What does 'working' your dog mean? One reason many people don't train or work their dogs is because they don't know what options are available to them. Most training clubs offer the endless dull obedience routines with fractious young dogs and fed up owners! Some competition clubs don't take Dobermanns preferring GSD's or Collies (Schutzhund and agility respectively). However, if you can get past stereotypes and prove you are keen and competent, there are plenty of options available for training from basic to competition standard obedience, agility, tracking, flyball, Schutzhund, Working Trials, Endurance Tests, Cani-X, heelwork to music etc.In any discipline owners must be dedicated, persistent, have a good basic grasp of dog training and behaviour, be willing to put back into the clubs and know that Dobermanns can excel in every field open to them.

Lux Ch Aritaur Histabraq SchH3 and Aritaur Notorious SchH2 each hold the two highest UK trial scores in their rankings. Bracco was used for helper work at the Nationals - Right, on the long attack with Ian James.

Lux Ch Aritaur Histabraq SchH3
Left, Tracking training June 08

Prior to 2001, KC registered dogs were only officially allowed to train and compete in Working Trials. In 2001, with a better understanding given by the Kennel Club from the BSA, KC registered dogs were allowed to compete in Schutzhund. It is still a GSD dominated sport and both dogs and owners need to work to their utmost to gain the respect of the working community.

Anyone considering working their dog should visit both a Working Trials club and a Schutzhund training club to find out which sport they and their dog would be best suited to. Do not expect to be taken seriously and allocated time if you're not 100% serious and if you don't turn up regularly.

Other options for 'working' your dog could be either competition obedience and/or agility. To find a club close to you, look on the internet, contact the Kennel Club on 0870-6066750, or look on the BSA (British Schutzhund Association) website.

The Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme is an ideal introduction for the novice dog owner who wants to do 'more'. Visit the KC site for more details. Aritaur Falko is the youngest Dobermann ever to gain his Bronze at 16 weeks, Silver at 6.5 months and Gold at 9 months. Congratulations to his owner Marianne Venn-Loveday who had never previously trained a dog. We thank Dot Cullum for guiding Marianne to this level. View pictures and text at bottom from Gunn Anita Fossli with her Dobermanns in the Norwegian Defence Force.

The sports of Schutzhund and Working Trials cover the same disciplines - obedience, agility, tracking and manwork, but are done in different styles and with different systems. In Working Trials, no bite work (sleeve biting), is undertaken as part of the sport until primary titles are achieved and until the competitor wishes ultimately to compete at Patrol Dog (PD) level. In Schutzhund, 'bite work' is fundamental to working dog on prey drive. Schutzhund is no more about teaching a dog to bite than Working Trials. It is about utmost control and equal emphasis is placed on tracking and obedience. No dog is allowed to compete in Schutzhund competitions or trials without having passed a BH - a character test. No dog should be trained in protection unless it possesses complete mental and physical soundness.

The sport of Schutzhund originated in Germany at the beginning of the century to determine true working ability of dogs intended for breeding.It is an international sport and is held in the UK under the guidance of the BSA - British Schutzhund Association.

In order to compete in Schutzhund dogs must pass a BH test - a character test - to ensure they are of stable character before they are allowed to compete, and owners and dogs must belong to the BSA. It is a sport requiring utmost control of the dog, and the Schutzhund dog must never be aggressive except under those specific situations it is trained to face.

Schutzhund tests three specific areas of a dog's training and behavior. Section A - tracking (with deep nosework - not airscenting), requires the dog to track footsteps over mixed terrain, change direction and show absolute accuracy and commitment to finding the track. It must also find dropped articles and indicate their locations to the handler. Often this is done under difficult cover, bad weather conditions and an aged track. Many find tracking to be the most satisfying experience in training, when only the handler and dog are working together.

Section B is obedience. Heeling on and off lead. The sit, down and stand are also done, requiring different standards at each grade. Instead of a forty foot ring, the handler and dog work on a football sized trial field. Some exercises require the dog to work under the noise of a firing gun. In addition to the normal dumbbell retrieval, the dog must retrieve over a one meter jump and a six foot wall. Down stays and a long send away conclude this part of the test.

