Trial Handling Tips for Rules as of 2004

by Ann Marie Chaffin

Copyright 2003-2004

Revised date February 5, 2004

Click one of the following to quickly go to the section of the guide you are interested in.


Why are some people good handlers? This question is asked all the time.  Some people are more coordinated than others, some do many tasks at once, some people can see mistakes or problems and correct them at any given notice or through training, and some people retain more knowledge.  All of these things and more make any one person a good handler.  Here are some hints on successful trialing.

When showing always smile at the judge and be extremely interested in everything he/she has to say.  Many judges have handler's meetings where competitors can ask questions.  Use this opportunity to clear up any concerns you might have.  Pay attention to his instructions, and pay a lot of attention to his critiques of other dogs.  The B is a good place to start because sometimes the judge goes into novice-like detail to the handlers at this level letting you know what is correct.

At a trial you have to go with the flow.  Don't get overly upset about mistakes, it will just interrupt your other performances.  Don't dwell on perceived inequities of scoring or conditions.  What you lose one place you will probably get back in another, maybe at another trial a year later.  Every competitor knows that you have good days and bad days.

A good competitor knows the rules when he is trialing.  Rules change from year to year.  In the last few years they have changed the rules substantially, and each handler must know the rule changes.  It is important to know what costs more points, and if you have to lose points, where to lose them.  Example:  1.  If your dog misses some blinds do not be too worried, it is only a 5 point exercise in the SchH 1 and 2 and 10 points in the SchH 3. If a couple of extra commands makes him finish that is great, but don't stress your dog.  It could cost you more in the long run.   2.  If your dog goes after the dumbbell but doesn't find it give another "bring" command but do not move from your spot.  3.  If your dog is coming around the jump, maybe a second "hup" command will make the dog jump so you lose less points.

When there is an odd number of competitors in obedience, occasionally the judge will do a “round-robin”.  This is difficult for some handlers to understand.   A round-robin is when you have three competitors report for obedience instead of just two.  One competitor (1) will be doing obedience and one competitor (2) will be doing the long down and the third competitor (3) will be off the field.  When the first competitor (1) is done with the heeling portion and is ready for the down, the team (2) on the long down will the leave the field.  The team (3) that was off the field will then come on to do obedience and then go to the long down when finished. Example:

If the judge designs a round-robin correctly, every team will have a break after their long down. This means no competitor would go from a long down to obedience, which in most cases is less desirable.

A judge might ask for a dummy dog instead of a round-robin. That just means a team that won't be pointed will go out and do a mock pattern so that the dog being tested can be fairly scored.

The impartiality test is performed before the beginning of all Schutzhund titles. The judge usually likes to see all competing teams walk through a group of people one at a time on an obedience leash. Teams are usually asked to walk among a group of people casually and not in a heeling position. At this time, you must show the judge a tattoo if your dog has one. All competitors should practice showing the tattoo to the judge or other club members in training. If the dog has a tattoo on the leg, you can lay your dog down and roll him over for the judge or you can lift your dog up on his hind legs. Do what is best for your dog.

This is a picture of a good way to show the judge your dog's ear tattoo.

In the rest of this document helper, decoy, or agitator are used interchangeably.

You are allowed to disarm the helper in any way during protection.  It is important to practice disarming with your dog to find the safest and least costly way to disarm the helper.  1.  The helper can pass the stick behind his back at your command.  2.  You can ask the helper to step back and then down your dog and go to the helper and retrieve the stick and then fuss your dog to the helper for side-transport.  3.  You can fuss the dog to the side of the helper and stop and then take stick and proceed with the side-transport. This exercise is left up to the handler. Please take into consideration the helper's safety during disarming.

When running the blinds, you can do it silently or you can say “voran, hier” or you can say “voran, “dog’s name”, hier”.  It is important that you only use the commands native to the different countries and not make up words.

On the recalls you can only say “hier, come or the dog’s name” but not a combination.  Do not use words judge’s are not familiar with or you could lose points.

Typical handling mistakes in tracking:

Typical handling mistakes in obedience (the BH guide has more common mistakes):

Typical handling mistakes in protection:

In addition to the normal Obedience mistakes, there are additional mistakes that are common in the BH routine. Typical handling mistakes in the BH:



Begleithund or BH

The obedience for the BH is the same as the old SchH1 (1996) minus the dumbbell and voraus. Th BH consists of two parts. The first part is the obedience routine, if you pass the obedience portion you will be allowed to go on to the traffic portion.

The impartiality test is performed before the beginning of all Schutzhund titles. The judge usually likes to see all competing teams walk through a group of people one at a time on an obedience leash. Teams are usually asked to walk among a group of people casually and not in a heeling position. At this time, you must show the judge a tattoo if your dog has one. All competitors should practice showing the tattoo to the judge or other club members in training. If the dog has a tattoo on the leg, you can lay your dog down and roll him over for the judge or you can lift your dog up on his hind legs. Do what is best for your dog.

This is a picture of a good way to show the judge your dog's ear tattoo.

Reporting to the judge is an important and required part of the BH. Reporting to the judge means that you and the other team(s) come on the field together before your obedience routine and stop in front of the judge and state your name, dog's name and what you are about to perform. You must maintain a reasonable distance from the other team(s).

Order

Report to the judge on leash unless otherwise instructed.  "My name is..., my dogs name is..., we are starting our BH obedience". He will then tell you to either go to the basic position or to the long down.

