporate rest and recovery time into the training schedule to allow the dog to rest and recover between sessions.

In general, it is recommended to start with short training sessions and gradually increase the duration as the dog becomes more fit and accustomed to the demands of the sport. It is important to avoid overtraining or pushing the dog too hard, as this can lead to physical and mental exhaustion.

It is also recommended to vary the training sessions and incorporate a variety of activities, such as obedience work, tracking, and protection work, to keep the training interesting and challenging for the dog.

How Much Does Schutzhund Training Cost?

Do Dogs Enjoy Schutzhund?
How Much Does Schutzhund Training Cost?
What Age Can a Dog Start Schutzhund?

The cost of Schutzhund training can vary depending on several factors, including the location of the training, the experience and credentials of the trainer, and the length and intensity of the training program.

In general, Schutzhund training can be more expensive than other types of dog training due to the specialized nature of the sport and the high level of skill and expertise required.

Some of the costs associated with Schutzhund training can include:

  • Training sessions with a coach or trainer: The cost of training sessions with a coach or trainer can vary widely depending on the location, experience, and credentials of the trainer. Training sessions can range in price from $50 to $100 or more per hour.
  • Equipment: Schutzhund training requires specialized equipment, including a tracking harness, a training collar, a long line, and a bite suit. The cost of this equipment can vary, but it is generally in the range of $100 to $500 or more.
  • Membership fees: Some Schutzhund clubs may require membership fees for participation in training sessions or competitions. Membership fees can vary, but they are typically in the range of $50 to $100 per year.
  • Travel costs: If you are participating in Schutzhund training or competitions that are located a distance from your home, you may incur travel costs such as gas, airfare, lodging, and meals. These costs can add up quickly, especially if you are traveling frequently.

Overall, the cost of Schutzhund training can vary widely depending on the specific needs and goals of the trainer and the dog. It is important to carefully evaluate the costs associated with the sport and to ensure that you are comfortable with the financial investment.

Do Dogs Enjoy Schutzhund?

But even if Schutzhund seems fun and interesting at first glance, do dogs enjoy Schutzhund?

Many dogs enjoy participating in Schutzhund training and thrive in the structured and challenging environment of the sport. For some dogs, Schutzhund training provides a sense of purpose and fulfillment, as they are able to use their natural abilities and instincts in a meaningful way.

However, it is important to keep in mind that Schutzhund training can be physically and mentally demanding for dogs, and it is not suitable for all dogs. Some dogs may not enjoy the rigorous demands of the sport and may be better suited to other types of training or activities.

It is also important to ensure that the dog is physically and mentally capable of handling the demands of Schutzhund training. Dogs should be in good physical condition and have a strong work ethic in order to succeed in the sport.

Overall, whether or not dogs enjoy Schutzhund training can vary depending on the individual dog and its characteristics, as well as the approach of the trainer. It is important to carefully evaluate the suitability of Schutzhund training for the dog and to ensure that the training is positive and rewarding for both the dog and the trainer.

Can Mixed Breeds Compete in Schutzhund?

But what if you don’t have a German Shepherd dog or any of the other more commonly used dogs for Schutzhund, can mixed breeds compete in Schutzhund?

Yes, mixed breeds can compete in Schutzhund, although the rules for mixed breed participation vary depending on the organization and country. In some countries and organizations, mixed breeds are allowed to compete in Schutzhund trials and can earn titles just like purebred dogs. In other countries and organizations, mixed breeds may not be allowed to compete in official Schutzhund trials, but they may still be able to participate in training and practice sessions.

It is important to note that Schutzhund training is a physically and mentally demanding sport, and it is important to ensure that the dog is physically and mentally capable of handling the demands of the training. Mixed breeds, like all dogs, should be evaluated individually to determine their suitability for Schutzhund training.

Overall, the rules for mixed breed participation in Schutzhund may vary depending on the organization and country, but it is generally possible for mixed breeds to compete in Schutzhund trials and earn titles. Consult with a local Schutzhund club or organization to learn more about the specific rules for mixed breed participation in your area.

