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Training Dogs From Agility To Schutzhund

by Joan Ronalder, Multi-species Animal Trainer


Agility was just a starting point for this 11 year old German Shepherd Dog shown flying over walls and hurdles as required for Schutzhund title.


Some dogs 'cheat' and go around the obstacles. So for an 11 year old dog to be able to clear the hurdle is exceptional and for a large breed dog to do it is even more significant.


The 5 foot high wall is easier and doesn't speak as much to the dog's willingness to clear the 40” hurdle without cheating by pushing off the top of the hurdle. I flattened the (60”) wall out a bit for the old girl, although I know she would have done the full five foot high.


I train by putting my dogs on the 'back tie' and hold them in place with a leash in my hand for control.


The dumbbell is held in front of the dog's mouth until they take hold of it. Pressure with leash is let off immediately unless the dog loosens the grip on the dumbbell, then pressure is resumed till they take a tight grip again.


Depending on the dog's understanding of biting and holding when the dumbbell is presented (the object, not the person), I then drop it in front on the ground and give the 'apport' command (or whatever command one chooses).


I gradually lengthen the distance from the dog while the dog is still on 'back tie' and do the same procedure as above. This is done in steps, not rushing but not making the dog get stuck during the process.


I advance each dog according to how well he/she retains each lesson.  I reward with releasing the dog and throwing a ball.


For full information on performance, trick, and obedience training, see Joan Ronalder, Multi-Species Trainer, her “top billing” rodeo, theme park and horse show acts have entertained audiences from Arizona to Canada!


Direct any questions by email to Joan or call 828-286-9768 for more information about her German Shepherd Dogs. EST 2002 © 1809


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