Q: What is Schutzhund?
A: Schutzhund is a dog sport, originally designed as a breed test, that includes three phases: Tracking, Obedience, and Protection. For a more complete explanation of the sport, please visit our What is Schutzhund? page.
Q: Does my dog have to be a German Shepherd Dog, or another breed, in order to train with the club and compete in the sport?
A: Any dog, of any breed or mix thereof, is welcome to train with our club. For competition, any breed is also welcome, so long as they can safely complete the obstacles and exercises required. While German Shepherd Dogs, Belgian Shepherds (of all four varieties, but particularly the Malinois), Doberman Pinchers, and Rottweilers are generally the most commonly seen, here is a list of some other breeds that have successfully trialed in SchH, some more common than others: Boxer, Airedale, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Cane Corso, Labrador Retriever, Jack Russel Terrier, Australian Cattle Dog, Rough Collie, Standard Poodle, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Newfoundland, Giant Schnauzer, English Mastiff, Bouvier, American Bulldog, American Pitbull Terrier, Beauceron, Border Collie, Welsh Terrier, Scottish Terrier, German Shorthair Pointer, Golden Retriever, Australian Shepherd, Catahoula Leopard Dog.
Q: Does my dog have to be a certain size or age in order to train with the club or compete in the sport?
A: For competition, there are minimum age requirements for trialing. However, training can start much younger. We do require, though, that your dog be about 10 weeks old before attending training, is up to date on vaccinations (minimum of Rabies and DHPP) and is healthy and free of infections/contagions. Size is not restricted, in competition, so long as the dog is capable of successfully and safely completing all obstacles and exercises.
Q: Does my dog have to be free of temperamental issues in order to train with the club or compete in the sport?
A: We are happy to work with dogs of all personalities and temperament types, so long as the owner/handler is committed to regular attendance and the practice of safe, effective training methods to address any problems present. We do ask that new teams understand, however, that actual sport participation will be delayed until after your dog’s issues have been addressed and overcome. We will not ever encourage, nor condone, trialing with a dog that has not yet overcome temperamental issues. We strive to work for solid, strong stability (of body and mind) in our canine work/sport partners, at all times. It should be noted, however, that our club’s focus is on sport work. So, if you are looking for a venue through which to address behavioral problems, but have no intention of doing Schutzhund competition as the dog becomes ready, then your time would be better spent with a private trainer/behaviorist. Also, please understand that some dogs are born with a naturally lower confidence level that may not be ideal for this sport and may result in safety issues. We do not condone doing protection training with such dogs. However, we can help direct you in the other phases of Schutzhund with your dog, or into other sports, if it becomes apparent that your dog is not well suited to protection work.
Q: What is required to be a member of Wasatch Hundesport?
A: A positive attitude and desire to learn! You need not even have a dog yet in order to come out and start setting a foundation by participating and watching our current teams work. Beyond that, please visit our Membership/How to Join page for a list of regular requirements and guidelines. If you have any specific questions not addressed there, or would like clarification on anything, please Contact Us.
Q: How much are membership dues?
A: It is $20 each for your first five training meets, which counts towards your membership dues if you choose to become a member after the completion of the first five meets (meaning, for one dog, the additional due at that time would be $200). The total annual annual membership dues are as follows:
1. During your first year of membership: $300 for one dog, for your first year, with $100 more for each additional dog. So, for example, with two dogs, your total would be $400. For three dogs, $500.
2. During your first through fourth year of membership: $200 for one dog, with $100 more for each additional dog.
3. During your fifth year, or more, of membership: $100 for one dog, with $100 more for each additional dog.
4. If you are a certified/licensed USCA helper or judge, regularly work dogs at our training meets, and have worked at least one trial for our club, your dues can be discounted by $100.
For further details on our membership dues and policies, please see our Membership/How to Join page.
Q: Where and when are training meets held?
A: Our current main training fields are located in Roy and Midvale, Utah. We also occasionally use a few other fields. Training on Saturdays generally starts at 9am during spring-fall and 11am during the winter. Thursday is the most often used day for our weekday training, starting at 5pm, but we sometimes have informal meets on other days of the week, as well. Training generally lasts 5-9 hours on Saturdays and 3-4 hours on weekdays. Members are expected to stay through the training of other dogs and not just pack up and leave as soon as their own dog is done working. A lot can be learned through watching your club mates and their dogs.
Q: What sort of equipment should I bring/purchase to start my dog in Schutzhund training?
A: While there is obviously a large amount of equipment used in the sport, here is a list of the basics required for getting started. All equipment should be strong and in good, working order (free of defects -such as cuts and nicks- with rivets, stitches and snaps in solid shape/condition). Worn/weak collars, harnesses, leads/lines, and snaps can fail when a strong dog is working in drive. For the safety of our trainers and helpers, please ensure that the equipment you are using is in good condition.
