Will Schutzhund make my dog dangerous?


Will Schutzhund make my dog dangerous?

"Will Schutzhund make my dog dangerous”?  This is a question I hear quite frequently.  I am using the word Schutzhund, because if you are asking yourself this question you probably don't realize the sport name has been changed to IGP.

The first thing to understand is the history of the sport.  It was originally designed as a breeding selection test, to test genetics for a dog that may breed or go into service work.  Some examples of service work are, Search and Rescue, Law Enforcement or Herding.  If a dog did not pass the test of Schutzhund, it was not recommended for breeding.  After all, the German Shepherd was first and foremost supposed to be and remain a working dog.

There are 3 phases including a temperament test in the sport. Tracking, obedience and then protection. In the sport, the dog is taught to bite a sleeve and show self control through training. The drive state which is normally used for the training is prey drive. The drive to chase and bite, or apprehend.  In the sport, the dog is fixated on the equipment. Just like in fly ball or any sport where a toy is used to motivate the dog. The sleeve in essence is just a "toy".  Although the "helper" (the person wearing the sleeve) is acting as a menace, the dog is still just biting a big tug. Of course there are exceptions with every dog. Some dogs take it more serious then others. In actuality I have seen just as many or more dogs in other sports that do not have the protection work, and have very questionable temperaments.  Or to put it another way, I have seen more civilian pet dogs that are much more dangerous then a dog that has participated in the sport. Its a complicated topic that honestly is a great conversation over a few drinks.  But to answer the question for the layman, no, it does not make your dog dangerous. In fact, it often makes your relationship with your dog stronger.  Which in turn, makes them less dangerous. And after all, it was originally a selection test to weed out dogs with bad or questionable temperaments.

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