BH and Service Dog In Training - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-20-2013, 09:46 AM Thread Starter
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BH and Service Dog In Training

It would be helpful if we keep this discussion on German Shepherds and Owner Trainers or Trainers not associated with a SD training organization.

Those with a knowledge of both, do you think working toward a BH would be beneficial for SDITs? This of course would be optional and never considered as part of a "must" listing.

Myself, when looking for a Candidate, I like to see both parents involved with SchH, but what about the SDIT itself? What pros and cons do you see for the actual SDIT itself?

TJ aka Theresa A. Jennings
Pyro vom Wildhaus aka Kaleb ~S.T.A.R.~
Family Companion, Non-Profit Mascot, In-Home Service Dog


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Last edited by ILGHAUS; 05-20-2013 at 09:56 AM. Reason: For clarification purposes
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post #2 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-20-2013, 10:31 AM Thread Starter
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I myself have thought about working toward a BH with my next pup and the only "problem" that I have thought of would be the different styles of heeling needed between BH and one normally used by a SD.

Using a different command word, I don't think it would be such a huge problem but would of course take some extra work.

TJ aka Theresa A. Jennings
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Family Companion, Non-Profit Mascot, In-Home Service Dog


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post #3 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-20-2013, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by ILGHAUS View Post
It would be helpful if we keep this discussion on German Shepherds and Owner Trainers or Trainers not associated with a SD training organization.

Those with a knowledge of both, do you think working toward a BH would be beneficial for SDITs? This of course would be optional and never considered as part of a "must" listing.

Myself, when looking for a Candidate, I like to see both parents involved with SchH, but what about the SDIT itself? What pros and cons do you see for the actual SDIT itself?
I don't know much about SD training but I know plenty about BH and I don't see anything in BH that I would consider to be negative or counter productive towards SD. BH, (BegleitHund) is a companion dog certification and comprises
* temperament test (When dog is introduced to judge the judge will check to ensure the dog is not overly scared/anxious/aggressive)
* Heeling on/off leash
* Heeling on/off leash within a group of people
* Sit/Stay off leash
* Down with recall off leash
* Long down with distractions
* Attitude while dog is tied up and away from owner
* encounter with joggers/people
* encounter with bicycle/cars
* encounter with other dogs

I would think all of these would be positive influences on SD training.
As far as heeling is concerned, as long as the dog is not forging ahead or lagging behind, a judge is not going to be overly critical (especially if the dog is happy and attentive).

My 2c.
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post #4 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-20-2013, 11:29 AM Thread Starter
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So pfitzpa1, in your opinion a dog could pass the BH while heeling on a loose leash by the side of the handler and not doing the traditional SchH style of heeling?

My only experience with the BH evaluations was either watching or being part of the "crowd" and that was at least 11-12 years ago.

TJ aka Theresa A. Jennings
Pyro vom Wildhaus aka Kaleb ~S.T.A.R.~
Family Companion, Non-Profit Mascot, In-Home Service Dog


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Last edited by ILGHAUS; 05-20-2013 at 11:32 AM.
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post #5 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-20-2013, 11:34 AM
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While I think the BH is a good start I think it's heeling patterns are unnecessarily long for a service dog test and the whole test is too isolated.

I'd like to see the BH taken into a crowded shopping mall and ...
  • make the heeling patterns go through several stores and restaurants
  • have the dog down-stay in the food court while the owner goes and get's their food
  • have a finished service dog walk past and then lay down within 20 feet of the testing dog
  • have the owner (who is at a food counter within the dogs line of sight) recall the dog (who must go right past the other service dog)
  • Have the dog do one Puppy Pushup (Sit, Down, Sit)
  • Final part of the test would be to have the dog perform one action that is SD specific to this team (like pick up a dropped object or alert to someone calling the owners name)
This would be a much better test for a potential service dog IMO.
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post #6 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-20-2013, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by ILGHAUS View Post
So pfitzpa1, in your opinion a dog could pass the BH while heeling on a loose leash by the side of the handler and not doing the traditional SchH style of heeling?

My only experience with the BH evaluations was either watching or being part of the "crowd" and that was at least 11-12 years ago.
Mine did :-)

We are still working on focussed heeling, almost there, but for BH my dog walked happily beside me looking ahead rather than looking up at me all the time.

If your dog can do the exercises but is not super precise (for example on the recall if the dog comes around behind you and sits instead of sitting in front) I doubt the judges would fail you for that. The biggest thing that will fail you in BH is an unstable dog, a dog that runs of the field or is overly skittish/hyper or aggressive in any of the exercises. A somewhat sloppy but happy and calm dog will most likely pass.

