Regional Schutzhund Trial - My observations - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 102 (permalink) Old 06-23-2012, 01:58 PM Thread Starter
dzg
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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.
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post #2 of 102 (permalink) Old 06-23-2012, 02:07 PM
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I guess that is why Hans's breeder made me sign a contract that guaranteed his temperament only if I don't do protection work.

I do think Schutzhund is done wrong a lot of times. Correct me if I am mistaken.


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post #3 of 102 (permalink) Old 06-23-2012, 02:28 PM Thread Starter
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I forgot to add that I thought the judge was very good and fair, he penalized dogs that would not "aus" and he was very frank and honest (no sugar coating) when giving his critique.

Only strange thing - on a female that would not aus until told to do so repeatedly (She only scored 72) he said due to her intensity she is a very good candidate for breeding ... this is the only small gripe I would have with him ... otherwise he was spot-on.
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post #4 of 102 (permalink) Old 06-23-2012, 03:39 PM
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My friend and I are competing at the Ontario Regionals tomorrow in the show ring.

Schutzhund is indeed a sport, and some people really enjoy it. They have fun, the dogs have fun - why is that such a bad thing?

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post #5 of 102 (permalink) Old 06-23-2012, 03:49 PM
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Did you at least watch the other two phases or just came for the flashy protection phase? Most people like to see protection... the problem is that most people also don't really know what they are *seeing* in a protection routine.

With that said - not outing, not checking each blind, being too sleeve focused - they are pet peeves of mine personally but not everyone trains the same and not every dog is the same.

Plus, its not like these dogs are exactly saving lives over here. Schutzhund is a sport and people like to have a little fun trialing and training with their dog. I don't think its "sad sad sad" I think its great that people spend time working and bonding with their dogs, learning about dogs, and just being better owners than average Joe and his two walks around the block routine.
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post #6 of 102 (permalink) Old 06-23-2012, 04:08 PM
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I know a lot of the competitors and it is held on the grounds where I consider to be a guest a lot of the time and am going to soon be considered a member... I know how hard these dogs and handlers work... for someone to come and view 1 trial and then to make judgements on a public board like this really irks me to be honest.

Did you talk to the handlers after? Did you ask people THERE all of these questions or the concerns you have?

I have been involved in schutzhund for almost 3 years now, seriously for over just a year and I can tell you that what you see takes YEARS of work and for someone with no knowledge of the SPORT or the dogs or people there competing to make judgements on a public forum like this really is not fair.

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post #7 of 102 (permalink) Old 06-23-2012, 04:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunflowers View Post
I guess that is why Hans's breeder made me sign a contract that guaranteed his temperament only if I don't do protection work.

I do think Schutzhund is done wrong a lot of times. Correct me if I am mistaken.

This is why it is imperative to work with people who are experienced in the sport and have the same training goals/methods as you do.

If it feels wrong to you then it probably is.

Personally, a breeder who doesn't guarantee temperament just because of that is not a breeder I would work with. I think MORE 'pet people' can screw up a dogs "temperament" (I say this with quotes because I believe temperament is genetic) than a schutzhund club.

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post #8 of 102 (permalink) Old 06-23-2012, 04:27 PM
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You should hang around for the obedience portion of the trial.


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post #9 of 102 (permalink) Old 06-23-2012, 05:55 PM
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Yes, or the tracking.

Everyone expects dogs to be PERFECT, they are dogs and we are humans - both not perfect beings!

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post #10 of 102 (permalink) Old 06-23-2012, 06:32 PM
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Checking each blind is worth (if I remember right) about 1 point total. For many it's just not worth the time/effort to train.

I don't think it's easy to appreciate the amount of control needed in protection, even if it doesn't look that way. Many of the exercises need lots of control/obedience, such as the back transport - if the dogs were out of control there's no way they'd stay with the handler. Handlers have to walk a fine line between control and obedience to compete at high levels.

They are trained to bark for what they want in protection - much of the initial training starts out with dogs being agitated and when they bark they get rewarded with the tug or sleeve. So they may vocalize when they are excited.

Most competitors train males - and many females are not as strong as a tough male - so to have a strong female is something to be proud of, even if she didn't out, the judge was recognizing her temperament.

As others have said...schutzhund is a sport, each dog is different, and each trainer is different. And I bet you would have been blown away had you watched obedience. Protection is only 1/3 of the sport.

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