Posts Tagged ‘Schutzhund’
Monday, November 15th, 2010
With the membership “For the German Shepherd Dog” the United Schutzhund Clubs of America is an organization that is dedicated to protecting and preserving the German Shepherd’s working heritage through Schutzhund training. Schutzhund, which is translated as “protection dog” originated in Germany so that breeder could evaluate and pick the highest quality dog for their breeding programs. In Germany still to this day a German Shepherd dog can not be bred without a Schutzhund title. The three titles are Sch H I (novice), Sch H II (intermediate), and Sch H III (master level). Schutzhund still continues to function as a breed test but it has grown into an extremely popular sport, especially in North America. The purpose of Schutzhund is to demonstrate the dog’s intelligence, utility, endurance, ability to scent, courage, trainability and many others as well. The three parts of Schutzhund are obedience, tracking and protection, the whole sport has many rules and regulations that must be followed.
The following are just some rules and regulations of the Schutzhund sport. To begin with, the minimum age requirements for entry into the different degree levels are as follows, SchH A -18 month, SchH 1 -18 months, Sch1-1 11 -19 months, Schl-l 111 – 20 months, FH -16 months, and B -12 months. When only one judge is present a maximum of 10 (12 in the USA) dogs may be entered in the trial. If the amount of entries exceeds this, then the trial must be extended another day or more judges must be brought in. Only dogs that are in good health can be in a trial, also the dog must pass a test of impartiality and sureness. Another rule is that a dogs are only allowed to be in one Schutzhund degree for each trial. Also if a dog has been awarded a degree, a four week (two weeks in USA) waiting period must occur before the dog can be put into the next higher degree. When it comes to the event the participant must follow the instructions of the judge as well as the trial committees’, without any disagreement. Also the handler must show the dog in a sporty and faultless manner, poor sportsmanship will lead to expulsion from the trial. Regarding score and ratings, the highest maximum score in each phase is 100 points, therefore the highest score for all three phases is 300 points. Again, these are just a few of the Schutzhund rules and regulations.
Thursday, October 7th, 2010
Proper obedience training is important for any working dog. Sit, heel and down are standard exercises which any well trained dog will know, but for trained protection dogs, obedience doesn’t stop at basic exercises. Many intermediate and advanced obedience exercises are a combination of two or more basic exercises. Two examples of this are the “sit in motion” and “down in motion”, which are essentially a combination of either heel and sit, or heel and down.
The “down in motion” exercise essentially goes as follows: the dog is instructed to heel by the handler. As they move together, the handler instructs the dog to down. The dog immediately stops heeling and enters a down stay, as the handler continues walking. While this may sound fairly simple, untrained dogs will often be confused between the down command and the heel command, and won’t be sure which action to take. Obedience is about having your dog consistently and confidently performing the expected actions, time and time again. The “sit in motion” exercise is identical, except for it uses sit in place of down.
Training for this exercise, like training for most things, should be down in small steps. It is very important that your dog know both the hell and the down command separately before you try to combine them into a down in motion. Start by only taking a couple of steps before and after the down, and gradually work your way up to longer distances. As you do the training, consider having someone nearby to aid you. Many dogs will want to continue heeling after the down command, and clever dogs may even sneak in a few steps while your back is turned after the down. Having someone nearby will help you to ensure that the dog is acting as instructed while your back is turned.
The “down in motion” exercise is commonly included in dog sports such as Schutzhund. The obedience exercises in many dog sports offer excellent examples of the basic obedience requirements of protection dogs or guard dogs as well. However, it’s important to remember that dog sports are only sport. While obedience exercises are useful in a wide number of scenarios, advanced protection training for personal protection dogs should never be done in the context of sport. If you want a true protection dog, it has to be trained for real protection, in the real world.
