FAQs

New IGP Rules take effect January 1, 2019

There will be a new version of the USCA Rulebook available in January (version 1.4) this is to add further clarification to the current rules for our members. There have not been any official changes to the “general” rules since the 2012 official change, the new IGP Rules will take effect January 1, 2019 and a new rule book will be available before then. There are and always have been differences in the implementation or interpretation of rules this happens from country to country, organizations and all the way up to the discussions at the world meetings and working committees that determine trial rules.

In the past  and even now the official FCI rulebook does not always give all of the judging criteria, it gives the description of the exercise and then in some general terms “faults and mandatory deductions”. In no possible way can any rulebook give answers and explanations to every possible situation that may occur with the performance of a given exercise. In the past there were separate “Judges Guidelines” books available for judges to help with uniformity in evaluations / judging that was not discussed in the general Rule Book, this is also what is discussed at judges meetings to help make all judges more uniform in their evaluations when it comes to the “subjective’ decisions in judging or evaluating a performance. The USCA Rule Book provides more additional information and clarification than most other available rule books from other organizations; our attempt to make more information available to our members is one of the reasons for the revisions that we have implemented.

The USCA Rule Book does have a section on approved variances from the FCI (WUSV accepted FCI Trial regulations). Each county is allowed some leeway in creating variances as needed to meet laws, liabilities, safety, members needs etc as long as they do not dilute the intention of the exercise or trial performance and in some instances our variances have later been adopted by the international rules. Past examples of this have been that USCA more than 15 years ago allowed one (1) handler to enter up to three (3) dogs in a club trial when the FCI/SV rule was only a maximum of 2 dogs per handler at club trials then in the 2012 FCI rules they changed to the same as USCA had been doing for years allowing a handler to enter up to three (3) dogs in a club trial.  USCA created the TR1-2-3 and OB1-2-3 titles to give our membership more opportunities to compete with their dogs and a few years later the FPr (TR) and UPr  (OB) titles were stated in the FCI regulations. USCA adopted a formal “Dog Aggression Policy” and now many countries have done similar policies / rules. There are many other USCA variances in the rule book. An example of a variance that came up recently in the 2017 National Championship was that USCA Rules require all dogs to remain with the handler and if they leave the handler must be recalled to the handler with three (3) or fewer commands and that they must remain on the designated trial field during their performance or it is a Disqualification (DQ). The FCI rules state that the handler has up to three (3) commands to get the dog back to them and under control and this includes if the dog leaves the trial field before being disqualified. During the writing of our rule book the USCA Judges College (all USCA Judges) discussed this rule and how far off the field or in what situations is off the field dangerous (into a crowd) and determined that we would not accept a dog leaving the field. This made the rule and decision easily uniform and clear taking away any subjectivity and minimizes safety issues if dogs are allowed off the field and encounter spectators ect. This decision was discussed with Mr Frans Jansen of the FCI Working Commission and he clearly said that it was within our rights to make variances like this   to meet the needs for each country.  Some variences can sometimes cause confusion when using a foreign judge for our USCA trials as they may or will judge to the standards of their country. Whenever possible our variances should be or will be discussed with the judge to maintain uniformity, but it may not always work out. Situations like this have happened at world championship levels to club trials but we will always do our best to maintain a fair uniform set of rules.

We have an ongoing FAQ section on the website to help keep members aware of clarifications or recurring / frequent situations that happen at trials and when possible we will update the rule book with clarifications. Remember that if in doubt ask your judge at the trial for clarification as they are the final decision at that event.

