Regional Schutzhund Trial - My observations
So I dropped by the Ontario Regional Schutzhund qualifier and spent about 2 hours watching the dogs this morning in the "protection phase".
I went with an open mind to observe and learn but after this I really don't understand this sport of schutzhund, at all.
Alot of the dogs were not really checking the blinds they just ran around them like they are obstacles, most dogs knew where the helper was from the get go (probably because judges and photographer were clustered around that blind - dogs are intelligent) and some subsequently skipped a few of the blinds on their own accord.
The handlers made a show of pointing towards the blinds to direct the dog but dogs were paying no notice to them as they tore around so it was more for show than effect. So the dog is totally trained and knows what is expected of him (not very natural, more theatrical and orchestrated) true schutzhund test would be in area dog has never seen, different setup from training and then lets see natural reactions.
Alot of the dogs were totally focused on the sleeve, even when helper was off-field the dogs could be seen tracking the sleeve and positioning his body in that direction (this is when judge is delivering score and dog should be "off").
How is this 'protection work' when the sleeve is "imprinted" on the dogs brain ... its just a game in the dogs mind, bite the sleeve, get the sleeve, sleeve is all that matters, thats it.
Dogs seemed really high strung (whiny, barking etc) is this normal? Maybe competition nerves?
Alot of barking and growling going on if you walked by a van with dogs in it (again is this normal? some vans actually shook as I walked by, not at, but by! It startled me twice ... again is this normal? And if so then why, I am not threatening just walking by minding my business).
Many dogs failed to release when ordered to do so, in fact this was 90% normal when owner was in the far away position. Sure dog could hear them, heck I could hear the handlers clearly and I was another 30 metres away.
I also don't get why handlers had to yell at the top of their lungs to "aus" when the dog was 5 feet away from them?
It felt to me like when you have no control over a child and you have to yell and scream to get them to pay attention ... And even then dog would not release .... imo a biddable dog should release immediately with a normal level voice command ... why yell at top of your lungs at 5 feet and even then its a 50-50 chance he/she obeys.
Some of the male dogs were big (heavy) and would hit with real power, this received highest applause from audience, it seemed a case of brawn and power over obedience and biddability.
A dog bite hurts even from a sheltie, it will stop most attackers, imo a dog should be more obedient to do as handler asks rather than simply be prized for amount of hitting power.
I enjoyed the most seeing which dogs were biddable to the handler when told to release first time and immediately ... I woudl think obedience is th eultimate goal of dog training not intensity and hitting power .... unfortunately very very few woudl score high in my books..
There was one sable bitch that was very very good, she was small, but very obedient and biddable, unfortunately I don't know who she was as there was no announcement of the dogs as they entered the ring to compete nor did the judge say the name of the dog as he gave the points (strange administration of event).
Don't get defensive or angry, it was my first such schutzhund meet and I am posting honest, unfiltered observations.
Schutzhund is imo simply a "sport" with very little (if any) real world value, I would rather spend my time doing obedience and having a biddable focused dog rather than seeing how quickly a dog can tear around the field and hit the helper with max power.
But I also realise that power/aggression/intensity wins titles and titled parents then sell puppies for the breeders ... we all have bills to pay (I get it) and so the cycle continues. Sad, sad, sad.
Last edited by dzg; 06-23-2012 at 02:08 PM.