Working Trials are an all round tests that require dogs to have the initiative and scenting abilities of the Field Trial dog, the control of the Obedience dog and the dexterity and athleticism of the Agility Dog; and, if you compete in the Patrol Dog Stake, the courage of a Service Dog. There are five levels of competition known as 'Stakes'.

Companion Dog (CD) Stake
Utility Dog (UD) Stake
Working Dog (WD) Stake
Tracking Dog (TD) Stake
Patrol Dog (PD) Stake

Each Stake combines exercises in three sections: Control, Agility and Nosework.

Control Round
This consists of heelwork, which is conducted both on and off the lead, at slow, medium and fast pace; recall to handler; sendaway and directional control with a minimum of 20 yards outrun to a designated spot and then a redirect to another pre selected area. A 2 minute sit stay and 10 minute down stay out of sight are also required along with the retrieve, steadiness to gunshot and the “speak” on command.
Dogs must clear a 3ft hurdle, 9 ft long jump and scale 6ft twice.
This consists of a ½ mile track, which can range from 8 – 25 legs or more, on any terrain aged between ½ hour – 3 hours and on which are placed 3 small articles that the dog must indicate. A search square is also included which requires the dog to find and retrieve 4 small articles in a 25 square yard area within 5 minutes.
In the PD Stake, a number of exercises are included which test the working skills of a patrol dog, including quartering the ground, the pursuit and detention of ‘criminals’, food refusal, attack on handler, search and escort and recall off criminal.
To qualify "excellent" the dog must obtain 70% of the available marks in each section and 80% of the overall available marks to enable CD/UD/WD/TD/PD ex to be placed after their name.
If the dog wins 2 TD or PD championship stakes it becomes a Working Trial Champion.
The main difference between the two sports is that the test remains the same in Schutzhund, whereas in Working Trials the design can vary widely from competition to competition and so the handler must train for a much broader variety of possibilities.

Thanks to Allyson Tohme for her explanation

(Int, Multi, Russ Ch Tamerlan iz Slavnoi Stai X Ned Ch & Europa Jugend Siegerin Aritaur Dominatrix) - Tamerlan has IPO 1, 3 x Russ Character Test 'A', TPRT1

Bracco has excellent balanced drives, founded from his breeding and training as a puppy. Martin in the background above, is fortunate to to train with Chris Bows - three times UK Champion with his GSD Arne. The helper here is Arno from Holland.

Aritaur Notorious SchH2 'Max' - owned by Tony Sheldon

.The final test is the most misunderstood by the general public, which is Section C - protection. The dog must never bite the trial helper, unless either the dog or the handler is attacked. Then it must attack fully and without hesitation. But here the real difference becomes apparent. The dog must immediately stop biting on the command of the handler and guard the trial helper without further aggression. In Schutzhund, the dogs prey is the sleeve and the helper must be disarmed in a controlled manner.

The above tests all occur in one or two day trials held nationwide by regulated clubs. Each dog is judged by a point system which determines the winner of the trial. Each dog starts each round with 100 points, and points are deducted for mistakes.

When a dog successfully completes the first trial it is awarded a title of Schutzhund 1. The dog can then progress through Schutzhund II to Schutzhund III. Each level makes ever greater demands on the dog and training in all three areas. There is now no difference between IPO, VPG and Schutzhund.


Above and below - named with pride after his father, Bracco 'Junior' is owned by Lorraine Porteous in Scotland and bred by Kim & Martin Jones.

Bracco 'Jnr' and Lorraine train with our highly respected friend Yvonne Walker whose all breed dog training school 'Darcregan Dog Training' in Scotland turns out some of the best UK Working Trials Dobermanns and prospective working dogs. Yvonne is an Associate of the world famous John Rogerson and we are always honoured to send Aritaur puppies and those by our dogs to train with Yvonne in Scotland. 0131 665 0747 e-mail:

Bracco Jnr is trained in play with patience, motivation and kindness.

All text and images Copyright Aritaur Dobermanns.