Long Down

Go to down area and face the dog to the direction you will be waiting. Take the leash off and put it totally away either around your waist or in a pocket or around the shoulder with clip on the opposite side of dog. Put hands to the sides and look straight ahead. Say "platz", walk off on right leg and stand with back to dog. Do not look at dog. Wait for judges command to go back to the dog. Return to the dog standing at the heel side looking straight ahead say "sitz". Put leash on dog and fuss to the end of the field and wait until other dog does his voraus.

Here is the proper way to take the leash off to avoid losing points.

This is a picture of a good way to show the judge your dog's ear tattoo.

Heeling exercise

Basic routine:

  1. Online heeling
  2. Offline heeling
  3. Walking sit
  4. Walking down with recall

 

  1. Starting at basic position (where you start every exercise) on lead, 50 paces out normal, about turn, 15 paces normal, 15 paces fast, 15 paces slow, 15 paces normal, right turn 15 paces, right turn 15 paces, about turn, 15 paces and stop, 15 paces left turn, then go into the group. (You are penalized for more or less than 10 to 15 paces on changes of pace.)

     

    The Heeling Pattern

    In the group, show right turn and left turn and stop on lead. The stop should be slightly near a group person. Proceed out of the group and about turn and stop. Take lead off and put totally away before walking again into the group. Take the leash off and put it totally away either around your waist or in a pocket or around the shoulder with clip on the opposite side of dog. (Make sure you take a few steps before you stop after the about turn or your dog will probably be out of place.) Go into the group and show a right turn, left turn, and a stop. The stop should be slightly near a group person.

    If you are going to praise your dog, the time to praise is at the end of the on leash routine at the sit before you start off lead. Not enough for your dog to get out of control but enough to encourage your dog. Never lose control of your dog. You know your own dog, maybe you want to praise a lot or a little or not at all. Whatever suits your individual dog. Example of group unless directed otherwise by judge:

     

  2. Go to basic position and do the same routine off line. (Do not go into walking sit, common mistake.) After the left turn you may stop your dog and praise at the sit.

     

     

  3. Go to basic position, 10 paces walking, sit, go 30 paces and wait for judges signal.

     

     

  4. Go to basic position, 10 paces walking, down, go 30 paces and wait for judge to signal recall. Recall and then finish.

     

    Note: Basic position is now changed, you only get one shot at a straight sit, you can not restart for a straight sit. You may pet your dog at this position then wait to the count of 3 to proceed or re-position after the praise.

 

After both competitors have finished report out to the judge, your name, dog's name, and report what you have just completed, "we have just completed BH obedience". Go to the area of judges critiques, usually in front of the grandstand or group.

If you pass the obedience portion of the BH, you are allowed to go on to the traffic portion. The new rules for the traffic portion are more detailed. Although the rules are fairly specific, each judge is allowed to organize it using their own discretion and within reason. Your dog must not be aggressive to other dogs, people, cars, joggers, skaters or bikers. Your dog must not be uncomfortable in a tight group of people. You must practice different scenarios at your local club. The judge is allowed to use a busy public area in the traffic portion of the BH, at his discretion.


Schutzhund 1

Tracking:

Before you begin your actual tracking, the judge will probably instruct you to walk with your dog on six-foot leash through the group for an impartiality test, if this hasn't already been done. This test can be done before you report in or as a separate exercise at any time before you compete. (Explained in detail at the beginning of this guide.)

When you lay your track you will need two articles and a flag and you will go to the judge for direction. Schutzhund 1 tracks are approximately 300 paces. The articles need to be no more than 3 inches by 3 inches. Take a deep breath and think about what you're doing before you proceed.  Try to line up on things or remember the particulars of your track.  You and your dog are a team.  Most of the time, the judge will instruct you when to turn and when to drop an article.  Hints to laying a track:  Make sure your articles are full of your scent, use different color articles.  If the ground is dark, use lighter articles.

Articles may not by the rules be a significant change in color from the terrain.  If the judge asks you to make a turn, raise your hand to let him know you heard him and make a turn.  If it is a horrible place to turn, walk a few paces more with your hand up and turn at a better spot.  The same with an article, don't place it in a patch of stickers if the judge signals to place the article.  Just raise your hand to indicate you heard, walk a few paces more and drop the article.  When you place the article, pause just long enough to place the article on the ground so it doesn’t bounce off the track.  The rules state you should move while dropping articles.  Corners should be five paces; slightly rounded.  You should know at this point what your dog needs at corners.  These hints go for tracklayers in the SchH 2 and 3, also.  New rules show a sharper corner.

Before you begin your actual tracking, the judge will probably instruct you to walk with your dog on six-foot leash through the group for an impartiality test, if this hasn't already been done. This test can be done before you report in or as a separate exercise at any time before you compete. (Explained in detail at the beginning of this guide.)

Before tracking, report to the judge and say, "My name is ..., my dog's name is..., we are reporting for SchH 1 tracking and my dog will indicate the articles on the track."  It is important to say indicate and not down on the articles.  Just in case your dog decides to just pause or sit or stand.  There is no point deduction for alternating indication, but the article has to be indicated or picked up and brought back to handler.  Picking up of the article is a very difficult exercise and opens the team up to point loss so it is suggested that the dog indicate the article. Praising is ONLY allowed after the dog has indicated the article, you have picked it up and shown the judge. Praising is not allowed while the dog is working the track. If you feel your dog absolutely needs praise to finish a track then use your own discretion. If it means passing the track or not you might want to use praise.

Sometime during the impartiality test, the judge will ask to see your dog's tattoo.  When showing the judge your dog's ear tattoo, which you usually have to do even if they don't have a tattoo, you make sure you hold the dog properly.  The tattoos are most often in the right ear, so you put the dog on your right side (opposite side) in a 'heel' or ‘fuss’  position.  You take the muzzle in your left hand covering the eyes calmly and lay his head on your body in front of you.  You then use your right hand to present the ear tattoo.  If you expose the ear in this way you are at the least risk for problems.  Practice at home a lot.

