Schutzhund dog training is the highest rung of the dog training ladder, and requires working with your dog using much more advanced techniques than mere obedience training. It takes a very special dog to start with if you would like to get involved with Schutzhund dog training. Schutzhund training started out in Germany over a 100 years ago, in order to test a dog's ability to serve as a police dog. Schutzhund is actually the German word for protection dog. Today's Schutzhund competitions include tracking and obedience trials along with the protection trial.
For most of the history of the Schutzhund training the dogs have been German shepherd dogs, but these days there are some other breeds that receive the Schutzhund training lessons. The dogs need to be athletic, intelligent and courageous to qualify for this difficult training. In order to qualify as a possible candidate for the Schutzhund training the dog need to have the following characteristics
* Your dog must enjoy working very much.
* Your dog must be able to display courage.
* Your dog must be able to learn training quickly
* The dog must develop a very strong relationship with his handler.
* Your dog must have a natural strong protective instinct.
* Your dog needs to have plenty of perseverance.
The Schutzhund dog trials are based on three different tests: tracking, obedience and protection. There are 3 levels of Schutzhund training, Schutzhund I, Schutzhund II, and Schutzhund III, with each level more demanding the the previous one. These Schutzhund III dogs are the best trained dogs in the world.
Tracking: A decoy lay out a trail of dropped items-and your dog's tracking ability, his stamina and his mental sharpness will all be tested in this trial. While performing the tracking trial the handler puts his his dog on a 33 foot leash and follows him around the course. Your dog must find the dropped items and mark where they are, usually by lying down and putting his front legs around the item. Your dog's tracking training must be fine tuned to do well on the challenging course. The dogs are graded on a 100 point system based on how well the performed the course.
Obedience: After tracking, the next trial is for obedience, and the obedience trials are help in an open field. Each dog works in a pair with another dog-one dog will wait on the side of the field while the other dog performs the obedience trial with the handler. At the completion of one dog's trial, the dogs then switch positions. The actual exercises are varied and to do well your dog is required to have total focus. Among the exercises are heeling amidst crowds of people, and even while shots are fired from a gun, and male dogs must stay focused within the scent of a female dog in heat. There are many other exercises including a variety of jumps, climbing, retrieving, etc . The judges will score your dog depending on his enthusiasm on his abilities to perform the trial's exercises.
Protection: During the protection trial there will be a real challenge to your dog's courage and as to whether he can protect himself and you from danger. A decoy will be hiding somewhere on the course behind a blind. Your dog is commanded to search the blinds on the course until he locates the decoy and announces the decoy's presence by barking. Your dog should be trained to guard the decoy until you have a chance to arrive. This is where the police work side of the Schutzhund training is put to use. the handler now comes up to the decoy, and will search him prior to escorting him to where the judge is waiting. During the search or while being escorted the decoy will try some escapes. During the escape attempt your dog must be able to stop the escape by biting and holding onto the decoy's padded sleeve. When the decoy stops his struggling, your dog must know to release the sleeve as soon as you command him to stop. The dogs are judged depending on their courage, enthusiasm as how well they can control their aggression.
There may be a Schutzhund dog training club in your area where you can watch a competition or join up. However , there is not an abundance of Schutzhund clubs in the U. S., but the sport is growing in popularity. It takes more than one person to properly do the Schutzhund training, so you'll need to have someone who can help you. Having someone to help you train your dog and teach you some tips about Schutzhund training is the main reason it is great to join a Schutzhund club if you are interested in this type of training for your dog. If you find that there are no nearby clubs, try learning more about Schutzhund training with a good DVD or video on the subject and see how amazing these dogs are.
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