I see BH as a foundation for IPO , rather than a stopping point, so from that perspective the better/cleaner the foundation the more it will help as you progress in IPO.
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post #7 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-20-2013, 11:51 AM
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  • make the heeling patterns go through several stores and restaurants
  • have the dog down-stay in the food court while the owner goes and get's their food
  • have a finished service dog walk past and then lay down within 20 feet of the testing dog
  • have the owner (who is at a food counter within the dogs line of sight) recall the dog (who must go right past the other service dog)
  • Have the dog do one Puppy Pushup (Sit, Down, Sit)
  • Final part of the test would be to have the dog perform one action that is SD specific to this team (like pick up a dropped object or alert to someone calling the owners name)
This would be a much better test for a potential service dog IMO.
I think a lot of this is already part of BH in one form or another
[*]make the heeling patterns go through several stores and restaurants
This isn't. However BH dogs are not service dogs and as such do not have general access to stores and restaurants.
[*]have the dog down-stay in the food court while the owner goes and get's their food
The long down and the tie down are both part of BH. The long down the owner is 20 paces away from their dog which is not tied down. In the tie down test the dog is tied down and the owner must disappear for several minutes.
[*]have a finished service dog walk past and then lay down within 20 feet of the testing dog
This is covered in the encounter with another dog part of BH.
[*]have the owner (who is at a food counter within the dogs line of sight) recall the dog (who must go right past the other service dog)
Recall is included in BH, there is always another dog under test on the field which the recalling dog must pass by.
[*]Have the dog do one Puppy Pushup (Sit, Down, Sit)
This is covered in the down/recall. The handler first commands the dog to sit, then down, then walks away, the dog must sit in front of the handler on recall.
[*]Final part of the test would be to have the dog perform one action that is SD specific to this team (like pick up a dropped object or alert to someone calling the owners name)
As you say this is SD specific and can be trained in SD training, not sure why it would be relevant to BH.


I doubt any organization would accept liability for doing off leash training/testing exercises in a busy food court.

Last edited by pfitzpa1; 05-20-2013 at 11:54 AM.
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post #8 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-20-2013, 12:00 PM Thread Starter
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... I see BH as a foundation for IPO , rather than a stopping point, so from that perspective the better/cleaner the foundation the more it will help as you progress in IPO.
A main point is for SDIT the BH would need to be a stopping point to stay away from the hot topic / grey areas including bite work.

A previous thread included the BH as one option for an owner trainer (either on their own or under the guidance of a professional trainer) as part of their training records. In addtion to this option, I would still advise the CGC for the Candidate Level and ATTS for the SDIT Level. Of course a good Public Access Test (PAT) is needed before moving from SDIT to working SD.

TJ aka Theresa A. Jennings
Pyro vom Wildhaus aka Kaleb ~S.T.A.R.~
Family Companion, Non-Profit Mascot, In-Home Service Dog


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post #9 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-20-2013, 12:08 PM
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A main point is for SDIT the BH would need to be a stopping point to stay away from the hot topic / grey areas including bite work.
Agreed. I guess the point I was trying to make was that the BH obedience is the foundation for IPO Obedience so it behooves the handler to train for a perfect BH rather than just scraping a pass. (There are no points reported in BH, it's a pass/fail but the Judge will critique what areas the dog was good and not so good in). I was training my dog to do competition heeling for BH, but unfortunately she wasn't ready to pull it off in the actual test and I knew she wouldn't be. That didn't stop me training it leading up to the BH.

One of our club members did CGC after BH, said it was a walk in the park. His dog went on to be a service dog.
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post #10 of 34 (permalink) Old 05-20-2013, 12:10 PM Thread Starter
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... I doubt any organization would accept liability for doing off leash training/testing exercises in a busy food court.
In truth probably not possible. States that I know of that give trainers Public Access Rights do not include training off-leash.

The Dept. of Justice which is the regulatory agency of Title III of the ADA (which oversees SDs in public locations) state that a trained working SD is only allowed off-leash in two cases: 1) If the task the dog needs to perform is not able to be done while on leash and 2) If the handler is not able to hold on to or control a leash due to their disability.

I don't know of any law (Federal or State) that addresses any type of full off-leash training in a public place such as a mall.

TJ aka Theresa A. Jennings
Pyro vom Wildhaus aka Kaleb ~S.T.A.R.~
Family Companion, Non-Profit Mascot, In-Home Service Dog


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