After this impartiality test or reporting in, you will be asked to proceed to your track. Now is the time to start your tracking routine.  The rules now state you need to stop your dog 2 meters away from scent pad before the beginning of the track if you need to straighten your line or calm your dog before the start of the track.

At the end of the track go up to judge and report, "My name is ..., my dog's name is ..., we have completed SchH 1 tracking, here are my articles."

New rules state you have to follow your dog even if he's off the track.  If you are on the track and the dog is off the track stay on it unless directed by judge.  If the dog has blown a corner and you are approaching it, don't follow the dog, stay on the corner.  The judge will say follow your dog if you hold the dog back.  The only restarts (when you reel in your tracking line and grab the line by the collar and start him tracking again) are allowed at the scent pad.  So on the track always hold the leash at the end and let the dog look for a lost track.  If the dog gets tangled you may platz your dog and untangle him ONLY at the judge's discretion. When a dog leaves the scent pad or article let the line go out all the way before following the dog.

It helps when you establish a routine for your dog.  Example:  Let your dog out to relieve himself , put the long line on,  let him drink water, go out to judge for temperament test, down your dog more than 2 meters from the flag, let the line all the way out and check for knots, ask if he wants to track, release him and at the flag say "such".  You can create your own routine that works well, but always let them have water or splash it on their nose and make sure the line has no knots.  Take a moment to relax yourself and look at the track and get your bearings.

SchH 1 Obedience:

The obedience for the SchH 1 is not the same as the BH anymore.  All obedience is off lead in the SchH 1.  The leash at all times must be on the person either with the clip on the opposite side of the dog or in a pocket.

Reporting in to the Judge:

Competitors should fuss to the judge at the same time in a sportsmanlike manner.  As in tracking, state your name, dog's name and what you are reporting to do such as, “beginning Schutzhund 1 obedience”.  He will then tell you to either go to the basic position for your obedience routine or to the long down.

Long down:

Go to down area and face the dog to the direction you will be waiting. On judge’s command put hands to the sides and look straight ahead and say "platz".  Walk off with right leg first, 30 paces, or designated spot and stand with back to dog.  Do not look at dog.  Wait for judge's command to go back to the dog.  Return to the dog standing at the heel side and at the judge’s command look straight ahead say "sitz".  Then after 3 second pause fuss to the end of the field and wait until other dog does his voraus.

Heeling exercise:

Basic routine:

  1. Offline heeling
  2. Walking Sit
  3. Walking Down with Recall
  4. Flat retrieve
  5. Retrieve over jump
  6. Retrieve over wall
  7. Voraus

 

  1. Starting at basic position (where you start every exercise) off lead, 40-50 paces out normal, about turn, 10-15 paces normal, 10-15 paces fast, 10-15 paces slow, 10-15 paces normal, right turn 15 paces, right turn 15 paces, about turn, 5-10 paces and stop, 5-10 paces left turn, then go into the group.  (You are penalized for more or less than 10 to 15 paces on changes of pace so demonstrate 12 paces to be sure the judge sees enough paces.)

     

    In the group show right turn and left turn.  The stop should be near a group person.  Proceed out of the group to basic position for the walking sit.  If you are going to praise your dog, the time to praise is at the end of the heeling routine at basic position.  Do not let your dog get out of control or leave fuss position.  You know your own dog, maybe you want to praise a lot or a little or not at all.  Do whatever suits your individual dog.

    Example of the offline heeling pattern:

     

  2. Go to basic position, walk 10-15 paces, sit the dog, go 30 paces and wait for judge's signal to return to your dog.

     

     

  3. Go back to basic position (unless the judge allows you to start there if the field is big enough), walk 10-15 paces, down the dog, go 30 paces and wait for judge to signal recall. Recall and then finish.

     

    Hint: Basic position is now changed.  You only get one shot at a straight sit, you cannot re-position to obtain a straighter sit.  You may pet your dog at the basic position and then wait to the count of 3 to proceed or re-position after the praise.  After the end of a routine, you can obtain a basic position once.

     

  4. Get the SchH 1 dumbbell for the flat retrieve with your dog in fuss.  The dog can sit no farther away than a meter from the dumbbell stand when you get the dumbbell. After selecting the correct dumbbell the team goes to an appropriate area and starts the retrieve in basic position.  (make sure you are in a good place and not throwing towards the crowd or the dog on the long down or the jumps.)  The handler looks at the judge to begin. The handler throws the dumbbell approximately 30 feet.  You may use "bring" only once as the command to retrieve.  Know your rules here!  Sometimes a double "bring" command at this point, if necessary, is better than the dog not returning or not getting the dumbbell at all.  Do not move out of the basic position after throwing the dumbbell it can result in loss of all points.

     

     

  5. Use SchH 1 dumbbell for the jump.  "Hup" is the first command.  While the dog is in the air over the jumps you must say "bring" before he gets to the dumbbell.

     

     

  6. Use SchH 1 dumbbell for wall.  "Hup" is the first command.  While the dog is in the air over the jumps you must say "bring" before he gets to the dumbbell.

