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 German Shepherd Breeders

Locate top quality German Shepherd Breeders at GSDsite.com

How to find a responsible German Shepherd Breeder:

Responsible German Shepherd Breeders don't sell their puppies to the first person who shows up with cash in hand. Too often, unsuspecting people buy puppies from puppy mills, or sometimes neighbors who breed their dog to make a little money or simply because they have a dog "with papers." Too often, the result is puppies in poor health or with temperament problems that may not be discovered right away.

A German Shepherd Dog who has genetic health problems due to poor breeding practices or who develops significant behavior problems due to a lack of early socialization can cost thousands of dollars to treat—and result in grief and heartache as well.

The last place on earth that I would look for a German Shepherd Puppy is in a pet store. Any breeder that is forced to sell his puppies to a pet store has no credibility. This only indicates he has no reputation as a breeder and nowhere else to sell his dogs. The majority of the dogs that end up in pet stores come from puppy mills. Puppy mills are a legitimate (despicable) business in many states and countries.

You are definitely at the right site to begin with. Don’t feel that you have to buy a German Shepherd within a couple of miles from your home when you are able to get all the information that you need from GSDsite.com

All we are is German Shepherds!

Always do your Homework!

Use the contact form below the Breeders Ad that interests you and ask questions.

You should do a lot of homework before choosing a German Shepherd Puppy� Breeder.

Make sure that they offer a dog health guarantee.

 German Shepherd Agility Eqipment

German Shepherd Dog Agility Training

Agility training and dog obstacle courses were shaped after a Steeplechase in England. The first debut was in the UK at Crufts in 1978, and has become the fasted growing dog sport among both spectators and competitors because it is fast and entertaining. Dogs, too, love the sport; it lets them run, jump, and climb, exercising many of the behavior they enjoy. The sport also allows the dogs to have close contact with a handler, giving them all the attention they want. Agility is a great way to help build confidence in shy dogs, but only if you are supportive and enthusiastic.

If you've never tried German Shepherd agility work, or as we like to call it "play", you're missing a lot of fun. Don't get me wrong, though, it is also a lot of hard work, but well worth it. Much like a combination Doggie Obstacle Course, agility training is comprised of multiple types of various obstacles that the dog must complete.

The dog sport of agility was originally developed by combining the sport of stadium jumping (with horses) with many of the different challenges that are unique to dogs.

The most important factor in this type of "work" is enthusiasm and positive reinforcement. Why should the dog cross the high walk or go through that collapsed tunnel? It is your job to convince your German Shepherd during agility training that it is okay to follow commands and that nothing will harm it by completing the agility obstacles.

Many benefits are available as a result of this type of GSD agility training. Not only does the German Shepherd get a lot of great exercise (as well as yourself), but other benefits such as socialization skills from being around other people and animals.

The agility trained German Shepherd learns body awareness skills - such as, its back feet are independent of the front which many dogs seem to be unaware of. German Shepherds acquire a new ability to accept challenges and stamina to follow through in many new situations.

One of the most important things is that your German Shepherd agility training teaches your dog to trust you as its leader. As a teacher you learn new ways to motivate your dog during dog training and new ways to get it to perform as you wish while going through the agility obstacles.

Beginning Agility Training can begin at the puppy level. It is best to remember, however, the ability levels of the growing puppy and not to put it in any situation that may result in any type of problem for it in later years. Remember those growing bones and joints even if the enthusiasm is abundant.

 German Shepherd Protection Dogs

The purpose of Schutzhund is to demonstrate the dog's intelligence and utility. It also measures the dog's mental stability, endurance, structural efficiencies, ability to scent, willingness to work, courage, and trainability.

This working dog sport offers an opportunity for dog owners to train their dog and compete with each other for recognition of both the handler's ability to train and the dog's ability to perform as required.

It is a sport enjoyed by persons of varied professions, who join together in a camaraderie born of their common interest in working with their dogs. Persons of all ages and conditions of life including those with significant disabilities enjoy Schutzhund as a sport. Often, it is a family sport.

 German Shepherd Dog Waste Supplies and More

5 Important Reasons to Clean up Pet Waste

By Drs. Foster & Smith Veterinary Staff

Dealing with pet waste is one of those topics that every pet owner must deal with but no one likes to talk about. The fact is that the majority of community and neighborhood pet problems result from the inappropriate handling of pet waste. In addition, pet waste is the greatest source of potential health risk for your pet and your family. This article will highlight the five most important reasons to properly dispose of pet waste and will also give you some tips and products to make this chore easier.

