Schutzhund is a form of dog training or dog sport foundered in Germany over a century ago. The word Schutzhund actually means protection dog in German and was used to assess German Shepherds to determine if they were suitable for police work.
Although it was initially just German Shepherds, testing now occurs on dogs of many different breeds. The test is both rigorous and demanding, so the numbers of other breeds that pass are limited.
Enrolling your dog into Schutzhund training may still prove difficult, however if you are keen to learn the techniques and principles behind this training method, there are many DVDs that can be purchased or acquired. It is important to understand though, that the training is highly specialized, very strict and very structured, which means you will need to maintain this consistently for your dog to learn. For this reason, it may not be the best form of training if you have a young family.
The training will over time teach your dog the skills of obedience, tracking, protection, sniffing and retrieving, and will commence when your pup is just a few weeks of age. Of course, you may not be able to commence your training until your pup is 8+ weeks of age when you bring them home from the breeder.
Schutzhund Training Principles
Although it is possible to get specialized training DVDs that focus on a specific principle, you can expect your Schutzhund training DVDs to cover the following areas:
Clicker Training – This is a form of positive reinforcement that is gaining popularity with trainers around the world, even if it isnt associated with Schutzhund. It involves using a little clicker button whenever the dog is good. First you will need to train your puppy to know that the clicking noise equals a good job.
Obedience – This is the core of any training method and is the first test in Schutzhund, covering a set of 11 basic commands. The commands however may use multiple instructions in one, such as sit, down and stand. In addition they cover instructions like focus and attention, targeting, retrieving, motion exercises, pointing out an object and heeling. To pass this test, your dog must be able to execute all 11 commands perfectly.
Tracking – Leveraging from the obedience commands to target and find an object, which has been pointed out, the dog will learn to track all sorts of items and people. The training will teach the dog to remember a scent when provided to them and then to pursue that until they are called off.
Protection – Using more commands the dog is taught how to identify potential threats and how to attack them. Police, guard and attack dogs are taught using this method. Another form of protection is where the dog is taught that it must protect a person or object; this is then done without commands.
Schutzhund training is designed to give a dog an education to enable it to be a specialized working dog. Although this may not be the aim with your dog, the training DVDs can provide useful instruction on training and assist in developing your dog understands of commands. As stated earlier, there are a number of different courses, so it is best to research the types of training courses first before purchasing them. Understand the success rates and the philosophies they employ and whether they are likely to be useful for your breed of dog.