Tuesday, August 17th, 2010
Hundreds of years ago dogs were only kept on farms, and were not permitted within the confines of city life. Today, it is a very different story; dogs are seen accompanying humans in all places and filling a variety of roles in human society. While different dogs perform a variety of different jobs, they all have one form of training in common: obedience training. Obedience is the key factor that has allowed us to integrate canines into our society so effectively. Without obedience, there is no control, and without control, your dog cannot reliably perform its job. Schutzhund emphasises the importance of obedience training in all of its exercises. Sch3 titled dogs are required to show exemplary obedience. Unfortunately, other sports such as KNPV allow for obedience that is just good enough to pass. While protection work and agility are certainly very important, obedience should always come first.
Unlike protection work and tracking, which take advantage of the natural tendencies in canine behavior, obedience training is very unnatural for a dog to learn. Because of this, training obedience can be very stressful on a dog if not done correctly. When we deliver our personal protection dogs, we tell all of our clients to perform quick ten-minute obedience exercises with their dog each day. This not only improves the dog’s obedience, but also helps build a strong bond and sense of leadership between the handler and the canine. In a ten-minute training session, the dog should be able to complete a sit, down, come heel and stay, about 20 times each. Keeping the sessions short and quick helps reduce the stress on your dog. Remember to use a strong and commanding voice during these exercises. Done five times a week, this becomes 100 repetitions of each command; over a month, it becomes 400. Keep doing the math, and you will find that this leads to a happier, more balanced dog with very strong obedience.
I am very fortunate to have the luxury of walking my dogs each and every day on the street. I walk my dogs at least five miles a day, and not a day goes by that I won’t someone won’t pass us with their own dog. Although my dogs don’t pose as a threat to those who walk past us, people always react the same: they immediately stop, and tighten the lead. This reaction is the exact opposite of what one should do. By doing this, one only builds suspicion in their dog. One must use common sense when walking their dog. This means having a loose lead and to have movement, not to stop. Remember: a loose lead shows control, a tight lead shows no control. To some, this is common sense, but common sense is often not so common.
Tuesday, August 10th, 2010
Schutzhund is a dog sport that is practised by canine enthusiasts in Germany, the United States, and many other countries worldwide. It began in Germany as a way to test the ability of working German Shepherd dogs during the early 1900′s, but has since grown into a popular sport with dedicated followers from all over the world. To the average spectator, the sport of Schutzhund may be indistinguishable from real protection work, but when it’s time to invest money in a dog who is expected to protect oneself and ones family, knowing the difference between a sporting dog and a protection dog is invaluable.
There are many Schutzhund exercises that fail to properly train and prepare a dog for real life scenarios, but one of the worst, by far, is the Bark and Hold exercise. In this exercise, a decoy will hide himself behind a two-sided structure known as a blind. The decoy wears a bite sleeve over one arm, and holds a stick in the other. The dog is trained to corner the decoy inside the blind, and bark aggressively for a length of time. Eventually, the dog is given the signal to take a bite. During the bite, the decoy will strike the dog with the stick in an attempt to distract and disorient it.
Amongst true protection dog trainers, this exercise is given another name: Bark and Die. As grim as this may sound, the reality is that Schutzhund dogs are being trained to make several mistakes in this exercise. In a life or death situation, these mistakes could have terrible consequences. The first big mistake is that the dog is trained to stand and bark in front of a man holding a weapon. The idea behind this is simply absurd. The reality is that an armed criminal is not going to stand idly by while a protection dog barks at him; he is going to attack. The second big mistake is that once the dog takes a bite, the weapon arm is not targeted. Targeting the weapon arm is absolutely essential, as it prevents the criminal from fighting back. A real criminal will not be softly hitting the dog with a small stick; he will be attacking with a real weapon. In a dangerous situation, these mistakes can not only cost the dog its life, but could also cost the lives of the human beings it’s protecting as well.
Whether you’re looking to purchase a German Shepherd, Dutch Shepherd or Belgian Malinois as a protection dog, it is vital that you understand the difference between a sporting dog, and a real protection dog. Schutzhund is just a sport, and a dog trained in Schutzhund simply cannot be depended on to protect the lives of you and your family.
Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010
Schutzhund is a dog sport originating in Germany as a way to test the working ability of German Shepherd dogs during the early 1900′s. Since then, it has involved into a popular sport, and is enjoyed by canine enthusiasts worldwide. The sport itself offers titles to dogs who compete favorably. Teams of handler and dog can compete for specialised titles that focus on one specific area, but the standard Schutzhund titles demand proficiency in three areas: tracking, obedience and protection.
The purpose of obedience is to test a dog’s loyalty, intelligence and ability to be trained. Obedience exercises are performed in all levels of Schutzhund training, and are especially important during the preliminary Begleithunde (BH) stages. One such exercise is known as the “send out” exercise. While the basic concept of Send Out is fairly simple, this exercise is considered one of the more difficult to train for, especially for inexperienced handlers. In the exercise, the handler gives a “send out” command (typically “voraus”), to which the dog must respond by running in the direction signalled by the handler. After about 30 paces, the handler gives the “platz” command, to which the dog must respond by immediately stopping its run and entering a down stay.
As with all distance exercises, it is best to start training at short distances, and gradually increase the distance until it is above 30 paces. Before training the send out exercise, it is important that the dog already be trained for to down stay with the platz command. Begin the send out training by having the dog simply run out, and then gradually add in the platz command. Many trainers begin training by placing a toy in the field and having the dog run to the toy. However, the effectiveness of using a toy is debatable. Regardless of how training begins, one should keep in mind that no toy or object will be present in the Schutzhund ring during judging. Speed is important in this exercise, so it is important that you train for the exercise when your dog is well rested and has energy.
Whether you have a German Shepherd, Dutch Shepherd or Belgian Malinois, obedience is the most important factor in successful training. If a dog cannot consistently follow basic commands, there is no way it will be able to complete complicated protection exercises. One should also keep in mind that Schutzhund training is effective only for sporting dogs. If you want a true protection dog, you need a dog that has been trained specifically for real-world protection from the very beginning.
Tuesday, June 29th, 2010
In the world of dog sports there are many varied organizations and events. One such event is known as the Bundessieger show, and is held at different locations within Germany each year. The show is organized and conducted by the Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde (SV), which literally translates to “Association for German Shepherd Dogs”. However, several organizations hold their own test competition, known as the Bundessieger Prüfung, in preparation for the national event.
The Bundessieger show has close ties to the German dog sport Schutzhund, and is, in essence, a National Championship competition for Schutzhund. Be careful not to confuse the terms Sieger with Bundesieger. The Sieger show, also organized by the SV, is strictly a conformation beauty show, and is not associated with Schutzhund or sporting dogs in any way.
Much like standard Schutzhund trials, the Bundessieger show focuses on three main areas: tracking, obedience and protection. The exercises themselves remain largely unchanged from standard Schutzhund exercises, but the setting of the Bundessieger show provides an added challenge to competing dogs and handlers. Bundessieger events are held within a stadium, with a relatively large audience. Handlers must ensure that their dogs do not get confused by the noise and large crowds present at the event.
It takes both a well bred dog as well as a skilled handler to be successful in the sport of Schutzhund, and to win the Bundessieger championship is an extraordinary feat. However, one must always remember the difference between working dogs and sporting dogs. No matter how impressive a German Shepherd sporting dog may be, the fact remains that it has been trained only for sport. The work of a true protection dog or guard dog requires training in real-world scenarios, for real danger.
Thursday, March 25th, 2010
Schutzhund and The KNPV are the two most popular dog sports in Europe today. Schutzhund was developed in the early 1900′s by German Shepherd breeder Max von Stephanitz as a way to determine the character of a dog and its suitability for breeding. KNPV, an abbreviation of Koninklijke Nederlandse Politiehond Vereniging, roughly translated as Royal Dutch Police Dog Association, was developed in the Netherlands during the early 1900′s as a way to determine which dogs were suitable for police work. While the two sports are similar in that they were developed at around the same time, for similar purposes, the number of differences in the exercises performed make them remarkably different sports.