1. A strong, well-fitted, flat buckle collar. This can be leather, nylon, or biothane. Collars should preferably be 1-2 inches wide for young puppies and 2-3 inches wide for larger/older dogs (about 10 months and up, depending on your dog’s growth rate). The reason for using wider collars is to distribute the weight load better during agitation work.
2. A strong, well-fitted harness. This can be leather, nylon, or biothane. There are two main types of harnesses used for protection and tracking: siwash and crosschest/buckle. We have members in our club that use both styles, along with harnesses made of each of the above listed materials. Some prefer buckle as it is very easy-on and off, but siwash tends to distribute the weight better and keeps the dog’s shoulders completely free. For material, many prefer the traditional look and feel of leather, but some prefer the easy maintenance/cleaning nylon or biothane.
3. A strong, 6 foot long lead. Leashes for new dogs should be 3/4-1 inch wide and made of either leather or biothane. Nylon is highly frowned upon for leads due to rope burn issues.
4. A strong, 15-20 foot long line. Like the obedience training lead, long lines should be 3/4-1 inch wide and made of either leather or biothane (biothane being most common… leather long lines are generally harder to come by and often not quite as durable in the long run). Nylon is highly frowned upon for long lines, as well, due to the potential for rope burn.
5. Your dog’s favorite toy(s) and treat(s).
6. A secure crate for your dog to wait in when not working (if your dog is not okay loose in your car… some dogs get very excited at training and may scratch/chew at car interiors or try to jump out windows!). Also, please keep the weather in mind when it comes to securing your dog at training. For example, if it is very hot out, then you should not be leaving your dog in your vehicle without plenty of shade, ventilation, water, a fan, or other cooling devices. If it is very cold, then you should not be leaving your dog outside in a crate without an insulating cover, bed and/or blankets, or a jacket for your dog to wear.
7. A bucket/bowl and plenty of water for your dog.
8. Vaccination records for your dog. We require that dogs in our club be up-to-date on their DHPP and Rabies vaccinations (or titers). These records should be given to the club Secretary to keep on file. Please also remember to bring updated records each time your dog receives new vaccinations or titers. We also highly suggest keeping a copy of your dog’s records in your vehicle at all times, in case of emergency.
If you do not already have any of the above equipment (we do ask that you at least bring a good collar and lead, treats/toys, bowl/water, and vaccination records to your first session, however), and would like to wait until you attend a couple sessions to ensure you and your dog like the sport first, we do have extra equipment on hand for teams to borrow, when needed.
If you have questions about the types/styles of equipment, where to purchase them, how to fit them, etc., please let us know and we can help answer any questions you may have. We also have an Equipment section on the Links and Training Articles page of our website, where many online manufacturer’s sites are listed.
Q: What other things should I bring with me to training?
A: A positive attitude and willingness to learn! Besides that, here is another list:
1. Food/snacks. Training generally lasts several hours and people often get hungry during that time.
2. Water (in addition to the water for your dog) or other non-alcoholic drinks (drinking alcohol during, or directly prior to, training is not allowed as it poses a potential safety hazard due to the nature of working with high drive dogs in protection work, etc.)
3. A camp/lawn chair. Many people will stand or sit in the grass, but many also bring chairs to sit in while watching other teams work.
4. Appropriate weather-specific gear. We train in all sorts of weather: rain, snow, strong winds, etc. We will cancel or postpone training if the roads are unsafe for travel or if there is lightning. Otherwise, plan to have rain coats/boots when it is raining, snowboots and heavy jacket/gloves/pants when it is cold/snowing, sunscreen when it is hot and sunny, etc. Sometimes, other teams will have spare cold weather gear, sunscreen, etc. However, it is always good to be prepared, just in case.
5. Shoes/boots with good tread. During protection work, your dog(s) will be pulling against the lead during certain exercises and you will need to maintain your grip. Flip flops, platforms, high heels, and any other less-stable footwear is, thus, highly discouraged. Please do not show up to training in footwear that will pose a safety risk to yourself, your dog, or those helping work with your dog.
Q: If I am training/competing/working in other sports/work with my dog already, or intend to in the future, can we still train and compete with Wasatch Hundesport?
A: Yes. Our club encourages participation in as many sports/work as you are able to do, as a team. We have found that multi-sport/work participation often leads to better performance in Schutzhund. There are many skills taught in other sports/work that will benefit a Schutzhund dog, just as there are many skills taught in Schutzhund that will help your dogs’ performance in other sports/work. Several of our current members have dogs that do a variety of real-life work, such as personal protection, business security, assistance/service, therapy, search and rescue, etc. Several members also train/compete in many different sports. To learn more about some of these, please visit our Other Sports and Work page.
If you have any questions not addressed on this page, please feel free to Contact Us and we will respond with an answer as soon as possible. 🙂