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Old 01-20-2010, 12:11 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Schutzhund Questions

I'd like to get a GSD and participate in Schutzhund competitions with him. Some of my questions are:
1) How old should a dog be when starting Schutzhund training?
2) How long does this training take, typically?
3) I know I'll get a lot of answers for this one, but how much does training cost?
4) Where can I find the rules for Schutzhund?
5) What makes a dog well suited for Schutzhund?

Anything else you can tell me about the sport is greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-20-2010, 12:40 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Schutzhund Questions

1) How old should a dog be when starting Schutzhund training?

You can start foundation training and imprinting as soon as you get your puppy. For people who decide to start after already having a dog, starting between puppy-hood and two years old would be pretty ideal. However, many people have started their dogs older than that and they took to it very well. A dog in their senior years may have issues with the physical demands of Schutzhund, so better to start earlier.

2) How long does this training take, typically?

That of course, depends on so many things! How often you train, what resources are available, the climate you live in (no tracking through the winter here, and indoor training limits what we can do). But in general VERY general, if you start from the time you get your puppy, you could be ready for a BH at the minimum allowed age of 15 months, but taking 2 or 3 years to do a BH is okay too. Then you can go on to Shutzhund I, II, and III. Most people that I know will do one Schutzhund level a year, but that is not a hard and fast rule.

3) I know I'll get a lot of answers for this one, but how much does training cost?

Each club is run and organized differently. Club membership can range from around 100$ a year to several thousand a year. Then some clubs have extra weekly training fees too. Equipment is not too expensive, but traveling to training and trial entry fees can really add up.

4) Where can I find the rules for Schutzhund?
I live in Canada, so I got a rule book from the German Shepherd Schutzhund Club of Canada: http://www.gsscc.ca

There are a number of US organizations in the states, I'm hoping others will jump in and direct you to a good site.

5) What makes a dog well suited for Schutzhund?

A dog with a correct working temperament. You want a dog with strong drives, energy, willingness to work with the handler, a desire to please, a dog that takes pleasure in the work and the training. A dog that does not quit when faced with challenge and adversity. No sound sensitivity (there is a gun shot test in the Obedience portion), solid nerve, no fear. If Schutzhund if something you will be pursuing, the best way to ensure that you find a suitable pup is to find breeders who works, trains, and titles their own dogs in the discipline, and aim to produce stable dogs that are easy to live with.

You will find more good info here on finding a breeder and learning more about Schutzhund. Worth the time to go through the articles:
http://www.wildhauskennels.com/articles.htm
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Old 01-20-2010, 06:52 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Schutzhund Questions

Rules online can be found here:

http://www.dvgamerica.com/rules.html
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Old 01-20-2010, 08:41 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Schutzhund Questions

On #2: beware, each training session takes F-O-R-E-V-E-R (at least at our club). This isn't an one hour in and out training class. Between tracking, obedience, and then protection (where you have to work each dog individually), training session can easily take up 4-6 hours. Driving for a lot of people is 1 hour each way and if your club trains both Saturday and Sunday ... well, there's your weekend right there! Of course, if you love the sport, you don't mind at all

Speaking of love: we have this German woman who started to coming to the club last month. Her drive? 5 hours each way! For Saturday session which starts at 7 at tracking field, she has to load up her dog and drive at midnight Friday. She then stays a nearby motel Saturday and then drives home Sunday afternoon. That's dedication!
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Old 01-20-2010, 12:45 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Schutzhund Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted By: Jason LinOn #2: beware, each training session takes F-O-R-E-V-E-R (at least at our club). This isn't an one hour in and out training class. Between tracking, obedience, and then protection (where you have to work each dog individually), training session can easily take up 4-6 hours. Driving for a lot of people is 1 hour each way and if your club trains both Saturday and Sunday ... well, there's your weekend right there! Of course, if you love the sport, you don't mind at all

Speaking of love: we have this German woman who started to coming to the club last month. Her drive? 5 hours each way! For Saturday session which starts at 7 at tracking field, she has to load up her dog and drive at midnight Friday. She then stays a nearby motel Saturday and then drives home Sunday afternoon. That's dedication!
So TRUE! Weeknight trainings that start at 5 can easily go to 11 or midnight. Weekend trainings usually take a good 8 hours out of the day. And yes we have people drive from some distance, most are about an hour but a couple that come are 3-4 hours away. To really train in this sport takes dedication!
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Old 01-20-2010, 01:29 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Schutzhund Questions

1) How old should a dog be when starting Schutzhund training?

