Free Catalog Weekly Giveaway Ask Cindy Subscribe
Leerburg Dog Training Q&A Archive Q&A on Schutzhund

Q&A on Schutzhund

Q&A on Schutzhund

ASK CINDY YOUR DOG TRAINING QUESTION
Have a question you can't find the answer to?
Check out our Leerburg Questions and Answers
with nearly 3000 previously answered questions.

Schutzhund Training

I try and answer every question I receive on dog training. I may often come across as a little on the blunt side, (some may call it brash). That is because I consider myself an advocate for dogs and not dog handlers. I am an advocate for common sense dog training and not the latest fad that appears on the horizon. Good dog training is not rocket science. It's common sense.


  1. Can you tell us how to pick a good Schutzhund club? We have several to choose from.

  2. We are interested in Schutzhund. Can you tell us where to go in our area?

  3. I have heard about Schutzhund. Can you tell me more about it?

  4. We have heard stories about drug use by Schutzhund competitors. What is your opinion on this subject?

  5. I have a male GSD with impeccable working bloodlines. How much do you charge to take the dog, when appropriate, through the three levels of Schutzhund training?

  6. Can you tell me about the Czech Republic’s dog sport called ZVV? I see this title on dogs imported from the Czech Republic.

  7. How can I tell if he can do Schutzhund work?

  8. What training should I concentrate on for the first year of my dog’s life to get him ready for Schutzhund?

  9. I just attended a SchH trial where a competitor would not show his dogs unless his own helper did the bite work. Is this cheating?

  10. I rarely see breeds other than german shepherds in Schutzhund. Do you think my standard poodle could get involved in the sport? It has an excellent nose and does very good obedience.

  11. I have a puppy who seems to be a soft pup, can it do Schutzhund work?

  12. My 8 month old Malinois used to have a full grip with no problems with the stick. Now when I get it out her grip goes to heck. What can I do?

  13. I would like to know how to handle a dog that tries to bite his handler when it becomes frustrated in bite work during sport training.

  14. You seem to discourage people with breeds other than GSD’s from the sport Schutzhund?

  15. I just inherited a 17 month old female. I have taken her to 4 SchH training sessions and she is doing great. The german instructor thinks she can go for her SchH 1 in September. She is having problems on the blind search. Can you tell me what to do to help this?

  16. I am going to start to train for Companion B - should we start with food or a toy?

  17. I am concerned about some of the people that I train with having Sch 3 dogs that cannot take a normal stick hit. What is the sport coming to?

  18. The Schutzhund club I train in does not allow me to train my dog while she is in season. I think that dogs should learn to work all the time even around a bitch in season. Do you agree?

  19. I have a problem with my one year old German Shepherd whom I currently training for Schutzhund. Since the day I got him I have been preparing him for Schutzhund. Especially the protection phase. Originally I taught him basic obedience with very few treats. Now I have an OUT problem.

  20. My dog is aggressive to dog he meets. He does well in the drive work that you show in your video Building Drive Focus and Grip with Bernhard Flinks. Can he do Schutzhund work is he is afraid of other dogs?

  21. Should I wear sun glasses when I train?

  22. I have been training my female in Schutzhund. She is almost ready for a SchH 1. She recently bit a man who asked to pet her. What did I do wrong?

  23. Why is it important for the dog to carry the sleeve?

  24. I want to train my 8 month old Rott in Schutzhund. Can I do this with your DVD's? If so, what ones do you recommend?

  25. I just got a GSD pup and would like to train him in Schutzhund. Where do you think I should start?

  26. Is it possible to have a dog that competes Schutzhund, but is also a great companion at the same time? Most of the Schutzhund dogs I have seen spend a lot of time in kennels.

  27. I have recently purchased a nine month old GS who has already been started on schutzhund work. She’s a terror at the training field but, once home only seems to stay focused for a few minutes. Any suggestions?

  28. We have a four month old German Shepherd puppy but ever since we got her we've had a problem with her eating her stool. Do you have an idea why she is doing this and how we can make her stop?

  29. I have a wonderful import that has his SCH1 title.  He received this at almost 3.  When I bought him I neutered him (right around 3).  I found no reason to keep him intact.  I am curious if his age (3 1/2)  and the fact he is neutered will be a hindrance in getting his next title?

  30. Can you tell me why a GSD puppy with SCH bloodlines would not be fit to compete in Mondio-ring and if what this lady says is true?

  31. I have an 18 month old German Shepherd male who I would like to do Schutzhund with, but he won't bite a sleeve and has a tail chasing problem. Is there a way I can get him to bite the sleeve to get his attention off of the tail?

  32. I have a 4 year old dog that I have trained in agility and she won’t listen to me on course. I also have a younger dog that I am doing Schutzhund with and I’d like to do agility with her also. Our trainer feels that if we are doing Schutzhund with her, we shouldn't do any other kind of training because she will get confused. What do you think?

  33. I want to get my 14 month old shepherd involved in Schutzhund but I haven’t done much obedience because I didn’t want to ruin his drives.  What video or book do you recommend to teach him obedience?

  34. I’m doing Schutzhund training with my dogs and I wonder how often can I train my dogs without burning them out?

  35. I’m new to dog training and thought I would buy a trained dog to compete in Schutzhund and obedience and learn while competing. What would you suggest?


QUESTION:

Can you tell us how to pick a good Schutzhund club? We have several to choose from.

ANSWER:

Not a lot of people are lucky enough to have more than one club to choose from. If you live in an area where you can choose it makes it a lot nicer. Selecting a schutzhund club is something that should involve some serious consideration. It’s like picking a girlfriend or boyfriend.

Clubs are like people, they have personalities. The best thing to do is visit a club for 3 or 4 training sessions. Go and watch a trial to see how the club dogs perform. You do not need to bother people by asking a lot of questions. Just go and observe. A lot of times a quiet mouse in the corner learns a lot more.

Most schutzhund clubs are not commercial businesses. Keep in mind that people who are in a club are there because they enjoy training their dog. They are not there because they want to educate new people. So if a new person is constantly interrupting and demanding time, they can quickly become a pain in the butt and not welcome.

If the personality of the club fits, then look at the quality of the helpers. This can be difficult for people who are new to the sport. I don't have a good solution to this problem, other than get some training tapes and start to learn at home. Maybe look at The First Steps of Bite Training or the tape titled Training the New Helper. These are going to give you some ideas of good and bad helpers.

Watching the people handle their own dogs is also going to tell you a lot about the experience level of the trainers. I prefer to watch a person work a dog rather than listen to someone. Talk is cheap and everyone who has been in this sport for a year is an expert.


QUESTION:

Dear Ed,

I have been using your website for years as a resource. As well as your videos. I have a situation that has me stumped.

My husband decided to get a GSD that is now seven months. He got the pup from the same kennel that I have mine. Even the same parents. Both are males, and the difference between night and day.

He decided he wanted to do Schutzhund with this pup. I have to admit that I am not a fan of the trainer he is using. I have no tolerance for a trainer that boasts about being able to beat the sh*t out of a dog. Frankly, I have seen her train, and it is not pretty.

Anyway, no compulsion has been used with this pup at this point. I noticed early on that this dog had little to no prey drive. So naturally that was the first thing they worked on. At this time they have had some, but very little success in increasing his drive. But they are still working on it. He is also a very lazy dog.

My issue is that I have never seen a dog that literally wants no human contact. This is not an exaggeration. He lives with an older Doberman. He has not bonded with my husband even the slightest bit. He has been with me for a week and I have been able to work him a little, and have had some success in getting him to make eye contact, but it was a chore.