     

     

  7. Go to the basic position for voraus.  (Use the time it takes the other competitor to get their dog off the long down to prepare your dog for voraus.)  At the basic position, wait for the judge signal to begin.  On his command walk 10-15 paces and send the dog with a “voraus” and raise your right hand and point forward.  At the judge’s signal or when the dog has reached 30 paces out, “platz” you dog.  On the judge’s signal, go to your dog and wait 3 seconds and sit your dog.  At this time if you haven’t done the long down, you will be instructed to go to the long down position or you will report out to the judge for your critique. (Hint: do not lower your raised hand at the same time you tell your dog to platz.  Either leave your hand up until after the dog has platzed or put your hand down right away.  If you drop your hand at the same time you say platz, it can be considered a double command.)

     

After both competitors have finished, report out to the judge, your name, dog’s name, and report what you have just completed, “we have just completed Schutzhund 1 obedience”.

Upon instruction from judge prior to critique the dog is put on leash.  Go to the area of the judge's critique and put your dog on a down.  It is usually in front of the grandstand or group.  Teams being critiqued should be a reasonable distance from the other team during the critique.

SchH 1 Protection:

Basic routine:

  1. Blind Search
  2. Bark and Hold
  3. Escape
  4. Re-attack
  5. Courage Test (AKA Long Bite)

Report to the judge off leash unless otherwise instructed.  “My name is..., my dog’s name is..., we are starting our Schutzhund 1 protection.”

 

  1. At the judge’s direction proceed to the center of the blinds between the 4th and 5th blind.  At this position, wait for the judge's signal to begin.  Point to the 5th blind and say "voran".

     

    The handler is now moving along an imaginary center line.  Say "heir" when the dog is at the 5th blind.  Point to the live blind and say "voran".  The dogs now have to circle the blinds closely. Do not move from this position until judge instructs you to approach your dog.

    On judge's signal, go and get your dog.  The length of the barking is now 20 seconds.  When approaching the blind to get the dog, do it calmly.

     

  2. At the SchH 1 level you have a choice to call your dog out of the blind at the position designated by judge or the handler can fuss his dog to the position designated by the judge.  Either way the handler goes to the position indicated by the judge and then either (1) goes to the dog and fusses back to the original position, or (2) the handler chooses to call his dog out of the blind he stays at position indicated by the judge and at judge’s signal calls his dog with one ‘fuss’ command to the handlers side.  Recall dog by saying "fuss".  If the dog doesn't respond after three commands go to the dog and fuss it back to call out position. 

     

  3. Either way after the dog is at basic position at original fuss position the handler then calls the helper out of the blind.   Say "fuss" and fuss your dog to a designated spot about 5 paces from decoy or where the judge indicates   After assuming new position the handler downs his dog.  The handler no longer can instruct the helper to raise his arms and the handler no longer searches the helper.  The handler now goes just to search the blind keeping his eye on the helper.  When you are at the blind the helper will try to escape.  When he stops, tell your dog to out.

     

     

  4. The helper will attack the dog and deliver two stick hits.  When the agitator stops, out your dog.

     

    When you receive the command from the judge to approach your dog, go up beside the dog to basic position and say “sitz” then fuss to designated spot parallel to 1st blind for the courage test.

     

  5. The dog should sit calmly in basic position.  You may hold the dog’s collar.  The judge commands the helper to come out and cross the field at a walk.  The handler yells, "Stop-stand still".  The helper upon reaching the center of the field runs threateningly at dog.  The judge will tell you to send your dog.   Do not send the dog until judge directs.  You may move while the dog is running, but you must stop when the dog makes contact with helper.  The agitator attacks the dog and presses the dog after the grip.  When the agitator stops, out your dog.  (Some dogs you want to out quickly and some dogs slower depending on your training and point loss)  At the judge's signal, approach your dog at a normal pace.

     

    At the basic position, say "sitz" to your dog.  The new rules state you can take the stick anyway you would like.  One way is to tell the agitator, after you have told the dog to sit, “Carefully hand me the stick behind your back”.  After obtaining the stick fuss your dog to the right side of the agitator.  Stop and the dog should sit automatically.  Say "transport" to the agitator.  Say "fuss" to your dog.  (Do not touch agitator during escort to judge.  Never walk between the dog and agitator.)

Escort the agitator to the front of the judge, the dog should sit automatically and hand the judge the stick and state, "My name is ... and my dogs name is ..., we have completed Schutzhund 1 protection."   Proceed to the area where judge makes his remarks. Upon instruction from judge prior to critique the dog is put on leash.


Schutzhund 2

Tracking:

Tracking is the same as the SchH 1 except approximately 400 paces long and laid by a stranger.

SchH 2 Obedience:

The obedience for the SchH 2 is the same as the SchH 1, except it includes the walking stand and the SchH 2 dumbbell for the flat retrieve.

Reporting in to the Judge:

Competitors should fuss to the judge at the same time in a sportsmanlike manner.  As in tracking, state your name, dog's name and what you are reporting to do such as, “beginning Schutzhund 2 obedience”.  He will then tell you to either go to the basic position for your obedience routine or to the long down.

Long down:

Go to down area and face the dog to the direction you will be waiting.  At the judge’s command put hands to the side and look straight ahead.  Say "platz." and walk off 30 paces or marked area start with right leg and stand with back to dog.  Do not look at dog. Wait for judge’s command to go back to the dog.  Return to the dog standing at the heel side looking straight ahead and say "sitz".  Fuss to the end of the field and wait until the other dog does his voraus.

Heeling exercise:

Basic routine:

  1. Offline heeling
  2. Walking sit
  3. Walking down with recall
  4. Walking stand
  5. Flat retrieve
  6. Retrieve over jump
  7. Retrieve over the wall
  8. Voraus

 

  1. Starting at basic position (where you start every exercise) on lead, 40-50 paces out normal, about turn, 10-15 paces normal, 10-15 paces fast, 10-15 paces slow, 10-15 paces normal, right turn 15 paces, right turn 15 paces, about turn, 5-10 paces and stop, 5-10 paces left turn, then go into the group.

