What is Schutzhund, IPO, and IGP?
The aim of this sport is to demonstrate the intelligence and working capabilities of dogs. The competitions evaluate the German Shepherd‘s mental and emotional stability, structural efficiency, trainability, sense of smell, resistance, willingness to work, and courage. (AnimalWised)
When properly trained, Schutzhund provides an arena where a very close and responsive bond between dog and handler is created. Through obedience, the dog understands how to control his drives and learns to obey his owner in any situation. This results in a very well-behaved dog. There are three completely separate phases included in Schutzhund, but they all incorporate a high level of obedience. Tracking requires patience, the obedience piece tests the dog’s ability to complete a series of complicated tasks, and the protection portion is managed solely by the dog listening to his handler and obeying specific commands while being distracted and pressured by a decoy. The dog must show no signs of being a coward nor acting aggressive. This is the most misunderstood part of Schutzhund because the dog is attacking/biting but he will never do so unless told to and will release on command. Schutzhund is a sport and in protection, the dog’s reward is the sleeve; it’s a game and for the dog it’s fun. Obedience is paramount in ensuring the dog maintains a balance between heightened excitement and focus. The protection phase, if the dog is mentally strong and properly trained, will often result in forging a bond between owner and dog that will last forever.
Posted on May 1, 2013, updated on April 26, 2017 by Dogizone
. Schutzhund (German for "protection dog") or IPO (for Internationale Prüfungs-Ordnung - German for "International Trial Rules") 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. There are three IPO/Schutzhund titles: IPO1, IPO2, and IPO3. IPO1 is the first title and IPO3 is the most advanced. Additionally, before a dog can compete for an IPO1, 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.
. 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 with a minimum of 70 points needed in each phase to pass.
. The tracking phase tests not only the dogs 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.
. The obedience phase is compiled of several different exercises and done in pairs with one dog working and the other doing a long down under distraction. A very precision based off leash healing pattern with out of motion sit, down, stand and recalls. Three retrieve exercises one on the flat ground, one over a meter high hurdle and one over a two meter high A-frame scaling wall. The dog and handler team is judged on the precision, speed and enthusiasm of the dog while preforming the routine. The complexity of the obedience routines vary for each title.
. In the protection phase, the judge has an assistant, called the "helper "/decoy, which 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 on the field that the dog must be directed to search. When the dog 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 dog guards the helper and transports him to the judge. At specified points, the helper either attacks the dog or the handler or attempts to escape and 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" to 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 and the willingness to engage the helper. A dog that shows fear, lack of control, or inappropriate aggression is dismissed. The dog and handler team are judged on precision, intensity and willingness to obey the handler. The complexity of the protection routines vary for each title.
This is a very simple overview of the significant changes from IPO to IGP which was implemented in January 2019 (posted by United Schutzhund Clubs of America):
. The name will now be "IGP" - "International Gebrauchshund Prufung" (International Working Dog Test) No longer IPO - "International Prufung Ordnund"
. BH- the heeling pattern will be slightly shorter but will still include on and off leash.
. IGP 1-2-3 levels of track will have 3 articles, each worth 7 points for a total of 21 points for articles.
. In all Obedience, the distance the handler will throw the dumbbell is more clearly defined as approximately 10 meters; the height of the hurtle and wall remain the same. The jump will have to have a top board that allows it to pivot if touched and then return to its starting position. The minimum distance from the jump or wall is defined as 4 meters (no longer 5 paces).
. The IGP Obedience will change slightly in the IGP1 to exclude the retrieve over the wall and instead have a recall over the wall without the retrieve. In both IGP 2-3 there are no significant changes.
. The IGP protection will still include pressure and stick contact (padded stick hits) and an "Attack on the Dog Out of Motion" (long bite/courage test) at all levels but done slightly different from current for level 1 - 2. There are some changes in all levels most significantly in the IGP1.
. The IGP1 will no longer require a blind search of the # 5 blind, the dog will instead be sent directly into the # 6 blind (find blind). The handler will be allowed in IGP 1 to leash the dog during pickup and transport.
. The IGP2 will no longer have an "Attack Out of back Transport", but will have an additional Reattack (defense) exercise with no stick contact after the "Attack on Dog Out of Motion" (long bite/courage test) like the IGP3.
. The Attack on the Dog Out of Motion (long bite / courage test) for the IGP1 and 2 will not require the helper to return to the blind and then run out to the midline and towards the dog/handler instead the helper will remain mid field after the last defense exercise and the handler will pick up the dog and heel away down the midline of the field to a distance of approximately 30 meters away for the IGP1, 40 meters away for the IGP2 then the handler will stop and turn towards the helper where the judge will signal the exercise to begin.
. The IGP3 does not change from the current IPO3 in any phase.