A Little About Us

Southwest Florida Schutzhund Club is located in beautiful North Fort Myers, Florida. We are proud to be a full member club of the United Schutzhund Clubs of America.

 SWFSC is a group of people with one common goal: To title our dogs in the sport of Schutzhund at the highest level possible. Members are NOT required to participate in all three phases of Schutzhund; Tracking, Obedience and Protection - if you only want to train in one of the phases but not the other (not in Protection) is up to you and your dog.

We welcome any dog with working ability. Alongside our German Shepherds, we also have Rottweilers, Malinois,  Doberman Pinscher, Giant Schnauzers and even mixed breeds within our membership. Whether a dog is capable of doing the sport is a question of temperament, not breed. Read on to see if your dog has the ideal temperament for the sport.


Tracking tests the dog’s scenting ability. A track is laid in advance and allowed to age for a period of time. At that point, the dog is brought to the start and must follow the track without help from the handler and indicate articles dropped by the tracklayer. The dog is scored on its accuracy and commitment to finding the track and the articles. Handlers who do not wish to pursue an IPO 1, 2 or 3 may opt to train for tracking only. Titles awarded are TR1, TR2 and TR3. Requirements are the same as those for the tracking phase of IPO.

Obedience tests the dog’s ability to perform specific exercises, including heeling; sit, down, and stand while the handler continues to move; recall; retrieves on the flat and over obstacles; send-away with down; and a long down in the presence of another dog/handler team on the field. The dog is also tested for soundness during gunfire. Handlers who do not wish to pursue an IPO 1, 2 or 3 may opt to train for obedience only. Titles awarded are OB1, OB2 and OB3. Requirements are the same as those for the obedience phase of IPO.Type your paragraph here.

Protection tests a dog’s courage, strength and agility while performing a series of exercises involving a decoy, or helper. The dog must search for the decoy, guard, pursue the decoy when he attempts to escape, defend against the decoy’s attack, and accompany his handler while transporting the decoy. The handler must demonstrate absolute control of the dog using mainly Type your paragraph here.

Southwest Florida Schutzhund Club, 10911 Sharon Drive, North Fort Myers, Florida, 33917, Phone: 239 543 5608, email: veitbachm@gmail.com

Our club members work as a team, whether it is helping to work the long line, being a spotter while assisting with the clicker, stepping in for the obedience group or to offer distractions for dogs preparing to trial. Members and guests are expected to observe and participate during every training session. It is important that all club members support the club and volunteer during all trials and events.

We take our training very seriously but still don't forget to have fun - the dogs and the owners. Members are encouraged to attend every training session. It is important to attend as other club members rely on each other to offer various assistance during training. Members are receiving tips and help to train their dog to the best of their ability. 

Guests are welcome to join us during our weekend training sessions. Our membership is open to those who would like to participate with their working dogs.  Please Contact Us to schedule your visit. We ask that you review our Guests policies prior to your first visit. We do not offer pet obedience but we can refer you to trainers that can assist you with various types of alternate training.

Our club is very fortunate to have experienced dog handlers and trainers who are always willing to help or just be there for advice and guidance.

What is Schutzhund?

Schutzhund is German for “protection dog.” The sport was developed in Germany to test the temperament of the German Shepherd Dog and is still used for that purpose today. The German Shepherd must have strong character, trainability, willingness to please, ability to scent, courage, and physical soundness. Schutzhund evaluates German Shepherds and other breeds for all of these traits. But most of all it is an exciting, competitive dog sport where handler and dog teams compete in tracking, obedience and protection. To earn a Schutzhund title, a dog must pass all three phases at the same trial. Training a dog in the sport of Schutzhund may take years of hard work and is a learning experience for both dog and handler. Since dogs must be mentally sound, confident, compliant, and energetic to succeed in Schutzhund, they are excellent companions and family members. A timid, aggressive, or couch-potato dog is not a good candidate for this sport.

Not all dogs are suitable for the sport of Schutzhund. Before earning a Schutzhund title, dogs must pass a temperament test called the BH (Begleithund), which includes obedience and traffic-sureness exercises. Schutzhund (now called IPO) titles are awarded at three levels, each of which includes all three phases (tracking, obedience and protection). The IPO 3 is the most difficult and demanding. The titles must be earned at an approved trial under a licensed judge. Several parent clubs currently administer the sport in the United States, the United Schutzhund Clubs of America (USCA), DVG, AWDF and WDA. Trials are held year-round depending on geographic location and competitions are held at the club, regional, national, and world levels.Type your paragraph here.

The Three Phases of Schutzhund