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What do folks think about the American Schutzhund concept as proposed by Debbie Zappa and Jerry Bradshaw?
 

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I'm interested in seeing how it turns out based on what I've heard. I need to go watch the video. I'm already doing a newer sport at the moment so I'm in no hurry to jump into another one. A lot of people I know are interested but wanting to let it mature first before fully committing to the sport.
 

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Their Mission Statement (copied from their Facebook page, to make it a bit easier to discuss here) -

February 15 ·
American Schutzhund
Mission Statement:

To restore and maintain Schutzhund as a relevant breed suitability test for working dogs in America. American Schutzhund will test the ability of the dog to withstand stress and continue to function in difficult situations. We will continue to evolve, always cognizant of the fact, that the balance among the three phases of the test is what makes it so difficult, yet so important. The entire premise of the test is to determine the best dogs suitable for law enforcement, the military and for serving the needs of humanity. With the information gained through the rigorous trials of scent work, obedience and protection work: police officers, individuals and organizations in disaster work, as well as our armed forces, will be able to choose canines suitable to execute the work of serving. Down the Road: Registration and Stud Books will be developed for individual breeds.

Welcome

Thank you for joining us on our official Facebook page. This page was created to organize and disseminate all relevant information pertaining to American Schutzhund. It also provides a centralized location for questions and answers.

There will be a zero tolerance policy for treating anyone with disrespect. If you ask a question, myself or Theresa Currier will do our absolute best to answer you. We will not get into long debates or arguments. We will, however, do our very best to give you accurate information.

American Schutzhund is a small organization, just getting started. As with any new endeavor, growing pains will be felt. Although we appreciate input, understand that we need to get the organization functional. We remain focused and are concentrated on that goal. Our mission is to provide a platform for like minded individuals to protect the heritage of our working breeds in America.

Background

A few like minded individuals approached Debbie Zappia with concerns regarding the the negative direction IPO now known as IGP was heading. She was asked if she would spearhead a new organization that would essentially bring Schutzhund back to a state of relevance. Debbie, sharing the same concerns, agreed to help. As a result, American Schutzhund was created.

Please note; The American Schutzhund organization is being developed and implemented by a handful of driven individuals who are volunteering their time and services. No one is being paid or reimbursed for this endeavor.

Understanding The Organization

This organization is not about making anyone famous. It’s not about politics, executive boards, or world teams. This organization is not about being recognized by the SV nor will this organization yield to their politics and rules.

American Schutzhund is only interested in being recognized by North America. In the future, if the opportunity to form coalitions present itself, we will address the possibility at that time.

American Schutzhund is not for everyone. This organization provides you with a venue to test the hardness, fighting instinct and courage of your working dog. This organization will test every dogs ability to withstand stress and continue to function in relevant yet difficult situations. The entire premise of the test is to determine the best breeding stock, dogs suitable for law enforcement, the military, disaster organizations, individuals, and for serving the needs of humanity.

Membership

American Schutzhund is an all breed working dog organization. It was not created to divide and or replace any current working dog organizations.

This organization will accept memberships from already established clubs as well as new clubs. Also, all individual persons not affiliated with any clubs are also welcomed to join. In other words, all are welcomed to join and still belong to any other working dog organization. There’s absolutely no reason to give up any affiliations you and or your club already have. We encourage you to work your dog to the best of it’s ability in any sport you deem important.

Infrastructure

The Protection Sports Association (PSA) has offered the American Schutzhund organization the opportunity to utilize their already established and successful infrastructure. Although the American Schutzhund organization is it’s own entity regarding all things Schutzhund, it will be housed under the PSA umbrella.

By utilizing an already existing infrastructure, this will allow the American Schutzhund organization to immediately start accepting memberships, registering clubs, issuing scorebooks, and hosting trials. The business component of our organization is already in place thanks to PSA offering us access to their infrastructure.

Future Communications

There’s still a lot of things being worked on. Hopefully, all will be in place and we will be good to go right after our first informational seminar in South Carolina. We’ll be sure to post that information again.

Theresa Currier will be posting the rules in the very near future. While some rules are still being scrutinized and finalized by Deb, Protection is completed and will be posted shortly. Please stay tuned for further information regarding membership, judges, helpers, scorebooks, along with everything you will need to successfully navigate the new American Schutzhund organization.
 