#1. Disease Control

There are several very common diseases that can be transmitted to dogs, cats and people through feces. These include giardia, roundworms, salmonella, and Ecoli. In addition, your dog can spread or contract parvovirus or coronavirus through infected feces. All of these diseases are very serious and common and every effort should be made by pet owners to keep their pets and family away from potentially infected feces. One of the easiest ways to do this is to install an in-ground stool digester like the Doggie Dooley. These digesters work like mini septic systems, safely breaking down feces and then allowing the residue to harmlessly sink into the surrounding soil. These handy little gadgets are one of the best ways that I've ever found to deal with dog or cat waste.

#2. Make your Yard more Useable

Nobody likes to walk through a yard that is hiding "doggie land mines." If you and your children are afraid to use your yard because of the dog, then you are wasting one of your biggest time and financial investments. In addition, the pets will get less interactive exercise and suffer as well. Once or twice a day 'scooping' off your yard with a shovel or Grabber pet waste shovel will only take a couple of minutes and make it a place where everyone enjoys spending time.

#3. Fly Control

Flies will consume and lay eggs in feces. These same flies will then come into your house and then spread disease as they pause on your counter and food. Need I say more about keeping feces cleaned up to prevent this cycle?

#4. Responsible Pet Ownership

Your responsibility to clean up after your pet doesn't end when your dog leaves your yard. There are probably fewer things that aggravate neighbors more than a dog that 'goes' in their yard. Pet owners need to clean up after their pet every time they go to the bathroom. Period. No exceptions. If you are walking in the woods and your dog goes, then bury it. If you are in a park or neighborhood, pick it up with a plastic bag or a Dispoz-a-Scoop. If you don't have a yard, then walk your dog on a leash or get an electronic fence. Don't make your responsibility somebody else's problem.

#5. Preventing Stool Eating

While most dog owners think this doesn't apply to them or their dog, the shocking truth is that most dogs will engage in this unsavory practice at some point in their life. Dogs evolved as carnivore/scavengers and feces were considered fair game in lean times. To prevent this occasional indiscretion from becoming a life-long habit, clean up feces as soon as possible, especially in young dogs where the problem is most prevalent. At the first sign of this bad habit consider adding an oral product like Dis-Taste to your dog's food to decrease the palatability of the stools.

Dog poop, urine, and bathroom behavior can tell you a lot about your dog's health.

Chances are, you don't pay much attention to how often your dog does her business or what the results of that business (including dog poop color) look like. Dog stool is gross, it stinks and it belongs outside or in a designated indoor spot. But what else can dog feces tell you? Surprisingly, quite a lot.

"A dog's bowel and urinary habits are outward signs of her health status," says Bess Pierce, DVM, associate professor of community practice at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine in Blacksburg, Virginia. "It is important to monitor the amount, frequency, color and consistency of dog feces and urine, giving particular attention to changes in normal pattern."

Determining that normal pattern may take time, because bathroom behavior and dog stool varies from dog to dog. Still, most dogs' bathroom behavior fits within a range, starting with their needing to take two to four bathroom breaks each day. As to what they produce during those bathroom breaks:

  • Dog urine should be light to medium yellow in color without a strong, objectionable odor
  • Dog poop should be moderately firm to firm, and the dog poop color should be a shade of brown.

At times, though, your dog's behavior and feces or urine may vary from that range. When that happens, your dog's body may be signaling the onset of a health problem. Here are some common variations and what they might mean:

1. Straining to urinate.

A dog who tries but can't produce much urine may have urinary stones, which can be fatal if left untreated. See a veterinarian immediately.

2. Very dark urine.

Extremely dark yellow or rust-colored urine may contain blood, which indicates the possibility of a urinary tract infection (UTI). A visit to the vet is in order.

3. Housetraining lapses.

A dog who suddenly starts urinating all over the house also needs to see a veterinarian. The problem could be a UTI or, if she's also drinking a lot of water, it could be a serious condition such as kidney disease, diabetes or Cushing's disease.

4. Straining to defecate.

If your dog's been trying to defecate for a day or so, but can't, she may have a bowel obstruction. Call your veterinarian. If she's vomiting, call sooner.

