The sport of Schutzhund (direct German translation is “protection dog”, also known as IPO training - Internationale Prüfungs-Ordnung, Translation means International auditing rules or International Exam Rules) involves three elements that include obedience, tracking, and protection. In this video, you'll see the element of protection being demonstrated. The dog will approach the decoy (i.e., Tony with the arm guard), stand in front of him, and bark; once the decoy moves, the dog is trained to bit the arm guard and not let go, no matter the decoy's movement until the dog is released by the owner. In this instance, the dog is allowed to take the bite guard in order to promote confidence.
Another element of Schutzhund is obedience. In this video, you'll see Tony demonstrating heeling with his dog Gregor. Even with other people around and other dogs barking in the building, you'll see Gregor is only focused on Tony and follows next to him perfectly, not matter which direction he pivots. This type of focus is built through rewarding your dog when they give you attention. It takes time to get to this level of obedience, but it all starts with building your dog's focus.
Due to space limitation (require a large field), we don't currently work on the tracking element of Schutzhund
How Schutzhund is trained
In beginning lessons, you'll work on attention with your dog. You'll let your dog freely move around the room and reward them if they come to you without you calling for them. This will build the foundation that obedience is build on. In addition, your dog will be exposed to the flirt pole; in the video, you'll see the flirt pole being used to build the dog's drive. The toy at the end of the pole is moved around and most dogs that have a high prey drive (i.e., chase instinct or toy drive) will naturally want to get it. As you can see, if the dog gets it, Tony tugs the toy with them, sometimes touches them as a distraction, and ultimately will let them take it.
From the flirt pole, Tony will next move to the practice bite guard (small version of the arm guard). again, he'll move it around to build the dog's drive. Notice that he'll stop moving it and crack the whip. If the dog begins to bark after the toy lays still, he'll move it again; this teaches the dog to bark at a still decoy during the guarding phase of protection (shown in the first video)
Schutzhund Lesson Examples
Frequently Asked Questions
Q:Does my dog need obedience training to start?
A: No, it's helpful if the dog knows some of it, but the sooner you start building your dog's attention and toy drive, the easier it will be to teach them the sport as they get older.
Q:Will my dog become aggressive from this type of training? Will my dog be encourage to bit someone?
A:No, it's all an act. In the eyes of your dog, they view the bite guard as a toy to "tug", nothing more. To actually get a dog to bit a person requires a whole other level of training, which is not part of competition Schutzhund.
Q:Do I need to bring anything for a lesson?
A:Please bring high value treats for your dog. We'll use this to build attention. Everything else Tony will have in terms of equipment and toys.
Q:Do you offer a Shutzhund class?
A:Currently we don't. We do offer a 2-hour Intro workshop, but not a week to week class. We've found private lessons are the best way to train so your dog gets the most out of the visit.