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The concept of making it back to an actual temperament/suitability/actual ability test? I think it is a great idea but have not seen what it means in practice by them. Different exercises? More pressure? More environmental stuff?

I mean you have a situation where a trial originally was set to determine workabilty has evolved into a sport where the majority of actual LEO/working/military would not be found participating. I know there are exceptions, but in general. I have heard more than one knowledgeable person say there are actual 3 Euro lines...Show, Sport, and Work.

I have not been around long enough to have a real opinion, but I can see the reasoning for the desire to get back to roots with my own two eyes.

Anyone follow Isaac Schroeder on FB? He is not very experienced but has a ton of followers. He has been doing this "Dog of The Day" thing for months and months now. He posts a stud and people who know him or have progeny weigh in by the droves. Good stuff. Wish he would do dams, although he does always ask who the dam was when someone gives good or bad input.

Anyway, was surprising to read about a few off the field experiences regarding some National level dogs. Terrified of street signs? WUSV champ? Stuff of that ilk. Plenty of input on whether or not well known dogs were or produced environmental soundness and social soundness. It was interesting to hear who was handler hard or soft, who goes up the lead etc. You have people saying "looks great in prey drive but deflates under real pressure"..and it was over some rather well known dogs (either the dog themselves or their progeny).

Most of it is public and if nothing else a good relatively drama free read.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Wellll, lol, having a 25 year history of feeling Sch/IPO evolving into a sport being detrimental to the breed, I think it is a step in the right direction, but clearly think they have an uphill battle. Why?
1) too much money drives breeding, competition, and show decisions.
2) Elitism comes from the titles, ratings, thus giving status to “ reputable” breeders, who although are well meaning, are blinded and hamstrung by the parameters that the sport or show world puts on them. ( In plain English these two worlds become the be all and end all for these top dogs in these worlds so that their deficiencies outside these worlds are not exposed to the breeders, or they refuse to acknowledge them
3) the argument that anything ( title, sport, show rating), is better than nothing is no longer valid when any of these things take the breed into an extreme direction in which the dog is no longer fit for its original intentions
4) the versatility has slowly left the breed supplanted by beauty, high performance, and exaggerated body parts.
5) the parameters of sport and show have created an artificial standard of functionality and work ability that is widening every year

In closing, I’m not thinking this is the perfect solution to the breed, but I do think it’s a step in the right direction. But there are many many people vested in their respective specialization of the breed, and I fear( I know) they will defend these fiefdoms in spite of the validity of what Debbie& Jerry are trying to do. And it’s not just Jerry and Debbie...PSA and SDA we’re both originally form from groups of people who saw where the breed was going because of the tools that assessed the breed were inadequate, antiquated, and watered down.
 

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^That is exactly what I was thinking but not qualified to articulate yet lol

Yeah, its visible even to a novice though. I've spent time at a handful of fields at this point, and in my shopping for a next dog have learned quite a bit. *A lot* of these are not the German Shepherds I use to know in my younger days and it's not just time glossing over my memory of what a brave dog is suppose to be like.

When I was asking various breeders/stud owners/progeny owners about their dogs they all wanted to send me video of their bite work, their OB..on the field. Yeah that's great, and important ...but I really wanted to see footage of them, IDK....at a Parade. Not losing it. If they are "leaking drive" at a community function or in a crowded park, or if they duck like someone just walked on their grave because a person wanted to touch them (it's not right that people do that but it's a part of life off the field and out of the crate in the house) ...then I don't want that dog and I don't consider them a good representation of a German Shepherd. Fight me.

Add to that that we all know not all IPOs titles are created or earned equally...and add to that you hear stories of WUSV champs dislocating an owner's shoulder because a stop sign spooked him...or you hear from people who spend a lot on progeny of 2 world champs who can actually put the ego aside and honestly review their dog, and admit they deflate under any pressure outside of sleeve/field work..c'mon now.

And I can add that after watching a ton of footage of the AADPA last year where something like 70% failed (now THAT is a trial..true sense of the word "trial") ...I was dissapointed to see a lot of great IPO dogs really shyed away from non predictable confrontation. Whether you consider a GSD a herder, a flock guardian, a protection breed...everything they are SUPPOSED to be bred to handle is steeped in unpredictable confrontation and situations.