5. Dog diarrhea.

Runny, stinky dog poop may or may not be serious. Don't feed your dog for a day or so, but make sure she has plenty of water. After a day, start her on a bland diet such as a mixture of boiled rice and hamburger. If your dog still has the trots after two days, put in a call to your vet. If she's vomiting, call sooner. And if she's a young puppy who vomits more than once an hour over a half-day period, bring her to her vet immediately. (More info on Dog Diarrhea)

6. Very dark or black dog poop.

Black dog stool or very dark brown dog stool may signal bleeding in the upper intestinal tract, which can result from many possible problems. A veterinarian's attention is needed.

7. Grey dog feces.

Cement-colored stool may mean that a dog is suffering from an obstruction of the bile duct. The obstruction could have one of several causes -- but, in any case, necessitates a visit to the vet.

8. Changes in poop shape.

 

If your dog's stool is shaped like thin strips, her large intestine or rectum may be narrowed for some reason. On the other hand, very large stools may indicate a problem in the small intestine. Either way, a visit to the vet is in order.

 German Shepherd Service Dogs

Service Animals

The Department of Justice published revised final regulations implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for title II (State and local government services) and title III (public accommodations and commercial facilities) on September 15, 2010, in the Federal Register. These requirements, or rules, clarify and refine issues that have arisen over the past 20 years and contain new, and updated, requirements, including the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design (2010 Standards).

How “Service Animal” Is Defined

Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.

Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.

This definition does not affect or limit the broader definition of “assistance animal” under the Fair Housing Act or the broader definition of “service animal” under the Air Carrier Access Act.

Some State and local laws also define service animal more broadly than the ADA does. Information about such laws can be obtained from the State attorney general’s office.

If someone's dog calms them when having an anxiety attack, does this qualify it as a service animal?

It depends. The ADA makes a distinction between psychiatric service animals and emotional support animals. If the dog has been trained to sense that an anxiety attack is about to happen and take a specific action to help avoid the attack or lessen its impact, that would qualify as a service animal. However, if the dog's mere presence provides comfort, that would not be considered a service animal under the ADA.

Where Service Animals Are Allowed

Under the ADA, State and local governments, businesses, and nonprofit organizations that serve the public generally must allow service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of the facility where the public is normally allowed to go. For example, in a hospital it would be inappropriate to exclude a service animal from areas such as patient rooms, clinics, cafeterias, or examination rooms. However, it may be appropriate to exclude a service animal from operating rooms or burn units where the animal’s presence may compromise a sterile environment.

Service Animals Must Be Under Control

Under the ADA, service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.

Do they have to be quiet and not bark?

Under control also means that a service animal should not be allowed to bark repeatedly in a lecture hall, theater, library, or other quiet place. However, if a dog barks just once, or barks because someone has provoked it, this would not mean that the dog is out of control.

Do service animals have to wear a vest or patch or special harness identifying them as service animals?

No. The ADA does not require service animals to wear a vest, ID tag, or specific harness.

 German Shepherd Dog Grooming Supplies and Products

Grooming Supplies | The German Shepherd

The German shepherd is not considered a high maintenance dog; however, grooming does require some effort to maintain a beautiful coat, properly trimmed toenails, and white shinny teeth. The shepherd’s double coat, with coarse outer guard hair and a thick, softer undercoat, helps make it a versatile working dog, able to function in just about any climate.

When you go to the pet store to pick up supplies for your German Shepherd Dog, you will need to get a coat rake (undercoat rake), a shedding blade, a rubbery curry brush, a deshedding tool, and a comb – the five integral parts of a German Shepherd dog owner's tool kid. Also important are brushes, nail clippers, and even a shedding rake. When you begin the grooming process go through the entire dog's coat with a slicker brush, beginning at the head and following the lines of the fur to the tail. Then comb through the coat with a metal comb, removing any excess loose hair as you do so. Then go over the whole coat with a rubber curry brush. This will help you make your German Shepherd dog's coat shinier. Your dog will enjoy this too, as the rubber curry brush is a great massage tool. If it's shedding season, finish off your regular grooming process by using a shedding blade, grooming your German Shepherd Dog this time from back to front.