Official rule changes will be posted to the membership at least thirty (30) days prior to them being implemented and in most cases at the club level event our USCA Judges are instructed to educate and slowly integrate changes with some level of leniency to allow for training or handling to adjust to the changes. Some of but not all of the revisions / clarifications in judging performance in USCA Trials that will be added to the USCA Rule Book version 1.4 are and will be implemented starting January 2018 are:

  1. In the BH the dog must be facing the group when removing the leash between the on lead and off lead heeling
  2. The dog must sit near a person in the group, if it is not shown the judge may ask for the handler to repeat the group exercise.
  3. In any phase (“A’ tracking. “B” obedience, “C” protection) a dog that refuses to start an exercise after receiving a maximum of three (3) commands will be terminated in that phase. Examples of refusing to start would be a dog that is given three (3) commands to start tracking and does not move or start, in any obedience exercise when the command to heel to start the exercise is given and after three (3) commands the dog does not make any attempt to move forward (to start the exercise) with the handler, in the retrieves after the dumbbell is thrown the dog makes no attempt to leave the handler (stays in basic position). The phase will be terminated and the dog will be allowed to complete any other phase (tracking, obedience, protection).
  4. In the “Search for the Helper” (blind search) the dog must start to search by being directed to the first blind and making an attempt to go to the blind, a dog that leaves the handler and goes directly to the six (6)blind (hot/find blind) making no attempt to search will be terminated. As long as the dog is searching the blinds (staying in movement) regardless of the amount of commands given by the handler the search will continue and not be terminated but will be rated faulty and may lose up to all points if determined by the judge. At  blind six (6) the handler only has a maximum of 3 commands (first  and if needed 2 additional) to make the dog go to the blind and helper, if the dog goes to the helper and leaves then the handler only has one (1) additional command to resend the dog to the helper before termination. Other reasons to terminate the search are if the dog stops searching after three (3) commands (refuses to move), comes back to the handler (stops at handler in basic or front position)or leaves the field as described in variances.
  5. In the “Attack On Dog Out Of Motion” (long bite/courage test) a dog that is strongly attracted / directed to the judge and requires strong attraction from the helper to divert it away from the judge will be disqualified (DQ). This may also apply in any protection exercise if a dog attacks or makes contact with a judge it may be disqualified (DQ).
  6. Loss of control of a dog at any time on the trial field may cause disqualification (this includes during the critique after the completion of the phase) until the dog and handler has left the field.

Please be sure to update your rule book by downloading or purchasing a copy from USCA.

Happy Holidays and best of luck with your training and trialing for 2018 !

is the are the latest rule clarifications for 2015?

2015 Rule Clarifications

How do I become a USCA member?

The form and information are found at:   Membership

At this time, you can either:

  • Complete the online application – you’re done!
  • Or, call the USCA office (314-200-3193) – the office can process your membership over the phone.

How long does it take to become a USCA member?

  • The USCA office processes memberships within 48 hours after receipt.

I lost my membership card, how do I get another one?

  • E-mail the USCA office with your name and address and request a replacement membership card. There is no charge for a new member card. The email is usaoffice@germanshepherddog.com

What is a youth membership?

  • A youth membership is for anyone 21 years of age or under. The fee is $25.00. All youth members receive their own Schutzhund USCA magazine.

How do I get a list of USCA trainers?

  • USCA does not provide a list of trainers. Please contact a club in your region for information on trainers in your area. The club list is by region and can be found on the List of USCA Clubs.

Where is a club in my region?

  • All USCA clubs and contacts can be located on the USCA website under Clubs .  List of USCA Clubs.

How do I find a trial, show or breed survey in my area?

I'm the trial secretary. What do I need to do?

  • The trial secretary is an important link in the trialing and titling process. The secretary must insure all the paperwork is complete and correct when it is sent to the USCA office.
  • There is information in the MEMBERS ONLY section under EDUCATION to help assist clubs and trial secretaries with their work.

Where can I get the form for a scorebook?

  • Forms and information for scorebooks are found at Online Forms in the Members Only section.

How do I order a scorebook?

  • You must be a current USCA member to obtain a USCA scorebook.
  • Fill out a scorebook order form OR print and send to the USCA office by email or by mail.
  • If you are getting a scorebook for your German Shepherd or other registered breed, you must include a copy of the dog’s registration showing you as the current owner.

How do I order a mixed breed scorebook or a scorebook for a dog without papers?

  • You can call the USCA office with a MasterCard or Visa or you can fill out the scorebook order form and email or mail to the USA. If your dog does not have papers, it is important to put MIX on the scorebook application.

How long does it take to get a scorebook?