     

    Example of offline obedience pattern:

    In the group show right turn and left turn.  The stop should be near a group person.  Proceed out of the group to basic position for the walking sit.  If you are going to praise your dog, the time to praise is at the end of the heeling routine at basic position.  Do not let your dog get out of control or leave fuss position.  You know your own dog, maybe you want to praise a lot or a little or not at all.

     

  2. Go to basic position, walk 10-15 paces, sit the dog, go 30 paces and wait for judge's signal to return to your dog.

     

     

  3. Go back to basic position (unless the judge allows you to start there if the field is big enough), walk 10-15 paces, down the dog, go 30 paces and wait for judge to signal recall. Recall and then finish.

     

    Hint:  Basic position is now changed.  You only get one shot at a straight sit, you cannot re-position to obtain a straighter sit.  You may pet your dog at the basic position and then wait to the count of 3 to proceed or re-position after the praise.  After the end of a routine, you can obtain a basic position once.

     

  4. From that position (or if the dog is crooked you are allowed one chance to re-position), walk 10-15 paces, stand your dog, go 30 paces.  Wait for judge's signal to return to your dog.  When beside your dog wait 3 seconds, say "sitz".

     

     

  5. Get the SchH 2 dumbbell for the flat retrieve with your dog in fuss.  The dog can sit no farther away than a meter from the dumbbell stand when you get the dumbbell. After selecting the correct dumbbell the team goes to an appropriate area and starts the retrieve in basic position.  (make sure you are in a good place and not throwing towards the crowd or the dog on the long down or the jumps.)  The handler looks at the judge to begin. The handler throws the dumbbell approximately 30 feet.  You may use "bring" only once as the command to retrieve.  Know your rules here!  Sometimes a double "bring" command at this point, if necessary, is better than the dog not returning or not getting the dumbbell at all.  Do not move out of the basic position after throwing the dumbbell it can result in loss of all points.

     

     

  6. Use SchH 1 dumbbell for jump.  "Hup" is the first command.  While the dog is in the air over the jumps you must say "bring" before he gets to the dumbbell.

     

     

     

  7. Use SchH 1 dumbbell for wall.  "Hup" is the first command.  While the dog is in the air over the jumps you must say "bring" before he gets to the dumbbell.

     

     

  8. Go to the basic position for voraus.  (Use the time it takes the other competitor to get their dog off the long down to prepare your dog for voraus.)  At the basic position, wait for the judge signal to begin.  On his command walk 10-15 paces and send the dog with a “voraus” and raise your right hand and point forward.  At the judge’s signal or when the dog has reached 30 paces out, “platz” you dog.  On the judge’s signal, go to your dog and wait 3 seconds and sit your dog.  At this time if you haven’t done the long down, you will be instructed to go to the long down position or you will report out to the judge for your critique. (Hint: do not lower your raised hand at the same time you tell your dog to platz.  Either leave your hand up until after the dog has platzed or put your hand down right away.  If you drop your hand at the same time you say platz, it can be considered a double command.)

     

After both competitors have finished, report out to the judge, your name, dog’s name, and report what you have just completed, “we have just completed Schutzhund 2 obedience”.  Upon instruction from judge prior to critique the dog is put on leash.  Go to the area of judge's critique and put your dog on a down, usually in front of the grandstand or group.

SchH 2 Protection:

Basic routine:

  1. Blind Search
  2. Bark and Hold
  3. Escape
  4. Re-attack
  5. Back Transport
  6. Re-attack (no escort to judge)
  7. Courage Test

Report to the judge on leash unless otherwise instructed.  “My name is..., my dog’s name is..., we are starting our Schutzhund 2 protection.”  After the report take the leash off.

 

  1. Go to the center of the field between the 2nd and 3rd blinds and wait for the judge's signal. When instructed to begin, you will only run the last 4 blinds.  Point to the 3rd blind and say "voran".  Say "heir" when the dog is at the blind.  By this time you should know how to run blinds.  Watch others if possible to see problems other dogs are having with certain blinds.  The dogs now have to circle the blinds closely.

     

     

  2. On judge's signal go to the spot indicated by the judge for the call out.  The length of the barking is now 20 seconds.  When approaching the blind, do it calmly.

     

    Recall dog by saying "fuss".  If the dog doesn't respond after three commands, you will be excused. Ask agitator to step out of the blind.  The agitator usually has a spot that the judge has asked him to secure.

     

  3. Say "fuss" and fuss your dog to a designated spot about 5 paces from decoy or where the judge indicates.  Say, "Platz."  You no longer search the helper.  The handler goes to search the blind only.  When you are at the blind the helper will try to escape.  When he stops tell your dog to out.

     

     

  4. The helper will then attack the dog with two stick hits.  When the agitator stops, out your dog.  At the judge’s command go up to your dog and say "sitz".

     

     

  5. At basic position tell the helper to turn around and move out.  Fuss your dog behind the helper at a distance of 5 paces for attack on handler.  You will proceed about 30 paces.  The turns, if any, are at the judge’s discretion.

     

     

  6. After the attack during the back transport, out your dog and at the direction of the judge go up to your dog and say "sitz".   Free heel your dog to designated spot parallel to 1st blind for the courage test.

