Early in the breed's development in Germany, it was determined that before any dog could be bred, it had to pass a working test to determine its trainability and courage, as well as its adherence to the breed standard. The Schutzhund degree or IPO as its now called after the rule changes is still the most common working degree earned by dogs in Germany and other countries requiring a working degree before certifying a dog as breed-able.
Schutzhund trials are becoming more and more popular in this country. The protection work in Schutzhund/IPO is only allowed when the handler or trainer has full obedience on his dog. The club's helper, who is an individual that has thorough knowledge of the work that is demanded of him, directs the grip work and his word is the rule, and he will direct the workouts along with the club's training director. (It is very wise to fully investigate any club that one wishes to join).
In 2004, the SV, WUSV and VDH revised the requirements for working titles, stressing control and obedience to an even higher degree. The rules took effect in Germany in the Spring of 2004, and will take effect in this country in mid-Summer 2004, when they have been translated and revised to fit the activities in this country.
Included in the changes is the requirement of a written examination as part of the entry-level BH degree, proving the handler's knowledge of dogs, behavior, management practices and laws. This has been included to insure that handlers are truly able to provide the best training and care for the dogs, and to make them aware of their responsibilities as dog owners.
When the rules become official, we will update all of the rules. Until then, the basic changes are outlined here. The new rules are based on the IPO rules.
Schutzhund competition requires a dog to pass 3 separate tests: Tracking, Obedience, Protection.
Properly done with a dog of proper temperament, Schutzhund is extremely enjoyable for the dog and its owner, as it allows the dog to chase, bite and defeat a foe. This is done under very strict and controlled guidelines. It can enhance a dog's self-confidence and bring energy and enthusiasms to its work. Done improperly it can destroy a young dog's confidence, or as a worst-case scenario, create an unmanageable and dangerous animal. The trainers and helpers of any Schutzhund organization should be carefully selected. As this sport becomes more popular in this country, the training techniques improve, as do the handler's skills.
This is a sport for owners who are willing to be truly dedicated to their training. For those who understand the training and their dogs, it can produce a fine working team. For breeders, this is a program that allows for the ability to fully test the instincts, nerves and trainability, so necessary in a true working breed.
Schutzhund clubs frequently offer not only the Schutzhund (SchH) training, but more and more are offering other internationally recognized degree that requires no bite work. Some also offer breed surveys and conformation shows with judges from Verein fur Deutsche Schaferhund (SV), which is the German breed club.
At Vom Wofenhaus
The bar has been raised,
and "Exceptional" is the Standard.