  • Scorebooks are processed within 48 hours after receipt at the USCA office.

Can I get a scorebook sent priority mail to me?

  • Yes. The request must be received by 12 noon CST.

When requesting that a scorebook be sent by priority mail or overnight …

  • Email the scorebook order form along with a cover letter requesting your scorebook to be sent priority mail.
  • USA uses the services of Federal Express and USPS Express Mail. The USA office always releases the signature so that the package is left at the door.
  • There will be an additional charge to cover the cost of expedited mailing.

I have a scorebook from another country/organization; how do I get the book recognized by USCA?

  • So long as the book is issued by an FCI or WUSV member organization, USCA will accept and recognize the scorebook at USCA events.

Do I have to obtain a scorebook in order to participate in a trial?

  • Yes, you need a scorebook in order to trial.

How do I obtain an “a” Stamp on my dog?

  • Please see the a-stamp certification program on the website at A-Stamp Program.

Is there a form that I need to fill out?

  • No. There are no forms needed. Please see the a-stamp certification program on the website at A-Stamp Program.

What do I need to do if all the required information is not exposed on the plate?

  • A letter from the veterenarian, on the their office letterhead, verifying all the information will be needed if the information is not listed on the plate of the x-ray.

How long does it take to get my a-stamp results?

  • Once the USCA office receives the x-rays, they are processed and sent to Germany. On average, it takes 8-10 weeks for the results.

Is there a time frame for submitting the x-rays once the x-rays are taken?

  • No. As long as the x-rays were taken when the dog was 12 months of age or older.

How do I place an advertisement in the Schutzhund USA magazine?

  • Information for placing an advertisement can be found on the website at USA Magazine Ads or in the back of each of the SchH USA magazines.
  • Contacts for the SchH USA Magazine
  • USA Office Manager

How do I submit an article for the Schutzhund USA magazine?

  • Contact Jennifer Acevedo, the magazine chair for submission of articles. All articles are welcomed and appreciated.

What do I need to know when writing an article?

  • The USCA magazine staff has created a set of guidelines that cover deadlines, copy requirements, your contact information and photos.
  • SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

NEW RULES

  • Last Updated:11/2015
  • The current USCA rule book is version 1.2 updated 11/2015 to include new format and additional information to handlers.
  • We will update this as needed to address common questions about the new IPO rules.

Only 1

  • Only 1 Score Book per dog is allowed as entry into a Trial. All USCA Judges have been instructed to only sign 1 score book per dog. Trial Secretaries must only accept 1 score book from each entry into a USA Trial.

Basic Position

  • At all times, the Handler is only allowed to assume the Basic Position 1 time. After that, if the Handler breaks the position or repositions, it is faulty and will cause a point deduction.
  • This is also true in the Dumb Bell Throw. At all times, the Handler must make an attempt to properly throw the Dumb Bell without breaking Basic Position. If due to a disability, the Handler is unable to throw the Dumb Bell properly or the correct distance, allowances may be made at the decision of the Judge. It may still be considered faulty and may have a point deduction.

Protection-Only Title

  • Internationally, there is a Protection-only title offered. It is my understanding that DVG will offer this as long as it is done with another title – either OB or Tracking.
  • For USA, since we are a WUSV Member and considered a Breed Organization, we will not offer the Protection Only Title but will offer and award the IPO – APr (Utility Dog) Titles that are the Obedience and Protection Phases together, ie: OB1 and Prot 1, OB 2 and Prot 2 , OB 3 and Prot 3 to earn a APr 1, 2 or 3 Title.

What Value does Schutzhund add to the Breed?

  • Any registered German Shepherd that has earned a Schutzhund degree has demonstrated sufficient ability as a working dog to qualify for breed evaluation. The breed evaluation is a very detailed examination of the dog’s structure, temperament, and pedigree and requires both a certification of good hip joints and sufficient performance on an endurance test (the AD). Dogs that do well in the breed evaluation receive a Koerklasse I or Koerklasse II. This is a recommendation and evaluation by a trained and recognized expert judge as to the worthiness of the dog for breeding. Dogs rated Koerklasse II are “suitable for breeding” and dogs rated Koerklasse I are “recommended for breeding.” By thus screening dogs in order to select the suitable specimens for breeding, Schutzhund helps to maintain the quality of the breed at a very high level. Thus, there is a very high level of assurance that puppies born to Schutzhund dams and sired by Schutzhund dogs are more likely to be of reliable temperament, high intelligence, steady nerves, extreme endurance, great strength, and sound structure.

