We have a number of them, and they are interesting. Just like any training book, DVD, method, I think it's important to not take everything as gospel but to look at it critically and choose what make sense and works for you. Much of the information can be gotten from the website and the training articles, but the DVDs really outlines everything pretty clearly. In some of them I think he spends WAY too much time on stuff like collars, but if you don't know anything I think maybe it could be beneficial?
I also really like to play "Spot the typo". Some of these definitely have a home movie feel.
Especially when you compare with the more technical Ivan videos.
Anyway, if you can get a good deal on them from Ebay or borrow them from a friend that's the way to go. I don't think I'd pay full price.
As far as SchH dog compared to a PPD...well, no. Not really the same at all. SchH is a sport. Which means that while some of the skills are the same, the mentality isn't necessarily the same. There are dogs that can be both, but there are also PPD that couldn't be SchH dogs, and SchH dogs that couldn't be PPDs. I often hear it comapred to Martial Arts, just because you have a black belt doesn't mean you're a street fighter.
It's important to understand that there is a range in both venues. SchH has 3 phases and a good dog must succeed in all. Tracking, Obedience, and Protection. You will often hear about SchH dogs that care more about the sleeve than the man. These dogs can still get high scores and be successful, but there's a good chance that they won't bite someone for real. Some schutzhund dogs are not very tough and function mostly within the routine. You can also have good tough dogs that compete as well though. I have 3 adult SchH dogs in my home and not one will bite on command, which is better for my lifestyle because we go lots of places with the dogs and there are usually lots of strange people that touch and handle them. My 2 males do not have a lot of natural suspicion. They are very stable and have courage and I think they would step up if I needed them, but they are not on alert for trouble. My bitch is better. If she sees something suspicious she will sound off, but she's smaller and not as visually intimidating.
PPDs to serve in their function need to be willing to engage and bite for real. There is also a range here. Many good PPDs are more similar to a Police Dog. A PPD is not a responsibility to be taken lightly. They can be a major liability if not trained correctly. Some very good PPDs start out as SchH dogs. The training is take from a visible sleeve to an undercover and then usually to muzzle work. However, the way the dog bites is not important and usually they want a PPD dog to go for the weapon hand (which would be the stick in SchH) Because what you're looking for in a PPD usually involves a higher degree of suspicion, and people who want these kind of dogs usually want to see some kind of ferocious display, there are many PPDs sold who are nervy and a little fearful. They go off without much provocation at all. And often a dog who is not naturally suspicious has to have a lot of training (not always pretty) to get more suspicion.
A really great dog can do both. But a PPD is a dog you keep with you to guard your person, that is their purpose, not to be the family pet. Personally, unless you have a real reason to believe that you would be threatened I would not get or train a PPD.
My 4 SchH dogs do just fine for home security, because like you, most people do not know that there is a difference. Heck, reputation alone and a dog that barks is good enough for the majority of people.