     

     

  7. The dog should sit calmly in basic position.  You may hold your dog’s collar.  The judge commands the helper to come out and cross the field at a run.  The handler yells, "Stop-stand still".  The helper upon reaching the center of the field runs threateningly at dog.  The judge will tell you to send your dog.   Do not send the dog until judge directs.  You may move while the dog is running, but you must stop when the dog makes contact with helper.  The agitator attacks the dog and presses the dog after the grip.  When the agitator stops, out your dog.  (Some dogs you might want to out quickly and some dogs slower depending on your training and point loss)

     

    At the judge's signal, approach your dog at a normal pace.  At the basic position, say "sitz" to your dog.  The new rules state you can take the stick anyway you would like.  One way is to tell the agitator, “Carefully hand me the stick behind your back”.  After obtaining the stick, fuss your dog to the right side of the agitator.  Stop and the dog should sit automatically.  Say "transport" to the agitator and move forward to the judge.  OR  You can also say “move out” and then “fuss” to your dog and proceed to the judge.  (Do not touch agitator during escort to the judge.)

Escort the agitator to the front of the judge, the dog should sit automatically and hand the judge the stick and state, "My name is ... and my dogs name is ..., we have completed Schutzhund 2 protection”.  Upon instruction from judge prior to critique the dog is put on leash.  Proceed to the area where the judge makes his remarks.


Schutzhund 3

Tracking:

Tracking for the SchH 3 is 600 paces and laid by a stranger with four corners and five legs.  Points for the articles and corners on the SchH 3 track are different and you should understand these changes.

SchH 3 Obedience:

The obedience for the SchH 3 includes the running stand and the SchH 3 dumbbell for the flat retrieve.

Reporting in to the Judge:

Competitors should fuss to the judge at the same time in a sportsmanlike manner.  As in tracking, state your name, dog's name and what you are reporting to do such as, “beginning Schutzhund 3 obedience”.  He will then tell you to either go to the basic position for your obedience routine or to the long down.

Long down:

Go to down area and face the dog to the direction you will be waiting.  At the judge’s command put hands to the side and look straight ahead.  Say "platz." and walk off, starting with right leg and stand/sit in blind provided.  Blind should be approx. 30 paces away from dog. Do not fidget in blind as it may distract other dog. Do not look at dog.  Wait for judges command to go back to the dog.  Return to the dog standing at the heel side looking straight ahead and say "sitz".  Fuss to the end of the field and wait until the other dog does his voraus.

Heeling exercise:

Basic routine:

  1. Offline heeling
  2. Walking sit
  3. Walking/Running down with recall
  4. Running stand with recall
  5. Flat retrieve
  6. Retrieve over jump
  7. Retrieve over the wall
  8. Voraus

 

  1. Starting at basic position (where you start every exercise) on lead, 40-50 paces out normal, about turn, 10-15 paces normal, 10-15 paces fast, 10-15 paces slow, 10-15 paces normal, right turn 15 paces, right turn 15 paces, about turn, 5-10 paces and stop, 5-10 paces left turn, then go into the group.

     

    Example of offline heeling pattern:

     

    In the group show right turn and left turn.  The stop should be near a group person.  Proceed out of the group to basic position for the walking sit.  If you are going to praise your dog, the time to praise is at the end of the heeling routine at basic position.  Do not let your dog get out of control or leave fuss position.  You know your own dog, maybe you want to praise a lot or a little or not at all.

     

  2. Go to basic position, walk 10-15 paces, sit the dog, go 30 paces and wait for judge's signal to return to your dog.

     

     

  3. Go back to basic position (unless the judge allows you to start there if the field is big enough), walk 10-15 paces, then run 10-15 paces and down the dog, go 30 paces and wait for judge to signal recall.  Recall and then finish.

     

    Hint: Basic position is now changed.  You only get one shot at a straight sit, you cannot re-position to obtain a straighter sit.  You may pet your dog at the basic position and then wait to the count of 3 to proceed or re-position after the praise.  After the end of a routine, you can obtain a basic position once.

     

  4. From this position, immediately start running and at 10-15 paces, stand your dog, keep running 30 paces.  Recall when judge signals and wait 3 seconds and then finish your dog.

     

     

  5. Get the SchH 3 dumbbell for the flat retrieve with your dog in fuss.  The dog can sit no farther away than a meter from the dumbbell stand when you get the dumbbell. After selecting the correct dumbbell the team goes to an appropriate area and starts the retrieve in basic position.  (make sure you are in a good place and not throwing towards the crowd or the dog on the long down or the jumps.)  The handler looks at the judge to begin. The handler throws the dumbbell approximately 30 feet.  You may use "bring" only once as the command to retrieve.  Know your rules here!  Sometimes a double "bring" command at this point, if necessary, is better than the dog not returning or not getting the dumbbell at all.  Do not move out of the basic position after throwing the dumbbell it can result in loss of all points.

     

     

  6. Use SchH 1 dumbbell for jump.  "Hup" is the first command.  While the dog is in the air over the jumps you must say "bring" before he gets to the dumbbell.

     

     

  7. Use SchH 1 dumbbell for wall.  "Hup" is the first command.  While the dog is in the air over the jumps you must say "bring" before he gets to the dumbbell.

     

     

  8. Go to the basic position for voraus.  (Use the time it takes the other competitor to get their dog off the long down to prepare your dog for voraus.)  At the basic position, wait for the judge signal to begin.  On his command walk 10-15 paces and send the dog with a “voraus” and raise your right hand and point forward.  At the judge’s signal or when the dog has reached 30 paces out, “platz” you dog.  On the judge’s signal, go to your dog and wait 3 seconds and sit your dog.  At this time if you haven’t done the long down, you will be instructed to go to the long down position or you will report out to the judge for your critique. (Hint: do not lower your raised hand at the same time you tell your dog to platz.  Either leave your hand up until after the dog has platzed or put your hand down right away.  If you drop your hand at the same time you say platz, it can be considered a double command.)