You will however need to be careful with these shedding blades. While they can be enormously helpful to you as a dog owner, particularly during the shedding season, you need to know how to use them correctly in order to avoid harming your dog. Ask a licensed German Shepherd dog groomer or other professional how to use the device properly. Begin by placing the blades on the dog, pulling them back with minimal pressure. It is highly advisable to have a “helper” as part of the process to be on hand to keep the dog still and distracted to avoid any accidents or sudden movement.

Also helpful is the deShedding tool, specifically the FURminator deShed Tool Dog Lrg/Yellow Long Hair for German Shepherds.  This method removes the undercoat better than any other tool, and also distributes skin oils throughout your German Shepherd's body, not to mention the fact that it gives your German Shepherd dog a pretty comfortable massage as well! If you brush your German Shepherd dog after you bathe it, waiting until the dog is almost but not completely dry, the extraneous hair will come out easily. Use a chamois cloth when you're through to give your dog an extra twinkle in its newly shiny coat.

 German Shepherd Collars

German Shepherd Dog Collars

Collars are worn by German Shepherd Dogs for training, walking, identification or even fashion. Use the following descriptions to find the right collar for your German Shepherd Dog.

 

Chain Slip Collars - Often called choke chains, these collars are intended for training purposes only. When training a dog to walk on a leash and heel, corrections are made with a quick tug on the leash, causing it to close somewhat on the dog’s neck. Over time, many dog trainers have moved away from the choke chain method. Generally, these collars are not recommended because they could damage your dog's neck. If you do choose to get a choke chain for your dog, learn how to use it properly. Chain slip collars should be used with caution and never be left on your dog when unattended, as they pose a strangulation hazard.

Metal Prong Collars - Despite their harsh appearance, many trainers find these collars effective for strong, stubborn dogs with a tendency to pull on the leash. Also known as pinch collars, they are used for correction during training, similar to chain slip collars. Also like the chain slip collars, metal prong collars should be used with caution and never be left on your dog when unattended.

Martingale Collars - Also know as limited slip collars or Greyhound collars, Martingale collars are used to prevent dogs from slipping out of collars while walking on a leash. Though the collars tighten with a tug of the leash, there is a stopping mechanism to prevent complete closure on the neck. Often made out of nylon or similar material, Martingale collars are available in a variety of colors and designs. These collars are especially suited for sighthounds, but can be uses on most dog breeds.

Everyday Collars - You can express your personal style with a variety of dog collars for everyday use. Collars with metal buckles or quick release clasps are available in a variety of materials, colors and styles. Many pet owners prefer buckle collars for stronger dogs, as quick release clasps tend to be less sturdy. Rolled leather collars are durable and less likely to cause hair loss or parting. Always be sure your dog's collar has a name tag with your current contact information.

Break-Away Collars - These collars are also for everyday use, but have a special safety feature to prevent choking. However, they can still be used for walking on a leash. The collar will break away if the loop becomes caught on something and your dog pulls away. When a leash is hooked onto both loops, you can walk your dog without the risk of the collar breaking away. Always be sure your dog’s collar has a name tag with your current contact information.

Head Collars - Head collars or halters slightly resemble muzzles, but they have a very different purpose. These halters act more like harnesses for the head and are intended to help train a dog to walk on a leash and heel. When a dog pulls on the leash, the halter will cause the head to turn. This feels unnatural and will deter the behavior. When used properly, head collars can successfully discourage pulling and support other training. Head halters should not be left on unattended dogs that are on a very long lead, as they may be able to back out of some types of head collars.

 

 German Shepherd Dog Life Jackets, Dog Life Vests, and Dog Backpacks

Why Use a Dog Life Jacket?

A number of dogs are afraid of the water or can not swim, and your dog may be among them. As a responsible dog owner, it is your duty to ensure your dog's safety when in or around water. Here you can read about the importance of a dog life jacket and understand why dogs must have one.

Reasons Why Dogs Need a Life Jacket:

  • Not all dogs can swim well in the water. Dogs that have low body fat could have a difficult time to stay afloat in water such as greyhounds and Doberman pinschers. Also, heavy dogs with short legs, such as English Bulldogs and Basset Hounds aren't built for swimming.

  • Older dogs and dogs that suffer from bone ailments can easily get tired and have difficulty in swimming. Geriatric and arthritic dogs will have a hard time paddling which may result to drowning.

