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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
It would be helpful if we keep this discussion on German Shepherds and Owner Trainers or Trainers not associated with a SD training organization.

Those with a knowledge of both, do you think working toward a BH would be beneficial for SDITs? This of course would be optional and never considered as part of a "must" listing.

Myself, when looking for a Candidate, I like to see both parents involved with SchH, but what about the SDIT itself? What pros and cons do you see for the actual SDIT itself?
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I myself have thought about working toward a BH with my next pup and the only "problem" that I have thought of would be the different styles of heeling needed between BH and one normally used by a SD.

Using a different command word, I don't think it would be such a huge problem but would of course take some extra work.
 

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It would be helpful if we keep this discussion on German Shepherds and Owner Trainers or Trainers not associated with a SD training organization.

Those with a knowledge of both, do you think working toward a BH would be beneficial for SDITs? This of course would be optional and never considered as part of a "must" listing.

Myself, when looking for a Candidate, I like to see both parents involved with SchH, but what about the SDIT itself? What pros and cons do you see for the actual SDIT itself?
I don't know much about SD training but I know plenty about BH and I don't see anything in BH that I would consider to be negative or counter productive towards SD. BH, (BegleitHund) is a companion dog certification and comprises
* temperament test (When dog is introduced to judge the judge will check to ensure the dog is not overly scared/anxious/aggressive)
* Heeling on/off leash
* Heeling on/off leash within a group of people
* Sit/Stay off leash
* Down with recall off leash
* Long down with distractions
* Attitude while dog is tied up and away from owner
* encounter with joggers/people
* encounter with bicycle/cars
* encounter with other dogs

I would think all of these would be positive influences on SD training.
As far as heeling is concerned, as long as the dog is not forging ahead or lagging behind, a judge is not going to be overly critical (especially if the dog is happy and attentive).

My 2c.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
So pfitzpa1, in your opinion a dog could pass the BH while heeling on a loose leash by the side of the handler and not doing the traditional SchH style of heeling?

My only experience with the BH evaluations was either watching or being part of the "crowd" and that was at least 11-12 years ago.
 

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While I think the BH is a good start I think it's heeling patterns are unnecessarily long for a service dog test and the whole test is too isolated.

I'd like to see the BH taken into a crowded shopping mall and ...

  • make the heeling patterns go through several stores and restaurants
  • have the dog down-stay in the food court while the owner goes and get's their food
  • have a finished service dog walk past and then lay down within 20 feet of the testing dog
  • have the owner (who is at a food counter within the dogs line of sight) recall the dog (who must go right past the other service dog)
  • Have the dog do one Puppy Pushup (Sit, Down, Sit)
  • Final part of the test would be to have the dog perform one action that is SD specific to this team (like pick up a dropped object or alert to someone calling the owners name)
This would be a much better test for a potential service dog IMO.
 

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So pfitzpa1, in your opinion a dog could pass the BH while heeling on a loose leash by the side of the handler and not doing the traditional SchH style of heeling?

My only experience with the BH evaluations was either watching or being part of the "crowd" and that was at least 11-12 years ago.
Mine did :)

We are still working on focussed heeling, almost there, but for BH my dog walked happily beside me looking ahead rather than looking up at me all the time.

If your dog can do the exercises but is not super precise (for example on the recall if the dog comes around behind you and sits instead of sitting in front) I doubt the judges would fail you for that. The biggest thing that will fail you in BH is an unstable dog, a dog that runs of the field or is overly skittish/hyper or aggressive in any of the exercises. A somewhat sloppy but happy and calm dog will most likely pass.

I see BH as a foundation for IPO , rather than a stopping point, so from that perspective the better/cleaner the foundation the more it will help as you progress in IPO.
 

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  • make the heeling patterns go through several stores and restaurants
  • have the dog down-stay in the food court while the owner goes and get's their food
  • have a finished service dog walk past and then lay down within 20 feet of the testing dog
  • have the owner (who is at a food counter within the dogs line of sight) recall the dog (who must go right past the other service dog)
  • Have the dog do one Puppy Pushup (Sit, Down, Sit)
  • Final part of the test would be to have the dog perform one action that is SD specific to this team (like pick up a dropped object or alert to someone calling the owners name)
This would be a much better test for a potential service dog IMO.
I think a lot of this is already part of BH in one form or another

[*]make the heeling patterns go through several stores and restaurants
This isn't. However BH dogs are not service dogs and as such do not have general access to stores and restaurants.