Unfortunately the pup does not live with me. He spends a lot of time in a crate, due to my husbands job. But, he literally acknowledges no human persistence. If you want to give him any physical contact you literally have to grab him and hold him. I have kept him isolated from my dogs, naturally he is very doggy. I have put him in an area alone with me to see if he would come to me. I would completely ignore him. Even using his name, or a toy, I could not even get him to twitch an ear. When you try to pet him, which is not very often because he does not like it, he just blatantly ignores you. I know not seeing the dog it is hard to asses this, but another opinion would be greatly appreciated. I know that at this age he is still a very immature dog, but he in my opinion is not a Schutzhund dog. He does not respond at all to praise, honestly he responds to nothing, other than another dog. Given the amount of time he spends in a crate, he is not around other dogs that often. He will not even acknowledge another human unless they have food, even then it is a struggle to hold his attention. Naturally my concern is that compulsion will be used in order to get this dog to pay attention, even though my husband has assured me he will not allow that to happen. I am trying to convince my husband that not every dog can make it as a Schutzhund dog. Or am I jumping the gun? The dog is from the kennel where he is doing the Schutzhund training. My feeling on his trainer is that this person operates on ego overload. I realized this when she wanted to work my pup, and at six months she tried to whack the sh*t out of him with the buckle of his lead right across his face, to get his attention, needless to say, I laid into her. Anyway, I realize that this is a decision that my husband needs to make, but he feels that my opinion is based on the dislike for his trainer. I am probably fighting a losing battle, and should stay out of it, but I am tired of morons ruining dogs. With some work I believe that he could be an okay pet dog, which is where I believe he belongs. Maybe I am wrong on this account. Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated here. I know that he visits your website often, and we both have a lot of respect for you.

Thank You,
Ellen

RESPONSE:

Let me start by saying that you should stay away from this trainer. Anyone who hits a 6 month old pup with a buckle on a leash needs to be treated in a similar fashion. It makes me mad to even thing about it. This person NEEDS training - she should not be offering training.

Keeping this dog with another dog is a big problem. It takes months to build a bond with a dog like this. It cannot be done in a week or two. If you have my tape on Building Drive Focus and Grip I recommend this work for the dog. What needs to be determined is if the dog really has no prey drive or if it is drive has not been brought out. This tape will help determine this.

A dog with NO PREY DRIVE cannot or should not be trained in sport work. The methods that would need to be used are not humane. Let it go to be a pet with someone who does not have other dogs.

Bottom line is your husband should not have bought this dog and if he wants to get into the sport he needs to go some place else and get a dog with drive.

People who want to be in the Schutzhund sport need dogs with good nerves and drive. I compare this to buying a tractor to drive in a NASCAR race.

-Ed

To top


QUESTION:

I have a GSD (actually a pup) in the Northern VA, Washington DC area, and I am interested in training him for Schutzhund I & II. Are there any clubs in my area, or do you recommend any local trainers to use along with your videos? The pup is now 13 weeks old and I would like to get started soon. Also, I am interested in watching a competition, any info will help. We enjoy your web page, it has helped us greatly and we will continue to tune in. Thank you.

Craig and Tammy ....and Sgt. Klaus Lee (the pup)

ANSWER:

I am sorry but I cannot recommend individual trainers anywhere in the country. What I always tell people is that they should contact Schutzhund USA. I have listed their address and phone number below.

Schutzhund has grown dramatically since I went to my first seminar in 1974. There are clubs within every major metropolitan area of the country. In this case I know there are good schutzhund clubs in the Washington DC area. The main office of USA can tell you where they are and who to contact. They will also inform you of local schutzhund trials in your area.

The address of Schutzhund USA is:

Schutzhund USA
3810 Paule Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63125-1718

The USA web site is: http://www.germanshepherddog.com/

To top


QUESTION:

We have heard stories about drug use by Schutzhund competitors. What is your opinion on this subject?

ANSWER:

I am very opinionated on this subject (not that I am not opinionated on all subjects). I believe there is far too much drug use by schutzhund competitors. Especially at a national level. I need to preface this by saying that the majority of National Competitors do not use drugs. But in my opinion there are far too many that do.

If 15% to 20% of the competitors (including some judges) are out there smoking dope in the hotels (or in the parking lots) at a competition then this is 15% to 20% too many. I don't think this number is over stating the problem.

I have personally turned my back on the issue more than once in the past, when I walked to my car at a national event. The people I saw know exactly who they are. I can tell you this, I will never turn my back on this again. Next time I will place a call to the local law enforcement and ask that a Police K9 be sent to the scene. I will write a report for the responding officers and let the chips fall where they may with the individuals involved.

In my opinion, Schutzhund USA, the DVG and WDA need to take a stand on drug use. These organizations need to stand up and make a statement that they are drug free organizations. They need to treat their national competitors just like any other major sport and run drug tests. This is long overdue. This is not expensive. We sell parents marijuana test kits at our jail for $5.00, (marijuana will test positive for 29 days after use). If we are to expect the sport to grow through the influx of young people, how can we stand by and allow this kind of activity to take place?

Maybe it’s time for the major schutzhund organizations to take a closer look at who some of the members really are. I like what the KNPV does in Holland. If a person is a convicted criminal he cannot become a member of the KNPV.

To me it seems pretty much a "NO BRAINER" that the board of directors would not pass a rule that the top 10 finishers at the national event would automatically be drug tested and random tests done for 2 or 3 others who finished out of the top 10. How expensive would that be and what a great message to send. Maybe the club members around the country who read this should suggest it to their regional directors. I wonder how a regional director could say "NO" to a request like that. They would have to have a pretty good reason. Wonder what it could be.

If the organizations will not take this upon themselves, maybe the companies that sponsor these events should suggest it.

Chat Line Response:

I have to ask myself as a Helper of many trials at all levels of work, are you not putting me, the judge, spectators or other competitors at risk if you walk onto the trial field or the training field under the influence??? I think your daily work with a protection dog has the potential to put others at risk.

Another E-mail on Drug Use in Schutzhund:

Ed,

I strongly agree with you on this issue. This became an issue on a protection discussion board of which I am a member. I am sick and tired of the people who claim that they don't use drugs but are against testing due to "principle" or "invasion of privacy." To these people I ask, "Do you have the right to know if your doctor who is about to perform surgery on you is a drug addict? Or is your neighbor who is babysitting your kids a child molester? Or is the police officer or airline pilot on drugs while at work?" When at work I find that the people who object most to my probable cause searches of their persons or vehicles are the ones that I inevitably find drugs or contraband on. In fact, the stronger the objection, the harder I search. I don't mind giving up a little personal freedom if it is for the good of the community and makes it a safer place to live.

Jeff

To top


QUESTION:

I have a male GSD with impeccable working bloodlines. How much do you charge to take the dog, when appropriate, through the three levels of Schutzhund training?

ANSWER:

I do not train dogs for people, nor do I recommend people send their dog to someone to get a Schutzhund title. In every circumstance this is a bad idea.

There are two ways to train a dog sport dog. You can train motivationally or with force. People who hire out to train other peoples dogs in schutzhund want to get the training done as quickly as possible, this can only be accomplished with FORCE TRAINING. To train motivationally takes months or even years.

In 25 years of being around schutzhund I have only seen a couple of people that I would trust to train other peoples dogs. These people train with motivational methods.

Dogs that are exposed to the kind of stress force trainers use never recover.

If you must pay someone to train your dog - go with the dog. Watch the training. Never send the dog alone unless its with a trusted friend. If this is the direction you decide to go I strongly suggest that you learn as much about the training as possible before you go. Buy some training videos - study them and then you will know something about good and bad training.

I suggest that if you want to end up with a trained dog you make an effort to train the dog yourself. There are a lot of crooks in this business – there are more unqualified trainers than there are qualified trainers. Put your pet with the wrong person and they will screw your dogs temperament.

Here are some tapes to consider:

If you would like to learn something about the principles of obedience training a dog, read the description for my Basic Dog Obedience video. You will probably find that you have not had the full picture on the steps of training a dog must go through before it can be considered fully trained. You can also read why I am not a fan of taking an untrained dog to obedience classes.

Building Drive Focus and Grip with Bernhard Flinks - one of the best training videos I have ever done. This is the foundation of the work. It can begin at 8 weeks and in reality never stops.

The First Steps of Bite Training explains the importance of bite development and the steps a dog as young as 6 months of age must go through before it can be ready for more serious defensive training. I would suggest that you read the description of this video on my web site. If you are not 100% sure of the drives that I refer to, I would direct you to the articles I have written on this subject on my web site.

The First Steps of Defense is the video that shows how to move a dog from bite development into the more serious work. All dogs that are going into more specialized training (Police Service Work, Schutzhund Work or Personal Protection Work) need to go through this phase of training before moving on.

Good luck – your dog is going to need it.