  • No matter how well the dog can swim, it can drown due to the fast current and big waves. Even the strongest swimming dog may tire out and be unable to stay afloat.

 

The Importance of Dog Life Jackets:

To secure the dog’s safety while in the water, a life jacket is necessary. Dog life jacket keeps the pet afloat in a horizontal, swimming position. In this way, the dog will not be drowned even if it doesn’t paddle his feet. Geriatric or arthritic dog can now enjoy the water without compromising their safety.

Although some dogs may swim very well, owners should not still be very confident to let them swim alone. There is still a big possibility that they may drown if unsupervised. By getting a dog life jacket for the pet, the owners will be more at ease to let him swim alone, or leave him for awhile to do something important.

Available in a variety of fun colors and funky designs, our dog life vests and life jackets will keep the beloved pooches in style even they are out in the water. Owners can even match the swim wear to their dog life jackets. Find the one that will match the fashion taste or the one that will be perfect for the dog's personality. More importantly, with the bright colors available for this dog lifejacket, owners can easily spot the dog in the water. Now, pet owners will have peace of mind knowing that the dog will not be out of the sight anymore.

In addition, lifejacket for dogs can serve as a retrieving device. If the pet falls overboard or jumps to the dock, they can be safely rescued using the lifting handle of the jacket. The handle is also use to take the dog out of the water after swimming.

Truly, dog life jacket can save the life of the beloved pet. This is the best safety gear to give the dog. It makes swimming or boating fun and safe for both pet and owner. Now, dog owners can enjoy the company of the favorite four-pawed friend during swimming trips without having to compromise his safety in the cold and deep waters.

 Long Coat/Hair German Shepherd Puppies

Long Coat German Shepherd

The long-hair gene is recessive, making the long-hair variety rarer. Treatment of the long-hair variation differs across standards; they are accepted but not competed with standard coated dogs under the German and UK Kennel Clubs while they can compete with standard coated dogs but are considered a fault in the American Kennel Club.The FCI accepted the long-haired type in 2010, listing it as the variety b - while short-haired type is listed as the variety a.

 German Shepherd Service Dog Collars

German Shepherd Service Dog Collars

Service Dog Collars are not required in the United States but they are optional.

The use of the collar may be beneficial to the Handler.

Some of the Service Dog Collars that are used are Dog Collar with GUIDE DOG Patches, service dog collars, hearing service dog collar, seizure alert service dog collar, certified service dog collar, therapy dog collar, autism dog collar, assistance dog collar, working dog do not pet collar, no petting please dog collar, mobility dog collar, ptsd dog collar and diabetic dog collar.

 

 German Shepherd In-Ground Pet Fence System
In-Ground Pet Fence System
 German Shepherd Dog Puppy Potty Training Supplies

German Shepherd Dog Puppy Potty Training Supplies

Puppies need to be house trained in order to understand that it’s not okay to eliminate in your house. House training is a simple process, but one that must be carried out positively (without punishment that scares the puppy) and consistently, following two main guidelines: 1) prevent indoor accidents through confinement and close supervision, and 2) take the puppy outside on a frequent and regular schedule and reward him for eliminating where you want him to go. House soiling can occur in any location in the home but sometimes pet parents will notice that their puppy soils more in certain locations, such as infrequently used rooms or on a specific kind of surface. Very young pups (under 12 weeks old) don’t have complete bladder control and might not be able to hold it very long. Older puppies who have had accidents might not have been house trained completely.

 White German Shepherd

In German Shepherd Dogs the recessive gene for white coat hair was cast in the breed gene pool by the late 19th and early 20th century breeding program that developed and expanded the German Shepherd Dog breed in Germany.

A white herding dog named Greif was the grandfather of Horand von Grafrath, the dog acknowledged as the foundation of all contemporary German Shepherd Dog bloodlines. Rittmeister Max von Stephanitz December 1864 to April 1936 Information provided in early books on the German Shepherd Dog make mention of Greif and other white German herding dogs, with upright ears and a general body description that resembles modern German Shepherd Dogs, shown in Europe as early as 1882.

The early 20th century German Shepherd breeding program extensively line bred and inbred "color coat" dogs that carried Greif's recessive gene for "white coats" to refine and expand the population of early German Shepherd Dogs.