What Is the Judge looking for in the Dog?

  • At all three stages – Schutzhund 1,2, and 3 – each of the three phases: obedience, tracking, and protection, is worth 100 points, for a total of 300 points. If a dog does not receive a minimum of 70% – or if the dog fails the pretrial temperament test- it is not awarded a degree that day and must repeat the entire test, passing all phases of the test at a later trial. In every event, the judge is looking for an eager, concentrating, accurate working dog. High ratings and scores are given to the animal that displays a strong willingness and ability to work for its human handler.

Additionally . . . please review this document by clicking HERE

Do Schutzhund-Trained Dogs make good home companions?

  • Since Schutzhund is the demonstration of the German Shepherd dog’s most desirable characteristics, dogs well trained in Schutzhund are usually excellent companions in the home. The German Shepherd Dog – like any; other working dog that possesses mental stability-has trust and confidence in itself, allowing it to be at peace with its surroundings.
  • In addition to sound structural efficiencies for long, arduous work, the standard for the German Shepherd Dog calls for mental stability and a willingness to work. The dog should be approachable, quietly standing its ground, showing confidence and a willingness to meet overtures without itself necessarily making them. It should be generally calm, but eager and alert when the situation warrants. It should be fearless, but also good with children.
  • The German Shepherd Dog should not be timid or react nervously to unusual sounds or sights. A dog that is overly aggressive because of its overall fears of people and events can be extremely dangerous. The Schutzhund sport is designed to identify and eliminate such dogs from breeding stock. Because Schutzhund training gives the owner a great deal of control over the dog, the owner is able to let the dog have more fun. Not only is Schutzhund training itself enjoyable for the dog, but the Schutzhund trained dog knows how to please its owners, creating a stronger bond between dog and owners.

Do Schutzhund-Trained Dog make good Police Dogs?

  • A dog that performs well in Schutzhund work is obviously a very good candidate for police work. Police dogs, like other service dogs, must have temperaments with a good foundation of intelligence and utility. A minimal amount of additional training makes many well-trained Schutzhund dogs ready for active police duty. Such fearless police dogs can also work around children and in crowds without worry on the part of their handlers.

How do I choose a Puppy for Schutzhund?

  • In every breed, the pedigree is the key to knowing the potential of the puppy. Schutzhund revolves around working lines with generations of dogs that have proven themselves and produced similar characteristics in their offspring. These characteristics include not only the physical structure of the dog, which is very important, but also its temperament. Selecting the bloodlines from which you want your puppy may require advice. Information from breed surveys can help. Of course, it makes sense to discuss your objectives with reputable and experienced Schutzhund handlers or enthusiasts.
  • Once you have determined that the blood­lines of the potential dam and sire are of high quality, you should observe the parents, especially the mother, if that is at all possible. The dam will be the main influence on the young pup for the first six weeks of its life. If the dam is nervous or unsure, chances are this uncertainty will be transferred to the offspring.
  • If you are able to see the litter, watch the puppies together and also separately, to try to determine which is the best puppy. Obvious structural defects or health problems should be watched for. It is important that the puppy have intense instinct to chase prey- a ball, a toy, etc- and also be the leader in the sense of be confident of the other puppies. The puppy should not show fear when away from its litter mates. It should not need to stay with the mother. The puppy should be adventurous and active, playing with objects shown to it by someone in the enclosure, but it should be independent enough to take that object and go off on its own as well.
  • It is independence and confidence, combined with the positive contact with the pack leader (the dam, at this time) that will develop into the traits of trainability that you need.

How do I raise a Puppy for Schutzhund Work?