To top


QUESTION:

Can you tell me about the Czech Republic’s dog sport called ZVV? I see this title on dogs imported from the Czech Republic.

ANSWER:

The ZVV is fading out. The ZVV, (SVV) is Czech and Slovakian National trials. It is not an FCI recognized title. The young people involved in dog sports who aim to WUSV competitions therefore must do IPO/SchH. To them there is no point to train for ZVV, it gets them nowhere and they can't compete internationally with the title.

I think it is still done more in the Czech Republic than in Slovakia. I know all z Pohranicni straze dogs are ZVV. They have approximately 80 breeding females and still exclusively breed for military/police. They have approximately 90 litters per year and probably 95% of these litters goes to some kind of military/police use. They have at least 3 (Prag, Melnik, Dolmice)breeding stations in Czech. When Slovakia and Czech were one country they also had several breeding stations in Slovakia. After the split, the breeding stations in Slovakia became Policia kennels.

If you have an interest in the Czech bloodlines, the person to talk to in the States is Hanna-Leena Joseph (hljoseph@us.hsanet.net ). She has studied these bloodlines for a long time and knows more about them than anyone I know.

To top


QUESTION:

I bought the dog from a good breeder, (same as my last GSD), but from predominately a show line of German ancestry. Most of the dogs have Sch 3 pedigrees, so I do not think he will be useless but, is it worth even trying as he is not from a proven working kennel? And is there any way of assessing him? His prey drive is good, he is ballsy and mouthy and I am playing with him with appropriate toys, and socializing him.

ANSWER:

There is a good possibility that this pup will do sport schutzhund work if you do your preliminary bite development properly. You can learn about how to do this from 2 of my videos:

With a the dog coming from all show lines it will never be a top schutzhund competitor, (show lines lack the true fight drive that is necessary for top work), but it should be able to go out and get titled. Of course a lot of this depends on the skill of the handler and the skill of the helper. But at least with the information from these tapes you will get your dog off on the right foot and be able to make a determination yourself on the abilities of your dog.

To top


QUESTION:

I have really enjoyed your videos on puppies 8 weeks to 8 months and also Basic Dog Obedience. My puppy Shepherd is going great and really learning a lot. I read your articles on bite training. My puppy is very playful with my family and the neighbors kids. But he is very aggressive when it comes to tug of war and ball etc. He will go after a ball like a wild animal and go through anything to get it. The question is what should I concentrate on his first year. I have a Schutzhund training field about 2 miles from my home and would really like to get involved in it. I don't want to over do it with him. Where should I draw the line as far as training goes for the first year?

Thanks,
Scott

ANSWER:

You should concentrate on socializing this pup and working on building his prey drive (which sounds like he has a lot of).

This first year is probably the most important part of your training process. What's lost when people drop the ball during the first year can not be put back into the dog.

I would direct you to two tapes:

These videos will show you the foundation that needs to be worked on. A lot of this you can be do yourself. If the club has an experienced puppy helper then he can do it, but the important thing is the tapes will train you to know what is appropriate and not appropriate for your dog. Don't blindly assume that just because people come from a schutzhund club they are experts.

To top


QUESTION:

Hi Ed, I attended a sanctioned USA local club trial Memorial day weekend and found it very disturbing. One of the entrants said he would not compete if he could not bring his own helper and the USA judge allowed it. The helper only worked his dogs, no other trial entries. It was very obvious to all that this was cheating, but no one spoke up. I am a fairly new member and I was not sure of this practice. One of his clients dogs that he was trialing also attacked another dog on the long down. Another dog he entered was cowering during the obedience exercise, (a little too much force in training?) I'm very disgusted with USA at this point because I hear this is not the first time this has happened. I forgot to mention he did not want the other helper to work his dog because he chased his dog off the field at the regionals. This guy lives in Arizona. Can you suggest some other group I could join or are they all like this?

Paige

ANSWER:

If you ask me this is unethical! I would write a letter about this to the President of USA and file a formal complaint with the head judge. I would also put this information on some of the chat lines on the internet, but you need to mention the club and name the guy.

Not all USA clubs are like this or would allow this to happen. You are correct, in my opinion it is cheating and should not be tolerated.

You can also look into DVG - there are links on my link page on where to start.

To top


QUESTION:

Hello!

You have quite a website.

My question is about Schutzhund. I so rarely see breeds other than GSD's and Dobermans in this activity that it caused me to wonder; would it be possible for a breed not necessarily known for having a strong protective instinct to succeed in such a sport?

For example, a Standard Poodle has an excellent nose, is highly intelligent and also very trainable. The breed isn't quite as heavy as some but is of fairly good size and is undeniably athletic. Would a Standard Poodle have what it takes to make it in Schutzhund? I don't know what that last defining quality in a protection dog would be. It can't be viciousness, I've known Shepherds who are absolute babies and besides, a vicious dog trained to attack would be like a loaded gun. Is it protectiveness? Who says Poodles aren't protective? Heck, our neighbors have a toy and if she was big enough, she would gladly tear the throat out of anybody dumb enough to enter her house without consent of her owners. I guess what I'm really trying to ask is, why isn't there a larger variety of breeds represented in this sport? It looks like fun, you'd think it would attract a wider range of fanciers. Do you have a guess?

Thanks for your time, warmest wishes.
Kimberly H.

ANSWER:

My advice is to save your energy and look to a different dog sport.

Your breed of dog is not genetically capable of doing protection work. Many dogs can do respectable obedience and tracking - few dogs can be trained in handler protection. This work, when done properly, is not a learned exercise. It comes from the heart and soul of the animal, and poodles do not have the heart to fight a human.

The worst dog bite I have been unlucky enough to get was from my mother's toy poodle. This was because I came too close to my mother when she was sleeping. But this is not a dog sport - in Schutzhund the dog is tested under totally different circumstances. They must attack a threatening stranger who is a long way away from the handler. There is NO issue of protecting the handler at this distance. The agitator is also not someone who acts nervous but rather someone who is very self confident and someone who attacks the dog. In those circumstances - EVERY POODLE on earth will run from the competition field!

To top


QUESTION:

Mr. Frawley,

I have a raised and sold a litter of nine working German Shepherd puppies. I feel eight of the puppies had good temperaments. They were what I would call pretty HARD. They are not sensitive to correction and come back at you when you correct them or play rough with them.

One pup is very sensitive. She has the most INTENSE prey drive and also is VERY food driven. However, she is very sensitive and will respond to a sharp "NO" or a quick shake on the scruff (this is an intense correction for her).

She is not shaken at all by the gun test and like I said she loves to fetch and tug.

Given that she is so sensitive to correction, will she be able to compete in Schutzhund? Have you had experience with this type of temperament? I have not bred a puppy like this before, all my pups are normally "thicker skinned" and I want to know if she is "weak nerve" or simply "soft."

Carol

ANSWER:

You are making the mistake of confusing a "soft temperament" with "weak nerve."

These are two totally different and unrelated issues. Many people make this mistake so don't feel bad.

It is 100% possible for a dog to have a soft temperament and still be environmentally sound and a good working dog. The softer dog is actually easier to train, as long as the handler is a good handler who has a feel for working with dogs. These dogs usually do require more praise.

I had a friend who had a soft temperament police dog that worked it's entire life in major cities, this dog had over 400 street bites by the end of his career.

To top


QUESTION:

Hello Mr. Frawley,

I have an 8-month-old Malinois and I have followed your advice on the two tapes I bought (bite work for puppies and first steps of bite work) and I have my Malinois biting very calmly and he will bite with a full mouth and just be so calm on the bite. I used to use the stick in the beginning but he was very nervous around it so I was informed by our decoy to stop using it, so I stopped for 3 months. Now I thought it was time to bring it out again since he was biting so calmly and full, but as soon as I brought it out and I was just holding it while I was letting him bite, his grip is all chewy again and he's all screwed up... even when I tried not using the stick he has lost his nice full calm grip. Can you give me some advice please?? Should I try to bring his bite back again with out the stick or should I get him used to the stick because in Schutzhund there will be stick work?? Thanks for all your help all the time!

