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What is Schutzhund (IGP)?


Schutzhund, now renamed IGP, is a three-phase dog sport consisting of Tracking, Obedience and Protection.  There are three levels of development, IGP1 (the most elementary,) IGP2 (the intermediate stage) and IGP3 (the most challenging level). The dog must pass all three phases in order to obtain an IGP Title. Before a title can be attempted, a BH (companion dog) must first be attained. The BH test consists of two phases, an obedience test and a temperament test. The temperament test ensures that any dog that passes is self confident, calm, attentive and good natured. The purpose of the BH is to show that our dogs are good natured, under control, and friendly towards people. Dogs that  are nervous, aggressive, insecure or bite are not permitted to participate in a trial. This ensures that any dog moving forward in the sport is safe, reliable and under control for the safety of the handler, judge, helper and spectators.  Once a BH is attained by a working team, then they are able to compete for their IGP 1, 2 and 3, among other specialized titles in Obedience and Tracking. The third phase of the sport, Protection, is the only phase in the sport that does not hold its own separate title.




The tracking 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.


The obedience phase 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. This training is done only with dogs of sound temperament. 

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