White coats were made a disqualification in the German Shepherd Dog Club of Germany breed standard in 1933 after the breed club came under the control of the German Nazi party that took over all aspects of German society in February 1933 when Hitler declared a state of emergency.

The German breed standard remained unchanged as German breeders repopulated the breed in the years after the conclusion of WWII.

In 1959 the German Shepherd Dog Club of America (GSDCA) adopted the exclusively colored breed standard of the parent German breed club. White-coated German Shepherd Dogs were officially barred from competition in the American Kennel Club conformation ring in the United States starting in 1968. AKC-registered white German Shepherd Dogs may still compete in performance events.

During the 1970s, white dog fanciers in the United States and Canada formed their own "White German Shepherd" breed clubs, breeding and showing their dogs at small specialty dog shows throughout North America. The White Shepherd Club of Canada (WSCC) has been dedicated to the promotion and preservation of the White Shepherd since 1971.

 Dog Cleaning Supplies

Dog-Specific Cleaning Supplies

Sometimes, regular cleaning products just don’t quite clean up those messes, gobs of fur, or little surprises from your dog that you may find throughout the house. When the messes are too big, stains are too dark, or fur blobs are thicker than your carpet, try pet cleaning products made especially for dog owners. The products are created for removing enzymes, colors, or hair from your house. Feel clean and secure owning a dog, without your house looking like one lives there!

 Black German Shepherds

The black German shepherd is one of the many different coat colors and patterns that are associated with the German shepherd breed. The black German shepherd is not a separate dog breed from the German shepherd breed like the white German shepherd which is recognized as a separate dog breed by some kennel clubs.

The black coat of the German shepherd is the result of genes passed down to the pup by the parents.

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There are some distinct variations between the Black German Shepherd and the standard German Shepherd. The Black German Shepherd has retained its more traditional look of the breed. The Black German Shepherd has a much straighter back. It also does not "cringe", an appearance common to regular German Shepherds. The coat has many variations and can be long or short with a flowing mane, feathering and skirting.

Black German Shepherds have very pleasant temperaments and are very loyal, watchful and self-assured dogs. They very rarely ever back down. These dogs are very trainable and their training should begin when they are very young. The only health problem you must be aware of in a Black German Shepherd is hip and elbow dysplasia. Preventative measures should be taken early on. The Black German Shepherd makes a great family pet, but might be a bit strong for small children.

 German Shepherd Dog Tags

What Info Should Appear on My Pet's ID Tags?

Your pet’s name, your phone number and the city where you reside are essential. “Putting a cell phone number on a tag is a smart way to ensure that you are reachable, no matter where you are.

If you’ve ever lost a pet, you know about the importance of ID tags. Having identification and contact information securely attached to your pet’s neck makes it much more likely that you'll get your furry family member back if he decides to take off on a solo adventure.

Yet a recent study published in Preventative Veterinary Medicine revealed that only 33 percent of owners keep ID tags on their pets.

If you’re one of the 67 percent who sometimes, rarely or never puts tags on your pet, consider this: They considerably increase the return-to-owner (RTO) rate if your pet is lost.

It’s also important to remember that just because your dog is microchipped, it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t also need an ID tag. “Vets and shelters can scan for chips, but collar tags are still the fastest way for someone to reach you in the event that they find your lost pet.

 German Shepherd Schutzhund/IPO Clubs and Organizations

Schutzhund (German for "protection dog") is a dog sport that was developed in Germany in the early 1900s as a breed suitability test for the German Shepherd Dog. The test would determine if the dog displayed the appropriate traits and characteristics of a proper working German Shepherd Dog. Today, it is used as a sport where many breeds other than German Shepherd Dogs can compete, but it is a demanding test for any dog that few can pass.

Traits of Schutzhund dogs

Schutzhund tests dogs of all breeds for the traits necessary for police-type work. Dogs that pass Schutzhund tests should be suitable for a wide variety of tasks: police work, specific odor detection, search and rescue, and many others. The purpose of Schutzhund is to identify dogs that have or do not have the character traits required for these demanding jobs. Some of those traits are:

  • Strong desire to work
  • Courage
  • Intelligence
  • Trainability
  • Strong bond to the handler
  • Perseverance
  • Protective Instinct
  • Sense of Smell

Schutzhund tests for these traits. It also tests for physical traits such as strength, endurance, agility, and scenting ability. The goal of Schutzhund is to illuminate the character and ability of a dog through training. Breeders can use this insight to determine how and whether to use the dog in producing the next generation of working dogs.

