Schutzhund (German for “protection dog”) training originated in Germany in the early 1900s to train German Shepherds as police working dogs and has since expanded to include other large, powerful dogs like Rotteilers, Doberman Pinschers and Belgian Malinois. Keeping to tradition, Schutzhund verbal commands are given only in German.
These intelligent, fearless dogs must have a strong desire to work, be highly intelligent, have excellent trainability, have a strong bond with their trainer, high perseverance and a natural instinct to protect others. Schutzhund training is difficult and demanding. They are used in law enforcement, drug and bomb detection, search and rescue, military guard dogs and personal protection.
Since Schutzhund dogs are trained to attack and release only on command, they are not inherently mean dogs and often live in their trainer and/or owner’s home with other family members including small children. Properly trained, they never attack unprovoked and without the specific command to do so, and must also release immediately upon command.
Schutzhund dogs risk their lives to protect their human partners in law enforcement and military work, sometimes killed by a fleeing suspect or enemy target. These beloved dogs are given full funeral honors as the heroes they are. They have police badge numbers and military ranks to exemplify their extraordinary abilities.
To qualify for the Schutzhund basic and advanced titles, they must pass tests in tracking, obedience, temperament and protection. Only the very best receive the Schutzhund title, and correct training by a very skilled trainer is essential. Dogs that show fear, disobedience, lack of aggression upon command, or unpredictability are dismissed from training.
For further information on Schutzhund training, see Wikipedia, the United Schutzhund Clubs of America’s web sites, and the American Working Dog Association’s web site.
“Cry havoc! And let slip the dogs of war!”
–Wm Shakespeare, “Richard the Third”