Nothing the clubs request is out of the ordinary. There are very good reasons as to why they request those things to be done. If you have your dog out and about…its sometimes not safe when there are dogs working off leash. Also…when your dog does start playing “the game” with the helper…there is a ton of excitement. They realize when other dogs start playing the game and they get excited. If they’re out and about, barking, lunging, watching the other dogs do the work…they get tired out really quickly and then don’t have the energy to do the work when it’s their turn.
There’s no way you’ll be able to train protection without a helper. To put it simply…the helper trains your dog in protection, you’re just a glorified post. The helper will react and change his/her action based on what he sees from your dog that day, that week, that month, ect. There is no way, someone who has never done the work, would be able to do this by watching videos and reading books. On top of that…it can be very confusing to the dog to be attacking/biting its handler/owner. That is unnecessary conflict…especially for a young dog.
To tell you the truth…the time commitment, and driving commitment, is the biggest hurdle in Schutzhund. If you’re not willing to make that commitment, it’s probably not going to happen. The majority of us drive at least an hour to get to a training facility…mostly because the type of work has to be done away from the public’s prying eyes.