History

In response to political forces in Germany, in 2004 the Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde (SV) and the Deutscher Hundesportverein (DHV) made substantial changes to Schutzhund. The DHV adopted the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) rules that govern IPO titles, so that at least on paper the SV and DHV gave up control of the sport to the FCI. The DHV changed the name of the titles from "SchH" (Schutzhund) to "VPG" (Vielseitigkeitsprüfung für Gebrauchshunde which roughly translates Versatility examination for working dogs). The SV has retained the "SchH" title names, but otherwise conforms to the DHV/FCI rules.

Description

There are three schutzhund titles: Schutzhund 1 (SchH1), Schutzhund 2 (SchH2), and Schutzhund 3 (SchH3). SchH1 is the first title and SchH3 is the most advanced. Additionally, before a dog can compete for an SchH1, he must pass a temperament test called a B or BH (Begleithundprüfung, which translates as "traffic-sure companion dog test"). The B tests basic obedience and sureness around strange people, strange dogs, traffic, and loud noises. A dog that exhibits excessive fear, distractibility, or aggression cannot pass the B and so cannot go on to schutzhund.

The Schutzhund test has changed over the years. Modern Schutzhund consists of three phases: tracking, obedience, and protection. A dog must pass all three phases in one trial to be awarded a schutzhund title. Each phase is judged on a 100-point scale. The minimum passing score is 70 for the tracking and obedience phases and 80 for the protection phase. At any time the judge may dismiss a dog for showing poor temperament, including fear or aggression.

Phase

Description

Tracking

The tracking phase tests not only the dog's scenting ability, but also its mental soundness and physical endurance. In the tracking phase, a track layer walks across a field, dropping several small articles along the way. After a period of time, the dog is directed to follow the track while being followed by the handler on a 33 foot leash. When the dog finds each article, he indicates it, usually by lying down with the article between his front paws. The dog is scored on how intently and carefully it follows the track and indicates the articles. The length, complexity, number of articles, and age of the track varies for each title.

Obedience

The obedience phase is done in a large field, with the dogs working in pairs. One dog is placed in a down position on the side of the field and its handler leaves it while the other dog works in the field. Then the dogs switch places. In the field, there are several heeling exercises, including heeling through a group of people. There are two or three gunshots during the heeling to test the dog's reaction to loud noises. There are one or two recalls, three retrieves (flat, jump and A-frame), and a send out, in which the dog is directed to run away from the handler straight and fast and then lie down on command. Obedience is judged on the dog's accuracy and attitude. The dog must show enthusiasm. A dog that is uninterested or cowering scores poorly.

Protection

In the protection phase, the judge has an assistant, called the "helper", who helps him or her test the dog's courage to protect himself and his handler and its ability to be controlled while doing so. The helper wears a heavily padded sleeve on one arm. There are several blinds, placed where the helper can hide, on the field. The dog is directed to search the blinds for the helper. When it finds the helper, it indicates this by barking. The dog must guard the helper to prevent him from moving until recalled by the handler. There follows a series of exercises similar to police work where the handler searches the helper and transports him to the judge. At specified points, the helper either attacks the dog or the handler or attempts to escape. The dog must stop the attack or the escape by biting the padded sleeve. When the attack or escape stops, the dog is commanded to "out," or release the sleeve. The dog must out or it is dismissed. At all times the dog must show the courage to engage the helper and the temperament to obey the handler while in this high state of drive. Again, the dog must show enthusiasm. A dog that shows fear, lack of control, or inappropriate aggression is dismissed.

Training

Schutzhund training, like the sport itself, has evolved over the years. The definitive description of Schutzhund training in the first 50 years of the sport is Col. Konrad Most's Dog Training: A Manual, 1910 By modern standards, Most's training is very harsh and possibly abusive. Despite this, it is also structured, consistent, and in many ways conforms to more recent ideas on learning theory. Over time, the more brutal techniques fell out of use and few trainers still follow Most's program. In 1981, Helmut Raiser published Der Schutzhund (English trans. by Armin Winkler, 1999 (no ISBN)), which radically changed Schutzhund protection training. In the US, the next great change in Schutzhund training is marked by the 1991 publication of Schutzhund Theory & Training Methods by Susan Barwig and Stewart Hilliard. Also see TOP WORKING DOGS, A Schutzhund Training Manual by Dr. Dietmar Schellenberg, first published in 1982. With the fifth edition in

