Getting Started In Schutzhund Training - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-19-2013, 07:58 PM Thread Starter
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Getting Started In Schutzhund Training

Good Afternoon All,

I am looking for tips and starting points for getting into schutzhund training. I would like to try start with just basics with our dogs here at home but would love for it to turn into a career.

I am currently active duty in the Marine Corps, but am coming up on reenlisting time and would like to explore some options.

I guess some basic starter questions are: How does one get they're foot in the door? I would prefer to be contracted and not have to join a PD or SD but would not be totally opposed to that? Does anyone know where to pick up good reading books/training items? I'd hate to get my information from the book shelf at PetsMart. I've been to a couple shows and have been raised around GSDs since I was born.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!!

-Kyle
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-19-2013, 08:06 PM
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Get with a club. Books are great, but watching other teams is where you'll learn. As far as career, not many can afford to train in IPO as a career, but we can always dream!

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-19-2013, 08:37 PM
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There's probably less than 30 people in a country of 330 million people who have turned schutzhund into a career. And it's the other things such as basic obedience training, protection training for clients, breeding, and importing agent fees based off their reputation and experience that provide the income. So the statistical probability is much less than that of becoming a professional baseball, football, basketball or hockey player!

Look into the Tom Rose school for dog training. TRS GI Bill Link
http://www.tomrose.com/
Start a career as a certified dog trainer while training and showing in schutzhund is the path I would suggest. Also, helpers are always in short supply and while you won't make a paid career out of it, you'll always be welcome at a club if you can competently put on a sleeve.

Last edited by Ocean; 05-19-2013 at 08:41 PM.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-19-2013, 09:38 PM
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move to europe for a few years - thats where you have the culture to become a real schuts expert.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-19-2013, 11:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Ocean View Post
Start a career as a certified dog trainer while training and showing in schutzhund is the path I would suggest. Also, helpers are always in short supply and while you won't make a paid career out of it, you'll always be welcome at a club if you can competently put on a sleeve.
It does seem like being a paid helper is the best way to make money at this hobby.

Becoming a certified pet dog trainer -- speaking as someone who did it for a while and then quit -- is a very very different skillset. The huge majority of your work involves people skills, not actual dog training, and getting client compliance is what you'll spend most of your time trying to accomplish. Frankly, it can be super frustrating, which is why I am currently burned out. The actual dog training skills involved are relatively simple. But if you're interested in going that road, Association of Pet Dog Trainers - Dog Training Resources is the best place to get started (and the only reputable organization certifying pet dog trainers in the U.S.). If nothing else it's worth looking into to decide if you might want to do it.

And the pet sector is, by far, the largest market for training services. There are some 78 million dogs in the U.S., last I heard, and the best estimate I've seen is that there are maybe 50,000 of those dogs actively competing in all sports combined (although it's tough to come up with a reasonable number because so many of them are registered in multiple organizations, and sussing out which are unique vs. multi-sport competitors is something I haven't seen anyone seriously attempt). Trying to become a sport training professional means chasing a pretty darn small market.

I don't mean to discourage you. If you want to do it, by all means, go forth and do it. But it's not going to be a cakewalk.

edit: for clarity, the 50K number I've seen is based on dogs who are registered with one of the major organizations and actively competing in at least one trial that year. So it's probably low insofar as a lot of people take classes for sports but don't enter trials, and a lot of other people do enter trials but then stop once they've finished whatever titles they set out to get. So the number of students enrolled in training is probably higher by several multiples... but that's still an awfully small market to make a living from.

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Last edited by Merciel; 05-19-2013 at 11:49 PM.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-20-2013, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by kagarcia View Post
Good Afternoon All,

How does one get they're foot in the door? I would prefer to be contracted and not have to join a PD or SD but would not be totally opposed to that?


-Kyle
I could be wrong but I don't think a lot of police train their working dogs in Schutzhund. I think it's more breeders who train Schutzhund so the pups can be sold into service. Actual working dog training is probably much different than Schutzhund. (I'm sure some training techniques are similar but I think the programs are probably quite different)

I'll give an example, Schutzhund style tracking is not considered (by some) conducive to producing a real Police K9 tracking dog. Here is an excellent article on the topic..
http://leerburg.com/ttd.htm

Last edited by pfitzpa1; 05-20-2013 at 12:55 PM.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-20-2013, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by pfitzpa1 View Post
I could be wrong but I don't think a lot of police train their working dogs in Schutzhund. I think it's more breeders who train Schutzhund so the pups can be sold into service. Actual working dog training is probably much different than Schutzhund. (I'm sure some training techniques are similar but I think the programs are probably quite different)

I'll give an example, Schutzhund style tracking is not considered (by some) conducive to producing a real Police K9 tracking dog. Here is an excellent article on the topic..
Leerburg | Training Police Tracking Dogs
Almost all the departments in my area and north of me used to get SchH 3 dogs and then train heavily with them in more "street style" training. Not sure if it's still the case or not, I know sometimes they had problems with equipment fixated dogs...
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-20-2013, 02:30 PM
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But if you're interested in going that road, Association of Pet Dog Trainers - Dog Training Resources is the best place to get started (and the only reputable organization certifying pet dog trainers in the U.S.
APDT doesn't offer certification, it does provide a database of trainers with (or without) certifications from various other reputable US (and non US) organizations.

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-20-2013, 02:44 PM
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APDT doesn't offer certification, it does provide a database of trainers with (or without) certifications from various other reputable US (and non US) organizations.

Dog Trainer Certification
That's true, thank you for the clarification! I tend to conflate the two because APDT is where you do all your professional networking and get the continuing education credits. But the actual certifications come through the certification council.

So, whoops. I misspoke, and I'm glad you corrected it.

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-20-2013, 02:52 PM
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As general information, please, read about "United Schutzhund Clubs of America", make a telephone call first (314) 638-9686, or write 3810 Paule Ave.St Louis Mo. 63125, than make an appointment.

Last edited by David Taggart; 05-20-2013 at 02:55 PM.
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