     

After both competitors have finished, report out to the judge, your name, dog’s name, and report what you have just completed, “we have just completed Schutzhund 3 obedience”.  Upon instruction from judge prior to critique the dog is put on leash.  Go to the area of the judge's critique and down your dog, usually in front of the grandstand or group.

SchH 3 Protection:

Basic routine:

  1. Blind Search
  2. Bark and Hold
  3. Escape
  4. Re-attack
  5. Back Transport
  6. Re-attack (and escort to the judge)
  7. Courage Test
  8. Re-attack

Report to the judge on leash unless otherwise instructed.  “My name is..., my dog’s name is..., we are starting our Schutzhund 3 protection.”  After the report take the leash off.

 

  1. Go to the center of the field parallel to the 1st blind and wait for the judge's signal. When instructed to begin, you will run all six blinds.  Point to the 1st blind and say "voran".  Say "heir" when the dog is at the blind.  By this time you should know how to run blinds.  Watch others if possible to see problems other dogs are having with certain blinds.  The dogs now have to circle the blinds closely.

     

     

  2. On judge's signal go to the spot indicated by the judge for the call out.  The length of the barking is now 20 seconds.  When approaching the blind, do it calmly.

     

    Recall dog by saying "fuss".  If the dog doesn't respond after three commands you will be excused. Ask agitator to step out of the blind.  The agitator usually has a spot that the judge has asked him to secure.

     

  3. Say "fuss" and fuss your dog to a designated spot about 5 paces from decoy or where the judge indicates.  Say, "Platz."  You no longer search the helper.  The handler goes to search the blind only.  When you are at the blind the helper will try to escape.  When he stops tell your dog to out.

     

     

  4. The helper will then attack the dog with two stick hits.  When the agitator stops, out your dog.  At the judge’s command go up to your dog and say "sitz".

     

     

  5. At basic position tell the helper to turn around and move out.  Fuss your dog behind the helper at a distance of 5 paces for attack on handler.  You will proceed about 30 paces.  The turns, if any, are at the judge’s discretion.

     

     

  6. After the attack during the back transport, out your dog and at the direction of the judge go up to your dog and say "sitz" at the basic position.  The new rules state you can take the stick anyway you would like.  One way is to tell the agitator, after you have told the dog to sit, “Carefully hand me the stick behind your back”.  After obtaining the stick fuss your dog to the right side of the agitator.  Stop and the dog should sit automatically.  Say "transport" to the agitator.  Say "fuss" to your dog.  OR  You can also say “move out” and then “fuss” to your dog and proceed to the judge.  (Do not touch agitator during escort to the judge.)

     

    Escort the agitator to the front of the judge, the dog should sit automatically and hand the judge the stick and state, "My name is ... and my dogs name is ..., we have completed first part of Schutzhund 3 protection."  On judge's signal free heel to designated spot parallel to 1st blind for the courage test.

     

  7. The dog should sit calmly in basic position.  You may hold the dog’s collar.  The judge commands the helper to come out and cross the field at a run.  The handler yells, "Stop-stand still".  The helper upon reaching the center of the field runs threateningly at dog.  The judge will tell you to send your dog.   Do not send the dog until judge directs.  You may move while the dog is running, but you must stop when the dog makes contact with helper.  The agitator attacks the dog and presses the dog after the grip.  When the agitator stops, out your dog.  (Some dogs you want to out quickly and some dogs slower depending on your training and point loss)

     

    The helper will then re-attack your dog after the helper stops out your dog.  At the judge's signal, approach your dog at a normal pace.  At the basic position, say "sitz" to your dog.  The new rules state you can take the stick anyway you would like.  One way is to tell the agitator, “Carefully hand me the stick behind your back”.  After obtaining the stick fuss your dog to the right side of the agitator.  Stop and the dog should sit automatically.  Say "transport" to the agitator and move forward to the judge.  OR  You can also say “move out” and then “fuss” to your dog and proceed to the judge.  (Do not touch agitator during escort to the judge.)

     

     

  8. Escort the agitator to the front of the judge, the dog should sit automatically and hand the judge the stick and state, "My name is ... and my dogs name is ..., we have completed Schutzhund 3 protection”.  Upon instruction from judge prior to critique the dog is put on leash.

 

Proceed to the area where the judge makes his remarks.


A complete book could be written on varying handler tips and hints to make a competing team look professional, but here are a very few simple hints:

First remember each dog is different and each judge is different.

Go two paces more for each stage:  example if rules say 10 slow go 12 slow.

Learn to leave a staying dog on right leg.  Begin heeling with left leg.

Leave a staying dog slowly and calmly.  Leave a recall quickly and go a little farther and use the whole field. Make sure there isn’t a marked difference in speed during the build up so the judge will point it.  A dog is more likely to come with attitude if you're farther away.

The slow pace during the heeling portion should be fast enough, the dog isn't thinking sit.  The fast pace used to be really fast, but now they ask for just change of speed.  Make sure transition from fast to slow is smooth.

The general rule is first off the field in obedience wins.  Be professional and quick; know what you are doing, the judge will respect that.  Be on time, judges do not like to wait.  Have your dog always on dead ring choke of fursaver.  No tags on the collar.  Collars cannot be tight or the judge may ask you to get another collar.

