Schutzhund Training Takes Dedicated Focus and Much Time

Schutzhund training equipment items assist the experts and owners in achieving the goal of a reliable, obedient, dependable dog.  Schutzhund training is a highly structured, specialist program designed by canine/dog experts. It was originated during the early 1900s in Germany to assist development of the sporting and service capabilities of the German Shepherd breed. In Germany, for example, a dog cannot be registered as a German Shepherd unless it has completed various specified phases of the Schutzhund program and earned appropriate titles.

The program was subsequently expanded so that it formally applies to all working dog breeds recognized by the Belgium-based Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI), this body effectively operating as the world canine organization. This expansion move embraces breeds such as the Belgium Shepherds, Dobermans, Rottweilers, Giant Schnauzers, Bouviers as well as several others.

Today the program has taken on a somewhat broader meaning. Many dog lovers understand it to mean a sport focused on evaluating and developing traits that make dogs more useful, predictable, useful and happier overall, whatever the breed, as companions for their owners. Schutzhund is also called IPO or VPG work, particularly outside of Germany.

Although the program was initially focused on German Shepherds, dog trainers working with many other dog breeds now also use it as well. The program covers three basic training phases of tracking, obedience and the more challenging, demanding and difficult protection (sometimes euphemistically called character work). Ideally, it is best to begin club training with pups that are 8-12 weeks of age. However, the methods can be adapted to allow successful training of older dogs as well.

Tracking work is designed to develop natural scenting abilities together with physical endurance. Obedience work focuses on cultivating mental attitude and the ability to accurately obey commands as well as to listen and respond quickly. The protection phase involves establishing an item for the dog to bite, that item usually being a sleeve or rag, depending on the age of the dog.

The type of biting involved in protection work is meant to be strong and it is good to build up some level of aggression in the dog. However, the key objective is develop the ability to identify an item and release it if given the appropriate commands. The goal is to teach the dog to bite the item not the person.

The aim of protection phase is not to heighten aggression. Striking the right balance involves dedicated focus and inevitably requires much time. Schutzhund training, particularly its protection phase, is used widely by police and military organizations, coast guards, private security organizations and, of course, private individuals.  For more detailed information on specific German Shepherd training see our GSD site here.

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