What Equipment Do You Need for Schutzhund?

There are several pieces of equipment that are commonly used in Schutzhund training. These include:

  1. Tracking harness: A tracking harness is a specialized harness (affiliate link) that is used to help the dog follow a scent trail. It allows the handler to guide the dog’s movements and provides support for the dog’s chest and shoulders.
  2. Training collar: A training collar is a type of collar that is used to provide guidance and control to the dog during training. There are several types of training collars, including choke collars, prong collars, and electronic collars. It is important to choose a training collar that is appropriate for the dog’s size and temperament and to use it properly in order to avoid causing harm to the dog.
  3. Long line: A long line is a length of rope or cord that is attached to the dog’s collar and allows the handler to control the dog’s movements from a distance. Long lines are commonly used in tracking and obedience training.
  4. Bite suit: A bite suit is a specialized piece of protective clothing (affiliate link) that is worn by the handler during protection training. It is made of heavy-duty material and is designed to protect the handler from the dog’s bites.
  5. Dumbbells of various weights: A dumbbell is a small, weighted object (affiliate link) that is used in obedience training. It is typically made of metal and is used to teach the dog to retrieve and carry objects.
  6. Blindfold: A blindfold is a piece of fabric that is worn over the eyes in order to block the dog’s vision. It is sometimes used in Schutzhund training to teach the dog to rely on its other senses, such as hearing and scent.
  7. Whistle: A whistle is a small, handheld device that is used to give a high-pitched sound in order to get the dog’s attention or signal a specific action. Whistles are commonly used in Schutzhund training to communicate with the dog from a distance.
  8. Bumper: A bumper is a small, lightweight object that is used in obedience and tracking training. It is typically made of rubber or plastic and is used to teach the dog to retrieve and carry objects.

It is important to have the appropriate equipment for Schutzhund training in order to ensure the training goes as smoothly as possible.

Conclusion

What Is Schutzhund Training
What Equipment Do You Need for Schutzhund
Can Mixed Breeds Compete in Schutzhund

In conclusion, Schutzhund training is a comprehensive and demanding dog sport that involves the elements of tracking, obedience, and protection. It is suitable for a variety of breeds but is particularly popular with working breeds such as German Shepherds, Rottweilers, and Dobermans.

Getting started in Schutzhund training requires some dedication and commitment, including learning about the sport, finding a local club, obtaining the necessary equipment, choosing a suitable breed, training consistently, seeking guidance, and setting achievable goals.

Schutzhund training can be physically and mentally demanding for both the dog and the trainer, but it can also be incredibly rewarding, helping to build a strong bond between the dog and the handler and improving the overall obedience and behavior of the dog.

Some of My Favorite Products For Dog Owners

I hope this article has helped you just a bit in everyday life as a dog owner. Being a dog owner for more than 25 years myself, I’ve tried an abundance of different products with varying success, but these products below are some that I can highly recommend to every dog and their owner without hesitation!

These links are affiliate links, so if you do end up using the links, I will earn a commission. But it’s products that I use daily myself, and I have nothing but praise for.

Dog Food: Every dog needs to eat correctly, and finding the best food for your dog can be hard, as the market is absolutely flooded with products. But since 2015 when the company was founded, I’ve been using Ollie Petfood. With their product being tailor-made to suit every dog’s specific needs, and as my dogs absolutely love the product, I’m pretty sure I’ve found a product I will continue to use for many years more. If you use my link you can get 50% off your first order.

Dog Training: If you’ve ever owned a puppy, you know that they require a lot of training to grow into a well-behaved adult. Brain Training for Dogs has helped me immensely with the mental training part of raising a dog, and it’s something I strongly recommend you consider.

Grooming: If you have a dog in your home, you’re going to need a brush, and for this, I recommend a Hertzko Self-Cleaning Slicker Brush. For that price, you simply can’t beat this brush for everyday grooming.

If you’re looking for the most up-to-date recommendations, check out my recommended products section that I’ve created to help every dog owner!