In the dumbbell routine, know when to give a second command if needed, it might cost you less points then if your dog doesn’t finish.  If your dog does a slow turn to the left after picking up dumbbell maybe you will want to throw it to the right over the jump so they are more likely to be facing the jump on the way back.  Practice throwing the dumbbell at training.  Practice throwing it way right and way left proofing your dog so he knows to come back over the jump no matter how poorly it was thrown. Practice with distances from the jump.  Each dog has different distances that work better than others.  Some dogs look very impressive when you are far from the jump.  Some slow dogs look better when you are as close as the rules allow.

Handlers should learn to leave a dog on the long down with the right leg, but begin heeling with the left.

There are many types of walks you can do that let your dog know what is up.  For the voraus, walk fast swing your arms to cue your dog; do not over exaggerate.  In every exercise in the obedience phases, look straight ahead and never look back.  Have knowledgeable club members watch or video you for unconscious double handling.  Examples:  Moving shoulders on finish, moving backwards on recall, dropping the head when saying sit, down, stand.  Always make sure the dog is at a sit position for three seconds before releasing or moving forward.

You want to make a three-second pause in the dumbbell exercises before every out, after the dog is at here position before asking for your dog to finish, before fussing away when returning to a down or sit, and for sits in group or outside the group.

The basic position is now changed. You only get one chance at a straight sit. You cannot re-position to obtain a straighter sit. You may pet your dog at the basic position and then wait 3 seconds to proceed or re-position only after the praise. After the end of a routine, you can obtain the basic position once. If you come back to your dog on the sit and your dog is crooked, don't start the walking down from the crooked sit. You should re-positioning your dog the one time and start with a correct basic position.

Good handling is one thing and cheating is another. Example: If you continually sniff like you have a runny nose a the corners, in the group, or when the dog looks away that is not good handling; whether you mean to or not. Waiting for the dog to look at you for your about turn is good handling.

When the handler leaves a walking sit or walking down they must turn immediately and in the same spot to face their dog after 30 paces. Some handlers pause before they turn to their dog and some handlers, after they face their dog, take a step right or left to better align themselves with their dog this is not allowed and will be pointed. Handlers must have their legs together under them as they face their dog on the recall.

Handlers should be respectful of the other competing team. If your dog gets up off the long down and starts to come to you, do not yell "down" it might disturb the other dogs performance and you have lost the points anyway. Make sure you give the other team room if you are approaching the judge at the same time. Pay attention to when it's time to trial your dog, don't keep the other team waiting.

In the traffic portion of the BH test, review the rule book. It is advisable that every time you are allowed to down your dog, when people or joggers approach, then do so. Also, on the tie-out it is preferable to down your dog.

Remember, the judge is king for a day and what he says goes.  If the judge wants things done a certain way, do it.  Not all judges are the same.

Preparation before trial:

Always try to be completely ready six weeks before a trial so you can do build up, work on attitude, or one or two problems that may crop up.

Remember each dog is different and each dog has different health issues.  Plan the last week as build up.

 

Food:  A hungry dog usually works much better.

Example of feeding the last days before a two day trial with tracking on   first day:

or

Experiment with this before you trial to know what is best for your individual dog.  Plan a regular weekend training day as an imaginary trial to prepare your dog.  Set up special tracking days and prepare your dog different ways to see what gives you your best performance.  Sometimes, as a competitor, you have to walk a long way to your track during the trial. If you can buy or print a simple diary off of your computer, you can use this to document your training and see trends, the highs and lows of your workouts, this is especially great for tracking.

Sample of a very simple diary for obedience

Simple obedience diary

Handlers should try and use their nerves to their advantage, which is easier said than don. Maybe repeating to yourself, "I am a finely tuned machine" and "I own this field", before you go on the field can help. If you are a coach, you can ask "Who owns this field?" and the competitor can respond "I do!".

If all obedience training is done randomly in a right turn square (clock-wise).  Example: sits, downs, stands.  How could they learn to lag around the 10th pace in your build up phase if you always did squares?  If your dog consistently sits when asked why would you practice constantly a 10 to 15 pace build up?  When in trouble separate and conquer.  Example:  If you have lost the here position in front of you or it is crooked, separate it from the recall and work on just the here.  Just an idea.

Most good trainers take the last days off before a trial.  The amount of time off depends on the dog.  Did you ever notice when your dog misses a few days of training how energetic they can be when they come back? Use this.  Many people, beginners and experienced handlers, train so much before a trial they create their own problems.  If your dog isn't ready and needs a lot of training before a trial you should think about not entering.  There is the rare dog (and training method) that needs control work all the way up to the last minute before a trail.

Road work is important for adult dogs.  Before a weekend trial the last day of roadwork should be Tuesday or Wednesday.  Like any athlete going a few days without exercise makes them 'bounce off walls'.

When you are allowed to go on the trial field to do practice obedience before competition most good handlers do only two things:

  1. Do a voraus with attitude (probably no down).
  2. Take the dog on leash over the jumps so they are used to it.

On the other hand if your dog is too out of control on new fields because of lack of control problems maybe do a little fussing on trial field.  If you have a problem the place to fix it was six weeks before, not trial day.

Every so often you will run into an incredibly high-drive dog.  A dog who barks through obedience and protection and tends to easily get out of control.  Maybe if you ran a mile or so before obedience you can take the edge off and do a good routine.  Maybe a five minute bark and hold before obedience can make the dog bark less in obedience.  Just some ideas.

I hope these ideas and methods at least make a dog's handler think that there are a lot of ways one can be a good handler.  Think of your own ways for your particular dog that can make you look great as a team.


More info about Ann Marie Chaffin

Ann Marie is currently a USA Judge.

You can reach Ann Marie at Amcusaj@aol.com

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