Ever wondered about what to do with your dog? Here's a great sport that combines tracking, obedience, and protection work!
"Schutzhund" means protection-dog when literally translated from German.
What Schutzhund is All About... Each level in Schutzhund is increasingly more difficult to earn (IPO1 to IPO2 then to the Master Level of IPO3). There is a also an Endurance certificate (AD), advanced Tracking Degrees (FH1 and FH2), and Police Dog degrees for service handlers and others. Show evaluations are also done to the German SV standard, where the dogs are evaluated on their coat, colouring, gait, structure, and working ability. IPO is the acronym for Internationale Prüfungs-Ordnung, an international set of rules, unifying all Schutzhund competitions throughout the whole world. Prior to competing at the IPO1 level, a dog must pass a BH (Begleithunde) test, which compromises of on and off leash obedience and a temperament test. The obedience portion must be completed with a passing score (no evaluation of points) before the dog is allowed to continue in the temperament portion of the test. The temperament tests evaluate the dog's ability to be neutral or stable in crowds of people, traffic, bikes, and around other dogs. For the IPO1, 2 and 3, the tests begin with tracking, followed by obedience, followed by the protection phase. In each phase the dog starts with a full score of 100 points. Points are deducted for errors by the dog and handler throughout the performance. At the end of each phase, the judge gives a verbal critique of the team's performance for the handler and for the spectators. In the first phase of tracking, the dog must follow the scent of a person (either their handler or a stranger, depending on the level) accurately following where they have walked. The length of track is 400 yards at the lowest level, and more than 1500 yards at the more difficult tracking dog levels. The age of the track is 20 minutes for a SchH 1 track up to 3+ hours for the advanced tracking. Along the track there are small articles of cloth, wood, or leather which the dog must locate and indicate to the handler. All Schutzhund trials continue regardless of any weather, and a good tracking dog should be able to follow the track in spite of any weather conditions that might occur. The second phase of the Schutzhund test is the obedience phase. The dog and handler team begin the routine by entering the field with the dog off leash, and reporting in to the judge. All obedience exercises are executed with one command per task, and the dog is not leashed until the end of the routine when the team reports out to the judge. The dog must follow the handler's orders through off leash heeling, various positions (sit, down, stand), retrieving on the flat, over a high jump, and over a scaling wall, as well as do a send away. The dog must show ability to perform with other dogs, people, and gunshots. The third and final phase is the protection phase in which the dog must respond properly in critical situations by following the handler's directions to search for a hidden suspect, find and keep the suspect in one location, protect and prevent an assault on the handler or on himself, and stop the suspect from escaping. The dog needs to be able to distinguish between a harmless bystander and the potentially dangerous person. The dog is evaluated on his courage and his obedience, as he must remain under control to the handler at all times throughout the protection phase. A well trained dog that has participated in Schutzhund training and competition is a dog that has a sound temperament and a great deal more training than the average family pet. Training in Schutzhund requires responsibility and knowledge. All dogs need affection, love, attention, and proper training. Working dogs love to learn and to perform the complex tasks necessary for Schutzhund. Training clubs that train handlers and dogs in Schutzhund prove that it is a great program to develop the dog's drives and ability to work in a safe environment. Clubs generally have small groups of people that work together once or several times a week. The result of this type of training is a happy, friendly, yet alert dog, that should be controllable in various different situations, a joy to own and the pride of his owner.
The History of Schutzhund Schutzhund training began over 100 years ago in Europe and has evolved over the years to the sport we have today. The sport was developed as a method to train and test privately owned working dogs. The first Schutzhund trial was held in 1901. The purpose of Schutzhund trials has been to emphasize and evaluate the correct working temperament and working ability of the breed exhibited. The dog and handler must work together as a team in the three phases of Schutzhund. These three phases are tracking, obedience, and protection work. At no time may the dog be out of control of the handler, and before beginning a trial evaluation all dogs must pass a basic temperament evaluation by the judge. Schutzhund exercises are designed with increasing difficulty to evaluate the primary ability of the dog, but also the ability of the dog and handler as a team. Schutzhund training is a sport open to dogs of all working breeds, including mixed breeds if they can do the work. Traditionally, German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois, Boxers, Dobermans, Rottweilers, Airedales, Bouviers, and Giant Schnauzers have been the most common, with the German Shepherd dogs outnumbering them all. Dog/handler teams from all over the world compete for degrees within their own countries. Each year there are national and international competitions that draw the best competitors from those countries to compete. The biggest international competition is the World Union for German Shepherd Dog Associations (Welt Union der Sch�ferhundvereine - WUSV). More than 40 different countries have individuals or teams that represent them at this event. Different countries take turns hosting the event each year. Crowds of spectators come each year to watch the four or five days of Schutzhund competition. There are two different main organizations that organize clubs and trials around the world. Both of these organizations originate in Germany. The first is the Deutscher Verband der Gebrauchshundsportvereine (DVG). The DVG was Germany's first police and service dog club and has now grown to approximately 30,000 members. The focus of the DVG is to train and title dogs in the sport of Schutzhund regardless of breed. There are four active DVG clubs in Canada. The second club is the Verein f�r Deutsche Sch�ferhunde (German Shepherd Dog Club), known as the SV. This is the German Shepherd Dog breed club and breed registry, based in Germany. The SV is the largest breed specific registry in the world. It promotes working-dog activities by awarding working titles (SchH), and sanctions conformation show and koerungs (breed surveys). The SV is a member of the Verband f�r das Deutsche Hundewesen (VDH), the national dog club in Germany, and allows other breeds than German Shepherds to compete at SV sanctioned events. There are thirty-seven active SV clubs within Canada. In Canada, the sport of Schutzhund was introduced in the 1960's and 1970's, with the German Shepherd Schutzhund Club of Canada (GSSCC) being formed in 1979, as an associated club of the SV. There are 37 clubs divided into five regions - the West, Prairies, Ontario, Quebec, and the East. New clubs are being added as the sport of Schutzhund continues to expand and grow in popularity. Trials are now held regularly with SV judges and many titles have been awarded.
About The T.O.P. Working Dog Club The T.O.P. Working Dog Club is located just south of the 401, between Woodstock and Ingersoll, in Ontario, Canada. Our club focuses on training our dogs in the sport of Schutzhund, and preparing dogs and their handlers for competition in this sport. T.O.P.WDC is a club designed for handlers to train their dogs in the disciplines of Tracking, Obedience, and Protection, with two goals as a result of this training: a closer, more responsive bond between handler and dog, and the successful completion of various titles within the Schutzhund sport. T.O.P.WDC is a club designed to encourage correct working conformation in all breeds within the club. All breeds and mixed breeds that show an aptitude for this type of work are acceptable to train with T.O.P.WDC. Education of members in the proper training and handling of their dogs, to develop their dogs' abilities in the three disciplines is a primary goal of our club. Education of the public and prospective handlers about Schutzhund is a secondary, but still important, goal of T.O.PWDC. T.O.P. Working Dog Club (T.O.P.WDC) is a member of the German Shepherd Schutzhund Club of Canada (GSSCC), which in turn is a member of the World Union of German Shepherd Dog Clubs (WUSV). As such, we are bound by the by-laws and goals of the GSSCC. All members of T.O.P.WDC must also be members of the GSSCC. More information on the T.O.P. Working Dog Club can be found on our Facebook page (search for us!). If you are interested in joining this club, would like to watch a training session, or would like more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.