Sincerely,
John

ANSWER:

There are three possible reasons for this:

  1. Nerves and weak drive
  2. You screwed up and used the stick wrong, which caused the dog to do this
  3. It may also be a stage of maturity

The nerve issue is hard to work with. Some young puppies (8 weeks) will release the grip when touched by your hand or even stroked or petted with a stick. While others will hold their grip and be unaffected. This is the difference between nerves and drive. There are a bunch of nervy Malinois out there (also a bunch of GSD’s).

On the other part, you only need to make one or two mistakes and hit the dog too hard (as a young dog) and you create big, big problems that take months to fix. Get 5 to 10 sticks. Toss them on the ground in the area that you do your tug work. Have the dog play tug over the stick. When the grip is good, after several training sessions, then just up a stick and hold it. When that goes ok – then just pick touch the pup with the stick (lightly) if it counters then let it win and have the tug.

There is no reason to hit a soft puppy with a stick, there is a need to stroke him, pet him and get him comfortable with the stick. If you screw up and hit him too hard, you run the risk of learning how long a dogs memory is.

The final thing is that young dogs go through hormonal changes as they mature. As a young female comes into her first heat cycle she goes through a great deal of emotional change that she does not understand. It’s like a young girl. She becomes much more emotional and loving, she does not have an elevated fight drive (which handlers may think they want). So the solution to this is to have patience and let the dog grow up. I classify it under “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”

To top


QUESTION:

Mr. Frawley, I have a question about bite work and the times when a dog may show aggression towards it's owner/handler. I am currently training a Dutch Shepherd in Schutzhund. I have been training for only a year. I have very little experience. I have two very good people teaching me all phases of the sport. One day while I was watching one of these guys do an exercise where they had their dog on a leash while the helper teased the dog. The dog wanted the helper bad, but this was an exercise to pump the dog up, then put him away and later bring him back out to give him a bite. He then should bite hard and full. Well, what happened was that when the handler took his dog away, the dog wanted to bite so bad, that he turned and tried to bite the handler. This surprised me and I wondered if my dog would ever do this, how should I handle it. This particular person who is very experienced just said it happens, you have to deal with it. If you discipline him he may actually bite you. Has this ever happened to you, I'm sure you have at least seen this? My question is how do you handle that situation. I want to teach my dog that he should never under any circumstances try to bite me. Also, what do I do if he does bite me?

Derrick

ANSWER:

This is a good question.

My first thought would be that this is not an exercise that this dog needs. But if the decision is made to frustrate the dog and not give him a bite, then it is the helpers responsibility to keep the dogs attention on the helper and not the handler all the way to the car. The fact is that if the dog has the drive to go after his handler because he is frustrated. He probably needs some other exercises.

The same methods would be true for police service dogs.

To top


QUESTION:

Mr. Frawley:

I've noticed you've advised many people with breeds uncommon to the Sport of Schutzhund to "find a different sport." I am not a "little dog person," I like dogs that have purpose - plain and simple. But I've also opened my eyes up to see that the canine species is very diverse. It is rare, but I've seen breeds like the Maltese succeeding in Herding, Bulldogs driving flocks of ducks at the shows - and the same is happening to the sport of Schutzhund. I've seen Standard Poodles do well in Schutzhund events and the mighty little Corgi even keeping his own to get his Sch Titles. My point is, please know the breed before discouraging owners from trying their luck in Schutzhund training. Some of these unlikely candidates can really do well in the sport - So Keep an Open Mind!

It’s not like they give the German Shepherds, Rottweilers, and Mals anything to worry about....though I'd laugh if it came the day when Poodles were called the Kings of Schutzhund :D

Best Wishes,
Dana
Rottweiler_Fancier -
Owned and Loved by a Mighty GSD

ANSWER:

I have no problem with people taking any breed of dog into the sport. I do not think I have discouraged anyone with other breeds to participate in Schutzhund.

The point I think you have missed is that I think there are people who play at the sport and that's fine, but there are also people who play at the sport and don't realize that they are playing at the sport. I take offense with these people - not with their breed of dogs.

There are NO poodles with true fight drive. Not one on earth. There is not one Corgi that has fight drive - not one on earth! There are poodles with prey drive that can be trained to play at the sport. There is nothing wrong with this. In fact it can be fun for dog and handler, but if these people try's and pass their dogs off as serious sport dogs or police dogs - well then I have a serious problem with this.

To top


QUESTION:

I have watched numerous tapes from you. The latest is training personal protection dogs. I was given a 17-month-old German Shepherd bitch whose parent are both SchH 3. The sire is on the Ohio search and rescue team. This female lived in a kennel most of her life until now. I want to try her in SchH. I joined an SchH club, and the trainer thinks I should go for SchH 1 in September. She has been to four classes and she's gone from no interest in the helper or the sleeve to intense interest in both. Except for the blind's.

When I command revere she look's in the first blind, empty, the second blind with the helper, when she sees the helper she sits down and act's afraid of the blind. She will bark and bite if he comes out of the blind, but not while he's in it. I work with her prey drive intensely at home. What should I do here? Should she be on or off leash? What if she doesn't search on her own? She gets stressed very easy. I don't want to break her down. I read your article on teaching the BH, HELP!!

Please, Thank you,
Melissa

ANSWER:

I have never seen a dog that should be running the blinds after only 4 bite work sessions. I suggest you spend some time learning this work. This is flat wrong, I don't care if your trainer is from Germany. If he was any good he would not be teaching the blind search after 4 training sessions and he would know how to handle this problem. I guess this just demonstrates the fact that not all Germans are good trainer.

If you want to learn this work you need to learn and teach the basics. There are no short cuts. Here are some tapes to consider:

The First Steps of Bite Training explains the importance of bite development and the steps a dog as young as 6 months of age must go through before it can be ready for more serious defensive training. I would suggest that you read the description of this video on my web site. If you are not 100% sure of the drives that I refer to, I would direct you to the articles I have written on this subject on my web site.

The First Steps of Defense is the video that shows how to move a dog from bite development into the more serious work. All dogs that are going into more specialized training (Police Service Work, Schutzhund Work or Personal Protection Work) need to go through this phase of training before moving on.

To top


QUESTION:

Hi Ed, when you’re training for the Companion "B" what is really the best way to start with food or toy? I have a female going on nine months sable with a lot of drive. I am having trouble with my self determining the balance of correction, play and praise???

Thank you John
My pup thanks you also (Ginger)

ANSWER:

This is an open question – you train with what the dog likes the most. The best is always a prey item. A prey item can be carried into protection work and obedience work – food is only good for obedience work.

To top


QUESTION:

Hello Ed

I have spoken to you before, and the reason why I am writing you about this issue is that you keep it real. I am a helper and a good safe helper. This past weekend I was getting some dogs ready for a trial and I gave them nice hard, but FAIR stick hits and the dog came off the sleeve. The stick hits were not that hard and any damn way, this soft ass SchH 3 dog was supposed to endure a solid hit. At any rate, the first thing the lady said was that the dog was hit too hard and that I was not at nationals. I was like damn, how am I supposed to test the dog’s HARDNESS? If his punk ass can't take a hit, I mean what is wrong here Ed? This is becoming a serious problem in our sport. My dog personally speaking can take whatever the decoy brings to him, but I am seeing a lot of soft dogs in the sport. I mean, if I do not test the dog, then what am I doing? It is like if you don't do it a certain way then the first thing the public says is that you are not a good helper, which I think is bullshit. What are your thoughts, and please as usual, be up front.

RBW

ANSWER:

This is nothing new – it has been there forever and will continue to be – don’t let it bother you. This lady will not be around forever – people like this fade away.

To top


QUESTION:

Hi Ed,

I have a fantastic bitch that is doing really well, and is exactly where I want her at this stage. However, when she goes into heat she is banned from all club events and training (except trials) for three weeks. I have always thought that just because your male smells a bitch that it is no excuse for them to go stupid. When she is in heat I shorten her training sessions, but other than that I do nothing different. I guess my question to you is...Am I off base on this?

Rich

ANSWER:

Your logic may seem right but unfortunately you are missing the point.

It is true that dogs should learn to work around distractions, but the order of training is to go through a learning phase, a correction phase and a distraction phase. What you expect club members to do is work their dogs in the distraction phase based on when your bitch comes into season and not when the dog being trained needs to be exposed to distraction. It would be unfair to expose a dog who is in the learning phase to this kind of a distraction.

