An Overview of Schutzhund Training


Although techniques of dog training have evolved rapidly since the early days of Schutzhund, the basic philosophy of the sport has not changed dramatically in many years. The flavor of von Stephanitz’s writing from the 1920s expresses our attitude even today. He reflects, “This training, then, must know how to awaken the inborn capacities, and to develop them, and must in addition tone down what is superfluous, strengthen what is weak and guide what is erring into the right path.”

The meaning of this passage is apparent. The role of the trainer is to develop the innate behavior and tendencies of the working dog. In tracking he develops the animal’s natural urges to follow scent and to eat. In obedience he exploits the dog’s need to interact with and “belong to” other social beings. In protection he intensifies and makes use of the dog’s most volatile and powerful urges, those of an aggressive predator.

A working dog must bring with it to training a number of qualities of character. In the previous chapter we discussed briefly how the handler can select the right dog for the work. However, at all times the dog and handler are a team. Good results are the product of both their personalities. What a pity that a fine young working dog is not also in a position to select whom it will work with, to test its handler for character!


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