So what's IGP/Schutzhund all about?
IGP (formerly known as IPO/Schutzhund) is a challenging three part sport (tracking, obedience and protection) which was originally designed as a breed test for the German Shepherd, and has grown in to a popular sport, as well as continuing to function as a breed test for many reputable German Shepherd breeders. The origins of Schutzhund is based in Germany. Many countries throughout the globe hold national competitions to select the top five from each nation to represent their country in world competition (WUSV) annually in October.
Schutzhund was developed as a primary method of producing top level German Shepherd Dogs. The founder of our German Shepherd Dog breed, Max von Stephanitz, believed that these tests were necessary to continue to produce dogs of the highest level of working ability and to weed out those that couldn’t handle it from the gene pool.
Schutzhund was designed for the German Shepherd, there's no doubt that the most common breed that excels in this breed test/sport is the working line German Shepherd Dog. Other working breeds such as the Malinois also excel as well as have their own world championship (FMBB)! Canada also has an all breed IGP Nationals Championship through the Canadian Working Dog Federation to select the top five dogs to represent Canada each year at the FCI World Championship.
When properly trained, Schutzhund provides an arena where you can learn how your dog reacts to stressful situations. The dog also learns to control his drives and learns to obey his owner in many situations. This results in a very well-behaved dog. The duration and breadth of training also helps create a very close and responsive bond between dog and handler.
Raising and Training your Schutzhund Dog with FIPO!
There are many ways to raise and train your dog for Schutzhund! Our theories and methodologies have developed over the years of consistent learning and evolving. By hosting Schutzhund seminars multiple times a year with trainers from all over the world our club continuously grows and we improve our handler and dog skills.
Our goal at FIPO is to create clear minded and confident teams in which all members and their dogs are steadily improving but are also having fun. We want to see our members be able to attain titles and compete with their fellow Canadians at club, region and national championships. And who knows maybe one of our teams will compete internationally some day!
Traits found in Schutzhund dogs
Check out this video on Schutzhund!
How do i find a suitable dog?
When you search for a puppy or dog for Schutzhund, to better your chance to have a well bred dog with working attributes, it is critical that you select a reputable breeder who actively trains, competes, titles and shows/breed surveys their dogs in Schutzhund. In other words, buying a puppy or dog from a breeder that the parents of both sexes (and several generations throughout the pedigree) have both working titles (SchI-SchIII, IPO1-IPO3, IGP1-IGP3) and show ratings/breed survey (SG, V, Kkl) is the best chance at success in this wonderful sport!
Some may think protection training will make their dog aggressive towards people. Generally, dogs which have not been aggressive towards people beforehand do not suddenly become aggressive after Schutzhund training.
A dogs basic character, socialization and training affects whether he will be aggressive towards people. A dogs genetics will define whether he has the protective instincts and courage to protect his family. Schutzhund training will not change this basic nature but will give the owner some idea of how their dog might react, and also enable the dog to remain under the control of his handler.
Titles and Trials
What makes Schutzhund so incredibly difficult and unique? There are three separate and very different phases. Simply put we train, title and compete in three separate sports as one!
There are multiple levels of titles that represent progressively harder levels of work. For each title, there are 300 points available (100 points in each of the three components of tracking, obedience and protection work). In order to title, a dog must successfully acquire at least 70 points (70%) in each phase for that trial!
What does each phase look like?
The depth of difficulty differs based on the title being worked towards, but tracking is all about testing a dog’s ability to not only scent but also about his ability to stay focused enough to follow the scent without distraction or frustration. It is also a test of how confident a dog is and how well he works in front of his handler. Tracking is not something that a dog can ask you to hold his hand during! The dog will be required to properly identify articles (by alerting in some fashion such as lying down on or near the object) to his handler that have been left on the track by the track layer.
The obedience work is of a high level that is designed to test the dog’s intelligence, desire to work and please its handler, its ability to take directions from its handler, and its ability to work under stress (heeling around other people, during noises like gunshots, etc.) The obedience work includes heeling work, retrieval work (including over an A-frame obstacle), recalls, send outs, stay, along with position related work such as stand, sit and down. It is important that the dog be a happy worker and
interested in what he is doing.
This is the most misunderstood of the three phases of training. During training and trailing there must be a ‘helper’ to do protection work. During a trial the dog is required to locate the helper when he is hidden and hold him there for the handler. When the helper attempts to escape or threatens the dog or handler, the dog is to actively apprehend the helper by biting the bite sleeve. A dog must be confident enough and strong enough mentally to handle this work, but he must also be sensitive to handler commands and release the sleeve when requested.