Sport ruins everything. The parallels with competitive shooting are jaw dropping. It use to be populated with law enforcement seeking proving grounds, then it became fun on top of it all, then someone let the regular people in. With the regular people came the evolution of rules and the addition of flash to try and set themselves apart. And of course the everyone deserves a trophy just because they worked hard mentality. In the last decade the LEOs have largely dropped out of that sport (IDPA) because they can't bring themselves to do flashy stuff and play by dumbed down rules ...they walk away saying "that will get you killed, I'm not doing that". So there you go.

I wish them (Debbie) luck and would be willing to attend events and test my dog.
 

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I wouldn't say sport ruins everything. I think different protection sports can have more of a positive or negative impact on what is considered a successful dog at a sport, then, what type of dog is bred for and lastly the type of training for a protection sport. IMO, the majority of clubs training have poor quality training and don't know how to correctly build a dog and teach him how to work through the stress of bite work. Also, many sport trainers "beg" the dog to bite which sets up a foundation for failure in terms of correct bite work. In IPO, the stress of bite work has all been removed. Being a sleeve sport is a factor. Dogs always know when there is equipment, such as with hidden sleeves and bite suits, but in suit sports, with the right decoy wearing the right suit, a dog learns the suit is an extension of the decoy more so than being a piece of equipment. Then the exercises in IPO are exactly the same every time, so there is no challenge after a while, for a good dog. It becomes more of a gymnastics show than a test of a dog's aggression and confidence. Also, a bicep bite is more stressful to a dog than a forearm bite on a sleeve. I know there is a discussion on another forum criticizing the bicep bite in terms of police apprehension or PP, but if you are not training a police dog or PP, it is a useful way to challenge a dog. A lot also depends on the balance of a dog's prey and defense. IPO really only needs and tests for prey IMO. A dog that is more on the defensive side is more challenging to train and often doesn't match up well for the sport of IPO, so you end up losing dogs being bred for some defensive aggression. Defensive aggression involves fear and stress and the dog has to be taught what he needs to do to work through those feelings and IPO doesn't provide for that and there is a woeful lack of decoys who know how to teach a dog how to work through the stress of a dog that tends to be more defensive. Correctly done and with the right kind of defensive aggression, you can end up with a very serious dog who is truly a man stopper. I don't think IPO, comes close to providing that opportunity or really wants that kind of dog in the sport. I don't know the changes proposed for American schutzhund, but my sense is that they will be lacking still.
 

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Quoting Chip because my quote button wont work..

"A dog that is more on the defensive side is more challenging to train and often doesn't match up well for the sport of IPO, so you end up losing dogs being bred for some defensive aggression. Defensive aggression involves fear and stress and the dog has to be taught what he needs to do to work through those feelings and IPO doesn't provide for that and there is a woeful lack of decoys who know how to teach a dog how to work through the stress of a dog that tends to be more defensive. Correctly done and with the right kind of defensive aggression, you can end up with a very serious dog who is truly a man stopper. I don't think IPO, comes close to providing that opportunity or really wants that kind of dog in the sport."

That describes my dog. As he ages to 2 and is being worked properly I can see the seriousness in there. I am attracted to PSA more so than IPO..I am a Self Defense instructor and civilian firearms instructor so my interest lies in "real" and scenarios rather than routines. However, I am not sure I want to or need to tickle that part of my dog. Maybe in the future, maybe with a future dog. And I know who I would use and not use. For now I'm happy letting him burn some energy and instinct on a sleeve for fun. We are never going to look sporty doing it lol "Not A Points Dog" In other words regardless of the pedigree/title value of it I would love to see the structure of what Debbie is putting together.
 

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My dog leans more to the defensive side, but has a good threshold for defense. He doesn't go around lighting up around everybody and can be approached by people. And his obedience in both protection and PSA obedience exercises is accurate and fast and I think it all has to do with the proper foundation and putting in the tedious time to teach and expect a certain level of precision, attention, speed and accuracy.
 

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And what I meant by sport ruins everything...I did not phrase it right or nicely I suppose. The evolution of a structured activity that is meant to be a real test into "sport" for the masses, will always over the fullness of time negate it's value as a real world test. It nearly has to, in order to continue to grow by appealing to the masses.

