Schutzhund dogs are worked extensively in the three phases: tracking, obedience and protection.
There are three levels of development, Schutzhund 1 (SchH 1), the most elementary, Schutzhund (SchH 2) the intermediate stage and Schutzhund 3 (SchH 3), the most challenging level. The dog must pass all three phases in order to obtain a degree.
Before a SchH degree can be attempted, a BH (companion dog) must first be attained. Other degrees include AD (Endurance Degree) and FH (Tracking Degree), among others.
This phase tests the dog’s level of concentration and scenting ability. The dog must follow a human trail and indicate articles dropped along the way. The dog must work out turns and follow the scent regardless of the weather conditions or terrain. The dog is evaluated for his exactness in tracking, his attitude and intensity.
Tracking builds the dog’s confidence in himself and builds the handler’s respect of his/her dog, as both learn to understand each other, thereby forming a partnership.
Obedience evaluates the dog’s willingness to obey his handler. He must follow his handler’s commands to heel, come, stand, down, jump and retrieve all off leash.
The dog should not be distracted by gunfire or by a group of people milling about.
The dog is evaluated on his speed, accuracy and willingness. Obedience teaches the dog to trust and respect his handler and the handler learns to have faith in their dog and the training.
The protection phase measures the dog’s courage, self-confidence and dependability. The dog must find a hidden suspect and warn his handler, protect his handler from the suspect and prevent the suspect from escaping. While performing these tasks, he must always be under the control of his handler through the ultimate in distractions.
Protection gives the dog a sense of physical well-being and also helps in the overall evaluation of the dog by testing the dog’s courage, self-confidence and alertness. This training is done only with dogs of sound temperament