[*]have the dog down-stay in the food court while the owner goes and get's their food
The long down and the tie down are both part of BH. The long down the owner is 20 paces away from their dog which is not tied down. In the tie down test the dog is tied down and the owner must disappear for several minutes.

[*]have a finished service dog walk past and then lay down within 20 feet of the testing dog
This is covered in the encounter with another dog part of BH.

[*]have the owner (who is at a food counter within the dogs line of sight) recall the dog (who must go right past the other service dog)
Recall is included in BH, there is always another dog under test on the field which the recalling dog must pass by.

[*]Have the dog do one Puppy Pushup (Sit, Down, Sit)
This is covered in the down/recall. The handler first commands the dog to sit, then down, then walks away, the dog must sit in front of the handler on recall.

[*]Final part of the test would be to have the dog perform one action that is SD specific to this team (like pick up a dropped object or alert to someone calling the owners name)
As you say this is SD specific and can be trained in SD training, not sure why it would be relevant to BH.


I doubt any organization would accept liability for doing off leash training/testing exercises in a busy food court.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
... I see BH as a foundation for IPO , rather than a stopping point, so from that perspective the better/cleaner the foundation the more it will help as you progress in IPO.
A main point is for SDIT the BH would need to be a stopping point to stay away from the hot topic / grey areas including bite work.

A previous thread included the BH as one option for an owner trainer (either on their own or under the guidance of a professional trainer) as part of their training records. In addtion to this option, I would still advise the CGC for the Candidate Level and ATTS for the SDIT Level. Of course a good Public Access Test (PAT) is needed before moving from SDIT to working SD.
 

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A main point is for SDIT the BH would need to be a stopping point to stay away from the hot topic / grey areas including bite work.
Agreed. I guess the point I was trying to make was that the BH obedience is the foundation for IPO Obedience so it behooves the handler to train for a perfect BH rather than just scraping a pass. (There are no points reported in BH, it's a pass/fail but the Judge will critique what areas the dog was good and not so good in). I was training my dog to do competition heeling for BH, but unfortunately she wasn't ready to pull it off in the actual test and I knew she wouldn't be. That didn't stop me training it leading up to the BH.

One of our club members did CGC after BH, said it was a walk in the park. His dog went on to be a service dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
... I doubt any organization would accept liability for doing off leash training/testing exercises in a busy food court.
In truth probably not possible. States that I know of that give trainers Public Access Rights do not include training off-leash.

The Dept. of Justice which is the regulatory agency of Title III of the ADA (which oversees SDs in public locations) state that a trained working SD is only allowed off-leash in two cases: 1) If the task the dog needs to perform is not able to be done while on leash and 2) If the handler is not able to hold on to or control a leash due to their disability.

I don't know of any law (Federal or State) that addresses any type of full off-leash training in a public place such as a mall.
 

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A main point is for SDIT the BH would need to be a stopping point to stay away from the hot topic / grey areas including bite work.
BTW, you can continue all the way up to IPO level 3 trialling and training without doing any bite work. I just completed IPO 1 tracking and obedience portions a few weeks ago. You don't get an IPO title rather you get individual titles UPr-1 (Obedience) and FPr-1 (Tracking).

My dog is super mellow and has no interest in the sleeve. If she is pushed she will bite it but in general could care less. For me she is a pet/companion (and excellent tracker) and I continue training the obedience and tracking for fun.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
While I think the BH is a good start I think it's heeling patterns are unnecessarily long for a service dog test and the whole test is too isolated.

I'd like to see the BH taken into a crowded shopping mall and ...

  • make the heeling patterns go through several stores and restaurants
  • have the dog down-stay in the food court while the owner goes and get's their food
  • have a finished service dog walk past and then lay down within 20 feet of the testing dog
  • have the owner (who is at a food counter within the dogs line of sight) recall the dog (who must go right past the other service dog)
  • Have the dog do one Puppy Pushup (Sit, Down, Sit)
  • Final part of the test would be to have the dog perform one action that is SD specific to this team (like pick up a dropped object or alert to someone calling the owners name)
This would be a much better test for a potential service dog IMO.

Lauri, good points for evaluation. What you have listed is much in part that of a good Public Access Test (PAT) which should be given to any SDIT before moving up to SD Level.