I don't think it matters. As long as they aren't too old to work. You can start as a puppy.

2) How long does this training take, typically?

Our club sessions run about 8 hours

3) I know I'll get a lot of answers for this one, but how much does training cost?

With club fees, training gear, tracking and training treats, and extra gas... I am spending an average of about $100 - $150 per month.

5) What makes a dog well suited for Schutzhund?

In addition to what others have said, once you find a club, they can evaluate your dog to see if he has the right temperament.
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Old 01-20-2010, 01:43 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Schutzhund Questions


1) How old should a dog be when starting Schutzhund training?

I started my dog at about 6 months, mainly because that's about the time our club got a good helper. Looking back it probably was not necessary especially since he is turning out to not be much of a "prey" dog so he needed to mature to really do bitework training of any value, but being my first time at SchH it was good for me to go to the club every weekend even if I wasn't always working my dog. I needed to learn how to do all the drive building and also how to train this type of obedience vs. the other types I did in the past. I'll probably start my next dog around 8-12 months or so as far as going out to club regularly, but start tracking and obedience foundation (like working on focus, building drive for reward toys) on my own right away.

2) How long does this training take, typically?

When our club does all three phases, it's usually 8am-4pm if we do two rounds of protection. That is once a week. As for training at home, when the weather conditions permitted I was trying to track 4 times a week, and I currently do obedience twice a day. When I get home form work I do obedience outside for about 10 minutes total, mixed in with play and fetch (so I'm out there up to an hour but it's not all obedience). Then later in the evening I do indoor work if I'm using the clicker and food to train a new skill. For example right now we are working on the "hold" for the retrieve and do this at night for about 5 minutes, and then 5 more minutes of whatever else I'm introducing or polishing.

3) I know I'll get a lot of answers for this one, but how much does training cost?

Our club is currently ironing out dues for this year. Another club I looked into is about $300/yr. Working privately with a highly recommended helper would be $300 every 12 weeks not including tracking. It really depends. Another issue for me is travel costs.

4) Where can I find the rules for Schutzhund?

Looks like this was answered.

5) What makes a dog well suited for Schutzhund?

I'll leave this one to the more experienced people.
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Old 01-20-2010, 02:28 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Schutzhund Questions

Quote:
Quote:1) How old should a dog be when starting Schutzhund training?
You can pretty much start introducing your puppy to tracking and obedience when you bring them home. I like to say that my puppies are learning to learn. I don't do a ton of "bitework" with my young dogs except playing with me. The oldest dog I started that I titled to SchH3 was 2.5. This is when she started bitework. She had been tracking and doing obedience since I brought her home. She actually already had her BH and CD when I started protection.

Quote:
Quote:2) How long does this training take, typically?
As other people have pointed out, time involved is pretty extensive. Plan on doing tracking at least 3X per week and obedience for short periods of time almost every day. Then some of my club meets Thursday nights for a couple of hours and then the whole club is at the field for 6-8 hours on Sundays. This doesn't include driving time.

To title the dog to SchH3 will depend on your skill level, the skill level of your club including your helper and your dog. Most people don't push their males that they plan on actually competing with. They will train for the 3 and then title them when they are ready. This is often at 3.5-4.5 years of age. Females are often pushed a bit more quickly if the handler also has goals of breeding. You are still looking at close to 2.5-3 years from puppy to SchH1.

Quote:
Quote:3) I know I'll get a lot of answers for this one, but how much does training cost?
There are cheaper hobbies and much more expensive hobbies (I used to show horses). Clubs run about $300 on up. That is just our dues. Then you have equipment, fuel, treats, trial fees, hotels if you travel.

Quote:
Quote:5) What makes a dog well suited for Schutzhund?
They must possess strong nerves and the right drives for the work. These dogs want to work. They must possess courage and a love of a good fight. The best place to learn about what dogs are suitable for SchH is to go to a club and watch. Watch for the dogs that show total joy in working with their people plus doing the work in the first place.
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Old 01-20-2010, 07:13 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Schutzhund Questions

Thanks for all of the answers, guys! It seems like, for what all is involved in the sport, that it can be fairly cheap! I found 3 Schutzhund clubs that are each an hour away from me.

Would just training twice a week be sufficient, on the weekends?
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Old 01-20-2010, 07:55 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Schutzhund Questions

That is sufficient for training with the club but you should also be training at home.
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