I would not allow you to bring your bitch around my dog unless it was ready for this level of distraction.

To top


Question:

Mr. Frawley,
I have a problem with my one year old German Shepherd whom I am currently training for Schutzhund. Since the day I got him, I have been preparing him for Schutzhund. Especially the protection phase. Originally I taught him basic obedience with very few treats. I only used treats to perk up interest because Saber (my GSD) has a high desire to please and didn't need treats at all to learn quickly and remember his lesson.

I made a terrible mistake with him though. A trainer friend suggested I clicker train him to further build his confidence. Not knowing much about the clicker, I agreed for him to train my dog with CT, and much of the training was in his basic obedience, what he already knew. While it did increase his reliability somewhat it has, as you can imagine, made a dog who once had moderate interest for treats food crazy during obedience. Its to the point where he pays attention only to the food and cares little for the obedience. It seems as if obedience has now become a means to an end. Anything for that food!

I'm sorry to say but clicker training has ruined my dog! Now I'm working on "fixing" this, but my biggest problem that I need advice on is the "Out" command. Saber was having trouble learning the "Out" so I used the clicker to teach him ONCE! Now, he will not bite a sleeve, he barks and looks at me for the treat.

I have no idea what to do! I no longer have a responsive dog, I used CT correctly, with an experienced trainer. Do you have any advice on how to straighten out this problem, especially regarding the "Out" and getting Saber to have a good grip and focus on a sleeve again? Thank you very much for your time.

Darren

Answer:

Darren

Its not my job to tell you nice things to make you happy – you have made serious mistakes here and you don’t have a clue what you are doing.

Your comments on food verify this. Teaching a dog basic obedience with VERY FEW TREATS is stupid. It indicated a total lack of understanding of dog training. I can not train you through email but I can tell you that you have been getting information from people who need more experience training dogs.

Clicker training does not ruin a dog. Bad training ruins dogs. In my opinion clicker training is a waste of time or at best a tool for poor dog trainers that do not or cannot effectively praise their dog. But it does not wreck a dog.

Also training this dog to OUT at this point is drop dead wrong. Its bad dog training on top of bad dog training.

If you are interested I can offer a list of training videos that will get you on the right track with this dog. Let me know if this is something you are interested in.

To top


QUESTION:

First, I'd like to commend you on your informative web site and your excellent videos. I bought your "Drive Training with Bernhard Flinks" video and have been using his methods on my 5 month old GSD with excellent results.

I would like to begin schutzhund training with this dog, but I have a concern about his temperament. Cosmo has great prey drive, is calm and friendly around new people, and is confident in new situations. However, he is fearful of other dogs. When first meeting a new dog he will frequently bark and the fur on his back will go up. He will also try to get between my legs. After a minute or two he will calm down and stop barking, and if I call the dog over to me will sniff it and let it sniff him.

To try to get him used to strange dogs, I've been taking him to a wooded area with trails that is frequented by other dog owners. Both I and the other dog's owner will walk together for a while, with our dogs off leash. Although my dog will calm down fairly quickly he basically stays glued to me and will not interact with the other dog. If we then meet any other dogs, the entire process repeats itself.

I guess I have two questions:

(1) Does this dog have the temperament for schutzhund?

(2) Other than continuing to expose him to other dogs in an environment that will help build his confidence, what, if anything, should I be doing to "socialize" him in this area?

Any insight you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

ANSWER:

Animal aggression is not an issue when considering a sport dog. In other words – it has nothing to do with if a dog can be a Schutzhund dog.

Animal aggression is a behavioral issue. You are approaching it WRONG. You need to have a prong collar on the dog and correct the dog when he starts barking. Turn and walk away from the other dog. But do not allow this to happen.

Why should a dog have to get along with strange dogs? There is no reason. I do not allow my doing to meet strange dogs. This is some kind of crazy thing that people think they must do with their dogs.

What your dog must do is mind in the presents of other dogs and this is obedience training. That is your responsibility – to obedience train the dog.

If your dog has good prey drive and good nerves then he can do sport work.

I just released the motivational retrieve video with Bernhard. I am going to edit a tape titled PREPARING YOUR DOG FOR PROTECTION TRAINING. You will want to get this tape.

To Top


QUESTION:

Members of my club were talking about wearing sunglasses During Training. I never wear them because I want the dog to look in my eyes when it looks at me, and not see a reflection of itself in my glasses. Some said that it did not matter. One person said that it depends on the dog. He said if a dog is insecure it was better to wear glasses so that the dog would not be intimidated. I would like to know what you think.

DENNIS

ANSWER:

You are right and they are wrong. No one should wear sun glasses when dog training. Foolish to do so.

To Top


QUESTION:

Hey Ed,

First I want to say you have a great site and I value your opinion very much. I have a concern with my 5 yr. old female GSD. She is schutzhund trained although not yet titled. I will admit that I am still a novice trainer/handler even after a couple of years doing this work. My GSD recently bit someone for the first time. This dog has german working lines, father was 2 times BSP participant, and etc. She has had both defense training and of course prey. Some times I have felt she may be a little to defensive other times I have felt like she was locked in prey. I emailed you sometime back about her character and you suggested I only work her in prey drive. That is what I have been doing - really I haven't worked her much lately though. Anyways, I was at a place where you can take your pets inside. A rather large man asked if he could pet my dog. Normally this is not a problem. He approached her slowly and stuck his hand out towards her. He was looking her in the face the whole time. She sniffed his hand and her ears even went back. He then rubbed her snout and brought his hand back in front of her nose to smell again. At that point she snapped his hand, took a small chunk out of it, and began a defensive bark(I was holding her back at this point). I immediately corrected her HARD with the prong collar and told her NO. She stopped. So, What happened here? I feel as a trainer/handler you will always have some responsibility in what your dog does. What have I done wrong? Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Mark

ANSWER:

You should never allow people to pet your dog. I DON'T EVER DO THIS. NOT EVER. You found out why. But with that said I don't even allow my girlfriend to pet my dog and she
lives with me. I also don't touch her dogs - even when in the house.

Plus the way to pet a dog is not to stick your hand out, it's done by letting the dog approach and smell. Then when petting dogs, the people should stroke the dogs back (not head) in the direction of the fur.

To Top


QUESTION:

Mr Frawley,

Why is it important for the dog to carry the sleeve?

If he realizes that by dropping it he can re-initiate his tug-of-war with the helper, isn't that a good thing?

Thanks for the help.

Mark

ANSWER:

We need to teach our dogs to relax and calm down after a stressful session of defense work. The way this is done is to have taught the skill of carrying the sleeve. The carry is taught in prey drive where there is no stress to speak of. But when the dog is old enough to learn stress in training, he will have the skill in his bag of tricks.

In sport work we also want the dog to learn to come back to the handler when the sleeve is slipped. This gives the dog a target to come to and it stops a dog from running all over the training field and tiring himself out.

To Top


QUESTION:

Hi, My name is Chuck. I have a 8 month old Rott. I was looking into having her and me trained for the sport of Schutzhund. I have taken her to a trainer. He says she would do good and should handle the training. I just don't feel he's a good trainer.

With that said, I have two questions.

First, can I train her using the DVDs?

Now to the a Problem I am having. I have two Toy poodles and I can not keep Treasure from going for them. She's not being mean just wants to play, but she's to big for them. I am ordering your beginners DVD tonight when I get home. I found out I have her partly trained. Been a long time. I use to be a K-9 officer, 10 yrs ago. Anything I can try till I get the DVD?

Thanks for any help you can give.

Chuck

ANSWER:

Hi Chuck.

Good points and I give you credit for doing the research. There are more people out there that don’t know how to train in the sport than there are that do know how.

The answer to your question on the DVDs is this:

The handler needs to do ALL of the bite development himself - in prey drive - at home in his back yard. This means from the beginning to the time it is about 12 to 13 months old. If you do your work yourself then the dog will be prepared to meet a helper. Too many people let helpers do the training on their dogs - A BIG MISTAKE!!!

So, if your dog has prey drive and good nerves - my DVD's will most definitely get you to the point of introducing your dog to the helper. When you reach that point you will need help - either this guy you talk about - if he will listen (and a lot won't) or you need to train someone. By that time I will have more DVDs to show what to do.

There are 2 training videos I recommend people get to start the protection training process.

