The schutzhund — a capable dog
The concept of schutzhund evolved over 100 years ago in Europe when concerned dog owners set up a training and testing program for privately owned working dogs. The first Schuzhund Trial was held in 1901. The intent of these trials was to emphasize and evaluate the correct working temperment and working ability of the breed. The dogs and handlers enjoyed working as a team in the three categories of the Schutzhund ("protection dog") program: Tracking, Obedience, and Protection.
Today the exercises have changed slightly and, depending on the Schutzhund degree, consist of the following:
The sport of Schutzhund is 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. Each level is increasingly more difficult to earn (SchH1 to SchH2 then to SchH3 degree). Available also are an Endurance certificate (AD), advanced Tracking Degree (FH1 and FH2), and Police Dog degrees for service handlers and others.
While Europe has enjoyed the benefits from the Schutzhund program for decades, Canada, until recently, adhered to the pet-obedience type of training. In 1979 the German Shepherd Schutzhund Clubs of Canada (GSSCC) was formed, bringing together individual clubs from across Canada. Trials are now held regularly with SV judges and many titles have been awarded.
People do not wish to share their house or community with a potentially dangerous dog. ANY large dog is potentially dangerous. The large dog needs to be handled by a responsible, knowledgeable person who will give alot of understanding, affection, love, attention, and MOST IMPORTANT of all, TRAINING to the dog. Anyone who lacks these basics should not even consider owning a dog, and definitely not one of the working breeds.
For the responsible, private working dog owner, however, the Schutzhund sport has proven to be an ideal program. Training can be done in very small groups, training locations are readily available, time requirements are reasonable, and benefits are obvious. Knowing how a dog behaves in critical situations is reassuring and provides better control over the animal, eliminating in fact, so-called viciousness. The result is a happy, friendly but alert, controllable family dog that becomes an asset, not a nuisance or even a danger to society.
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