As we discussed in Part 1 of this article series, tracking is the first phase that a dog must complete to earn a Schutzhund title. The purpose of tracking is to help evaluate the dogs scenting ability, his ability to problem solve and work on his own at a distance from the handler. The dog must be at the end of a 33 foot lead and must follow the track closely with his nose down to the ground. There is a short temperament test before the tracking phase in which the dog must be presented to the judge to confirm the tattoo/microchip number and the dog must show no signs of shyness or unsoundness. The dog and handler team must acheive a score of 70 out of 100 to pass tracking.
For the SchH1 title, the dog must follow a track that is laid by his handler and aged for 20 minutes. On this track there will be two turns and two articles which the dog must indicate. The SchH2 track is similar in that it also has two turns and two articles, however there are some differences. For the SchH2 title, the track is laid by a stranger instead of the handler. The track is also longer in length and aged for approximately 30 minutes before the dog and handler team can begin. Once the dog makes it to the SchH3 level the tracking becomes more difficult. The track at this level is also laid by a stranger and becomes even longer in length. It includes four turns, three articles and must age for 50 minutes.
An “article” as mentioned above is a small 1” x 3” piece of leather, carpet or wood that has been dropped along the track by the track layer. The dog must indicate these articles by stopping and either laying down, sitting or standing. Once the dog indicates, the handler approached to retrieve the article.
Tracking comes very naturally to most dogs as they enjoy using their nose. It can be fun for you and your German Shepherd as well as a great bonding experience. If you live in the Akron area you may have a hard time finding fields to track in. However, you can use parks, school yards, soccer or baseball fields or any other large patch of grass!
If you think you may want to try Schutzhund or watch a SchH trial, you can find clubs in and around the Akron area by looking at the club list on the United Schutzhund Clubs of America website. Ohio is located in USCA’s Mideastern Region.
Watch for Part 3 of this article in which we will take a look at the obedience phase of Schutzhund.
German Shepherd Dogs and Schutzhund – Part 1
German Shepherd Dogs and Schutzhund – Part 3
German Shepherd Dogs and Schutzhund – Part 4