Training Drive, Focus and Grip

Preparing Your Dog for the Helper

I produced both tapes based on the training of Bernhard Flinks. He is a German police K9 handler and top Schutzhund competitor.

The beauty of this training program is the handler does all of the foundation work in protection training himself. With young dogs this can start at 8 weeks and go to about 12 to 13 months of age. Older dogs receive the exact same training as young dogs they just proceed through the program quicker. These videos teach handlers how to do prey drive work with their own dog through drive exercises. Dogs learn the foundation of the exercises that they will need to know when they meet the helper for the first time. I compare this to a father teaching a child karate. He is not really fighting with his children, he is teaching them the moves to use in a fight.

I recommend starting with "Training DRIVE, FOCUS and GRIP" It is one of my best training videos. It's the first is a series of tapes done with Bernard. It is the foundation of Bernard's training program It teaches handlers how to build a relationship of trust and understanding with the dog. Bernard is the only instructor I have ever seen that places so much emphasis on building a bond between the handler and dog.

The Drive and Focus video teaches you how to build drive in your dog. Every dog inherits a genetic level of drive, this varies from dog to dog. The training in this tape shows how to bring your dog up to its own genetic level of drive. The tape then teaches the dog to show self control while in drive. If you think of it when a dog shows self control when he is in drive this is in effect working under extreme distraction and that's the foundation of obedience training.

Every dog MUST learn to control it's drive if it is to become a competitive Schutzhund dog or a Police Service dog or a Personal Protection dog or a Competition Obedience dog. The later videos in this series will train the dog that heeling, sit, down and come are drive commands and not compulsion commands.

Through this training we show how to work at building a calm solid grip from day one. A solid grip shows a clear mind. We teach the dog to be comfortable in maintaining the calm grip in the presence of the handler. If a dog can't have a solid grip in the presence of his handler he has a problem with the handler. We show how to address this issue. We also teach the dog in the first steps of the OUT command.

It takes 3 to 5 weeks to work through the training in this video. When the dog has finished this work he is ready to move into the training in the second video, "Preparing Your Dog for the Helper."

There will be a continuing series of about 10 tapes with Bernhard - they will walk you through the process. These videos have all been filmed it's just a matter of getting them edited. The next release will take up where these videos leave off.

The announcement of new videos being released is always done on the table of contents of my web site at http://leerburg.com/table.htm.

The cat issue is also a simple issue. Get a DOGTRA 1700NC - this is what I use every day. I am training two 6 month old pups right now - high prey drive pups. I use the collar on LOW LEVEL NICK and the issue is done RIGHT NOW!!

The key is to set the dog up properly for the collar Take 1 week or 2 and put the collar on and take it off 4 to 6 times a day - rotate collars - prong, flat, electric - So the act of putting the collar on means nothing. We do not want the collar going on to be the TRIGGER to mind. Just sticking a collar on for two weeks is old school training.

Check my equipment page and you can read about the Dogtra. I like it better than Innotek and Tri-Tronics and I sell them all.

Good luck

To Top


QUESTION ON SCHUTZHUND TRAINING:

Mr. Frawley,

Hi my name is Jack and I have been looking through your site and it is full of excellent information but I'm not sure what I'm looking for. I just brought a German Shepherd pup, he is now 10 weeks old. He was 8 1/2 weeks old when I purchased him and brought him home. He comes from a very good working line.

I want to train him in Schutzhund, like his parents. I have looked through your site and read some of your articles on training but I don't know where to start.

In your opinion what books or videos should I get? What age should I start trying to train him? What should I start with first? Sorry for all the questions but I'm really interested in trying to train him in schutzhund. I would really like to see if he will train as well as his parents have.

Thank You for your time and I look forward to your response. Have a wonderful day.

Jack

ANSWER:

I recommend that you go to my web site and read the article I wrote on my philosophy of dog training. I think you will get some good ideas there.

Your training should start today. You have more to learn than your dog.

I would recommend that you get the DVD I recently finished titled HOW TO RAISE A WORKING PUPPY It is 75 minutes long. If you go to the link you will be able to read the description of the chapters in the DVD. I have bred over 340 litters of working puppies in the past 30 years and Cindy (my partner) has been breeding and competing in dog sports at a national level for 20 years.

There are 2 training videos I recommend people get to start the protection training process.

Training Drive Focus and Grip

Preparing Your Dog for the Helper

I produced both tapes based on the training of Bernhard Flinks. He is a German police K9 handler and top Schutzhund competitor..

The beauty of this training program is the handler does all of the foundation work in protection training himself. With young dogs this can start at 8 weeks and go to about 12 to 13 months of age. Older dogs receive the exact same training as young dogs they just proceed through the program a quicker. These videos teach handlers how to do prey drive work with their own dog through drive exercises. Dogs learn the foundation of the exercises that they will need to know when they meet the helper for the first time. I compare this to a father teaching a child karate. He is not really fighting with his children, he is teaching them the moves to use in a fight.

I recommend starting with "Training DRIVE - FOCUS and GRIP" It is one of my best training videos. It's the first is a series of tapes done with Bernard.
It is the foundation of Bernard's training program. It teaches handlers how to build a relationship of trust and understanding with the dog. Bernard is the only instructor I have ever seen that places so much emphasis on building a bond between the handler and dog.

The Drive and Focus video teaches you how to build drive in your dog. Every dog inherits a genetic level of drive, this varies from dog to dog. The training in this tape shows how to bring your dog up to its own genetic level of drive. The tape then teaches the dog to show self control while in drive. If you think of it when a dog shows self control when he is in drive this is in effect working under extreme distraction and that's the foundation of obedience training.

Every dog MUST learn to control it's drive if it is to become a competitive Schutzhund dog or a Police Service dog or a Personal Protection dog or a Competition Obedience dog. The later videos in this series will train the dog that heeling, sit, down and come are drive commands and not compulsion commands.

Through this training we show how to work at building a calm solid grip from day one. A solid grip shows a clear mind. We teach the dog to be comfortable in maintaining the calm grip in the presence of the handler. If a dog cant have a solid grip in the presence of his handler he has a problem with the handler. We show how to address this issue. We also teach the dog in the first steps of the OUT command.

It takes 3 to 5 weeks to work through the training in this video. When the dog has finished this work he is ready to move into the training in the second video. (Preparing Your Dog for the Helper)

There will be a continuing series of about 10 tapes with Bernhard - they will walk you through the process. These videos have all been filmed its just a matter of getting them edited. The next release will take up where these tapes leaves you.

The announcement of new videos being released is always done on the table of contents of my web site.

When I sell a puppy we give out puppy customers my DVD Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months. Many of the concepts in this DVD get people off to the right start. This information is different that the Raising a working puppy.

I also recommend my 4 hour DVD Basic Dog Obedience

With these DVDs you will have enough information to get you through the first year of your dog's life – maybe a few months longer.

To Top


Question:

Hi,

I have another question on one of the puppies we kept in our family from the litter we had.  I had told you, I had my female bred with Pedro (Merlin Von Conneforde) who was 3rd in the world in ’06. I took my puppies to see his owner and he tested them and said one of them is the most amazing 4 mo. old puppy he has ever seen. Her drive and focus were relentless, even when he shot his gun, she would not let go of the toy. She is truly obsessed.  Wallace (Pedro’s owner) wants our Aeva really bad, but my daughter (19) is already in love with her and won’t give her up.

Sorry for the wordy background.  My question to you is, is it possible to have a GSD as a pet and still be able to train her in schutzhund? The reason I ask is, my daughter, who is in college, is willing to go to Wallace’s club (South Metro Atlanta Club) and train her, but all of the dogs I have seen so far that do that, are kept in kennels all the time except when training.  My daughter is not going to do that. This dog is her new constant companion, but she is willing to train her and get help in that. She is doing quite well so far using the shock collar, because of Aeva’s strong will.

I would really appreciate your opinion, Thank you for time,
Debbie

Answer:

I have competed in Schutzhund in years gone by, with good success.  All my working dogs live in the house with me and do fine.  I think as long as you don’t inhibit the dogs drive by correcting her for things that will interfere with Schutzhund training you can have a pet and Schutzhund dog all in the same package.

