Puppies Due

By Theresa Lewis

Is the executive of the GSDCA inadvertently abiding by the writings of Max V. Stephanitz by NOT supporting Schutzhund in this country?

Recently there has been much a do regarding Schutzhund, the phase of man work and its implications within Australian society, our dangerous dog law legislation and the AUSC's push for acceptance by the GSDCA and so on.

There have been many opinions about the subject to the point where it has all becomes a little too excessive for some. "Like beating your head against a brick wallso to speak!" Yes, I too am getting a BIG headache!  Since adding my opinions to the debate I have been criticised for making reference to the phase of Schutzhund that involves the biting of men as 'man work' - instead of the supposedly correct terminology 'protection,' and as a consequence have been labelled BIAS:

"I for one cannot justify the training/use of man work at this point in time unless it is for use by the appropriate services for which the dog is to be used i.e. police work, armed forces etc."

I have made it quite clear that all my comments are my personal views only and have NEVER suggested otherwise. I can only reiterate; I am of 'neither' persuasion (work/show) - I enjoy ALL aspects of breeding/training/exhibiting and working my GSD's and have done so since the early 80's, the fact that I do not support the 'man work' phase of Schutzhund in Australia does not mean that I don't give credence to the sport overall - and it certainly doesnt' give the Schutzhund faction justification for derision! I have expressed my views without prejudice, listened to others opinions and given fair debate. So how does that make me biased?

As Alison kollenburg said; go figure what such people really stand for?

"Your continual use of the word 'man work' instead of the correct term 'protection' is the clearest indication of your political bias against Schutzhund -

"This is where the Schutzhund training should be looked at as a whole and not in separate parts as you have done when you have latched on to the Protection phase only, i.e. the section you call 'man work',  

"It is unfair to call it man work." and so on, and so forth!

The term 'man work' seems to be a very contentious topic amongst the Schutzhund fraternity, and is fundamentally at the root of the whole debate regarding the sport of Schutzhund. So, let's consult with the father of the breed himself to see if we can find an answer to the question; "Is it 'man work'(& seizing) or 'protection?"

The following work contains a compilation of quotes from chapters 2 - the nature and service of the shepherd dog, and chapter 6 - the schooling & training of the GSD, and follows his development into the protection/service dog, combined with my own annotations.


Capt. V. Stephanitz' book 'The German Shepherd Dog -word & picture 2nd edition (1925) covers all aspects of the GSD, with the majority of his writings focussed on the 'service dog'; his breeding, upbringing and his training for various uses such as police/escort and protection dog, army dog, ambulance dog, despatch dog and the watch dog - so 'service dog' is a term he frequently uses and refers to in his writings. He also describes the various rankings within services and their roles, such as; the trainer or leader, the assistant or amateur trainer, and the 'unofficial amateur' (non official person) as well as the helper - which could be a friend of the official except for attack work etc. He also explains that some training methods are suitable for the 'unofficial amateur' (non official person) up to a point, whilst others are clearly not.

The dog's rankings are;

  • Police dog

  • Official protection dog

  • Unofficial amateur's (civilians) protection dog

"In dealing with the subject of protection and escorting dog," he says, "it is impossible to indicate exact stages of training, but the attentive reader will be able to identify for himself the correct sequence without difficulty."


The nature and service of the shepherd dog:

Firstly, I have chosen this point in V. Stephanitz' writings to begin my analysis of the term 'man work', as it is here V. Stephanitz has concluded his discussion on the amateur dog keeper (non official person) and his choice of the GSD as his Hovawart (watch dog and companion) and begins a new discussion; the commencement of the SV. This section covers the dogs' subsequent use in the military service (war dogs & ambulance dogs), and how the present day police dogs work has evolved and become the principle factor in the service dog movement.  We then learn of the establishment of the first police dog 'efficiency trials' in 1903 and the introduction of courses within services where experienced and capable dog leaders were sought to instruct the masses (those with absolutely no experience with service dogs).

He speaks at length of the scope of the dogs of the police department, which essentially demanded protection and tracking services from the dogs they employed. However, he states the service dog was not restricted to the police department for long, as the SV had greater expectations for the breed and continues to expand on the dogs' occupational diversity:

       Service dogs were later installed with rural police who used the dogs combined qualities of 'protection dog & tracking dog'.

       traffic authorities followed- many railway stations commissioned dogs to serve with the railway police -to guard the lines, warehouses and company property

       Postal department - (on unsafe rural roads) - where the escorting of the rural postman by a protection dog was necessary

       protection of fields - to accompany the rural constable

       The service dog as gamekeeper - the GSD was more suited to the task than other breeds (man work was required)

       the forester who needed a reliable and sharp protection dog who could carry messages

       and finally to combat smuggling on the frontier

He now continues his discussion into the use of the dogs in Military service (war dogs) and Ambulance service (Red Cross dogs) and explains that apart from the despatch dog, whose demands were to run to and fro between leader and deputy leader, and although an extremely important task, did not require much individual initiative (just obedience & faithfulness), in every other form of service; careful, protracted training was demanded and continued practice was needed if the dog was to be useful.

Schooling and training:

This is where we begin the education in 'man work' in all its branches including training the nose (search after people and objects with barking & denouncing); from here we will accompany the dog until he becomes a useful protecting & escorting dog.

Am I mistaken, or did I just hear V. Stephanitz himself say the word 'man work'?

