At a club trail, there is one judge for all three phases. The judge carefully reviews the performance of the dog and the handler, and carefully observes and grades the dog’s temperament. The dog and handler are graded as a team in each phase.

 At the end of the routine, the judge will review the performance of each dog/handler team, and will reveal their final score for that phase. Each exercise is scored individually, and will receive one of the following ratings: Excellent (96% or more), Very Good (90-95%), Good (80-89%), Satisfactory (70-79%), or Insufficient (0-69%). The scores for each exercise within that phase are then totaled to provide the overall score for that particular phase; the final scores also follow the same rating system above.

temperament, and hardness  are even rated by the judge as either “pronounced”, “sufficient”, or “insufficient” (called the ‘TSB rating’). No other phase displays more of the dog’s true genetic character than protection; protection is an essential component of ensuring that future generations of working dogs have the strong, stable, and courageous temperament required for their breeds.


                The “stick hits” (stick stress test) are a crucial element of testing the individual dog’s temperament, strength of nerves, courage, and composure. During the attack on the dog by the helper, the dog is struck twice with a padded stick over the well-muscled withers, shoulder, or back area. The helper must use only a specific amount of force, enough to pressure the dog, but not enough to harm the dog.  The presence and use of the stick creates a higher level of threat from the helper, and creates a pressure on the dog that reveals his true genetic temperament and nerve strength. The dogs with the strongest temperaments and nerves remain composed and confident despite the pressure from the helper during the stick hits. These dogs stay unfazed; their grips remain strong, firm, and calm, and they continue to make every effort to control the helper. Dogs with weaker temperaments and weaker nerves may become intimidated and lose their composure, and may weaken, loosen, or even release the grip.  For more information on the protection phase of IPO, how it tests temperament and “nerve”, and how this relates to having stable, confident family companions, please visit:

The protection phase tests the dog’s genetic temperament, courage, mental stability, and control. During protection, the dog must think clearly and demonstrate obedience to the handler at all times, while also showing self-control, power, commitment, strong full grips, and a desire to control the helper (the “bad guy”). When commanded to release, or “out”, the dog must remain obedient and think clearly even in a state of high drive. He must firmly and convincingly defend himself and his handler against attacks, and must maintain his composure under stress. At every exercise, the dog’s genetic temperament and strength of nerves are being tested; his courage,


The obedience phase requires the dog/handler team to perform a variety of exercises that test the dog’s trainability, intelligence, physical soundness and agility.  The dog’s sound sensitivity is also tested with gunfire during the heeling portion. This phase displays the dog’s attitude, drive, and desire to harmoniously work with the handler. The dog should perform the work willingly, joyfully, and correctly.


O. G. Red Rock Schutzhund Club (RRSC) is dedicated to protecting and preserving the German shepherd dog’s working heritage through Schutzhund (German for "protection dog”) training.  We meet weekly in Pahrump, NV to practice tracking, obedience and protection.  We are a United Schutzhund Clubs of America (USCA) full member club located in the desert of Southern Nevada. 

What does “HOT” mean?               

HOT = Handler Owner Trained. Dog has been trained and titled by the owner from BH (basic companion dog temperament and obedience test) all the way to his current title.

What is a “blind”?

The blind is the triangular hiding place on the protection field; the helper is hiding in Blind 6, but the dog must still search the other blinds at the handler’s direction.

In the protection phase, the role of the helper is to help the judge test the dog. The helper is responsible for competently and safely performing each exercise of the protection routine, and for testing each dog equally throughout the trial. The top USCA helpers are dedicated individuals who have trained for many years and have been classified through the USCA Helper Program.

IPO tracking requires the dog to closely follow the scent of the tracklayer over a specified distance. The dog must follow the track by scenting each footstep, and must indicate objects (“articles”) the tracklayer left behind on the track itself. This phase reveals the dog’s natural scenting ability and his ability to be trained to use it. Tracking also reveals the dog’s work ethic and his ability to think and problem-solve. The tracking phase is held at a different location than obedience and protection, usually in nearby rural fields

Schutzhund is a German word simply meaning “protection dog”; it is now known internationally as “IPO”, or “International Prüfungsordnung” (International Working Dog Examinations). Schutzhund was first developed in Germany in the early 1900s as a breeding suitability test for the German Shepherd Dog; dogs needed to pass this test to be considered worthy of breeding. The three phases of Schutzhund—tracking, obedience, and protection—were carefully crafted to test for traits highly valued in working dogs, such as intelligence, courage, work ethic, strong stable temperament, scenting ability, and desire to work with man.

There are three levels of IPO (IPO1-3), with each level increasing in difficulty. These titles must be earned in order. To earn a title, the dog/handler team must pass all three phases at a single trial, with at least 70 out of 100 points in each phase. To achieve even an IPO1 requires years of dedicated training, even more so for the championship level.

USCA is an organization dedicated to protecting and preserving the German Shepherd Dog’s working heritage. USCA, through local clubs,  hosts Schutzhund trials, conformation shows, and breed surveys. These exams are major contributors in ensuring that we consistently breed only the finest dogs, and ensure that the German shepherd dog continues to be the best and most versatile breed.

Spectators are welcome at our trials! Just a few helpful hints for our spectators:

-No other dogs are allowed in the stadium besides competitors and genuine service dogs.
-Please keep the staging areas and parking areas for competitors clear.
-Please be respectful of competitors warming up and preparing their dogs for their event.
-The judges’ critiques are an excellent place to learn more about IPO. Respectful silence is expected during the critiques, although applause is allowed afterward.

PHASE ‘A’:  TRACKING          


What is IPO/Schutzhund?

O. G. Red Rock Schutzhund Club


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