People..now people always ruin everything. There is a societal shift towards being thinned skin. It has permeated every physical performance hobby I am involved with. I've walked off mats and ranges after a failure and felt stronger and more determined to fix that. You dont see that a lot anymore. Failing up with dignity is a concept that is going the way of the Dodo. You still that grit and determination of course..but the average participant expects a lot more passes and hand holding these days. Then you wind up worrying about boo boos and hurt feelings and un awarded trophies affecting attendance. Then the rules get modified to make it a more level field. Then other aspects that are easier to achieve with a dog with less than stellar nerves like flash and speed evolve into desirable for points. Then the concept of "points dogs" and the ability of a handler to "hide a dogs nerves" is actually a thing. Eh, you cant have all that without becoming a sport that mimics real life rather than tests for it.
 

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My dog leans more to the defensive side, but has a good threshold for defense. He doesn't go around lighting up around everybody and can be approached by people. And his obedience in both protection and PSA obedience exercises is accurate and fast and I think it all has to do with the proper foundation and putting in the tedious time to teach and expect a certain level of precision, attention, speed and accuracy.
We are there too. Except for fast and we have not tried PSA. It took a specific type of work to get where we are. I'm grateful I was surrounded by people who recognized it for what it was and steered me the right way. Thank goodness for breed specific mentors.
 

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thanks for the background


it does remind me of the brief period where SDA and UKC had a venue for protection...


and while it may be sport made of a more serious leo endeavor dilluted it, if anything ruins stuff, it's politics, and so if this new effort is all breed, doesn't care wtf the SV thinks, I'm all for it!!!


>:)
 

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thanks for the background


it does remind me of the brief period where SDA and UKC had a venue for protection...


and while it may be sport made of a more serious leo endeavor dilluted it, if anything ruins stuff, it's politics, and so if this new effort is all breed, doesn't care wtf the SV thinks, I'm all for it!!!


>:)
Amen to that!
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
I wouldn't say sport ruins everything. I think different protection sports can have more of a positive or negative impact on what is considered a successful dog at a sport, then, what type of dog is bred for and lastly the type of training for a protection sport. IMO, the majority of clubs training have poor quality training and don't know how to correctly build a dog and teach him how to work through the stress of bite work. Also, many sport trainers "beg" the dog to bite which sets up a foundation for failure in terms of correct bite work. In IPO, the stress of bite work has all been removed. Being a sleeve sport is a factor. Dogs always know when there is equipment, such as with hidden sleeves and bite suits, but in suit sports, with the right decoy wearing the right suit, a dog learns the suit is an extension of the decoy more so than being a piece of equipment. Then the exercises in IPO are exactly the same every time, so there is no challenge after a while, for a good dog. It becomes more of a gymnastics show than a test of a dog's aggression and confidence. Also, a bicep bite is more stressful to a dog than a forearm bite on a sleeve. I know there is a discussion on another forum criticizing the bicep bite in terms of police apprehension or PP, but if you are not training a police dog or PP, it is a useful way to challenge a dog. A lot also depends on the balance of a dog's prey and defense. IPO really only needs and tests for prey IMO. A dog that is more on the defensive side is more challenging to train and often doesn't match up well for the sport of IPO, so you end up losing dogs being bred for some defensive aggression. Defensive aggression involves fear and stress and the dog has to be taught what he needs to do to work through those feelings and IPO doesn't provide for that and there is a woeful lack of decoys who know how to teach a dog how to work through the stress of a dog that tends to be more defensive. Correctly done and with the right kind of defensive aggression, you can end up with a very serious dog who is truly a man stopper. I don't think IPO, comes close to providing that opportunity or really wants that kind of dog in the sport. I don't know the changes proposed for American schutzhund, but my sense is that they will be lacking still.
No, sport doesn’t ruin everything, and there are some great things about sport...in particular the foundation work that is done with the dogs. But that work isn’t for points, once the focus starts on maximizing points, by any means necessary, then things change.
Actually, if sport and show were in the proper place of importance, I have no problem with them at all. But they have become the epitome of what should be....and specialization can never lead to versatility! New folks remember that!
It’s no different than many breeders today, who put more emphasis on breeding for the public than breeding for the standard. The same applies to show and sport. The reputable breeders place more importance on the title or the rating than the suitability of a given dog. And I’m talking about experienced folks who should be able to identify the better dog.
Folks, are seeking perfection in dogs and litters which sometimes cause overthinking and narrowing of gene pool, but forgetting that consistency and versatility are the hallmark of the breed.
At the end of the day, it’s not about bashing sport or show, but rather about are the things Debbie and Jerry are seeking are valuable AND needed in the breed....if they are and you are a true steward of the breed you put aside feelings and support the things they say you know is true or neede.
 