  • Puppy hood is the most critical period for the development of the characteristics you want to encourage. Your local Schutzhund club can advise you about nurturing and socializing your growing puppy. A puppy learns from its experiences, so you want to provide only positive ones. It should be provided with opportunity to explore and investigate new situations and new people, but always in a non-threatening way. Remember that your goal is to build confidence in the young animal. Your aim is not to dominate or oppress the young pup. Exposure to different environments is crucial to the general education of the dog and also to assure it that the world is a safe place. If something appears to make the dog unsure, give it the opportunity to investigate it slowly, but do not force the issue.
  • It is imperative to avoid situations where your dog would be dominated by another, older or stronger dog, or by another puppy. You also want to avoid having to discipline or correct your puppy and thus dampen its spirit or damage its self-confidence. You can do this by never leaving the pup in a situation where it can cause damage to your valuables or find itself in a dangerous predicament.
  • The final area of development is that of drive encouragement. The natural behaviors that you want to encourage are playing with the ball, tug of war, hide and seek, pulling toys on a string, pursuing you rapidly when you run away, and finally defending itself, its family, and its home. The latter really only shows itself between the ages of nine and 18 months, as the pup begins to mature, by barking at strangers or intruders. Acceptable manners at home and in the car and “play” training, like learning to sit for a food reward, with no corrections involved, is advisable. Real obedience work can begin once the puppy is more mature. It is better to leave for later formal obedience training with a young dog. The character of the puppy is not sufficiently strong to withstand the stress that may be involved in obedience training.

Do dogs enjoy Schutzhund Training?

  • If trained in the right manner, dogs enjoy working, as anyone who attends a Schutzhund competition can see. The joy of the dogs in working with their handlers is evident. For thousands of years, dogs have adapted to serve humans in a mutually beneficial relationship. While dogs could move quickly, hunt prey, and protect flocks and their owner, the humans could provide food, shelter from the most severe elements, and protection from larger predators, besides tending to the dog’s injuries. A dog’s reason for being is to serve humans. Schutzhund training helps develop the dog’s natural instincts to a high level. Self-confident dogs, doing work for which they are well trained, are happy dogs. Wagging tails, sounds of excitement, and strong pull­ing on a leash all show an observer at a Schutzhund trial how much fulfillment dogs find in this work.

What is USCA?

  • The United Schutzhund Clubs of America (USCA) provides training instruction and licensing for its member clubs which work under VDH rules, and whose awarded Schutzhund titles and German Shepherd Dog breed surveys and conformation rankings are internationally recognized through the Verein fur Deutsche Schaferhunde (SV) of Germany and the World Union of German Shepherd Dog Clubs (WUSV). USA is a founding member of the American Working Dog Federation (AWDF).
  • USCA is a member of the World Union of German Shepherd Dog Clubs and sends a team to the World Championship each year. USA sanctions club trials, police dog trials, herding trials, endurance tests, conformation shows, breed surveys, regional championships and five national championship trials each year.
  • In 1970 the first Schutzhund trial in the U.S. was held in California, currently USCA supports over 200 full member clubs, with 14 affiliated clubs in 10 regions across the United States. During the 2001 trial season USCA member clubs conducted 260 trials, 45 conformation shows and 190 individual Breed Surveys.
  • USCA is responsible for scheduling visits from foreign judges and administers its own judges program. The USCA Judges program currently has licensed 18 Performance Judges, 2 Conformation Judges and one Breed Survey Judge with 8 apprenticeships in process.
  • USCA maintains a Breed Registry and programs, such as litter, individual and kennel registrations, breed wardens and tattooers, Breeders cup and Universal Sieger awards for German Shepherd Dogs that are monitored by the Breed Advisory Committee and consists of the National Breed Warden and 10 Regional Breed Wardens.

Where can I get more information?

Contacts for the United Schutzhund Clubs of America can be located on this web site. For more information go to the contacts page and find your local Regional Director or Club, or you may contact the USCA Office at:

4407 Meramec Bottom Road, Suite J
St. Louis, MO 63129

(314) 200-3193

How do I know when I will be DQ'd or terminated during a phase?

Quick Reference Sheet for most DQ or Termination for specific actions addrulebook