At the 1998 USA Sieger Show all dogs and bitches entered in the working class must complete a protection test. The test is designed to evaluate courage and fighting drives. This is an important test as it impacts upon the final placement of the dog at the show. Consequently, the handler should properly prepare the dog for the test. In order to do this, the handler must know what to expect. The purpose of this paper is to explain how the test of courage and fighting drive is conducted at the Sieger Show and what is expected.
The test is composed of two parts : an attack on the handler and a long attack. After the fighting stops, the dog must release the grip and guard the helper. The same helper is used for both parts. Furthermore, one helper will be used for the males and one helper for the females. Conditions permitting we will alternate five males, five females. These tests are essentially the same as in the SchH. 1 examination and the breed survey. In the attack on handler exercise, the helper is placed in a blind to conceal his presence from the dog. The dog will have its tattoo checked before it begins the examination. The handler will take the dog on leash to a starting spot 30 paces away from the blind. Upon signal from the judge, the handler and dog will heel towards the blind with the free heeling dog. At about five paces before reaching the blind, the helper will appear and attempt to attack the handler. There is to be no contact between the helper and the handler. Once the dog has engaged the helper, it will be struck twice with a stick on the less sensitive parts of the body such as the withers, sides, or thighs. After the helper stops the fight, the dog must release the grip and watch the helper. Up to three commands to release are permitted. On the judge's command, the handler goes to his dog, puts the dog on lead and is given a judge's signal to go into a blind designated by the judge. The "long attack" will immediately follow.
The handler is called out of the blind by the judge and takes up the designated position. The dog is taken off lead and held firmly by the collar. The dog should not be stimulated by the handler.
The helper leaves the blind into which the judge sent him. The handler orders the helper to stop. The helper ignores the instruction and starts a frontal attack upon handler and dog. The judge gives the handler a signal to counter the attack. Upon the judge's signal, the handler immediately sends his dog.
The dog must counter the attack with intensity and must grip energetically with a firm, full, secure and calm grip. Once the dog has his grip, the helper pressures the dog briefly and on the judge's signal stops resisting. The dog must release by himself and guard the helper. Again, up to three commands to release are permitted. The handler may follow his dog at a normal pace until the dog has reached the helper and upon impact the handler must stop. After the dog has released the grip and watched the helper, the judge will give a signal to pick up the dog. The handler should proceed directly to the dog, place the dog on leash and leave the field.
The dog is required to release the grip and watch the helper after the fight. If the dog releases the grip in both the attack and long attack upon command or of its own accord it will receive the note of "lets Out." If the dogs fails to release after three commands it will receive the note "Does Not Let Out." The handler must remain at a distance until signaled by the judge to approach and control the dog.
The rating for the test of courage and fighting instinct are "Pronounced", "Present", or "Insufficient." These ratings are based upon the spirit, degree of self confidence and intensity demonstrated by the dog during the entire test. Proper evaluation of courage and fighting drives is necessary. Too strict an evaluation may penalize dogs with acceptable levels of drive. An evaluation that is too easy may allow dogs with shortcomings to find placement at the front of the class thereby degrading the ratings of better dogs. A fair middle of the road evaluation is called for.
To receive the rating of "Pronounced" a dog must demonstrate self-confident, intense, goal-oriented and secure gripping and holding, no negative reaction to stick hits, close and attentive watching in the holding and guarding phase. These characteristics can be observed in the dog that has a strong sense of self confidence and assurance. Dogs that lack self-confidence and are tentatively or hesitant in engaging the helper, that do not actively fight the helper, demonstrate marked sensitivity to the stick or lose interest in the helper after the release are to be rated "Present." Dogs that refuse to engage the helper or who engage but give up the fight during the pressing and/or stick hits by the helper are to be rated "Insufficient." The latter rating is for dogs whose "flight drive" is stronger that their "fight drive."
Proper presentation for the Sieger Show should include training the dog for the protection test. Your local Schutzhund Club is a logical place to seek assistance. GOOD LUCK.
The following is the criteria by which the performance phase at the USA Sieger show will be evaluated starting Virginia, 2000. As I am sure most of you know, Germany is already starting to implement these changes, some of which I proposed over a year ago. I believe we need to take the lead to make sure we set the standard and also strive to raise it.
1.) The dog has three ( 3 ) tries to perform the free heeling exercise to the attack on handler and must reach a predetermined distance form the blind ( 20 feet ) to pass. The actual attack will commence when the dog is between 10 to 15 feet from the blind. The distance from the starting point of heeling to the blind will be 60 feet. The dog that does not perform this within three attempts will be disqualified.
2.) The dog that does not out will be disqualified.
3.) Dogs that continue to bump or re-grip after the out will be evaluated the same as dogs in a local club trial which would insure that they not finish higher than a dog that is correct in it's work.
4.) The gripwork will be evaluated by the Judge as it is described in our rulebook, " the dog should counter the attack securely and energetically in stopping the attack by the helper." The dog that does not perform in this matter but still performs the grip exercises must be placed at the end of whatever conformation rating they would achieve. A lack of self-confidence in the gripwork shall be evaluated as sufficient ( vorhunden ) in courage.
5.) The "out" should show the dog clearly off the sleeve and in the guarding phase. The only command permitted is one word for the out such as; out, aus or any other single command of out. The commands of sit or down to effect the out are not permitted here. The dog, however, may sit, down or stand upon the out command, but may not bother the helper. The sit or down may be reinforced at a distance of 10 ( ten ) feet, if necessary as the handler approaches the dog.
6.) The handler should, after the attack, leash their dog without physical restraint ( such as, grabbing the dog to prevent a re-grip ). The dog may receive an extra command to out to put the leash on the dog with no penalty, however, the dog that must be physically restrained or taken off of the sleeve physically will be disqualified. Once the dog is secured on lead, this exercise is over.
7.) On the pursuit or the long grip, the handler may encourage the dog while holding them by the collar at the basic position to initiate the release as the helper proceeds to the middle of the field to start the exercise. The handler will release the dog upon a signal from the judge. The gripwork and the out will be evaluated the same as in the attack on handler.
8.) All dogs entered in the performance phase will work on 2 ( two ) helpers; one for the attack on handler and one for the pursuit or courage test.
9.) As stated above this criteria will be in effect at the 2000 USA Sieger show in Virginia.
This has the unanimous backing of the USA Breed Advisory Committee and a majority of the USA Judges.
This same criteria will be sent to all USA full-member clubs within the week.
Please share this with all of the clubs in your regions so that they may prepare for the Sieger show correctly. Thank you for your help and time.
Also see Fred Lanting's two-part series discussing the SV-style Sieger Show with some reference to the protection test for the working classes.