I actually competed back in the 90’s with this female Doberman that I trained from a puppy, this dog slept next to my bed from the age of 6 months old.
http://kaiserhaus.com/elka.htm
 


Question:

Mr. Frawley,

I’m trying deciding which of your videos to buy first.

I have recently purchased a nine month old GS who has already been started on schutzhund work. She’s a terror at the training field but, once home only seems to stay focused for a few minutes.

If I take three of “my toys” to the park, she is only willing to chase after the one she wants, as opposed to the one I throw.

And finally, I am afraid to take her off the rope or leash as she is easily distracted, and will run off regardless of my having food or toys.

I’m sure any number of your videos would assist me but, for know I can afford only one, which would you recommend first?

Sincerely,
C. M.

Answer:

Here are some comments:

  1. When you have puppy – which is what you have – you let the dog tell you what it wants to play with. It’s a handler mistake to think she should play with what you want – at least at this age. You should be focused on teaching the dog to go into drive and then focus. The DVD to do this is BUILDING DRIVE AND FOCUS.
  2. I would not ever take a dog off leash when is displays the behavior you explain. If you don’t have off leash control then the dog stays on leash
  3. When you train you should only try and train for 1 ½ to 3 minutes at a time. That’s all that can be expected at this age without burning the dog out – nothing wrong with doing that 4 or 5 times a day though.
  4. If your intent is to do schutzhund in is a mistake to play chase the ball (or toy games) This accomplishes nothing for the sport training. It teaches the dog to run away from you. There are many other games that can be plaid that build relationships. Work on your MARKER TRAINING

I would recommend BASIC DOG OBEDIENCE and REMOTE COLLAR TRAINING for the Pet Owner and PREPARING YOUR DOG FOR THE HELPER.

Start with drive and focus though.
good luck

Ed Frawley


Question:

We have a four month old German Shepherd puppy (who is wonderful!) but ever since we got her we've had a problem with her eating her stool. We feed her Canidae (about 4 cups a day,) so we know she is getting good nutrition, but if there is even one stool that is not picked up she will find it and eat it. We've tried taking her out on the leash but she always manages to sneak some anyway. We've given her a little pineapple because we heard it makes the stool taste unpleasant, but all that did was give her loose stool. Do you have an idea why she is doing this and how we can make her stop?

Answer:

I will agree with your club members, I would not play fetch with this dog at all anymore. Your dog has drive but he's trying to dictate the kinds of games you play and if you want to use the toy as a reward for training he needs to learn to play with YOU.

What I would recommend is to take his favorite toy and put it on a string, tie it to a buggy whip (you can purchase these at a feed or farm store) and drag it around but never throwing it. He can chase the toy this way, and yet you still maintain control of the object because you have it on a line. You may need to use a rather long line at first and gradually move up to play tug with him. Many fetch obsessed dogs are reluctant to grab the ball when a person is holding it, because like you say "they don't know if they CAN do that."

I would not give up too quickly, and keep trying. If he doesn't want to play I would say "hey, that's OK." And then I would put him in a crate or kennel for a while. If he doesn't want to play then that's fine but he gets no other games.

I think if you stick to it and don't give in, he will decide to try it your way and if he is obsessed as you say he is then he will figure out how to get a game going. The rules are just different now, but it can still fulfill his drive.

Once your dog figures this out then you can use a variety of toys, but for now I would use his favorite.

Cindy

Another Question:

Cindy,

Thank you so much for your advice. I have seen major improvement on my dog already with the ball on a string! One question though, will he ever get to play fetch again? I like playing that with him because it gives him really good exercise, especially if I am not able to be active with him. I'll throw it really far, and he gets to do a lot of running. I jog with him, but I love taking him to the beach and throwing a stick out in the water, and letting him swim and fetch, and throwing his ball out in the big field. Does the training I am starting forbid me from being able to do those things with him? This dog doesn't have a crate set up anymore, as he doesn't need it. He is a house dog, and family companion/protector. He can be left alone in the yard or in the house if I am gone. Are these things contradictory to the drive building training? I just want to know what I am getting myself into.
Thanks again for your help

~ Kellie

Answer:

What I might do with a dog like yours is to NOT play fetch games at all right now, until he's really REALLY doing super great with the ball on a string. You are trying to create new habits right now, so I would hold off on the fetching.

Then I would make a special effort to make fetch something so completely different from the drive work. I do this with my Malinois (because it's nearly impossible to tire them out LOL) and use the chuck-it for fetch. That's the only time I play fetch with them at all and ONLY with the chuck it. It's a pretty good visual cue that they are not going to see in drive work, so it's easy for them to keep it separate. Here's the link to the chuck it (in case you don't know what they are).

If your dog is doing well with the drive work (to your satisfaction) then if he can be loose in the home and yard that's fine. Some dogs find it less meaningful if they have too much freedom but if he's still happy to engage with you in games then I say do what works for you.

I hope this is helpful. Have fun with your dog.

Cindy


Question:

Hi -

I have a wonderful import that has his SCH1 title.  He received this at almost 3.  When I bought him I neutered him (right around 3).  I found no reason to keep him intact.  I am curious if his age (3 1/2)  and the fact he is neutered will be a hindrance in getting his next title?

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Thanks-
Kathryn

Answer:

I wouldn’t see why either his age or being neutered at age 3 will be a hindrance, as long as he has the temperament and drive to do the work.  We don’t recommend neutering early for working dogs but your dog should be physically and mentally mature.  We typically recommend waiting until 24 months for neutering so age 3 is well beyond that.

Cindy


Question:

Hello Ed or Cindy,

I have a question about MONDIORING vs. SCH.

I wanted to learn more about Mondio-ring so I contacted someone from a Mondioring Club to ask about training. She asked me about the sire and dam for the pup I was thinking about purchasing and I told her SCH III (Sire) and SchH BH, PPD (Dam). The DAM is Isis Vom Leerburg. She told me that pups from this type of bloodline are not working dogs, they are show dogs, or dogs that are bred to look pretty and are not agile enough to be successful in participating in the sport. She also asked about the guarantee and I told her it’s on hereditary defects and hips. She told me to ask for a temperament guarantee. Now, I know I’m a novice but I think I read somewhere that you would never give one on temperament for a variety of reasons, one of them being inexperienced owners. I thought SCH was a working sport. Can you tell me why a GSD puppy with SCH bloodlines would not be fit to compete in Mondio-ring and if what she says is true?

Thanks,
Jennifer

Answer:

I can’t tell you about the bloodlines of this particular pup as you don’t mention the stud dog. Leerburg dogs are NOT show lines, they are all European working lines. There are many dogs from our kennel capable of doing Mondio. If the pup you are considering is a mix of show line and working lines, I’d recommend you continue your search. The combo of working and show rarely produces good working dogs.

There are however many “Schutzhund” dogs that are from show lines and their working ability is far from adequate. Just because a dog has a title behind his name does not mean he is a working dog. If you want to REALLY be successful in ring sport you should probably consider working bloodline GSD or Malinois. A friend of mine just won the Mondio 1 (first level) national championships this last Saturday with a GSD. 

Personally I think you get the kind of dog you find suits you best and then find the sport that your dog shows the most aptitude for and go from there. It may be SchH or ring sport or agility.  All dogs have their talents so if you want a dog to excel in ring sport look for a breeder that has dogs actively training and competing in that sport. The same goes for any other sport. I wouldn’t select a Basset hound for agility or police work, and I wouldn’t select German Shepherd for lure coursing. 

I would direct you to the search function in the upper left corner of the website for any additional questions you may have. If you type in your key words it will guide you to articles, Q & A’s and posts on our forum. 

The working vs. show line debate has been discussed many times on our forums.

Cindy


Question:

HI,

My name is Andy and I have an 18 month old German Shepherd male with 1/4 DDR. He is not a German import but he does have the bloodline due to his mother and father being imports. When I first purchased him I took him home and only started on obedience work. But after learning more about the breed and acquiring a few more shepherds I have decided to train him for Schutzhund. He has all his obedience work needed for Schutzhund but I have not trialed him yet for his bh. He also does great on the agility course. But when I try and get him to do bite work he will not bite the sleeve. Also when I try to get him to track he will only focus on me not the ground. The reason I want him to get trained for Schutzhund is because he has a problem. He chases his tail all the time. I have tried using an electric collar, putting a head collar on him and even giving him a ball or two for him to switch his attention from the tail to a toy. The only time he does not chase his tail is when I am working with him on obedience work or on the agility course. It seems he has no prey drive at all but I know he has got to because of his pedigree and the way he constantly chases his tail all day long.Is there a way I can get him to bite the sleeve to get his attention off of the tail???

