For those of you who are not very familiar with what Schutzhund is all about, here is a brief discussion on the sport. Yes, Schutzhund is a sport. Specifically, it is a 3-part (tracking, obedience, protection) dog sport that was originally designed as a German Shepherd breed test. Since then, it has evolved into a very popular dog sport around the world. In fact, there is now a world Schutzhund competition that is held each year.
When you first bought a dog, you may have been told to curb aggression as early as possible. This is generally an excellent idea. In the case of Schutzhund training, however, you will be able to learn more about dog aggression and how to use it to your advantage. After all, aggression is a natural part of a dog’s character and is best managed rather than curbed. In fact, aggression management as part of Schutzhund training can help you raise a very well-mannered dog. Furthermore, the duration and scope of Schutzhund training helps strengthen the bond between you and your dog.
Now, if you want to raise a dog purely for Schutzhund purposes, there are several things you need to take into consideration. First of all, you might run into some conflicting theories and ideas regarding Schutzhund training, so it’s best to get a general idea of how you should go about training your dog for the sport. Here are some Schutzhund training basics:
- Use a crate. Don’t think of the crate as a cage for your dog; rather, think of it as your dog’s bedroom or haven. Remember that dogs are den animals by nature, which means that they love having a small space where they can curl up. To teach your dog that the crate is his den, you may commence by throwing a treat or his favourite toy into the crate in order to entice him to get inside.
- Enrol in puppy class. This is where you learn to use effective Schutzhund training tools such as a clicker. Puppy class will also teach you the value of timing during training and help you become a more effective Schutzhund trainer. A good puppy class is one where not all of the puppies are taken off their leash at the same time. It also promotes socialization and teaches you dog that he is going to have to mingle with other dogs at one point or another throughout his life.
- Refrain from leaving your dog with his toys all day. While it is good to encourage a little playfulness in your dog, it may not be a good idea to leave him with his toys all the time. In Schutzhund training, toys should primarily be seen as rewards, so their use should be reserved for training. If you have to leave your dog in the house for an extended period, it is best to keep him occupied with stuffed kongs or a large bone.
As long as you keep these basic training tips in mind, you should be able to progress on your path towards effective Schutzhund training without any major hitches.
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