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From what I have read and seen I like it. I like the fact that there isn't footstep tracking. I despise footstep tracking. My dog does it but not with near the intensity or joy she gets from article searches or man trailing. It would have been nice if they had made certified SAR dogs exempt from their scent work. Just counted their certification as the article or scent detection phase of the program. Will probably wait it out and see where it goes. In the meantime I will renew my USCA membership and title my dog in that venue for now.
 

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No, sport doesn’t ruin everything, and there are some great things about sport...in particular the foundation work that is done with the dogs. But that work isn’t for points, once the focus starts on maximizing points, by any means necessary, then things change...

I think the keys words in your statement are, "by any means necessary." I don't know if you want to clarify that or not, but I'll say there is a difference in fine tuning your training approach and by putting in the time, for example, to get faster sits and downs, or focused heeling that isn't affected by distractions, compared to using harsh or abusive approaches. Trying to get maximum points in sports is a personal choice and depends if the dog is likely genetically capable to obtain a certain level and if the handler and people helping the handler are able to bring a dog to his genetic potential. Saying that, the genetic potential resulting in higher points doesn't necessarily correlate with a better working dog necessarily, but sometimes it can. And the reason people generally compete in any sport is to win. If you have to go to extremes or very unnatural training approaches, you get further away from what the dog is vs. how he has been trained.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
I think the keys words in your statement are, "by any means necessary." I don't know if you want to clarify that or not, but I'll say there is a difference in fine tuning your training approach and by putting in the time, for example, to get faster sits and downs, or focused heeling that isn't affected by distractions, compared to using harsh or abusive approaches. Trying to get maximum points in sports is a personal choice and depends if the dog is likely genetically capable to obtain a certain level and if the handler and people helping the handler are able to bring a dog to his genetic potential. Saying that, the genetic potential resulting in higher points doesn't necessarily correlate with a better working dog necessarily, but sometimes it can. And the reason people generally compete in any sport is to win. If you have to go to extremes or very unnatural training approaches, you get further away from what the dog is vs. how he has been trained.
Chip, I have no problem with folks training their dog to their potential or seeking to win, or fine tuning their dog. These are givens and nothing wrong with them. I’m talking about the the “ importance” that people put on the titles, the ratings, the singular aspects of a dog,( ie angulation, grips, gait, focused heel ) to determine important breeding decisions and breed assessments. I’m talking about the lack of versatility and the preponderance of specialization.
Today, in LE work more dogs have environmental issues or weaknesses than ever been seen before. So many GS so unsure as soon as they approach something new, or looks daunting, or shaky footing,etc.....why. Rare anymore is the dog that confidently approaches as escalator, or fire escape, or swaying bridge, or bridge period, etc....yet other dogs have no problems with these things. This unsureness, except under ideal conditions, is the result of something, because in years past the sureness of a GS was just like the sureness of many regular mixed breed dogs. We have lost something intangible in our quest for perfection in show, sport, and personal likes. Of course people in these venues won’t admit it, ( of course when too close to something sometimes you don’t see, or maybe the status of the trophies, money, or personal adoration is too much to resist) , but user folks in SAR, LE, military, etc definitely see the trend and thus the proliferation of other breeds for many of these jobs.
But I know I’m preaching into the wind, lol, but as 10 years turns into 20 years turns into even more the truth is inescapable. I walked away from the American Show world in 1975 and felt these dogs were traveling in a direction that they would eventually not be suitable for strenuous work, I walked away from the German Show world in early 90s and felt that this dog was traveling in a direction that they would eventually not be suitable for strenuous work, by 2010, I was seeing the same pattern with sport work. Not in the same ways as other two because one specializes in performance while the other two in structure, yet in principle that the specialization of sport was rendering the breed lacking in versatility of which they were created to be.
Every couple years, I reinstate my strong feelings on this subject, I’m through now, and maybe I’m missing the boat and people aren’t seeing what I see....time tells all!
 
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