The Schutzhund Trial The Schutzhund Trial consists of 3 parts:
The tracking phase includes a temperament test by the overseeing judge to assure the dog's mental soundness. When approached closely on a loose leash, the dog should not act shyly or aggressively. The track is laid earlier by a person walking normally on a natural surface such as dirt or grass.
The track includes a number of turns and a number of small, man made objects left by this person on the track itself. At the end of a 33 foot leash, the handler follows the dog, which is expected to scent the track and indicate the location of the objects, usually by lying down with it between its front paws. The tracking phase is intended to test the dog's trainability and ability to scent, as well as its mental and physical endurance.
Zak vom Dawson (SchH1, HOT) shows the deep nose on the track that the judge expects to see in a trial.
Note: HOT stands for Handler Owned and Trained. This designation is reserved for dogs that were raised and trained by their own handlers.
Although it is possible for people to buy dogs already titled to compete, "HOT" handler/dog teams did all the work themselves.
The obedience phase includes a series of heeling exercises, some of which are closely in and around a group of people.
During the heeling, there is a gun shot test to assure that the dog does not openly react to such sharp noises.
Sean Rivera - Head Trainer, Owner
There is also a series of field exercises in which the dog is commanded to sit, lie down, and stand while the handler continues to move. From these various positions, the dog is recalled to the handler.
With dumbbells of various weights, the dog is required to retrieve on a flat surface, over a one-meter hurdle, and over a six-foot slanted wall.
The dog is also asked to run in a straight direction from its handler on command and lie down on a second command. Finally, each dog is expected to stay in a lying down position away from its handler, despite distractions, at the other end of the obedience field, while another dog completes the above exercises.
All of the obedience exercises are tests of the dog's temperament, structural efficiencies, and, very importantly, its willingness to serve its owner.
Nora von der Strahlendorf (SchH2, HOT) demonstrates a high, clean jump over the hurdle as she goes for the dumbbell.
Schutzhund Protection is the probably the most exciting but misunderstood phase of this dog sport.
It is essential to understand that SchH protection work is NOT "attack training" and dogs do not "become vicious" from SchH Protection training.
The protection phase tests the dog's courage, physical strength, and agility.
The handler's control of the dog is absolutely essential.
The exercises include a search of hiding places, finding a hidden person (acting as a decoy), and guarding that decoy while the handler approaches. The dog is expected to pursue the decoy when an escape is attempted and to hold the grip firmly.
The decoy is searched and transported to the judge with the handler and dog walking behind and later at the decoy's right side. When the decoy attempts to attack the handler, the dog is expected to stop the attack with a firm grip and no hesitation.
Some of Chris’ accomplishments:
The final test of courage occurs when the decoy is asked to come out of a hiding place by the dog's handler from the opposite end of the trial field. The dog is sent after the decoy who is threatening the dog with a stick and charging at the handler.
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All grips during the protection phase are expected to be firmly placed on the padded sleeve and stopped on command and/or when the decoy discontinues the fight. The protection tests are intended to assure that the dog possesses the proper temperament for breeding.
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