I started in the sport with my first German Shepherd at the age of 16 back in Germany. Due to an accident the dog was no longer suited for the sport. Years later after immigrating from Germany to the United States, I had new opportunities and returned back to the sport. The sport and the dogs have become my passion and my life.
All of my dogs are "HOT" (Handler Owned and Trained). Every dog has to do mandatory socialization and obedience while already training in tracking, protection and show. People that know the sport, know that there is a lot of team work going on. Protection and show require help of other (3rd person) people in order to run the dog in the ring or present the sleeve. As such "Schutzhund" is more than just a sport, it's a community.
Tracking is my favorite discipline. It is amazing to see how dogs can follow a particular scent no matter how faint it is and follow it with high accuracy. A good tracking dog will get lots of practice on nice green meadows that allow the handler a short break from today's hectic world.
Obedience is the foundation of everything we do and any place we do it at. As such the obedience training is not restricted to the training field. It also requires consequent handling off the field.
In protection you want your dog to have full grips. Some formalities can be taught but the bite quality is usually inherited from your dog's ancestors. Every dog has differing amounts of prey and defense drive and they should be in balance to successfully train your dog in Schutzhund. "Bite obedience" is a must.
The show ring is very different from the performance field. During the show the dogs are evaluated for proper autonomy, movement, development and over all looks. A show rating is required to obtain a passing breed survey (Körschein).
In all disciplines we strive for safe, humane and positive training. Whenever something can be taught and trained with positive reinforcement, it's the first choice. Likely, at some point the German Shepherd will test the boundaries and corrections may be needed. Corrections will be given, however, the corrections are appropriate to the dog's behavior.