Answer:

A pedigree or specific bloodline is not a guarantee of anything.  It’s simply a family tree and how a dog is raised and brought up can either bring a dog to his potential or it can leave him falling short.

The tail chasing is an obsessive compulsive disorder, and may actually prevent your dog from functioning as a normal dog, let alone participating in sports.

I would direct you to the search function in the upper left corner of the website for any additional questions you may have. If you type in your key words it will guide you to articles, Q & A’s and posts on our forum.  Tail chasing has been discussed a lot.

We have an extensive section on Schutzhund too.

I think I’d be more concerned about resolving the tail chasing at this point, and would get to the root of this before progressing on with more training.

Cindy


Question:

Hi Cindy,

We have a 4 year old German Shepard. We took obedience classes with her when she was young and did agility with her as she grew up. We have a bit of an attention problem in that when she get excited about an activity she feels she no longer need my guidance. I am trying to be polite but actually she is not. She blows me off. I tell her she is being rude and that is not acceptable. If we are doing agility lets say we will start off okay, but she get excited and runs her own course. She runs  every piece of equipment and does not come back to me until she is finished her play time. I have been told to take her off the course as she can not use the equipment if she does not listen. I am them to take her back to doing a piece of equipment and getting a reward then another and then getting a reward. Brake it down so that she learns that in listening is fun. We have been working on it but making very slow progress. Tunnels are the hardest. Any piece of equipment near a tunnel in her opinion can not be taken on its own. In practice I can get her attention and bring her back to me or on to another piece of equipment, but when we put it together for a full course she loses it. Didn’t know if this is something you might have a suggestion about.

We also have a 20 month old Shepard and we thought that we might like to try agility with her. We have started Schutzhund training with her and our trainer feels that if we are doing Schutzhund then that is all we should do. He feels that it is confusing to the dog. He feel that we should only concentrate on one type of training.  We love to learn new things and would like to do both or even other training with our dogs. How do you feel about this.

Cathy

Answer:

If you are clear on your training, there is no reason that a dog can’t participate in multiple sports. Unfortunately, most people leave too much “grey area” in the dog’s foundation so it makes it confusing to the dog.

From your description of your 4 year old dog, I would guess that your dog doesn’t have a clear idea of what the rules are and you haven’t properly taught her to be engaged with you. Telling her “she’s rude” doesn’t mean anything to her. I would stop doing agility with this dog right now. Otherwise all you are doing is letting her practice the same bad behavior over and over.

I have a few recommendations for you.  Start from scratch and teach a communication system that you can use no matter what sport you choose to do.  Dogs need to learn to engage with you to get what they want, and if they don’t engage with you then they don’t play.  It’s very simple but a lot of folks have trouble sticking to it.  Give up the idea of actually doing agility right now and go back to teaching her that to get what she wants (agility) she needs to follow your direction.

I’d read this article on marker training.

I would then recommend

The Power of Training Dogs with Markers
The Power of Training Dogs with Food
The Power of Playing Tug with Your Dog

Don’t get ahead of yourself and let her run off leash on a course, because then if she makes the wrong choice you will have reinforced her for blowing you off again.

Retraining dogs like this can be a very long and tedious process, and if you aren’t consistent you may never fix it but just don’t get in a hurry and spend the time now working on the foundation of engagement.  It’s really the only way.  You have to make playing WITH you more fun than running around like a wild woman.

I’d also do all of the same work with your young dog, because the foundation for Schutzhund, agility, obedience, ring sport and search/rescue is all the same.

You can go to our streaming video page to watch Michael Ellis’s lectures and some training clips.

I hope this helps. Cindy


Question:

I have a 14 month old shepherd and I want to get him involved in schutzhund training. I had him evaluated by a state police k-9 trainer and he told me my dog had great potential. I have been very light on obedience training to this point. He knows basic commands but at times I have been unable to enforce them----not wanting to ruin his drives. I called your office and asked them to recommend a training video or book on obedience training. They told me to ask you. He cannot begin schutzhund without being obedience trained. What do you suggest?

Thanks,
Rich

Answer:

If you do it right you can start obedience training at 8 weeks old, and that’s what we do.  Most “old school” trainers use correction based training to teach obedience, and we do not advocate that.  Corrections have a place after the dog is trained, but not in the teaching phase.  By using marker training you can not only teach the dog what is right, but teach him when he’s wrong without using physical correction or punishment.  This training also carries over into bite work.

Read this article on Marker Training.

I’d recommend

The Power of Training Dogs with Markers
The Power of Training Dogs with Food
The Power of Playing Tug with Your Dog

I have trained my young dog with these methods since 8 weeks old, I’d specifically guide you to the Michael Ellis videos for a preview of what is contained in the DVDs.

You can try using the search function on the website to find the answer to any additional questions.  It is located in the left hand corner of every page on our website. Simply type in your search terms or key words and you will be directed to articles, question & answers, free streaming videos and posts on our forum.

I hope this helps.  Cindy


Question:

Hello Ed,

My name is Louis and I have a question for you.  I’ve bought training DVDs from your company and let me tell you a lot of information that I’ve got from said DVDs have helped me. I’m located in El Paso, Texas which is the black hole of dog sports. Anyway my question to you on training is; How many times should and/or can a dog be trained without burning them out?  I have German shepherds and I’m training in the sport of schutzhund. 

Thanks,
Louis

Answer:

There really isn’t any cut and dried answer for your question. It depends on the dog, his drive level, your skill as a handler and the methods you are using. 

I work my dogs almost every day in obedience, sometimes more than once and I do bite work. as often as I can. My dogs thrive on this but I have friends with lower drive dogs that do better with training a couple times a week so they don’t lose interest. Part of being a dog trainer is figuring out what works well for the particular dog that you are working at the time.

If you are using lots of food, play and fun in your training the dog is going to enjoy it more and be less likely to burn out than if you are using correction based systems.  

Cindy


Question:

I am talented but new to dog training, would like to get into Schutzhund and any Obedience competition I can find. I am wondering if buying a Schutzhund  trained K9 is the way to start? I figure I could learn while competing and just improve as my skills improve. I am single, early retired so lots of time, and no other dogs, cats, etc in the house. 

Given this choice, what would you suggest and why?   

Answer:

I think there are so many variables that there is not really a right or wrong choice.  It will depend on your situation, your skill and understanding of dog training, the temperament and level of training of the dog and the help and coaching you have available.  My dog is very well trained but if I sent him to you, I doubt he would work for you (or anyone else) unless they were really savvy to the techniques used to train him and the philosophy behind it.

If you had a really good coach, that could help you and a really well trained and balanced dog without any big holes in the temperament or training it could be a great experience. It could also end up being a nightmare.  I get emails frequently from people who buy titled and trained dogs and they can’t do anything with them.  Buyer beware! Most people don’t sell really good titled schutzhund dogs, they unload their problems on someone else.  It’s unfortunate but true.  There are a lot of rip off artists involved in dogs and they love to sell to people who don’t have any experience. 

Simply going out and buying a trained, titled dog without a lot of knowledge and someone as a mentor could end up with you being disappointed and out a lot of money.  There is a lot of really bad training going on out there and a title doesn’t necessarily mean the dog is well trained. Again, Buyer beware.

I think you learn more by training your own dog from scratch.  You’ll learn the how’s and why’s of how to break down exercises and will likely end up as a better trainer with a better relationship with the dog as well.

Personally, I like to raise puppies and teach them everything from 8 weeks of age.  I know that’s not for everyone but that way if there is a mistake made along the way, it’s my mistake and I’m aware of it. It’s also a great feeling of accomplishment to take a little pup and develop it into a working dog, it’s really fun.   Many people like to buy an older puppy or young adult and start there, before the dog has any serious training but is past the baby stage.

Just my opinion and experience. Good luck no matter what you decide.

Cindy Rhodes



The Never-ending Warehouse Sale Closed