One of the most visibly obvious differences between the two sports is the way in which bite work exercises are performed. In KNPV bite work, the decoy will be wearing a full, loose-fitting suit. This suit restricts mobility of the decoy to a small extent, but allows the dog to bite anywhere on the suit. In Schutzhund, the decoy only wears padding on one arm, and holds a stick in the other. The dog is trained only to bite the padded arm while the decoy uses the stick in an attempt to discourage the dog. Unfortunately, the Schutzhund method is fundamentally flawed in that the dogs are trained not to bite the weapon-arm of an attacking opponent. In a real confrontation, failing to target the weapon-arm of an attacker could quickly end in injury or even death of the dog and those it is attempting to protect.
The other key difference between the two sports is in tracking exercises. Schutzhund tracking exercises are more-so a test of obedience and control than actual tracking ability. The dogs are trained to track along a path in a slow, methodical manner, with their noses to the ground at all times. Points are deducted if the dog strays from the path by more than a couple feet, or misses a corner along the path by more than its own body length. In KNPV, there are no tracking exercises. Instead, the dogs are trained to do area searches to find articles or a person in the woods. The dog lifts its head to pick up scents from the air rather than the ground. Unfortunately, neither method accurately reproduces the type of tracking required by police in a real life scenario. KNPV especially makes the mistake of allowing or even encouraging the dog to mouth the object at the end of a search. In a real-life scenario, that object could be a weapon, explosives, or even narcotics.
While there are a number of other differences between the sports, tracking and bite work are two of the most fundamental. However, it is important to realise the differences between either sport versus a real life scenario. While they both make good attempts to mimic reality, both sports fail to do so. Many people have heard the phrase “practise makes perfect”, but in the case of dog sports, “practise makes permanent” may be more accurate. Consistently failing to target the weapon-arm in Schutzhund, or mouthing an article at the end of a search in KNPV both present glaring faults in training that is ingrained within the dog. A true protection dog should be trained for true, real-life protection from the very beginning.
Thursday, September 17th, 2009
The sport of Schutzhund originated with the introduction of the German Shepherd into the German police forces during the early 1900s. Prior to this, the only working role for a dog was to guard or herd livestock in rural areas. In urban areas, dogs were treated as pests, and regarded as being both unclean, and unwelcome. As the role of the shepherd dog became obsolete in an increasingly industrialised society, and bigger urban centers saw an increase in violent crime and attacks against police officers, German Shepherd breeders saw an opportunity to introduce the German Shepherd as an aid to police officers. Unfortunately, due to the social stigma of being accompanied by what was then seen as a “filthy” and “vicious” animal, even police officers themselves were reluctant to bring working dogs into urban society. The sport of Schutzhund was arranged as a way to prove a dog’s worth, loyalty and obedience. It also provided a means through which they could uphold breeding standards. Only dogs who performed admirably in Schutzhund were permitted to breed.
The term Schutzhund itself means “Protection Dog” in German. While many of the activities are no longer relevant to protection work today, all of the activities can be divided into either tracking, obedience, or protection-related. Protection exercises involve the use of a decoy. Unlike other dog sports, where the decoy outfit covers the entire body, the decoy in Schutzhund only wears heavy padding on one arm, with the rest of the body being protected only by loose and durable clothing. While this ensures that the mobility of the decoy is not impaired, it creates an unrealistic scenario in that the dogs can only be trained to bite one arm.
Although I have respect for the sport Schutzhund, it is only a sport. There are too many companies that are selling Schutzhund title dogs, and selling them as protection dogs. A Schutzhund title dog, working on a groomed field, biting on a sleeve, is not a true protection dog. If one wants a true protection dog, then one must purchase a dog that has been working in the real world. We at Command Control K9 train all of our protection dogs in the real world. We not only get our dogs to bite on a bite suit, we have them do building searches, vehicle hijacking, targeting the weapon hand, food refusal, guarding surrounding premises, man scent tracking, bite on elevation and muzzle work. The Dogs not only know how to bite, but also know how to fight.