A reliable source for training information is a good Schutzhund club. The overwhelming majority of Schutzhund training is done by owner/handlers at local clubs. There are very few clubs in the US, making books and videos a vital source of information in that country. In the US, most clubs are affiliated with the American Working Dog Federation (AWDF), United States Boxer Association (USBA), American Working Malinois Association (AWMA), United Schutzhund Clubs of America (USA), Deutscher Verband der Gebrauchshundsportvereine (DVG), or German Shepherd Dog Club of America-Working Dog Association (GSDCA-WDA). Schutzhund clubs tend to be small, 20 or less members, because there is a limit to the number of dogs that can be trained in one session. Clubs often provide only limited formal assistance with tracking and obedience. To a certain extent, the clubs exist to provide the specialized resources needed to train the protection phase. However, a legitimate club will not permit a member to train only protection. Usually the more experienced members are willing to help the novice with tracking and obedience, though this is typically somewhat informal in the US.

Another function of Schutzhund clubs is to identify dogs that should not be trained in Schutzhund. Schutzhund is a challenging test of a dog's character, and not every dog, or even every GSD, is up to the challenge. The training director of the club has a responsibility to the dog, handler, club, and society to constantly evaluate every dog and to decline to train any dog with questionable character or working ability. Training a dog that does not really want to work is stressful and frustrating for all parties involved.

Schutzhund clubs regularly hold public trials, providing the opportunity for dogs to earn titles and for handlers to assess their training progress. A tiny number of dedicated handlers have trained their dogs to title readiness strictly from books and videos. This is unlikely to succeed in most cases, because it is almost impossible to train the protection phase without a helper. A good club should be considered a necessity for Schutzhund training.

Organizations

Schutzhund is governed by a number of organizations. The FCI, the international umbrella organization for all things dog related, sets the rules for IPO titles. (IPO is the FCI name for sport Schutzhund titles.) The AZG sets the rules for Schutzhund for all breeds. The AZG is one of the component organizations of the VDH, the all breed kennel club of Germany. The German Shepherd Dog Club of Germany, the SV, is a member of the VDH and arguably the most powerful influence on the sport. Although the AZG formally sets the rules, the AZG does nothing with respect to Schutzhund without the approval of the SV. Still, the SV has great influence in the FCI and is probably still the most powerful influence on the sport. The DVG is an all-breed dog sport organization in Germany that organizes clubs and trials and has branches in Canada and The United States.

The largest Schutzhund organization in the US is the United Schutzhund Clubs of America, called USCA. In spite of its name, USCA is a German Shepherd Dog breed club. The Working Dog Association is a branch of another GSD breed club, the German Shepherd Dog Club of America, which also sponsors clubs and trials. There are a small number of DVG clubs in the United States, various other breed organizations that are involved in Schutzhund, and the American Working Dog Federation (AWDF), which is an umbrella organization. There are other breed specific Schutzhund clubs such as the United Doberman Club. In the case of the Doberman the AKC will not allow you to add Schutzhund titles to your dog's pedigree unless they are earned with the United Doberman Club. This barely scratches the surface.

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The GSD's high intelligence, strong athletic physique and silky smooth movement have seen the breed excel at all kinds of duties.

German Shepherds are trained and considered invaluable in such jobs as seeing eye dogs, police work, search and rescue, herding, protection, bomb and drug detection and as guard dogs. They also relish activities which stimulate their acute senses such as tracking, agility, fly ball, endurance work, schutzhund and German Shepherd obedience training.

Dogs have their own set of behavioral problems. Lack of proper training methods may badly affect your dog's behavior and turn your beloved pet into a disobedient, aggressive or unruly dog. As a dog owner you should be aware of these problems and train your dog accordingly.

If your dog bites or tears up your furniture, this is not the dog’s fault. These are types of behavior problems that most dogs show signs of having and it’s up to you, the owner, to train your dog to know what is acceptable and what is not.

Aggression related dog behavior problems include biting, jumping, barking uncontrollably and not obeying commands.

Once a dog ages from a puppy to an adult, it will become much harder to train. Training should start from an early stage, so that these tendencies do not become dog behavior problems.

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