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Leerburg Dog Training Blog

The best source for dog training news, tricks and treats, right from world class leaders in dog training.

The best source for dog training news, tricks and treats, right from world class leaders in dog training.

American Schutzhund, Something old, something new, something American!

I had the pleasure and privilege of judging an American Schutzhund Trial at Empire State Schutzhund Club outside Rochester NY this past weekend.

The trial had 25 entries, pretty evenly split between B/T’s and AS 1’s So, what exactly does that mean? The B/T is a behavior and temperament evaluation and the AS1 is the first level of titles offered (AS1,2,3). The obedience and man work would be recognized by anyone that has been in the sport for a while. In the AS1 the bitework goes back to the long proven standard of an attack on a handler. Although still seen in the Seiger Show it is immensely watered down and really ends up being a diagonal escape bite in that format. In AS1 as well as in Schutzhund 1 of old, it was a true attack on the dog, it was directly and strongly into the dog and included a drive with two stick hits. This is followed by a courage test (yep, courage test not a long bite). The other dramatic difference is that the track is replaced by a article search (90ft x 90ft x 2 articles) although at the start of this program the handler can opt to do a traditional track… least for another 18 months. The greatest complaint that people have is the difficulty in finding dedicated tracking grounds and the distances often traveled to get there. This alleviates that issue. In fact, to modernize this sport in the AS1,2 there will be scent detection for pseudo narcotics instead of tracking.
Soo, why this sport? First, it has a strong test in the AS1 to determine the quality of the dog. It also provides a rating of the courage, hardness, and fighting instincrt as assessed by the the judge on the old fashioned points scale. Technically a 1 through 10 scale the coveted 10 points is only given to the dog that shows, power, dominance, and strength, as well as fighting instinct in all phases. It is technically possible for a dog with a V score to only achieve 7-8 points!! It is also possible for a dog receiving 80 points to receive 10 points in courage hardness and fighting instinct. This given a deeper insight into the dog based on judges assessments of the character of that dog, outside the mere score.
The B/T also provides a greater depth of view into the dog’s temperament. First, overtly dog aggressive dogs are dismissed from the entire program. If the dog is controlled or neutral they can proceed. There is a 45 point obedience section that also has gunfire (pass fail evaluation on the gunfire) in it. With 32 points it is a pass and can be done partially on lead.
The next portion of the B/T is testing environmental soundness on slippery floors, stairs, wobbly and slick footing, and possibly a hunt test for a toy. These are rated, insufficient, acceptable, excellent. This is recorded in the scorebook and gives more insight into the character of the dog.
Some more highlights are….drive trumps perfection! Errors made from an exuberance of drive in the dogs’ character will be less frowned upon than a dog whose mistakes occur due to a lack of drive and character.

This second AS trial and first to offer AS1 wasn’t without wrinkles. There will be growing pains but, the direction of the organization is that of integrity, ethics, and the qualities of the working dog. It is a wholly American endeavor that in not beholding to any other country, or organization. This unfetters it from the usual baggage and international politics bogging down and watering down many other programs.

Give American SchH a try….you might find a home!!


  1. Avatar
    John Hendershot
    October 30, 2019


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