The bottom line is a sporting dog will not protect you and your family, whether it is Schutzhund title dog, French Ring title dog, or K.N.P.V title dog, even if one were to cross train.
Monday, May 25th, 2009
In the protection dog industry you’ll hear a lot of discussion about K.N.P.V., also known as the Royal Dutch Police Dog Sport. The sport originated as a certification program for civilians to train dogs that would then be made available to the Dutch police. Like Schutzhund titles, K.N.P.V. has migrated from its original purpose and is now a popular, enjoyable sport for some dog trainers.
The frustrating part of this is that trainers are willing to sell K.N.P.V. titled dogs under the guise that they are true protection dogs. Nothing could be further from the truth. A sporting dog will not protect you or your family; I cannot stress this enough. Consumers, understandably not knowing the background or methods of K.N.P.V., are susceptible to thinking that the training methods employed for K.N.P.V. sporting dogs are the same as what we do. Genetics, too, play a strong role in whether a dog will be a prey dog (sporting dog) or personal protection dog. It’s important to know the difference before purchasing a protection dog.
Having the opportunity to travel to Europe to work with the top K.N.P.V clubs as well as the Royal Dutch Police, I have first hand knowledge of the training techniques used. Watching K.N.P.V. training in action really drives home the differences between what they do and what we do. For instance, the “revieren” command instructs the dog to search for a box or person in the woods. The dog is released off leash, locates the box or decoy, barks frantically and often aggressively bites the object. Obviously, when we train protection dogs to do scent work we would not want the same results. Protection dogs do not attack the object or person found; this is never acceptable under any circumstances.
Another K.N.P.V. exercise involves searching for an article. Protection dogs are often trained to do this as well. Our Level II and Level III protection dogs are also capable of article search and it is available as a custom command. In K.N.P.V., the dog is deployed off leash, finds the article, and returns to the handler with it. This seems like a great idea if you’ve lost your keys but if the dog is sent to find a gun would you want him or her to return to you with the article in its mouth? Not only is this dangerous to the handler but to the protection dog as well. True protection dogs will locate an article- on or off leash- but are trained to indicate by sitting next to it.
Food refusal is another exercise where protection dog and K.N.P.V. sporting dog training differs. K.N.P.V. dogs are pattern trained to refuse food. The trainer will throw a piece of hot dog or other food to the left, right and in front of the dog. Each time, the dog must have the control not to eat or smell the food. Unfortunately, this doesn’t truly poison proof the dog; it pattern trains the dog. In reality, people do not attempt to poison a dog in the manner described. They may throw food over your fence, hand feed the dog, or poison the dog in an infinite amount of other ways. It is important that the dog is trained never to accept food from anyone other than the handler or individuals that the handler has introduced to the dog as safe. Poison proof training involves focusing on the relationship between the handler and dog, not the food itself. We have a special method for training food refusal and it is guaranteed 100%.
Another dog sport called French Ring Sport trains their dogs to perform aggression alert while walking backwards. Unfortunately, there are those in the personal protection dog industry who are selling sporting dogs who perform this impressive looking but erroneous skill. Teaching a protection dog to walk away from a threat gives a negative psychological message. Protection dogs should never back away from a threat or hesitate to defend their handler regardless of the situation. Their purpose is to engage in defense even if the person they are protecting is running from the situation. Sporting dogs (prey dogs) lack nerve and will back down; their genetics and training dictate this behavior. Training them to walk backwards is needed to obtain a title but has no use in the real world.
Many of my friends and associates participate in K.N.P.V. and French Ring title dog sports. Like any other sport, they do it for the challenge and pleasure of working with dogs. It is amazing to see the variety of skills that canines are capable of mastering. If you are interested in getting involved there are many breeders that can supply a sporting dog. We also offer a service where we will vet sporting dogs for our clients. However, if you truly want a dog that has the right foundation training and the proper genetics to protect, then beware of any trainers that insist that their titled dog will come to your defense no matter what.