I would look at a BH much like a CGC and an ATTS - just another part of the whole training and evaluation options used for a dog being handled for a future working career as a SD.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
BTW, you can continue all the way up to IPO level 3 trialling and training without doing any bite work. I just completed IPO 1 tracking and obedience portions a few weeks ago. You don't get an IPO title rather you get individual titles UPr-1 (Obedience) and FPr-1 (Tracking).

My dog is super mellow and has no interest in the sleeve. If she is pushed she will bite it but in general could care less. For me she is a pet/companion (and excellent tracker) and I continue training the obedience and tracking for fun.
" BTW, you can continue all the way up to IPO level 3 trialling and training without doing any bite work."

At what point does the dog begin Bark & Hold? Is that part of advanced obedience or under the protection part? That would be another thing that would not be recommended for a SDIT.
 

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" BTW, you can continue all the way up to IPO level 3 trialling and training without doing any bite work."

At what point does the dog begin Bark & Hold? Is that part of advanced obedience or under the protection part? That would be another thing that would not be recommended for a SDIT.
Part C, the protection work. Very distinct from the Obedience training and testing phase.

IPO-1 obedience builds on BH with dumbbell retrieves, on flat, over jump, over wall, sits/recall become in motion rather than static and a send out with down exercise is added. IPO-2 adds a stay exercise from motion, the dumbbell is heavier.
IPO-3 the sit/down exercises are from running pace, a recall is added to the stay exercise, dumbbell gets heavier again.
IPO-2/3 are relatively straightforward progressions from IPO-1. If the dog can do IPO-1 well then it is an excellent foundation for 2/3, just like BH is an excellent foundation for IPO-1 (obedience that is).
 

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Discussion Starter #15
So from what I'm reading here ... a BH would possibly be another evaluation option for a SDIT Level dog.

Also, anyone who is interested in additional training and hobby activity with their SDIT could participate in SchH obedience and tracking with no bad effects - that is if both handler and dog enjoy the activity and could find a club that will help them in this more limited goal. I know SD handlers who enjoy other activities with their dogs and find it a great outlet for the dogs.

I would love to hear more opinions on using a BH as one option in the evaluation process of a SDIT.
 

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I have been told by European friends that in Europe, the BH is NOT necessarily a step toward a Schutzhund/IPO title. It is recognized there, much as we recognize a CGC here. So, many breeds participate and the fancy focused competition heeling is not a requirement.

The BHs in which I have participated certainly tested nerve and safety around other people and dogs. Loose leash walking with a group of dogs in line down a road. Down/stay alone while 20-30 people mill around dog.... very closely I might add. The handler calls dog out of that group.
Bicycles, cars, horns.

I would think an active service dog should be able to pass a BH. The few I have seen were not well enough trained to pass, IMO.
 

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very closely I might add. The handler calls dog out of that group.
That's interesting, I haven't seen that being done but in both BH's I've attended, the traffic portion was similar but different. It seems each judge has some leeway on the actual format of the traffic portion.

In the last BH I attended, my dog was the other half of the "encounter with a dog". The judge did one interesting exercise. He got the handler to put his dog in a down beside him, then a group of 5 people formed a loose circle around the dog/handler. Then slowly we all moved in to the center until we were all in a tight group around the dog/handler. I had never seen that before and thought it quite a interesting/good test.
 

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One of the ones I did, all people attending were asked to come circle the dog. They were so close that my dog had dirt being kicked on his nose. Then they formed a human "wall" that the dog had to find a hole and come through on the recall. Unstable or not well trained and the dog would not have passed I think.

Of course I have seen others that should never have passed and did. That is a problem with any title/certification I think.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
... I would think an active service dog should be able to pass a BH. The few I have seen were not well enough trained to pass, IMO.
Sorry to have to agree with you to a point, but I too over the years being involved with SDs have seen many that should be placed back to companion dogs and have no business in the public as a working dog.

Between undertrained dogs, dogs not suited in the first place to be a working dog, handlers with no idea of what is involved with a real working dog, and the out and out fakers it is no wonder that so many people are against the idea of SDs in the public.

Those of us involved in this area just keep trying to educate all sides and work with those who really want to learn the proper ways.

Currently I am mostly involved with education on the legal side, but after the end of the year, I am planning on also becoming more active on the training side.
 
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