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What is Schutzhund Training?

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What is Schutzhund Training? Schutzhund dog training started as a German Shepherd breed test, but has grown into a sport that now often includes other breeds known for their protection abilities such as Rottweilers. The Schutzhund sport is not for the beginning dog owner or novice dog trainer. This sport goes beyond obedience and agility training to incorporate a dog’s natural aggression and the ability of the dog and handler to work as a cohesive team. Only dog owners with exceptional dog training skills should attempt this sport.

Basics of Schutzhund Training

In a Schutzhund training competition, dogs must demonstrate their obedience, tracking, and protection training in different phases of testing. Obedience trials are much like those of other obedience competitions with the dogs rated on how well they respond to commands from their owner, such as healing or staying in a down position. With the tracking tests, the dog must track a human that has walked through a field by following the foot path taken by that person. This type of tracking method is different from dogs that track a scent during a search and rescue operation. In search and rescue operations, the scent is followed and the dog does not necessarily follow the exact path taken by the missing person. The protection tests are by far the most challenging for owners to train. Demonstrating the courage to take on an attacker, while at the same time obeying his owner’s commands and keeping self-control are the marks of a well-trained Schutzhund dog. Dogs that bite other dogs or that bite people outside of the test constraints may be banned from the sport.

Schutzhund TrainingHow to Become a Schutzhund Trainer

The foundation skills of Schutzhund dog training are the same as for any dog training. A good Schutzhund trainer understands operant conditioning using positive reinforcement, dog behavior, and how to train basic obedience behaviors and agility skills. However, you’ll need more than good dog training skills to compete at a Schutzhund competition. To learn the higher level dog training skills needed for tracking and aggression, it’s best to become active in a local Schutzhund dog training club. With this, you can attend competition trials and learn directly from more experienced Schutzhund trainers. You can find the clubs in your area through the United Schutzhund Clubs of America website. For a good introduction to Schutzhund training,  read Schutzhund: Theory and Training Methods.

Schutzhund Training Video: Courage Tests

Levels of Schutzhund Dog Training

There’s several titles Schutzhund trainers and their dogs can obtain. Dogs start by earning the BH title, which refers to the basic obedience and temperament title. This allows the dog to continue on to compete at higher levels that involve the protection tests. Dogs can earn titles in Schutzhund training that includes all three phases, obedience, tracking, and protection as well as advanced titles specific to tracking, obedience, watch dog abilities, and endurance.

Schutzhund Training YouTube: Schutzhund USA North American FH and SchH Championship

People involved in Schutzhund dog training are extremely dedicated to the sport, spending much of their free time training their dogs and attending competitions. This is due to the love of the sport and the work needed to attain a title. It can take two years or longer to reach just the first level. Dogs that have higher titles have handlers that are expert dog trainers.

 

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