Titles are impressive but not nearly so impressive as a when a properly trained protection dog saves your life, protects your property or recovers a lost child.
Wednesday, May 20th, 2009
One of the most frequent topics of conversation I have with clients involves Schutzhund titled dogs. There is a lot of confusion surrounding the difference between Schutzhund (sporting) dogs and true protection dogs, even within the dog industry itself. Both dogs vary widely in their training and genetics but one thing is fact: Schutzhund trained dogs, with few exceptions, rarely make excellent personal protection dogs. It’s a controversial statement to make but my years of experience have shown this to be true. Unfortunately, much to the detriment of a person needing true protection, companies are selling Schutzhund titled dogs and labeling them as protection dogs.
“Schutzhund” literally means “protection dog” in German. The sport, originating at the turn of the century, was used as a testing method for determining if a dog was suitable for breeding. Through the years the strong genetics once indicative of a Schutzhund dog have become diluted. Additionally, the training required to become a titled dog is contradictory to the methods protection dogs need to utilize when fighting off an attacker.
You have most likely seen photos or video of sporting dogs biting and holding onto a sleeve of a decoy pretending to be “the bad guy”. It can be a rather impressive display. However, true protection dogs should never be trained in this manner! Hanging onto the sleeve of an attacker gives him time to use a weapon against the dog. Unlike protection training, Schutzhund does not require the dog to target the weapon hand first. In fact, sporting dogs focus on the forearm. Our training method involves teaching our dogs to bite the wrist of the hand holding the weapon since this is fastest way to disarm him. True protection dogs will then inflict a series of deep bites to both the legs and the arms until the handler calls the dog off. If you were being attacked and your dog needed to come to your defense, which method would you prefer?
Other training techniques vary greatly. For instance, sporting dogs are trained to search and rescue by taking scent on the ground. Our dogs are also trained for search and rescue but, like wolves in nature, they take their scent from the air. Taking scent from the air is very useful for rescue since the terrain of the ground may be aged- an impediment for ground tracking. Dogs trained to take scent from the air are more productive and have fewer challenges in finding a missing person, especially along large expanses of ground.
It is rare to see a sporting dog with the genetics needed for protection work. Genetically, we look for dogs that have a ‘guard drive’, a strong desire to defend and the nerves to back it up. On rare occasion, I will run across a Schutzhund dog that is genetically equipped for protection but it doesn’t happen often, perhaps five times in my career. CCK9 does not sell sporting dogs; we only sell protection dogs. We take the safety of our clients very seriously and will not jeopardize this for the sake of sales or for the display of flashy titles. Frankly, I couldn’t sleep at night if I did.
I am often asked if Schutzhund trained dogs can be trained to be protection dogs and vice versa. The short answer is no. When placed in a situation where the dog needs to defend its handler, he or she will revert to their original training. Dogs resort to their foundation education under stress. For the most part, a titled dog will likely run out of a room with its tail between its legs; they lack the nerve and training. Cross training simply is not a good idea.
Sporting dogs definitely have their place and many find the sport enjoyable. The sport does have a dark side and I have heard of dogs being granted a Schutzhund title over a cup of coffee. It’s important that these dogs are purchased from reputable breeders. If a client of mine insists on a titled dog I will evaluate Schutzhund dogs for them- but only after making sure they know that the dog isn’t trained to protect. I always emphasize, however, how great it is to own a true protection dog. Not only are they balanced, stable and great with children and pets but ready and able to defend your family. Plus, you can take them anywhere- the park, shops, the airport, anywhere without worrying about the dog’s behavior or your own safety. Personal protection dogs truly are the best of all worlds.
The choice is yours. But do your homework before purchasing a protection dog. After all, if you ever have the misfortune of being attacked one thing is certain- titles will not serve to defend you.
Call Us Toll Free 877.687.CCK9 (2259)
/ Or Email Us