In this section, he refrains from discussing the specific training of the protection and escorting dog for the moment - and goes on to discuss the following divisions beforehand:

v      exercise in obedience

v      exercise in agility

v      watch - protection - service

v      Preparations for working on man

v      use of the nose (so far as the escorting dog uses it and as an introduction to work on the track and detective service)

Before he continues, he considers all aspects of the dog's obedience training as the motto he uses for any  work on man, of any and every description is firstly, obedience, secondly obedience, and thirdly, lastly and always OBEDIENCE!

v      the sit

v      heel work,

v      lying down (crouching) as well as creeping

v      lying down with an object  - watch/guarding (prepares for another exercise later)

v      the fetch and carry - this must be divided into 3 stages-the seeking of an object, picking it up and bringing it (this work is eventually developed into a preparation to find what has been lost)

v      Food refusal training (included in watch/guard)

v      agility training and includes training a dog to water as well as the swim and fetch amongst these exercises - (can also lead into rescue work)

At this point it must be emphasised that these exercises are interrelated and further training will depend on the service to which the dog will be put.

All pretty standard stuff so far, but it gets much more interesting - believe me!

At this point he turns our attention to duties of the protection and escorting dog.

"The good protection and escorting dog must, as his name indicates, guard and watch over us and our property, and must help us to find it again when it is lost. For this, he must have watchfulness, sharpness, and a good sense of smell. The exercise by which we attain these ends we call 'man work', or 'nose work'. Let us first take "Man work", for which there must be a whole series of preparatory exercises".

There! He said it again! 'Man work' - Well now, there goes that Bias label I inadvertently gained!


Preparation for 'man work' requires securing obedience, coming when called, bringing on command, watchfulness, giving tongue, energy, the instinct to ward off and finally, development in the use of the nose.

He goes into great detail discussing the following 'preparatory exercises' before commencing the serious task of 'man work':

  • the assistant -(necessary for all the following exercises)
  • teaching the dog to bark on command -(Training the dog to be a careful watcher)
  • gun sureness - (He discusses and expands on this to include engaging an assailant and seizing the weapon)- needed in service dog training
  • baying (deep growling noise from the dog)

At this stage V. Stephanitz warns against too much sharpness in the dog and suggests ways to deter this, but due to limited time and space I won't elaborate on this any further.


       For safety, he insists on the correct protective clothing being worn by the helper for all man work. "Real attacking of men, such as is demanded of police dogs, can only be practiced on a living man who for the purpose of the experiment takes on the role of the criminal."


       V. Stephanitz lists a range of strategies that can be used to entice the dog to bark, but recapitulates; the dog has already learnt how to behave toward strangers in his earlier schooling. He goes on to say; if the dog is given constant attention to his training he will become a careful watcher.

"When the dog can be relied on to bark anyone to a standstill, training to watch an object can be proceeded with (which corresponds to lying down by an object but in an intensified form)." While a service dog must be taught to wait for his master under all circumstances, without allowing himself to be distracted by strangers or other dogs; experiments must be conducted with the dog i.e. strangers entice, call, whistle, throw scraps of food, eject or hunt him from his place (by supervised assistant) -so he will understand all that is involvedd in watching and guarding.


       Training for gun sureness - he later expands on this to include engaging an assailant and disabling him by seizing the hand that holds the revolver - "all the work in this connection already belongs to 'man work' in particular," he says.


       Is to announce danger to the master and warn the 'person' to give the place a wide birth or the dog will 'bring him to a stand'- Bringing to the stand and baying should not lead on to a direct attack. In practicing this, the most careful attention must be paid, because as V. Stephanitz expresses, "we do not want to train a monster, but a serviceable and conscientious dog". This is one of the duties of the guard dog which leads into seizing and the pursuit of a fugitive.

How am I going so far? Keep reading it's worth it!

All the preparatory exercises above lead into the duties of the dog on guard:

       I.         Seizing

 "Seizing is easily developed by guarding" he explains. "The assistant makes a grab at the object to be guarded, and the dog in turn is taught to counter this by warding off, seizing and biting." He suggests at this stage the arm protection band for the right arm should be sufficient for this exercise, as it is only brought within reach of the dog at this stage. For the service dog, this exercise leads into man work.

V. Stephanitz emphasises that the need for Protection for the assistant is paramount  for this part of the  service dog's training, for now the assistant & trainer will 'make the dog furious'. The trainer, by his own behaviour will incite the dog, while the assailant (assistant) threatens the dog with a stick, stamps and beats on the ground, and advances and draws back to 'increase the rage of the dog' before the assistant finally offers the dog his right arm to be bitten and thoroughly worried. V. Stephanitz also offers a second method for teaching this.

V. Stephanitz says; "The duties of the dog on guard fall into 3 categories; withstanding an assailant, meeting the attack, and behaviour towards the assailant when he runs away" We have just spoken of the first of these duties and how it is discharged, so now we'll look at the second:

     II.        Desisting on command

When the man desists from attacking, the dog must also desist from warding   off on the masters command, for the dog must NEVER attack a man that stands still! "This must be very carefully practiced and rehearsed over and over again,  for this desisting from an assailant is the severest and most difficult proof of the most implicit obedience, and must be thoroughly acquired, otherwise the dog is useless, and a public danger for he will engage both guilty and innocent with equal facility". And now we come to the third and final of the dog on guard's duties.

  III.        The pursuit of a fugitive

He suggests once desisting has been mastered, "A beginning can then be made with the pursuit of a fugitive". V. Stephanitz suggests the pursuit (although it expands to include man work for the service dog) is also suitable for the protection dog of an 'unofficial amateur' up to, but not including, the man work.

On this last point (pursuit) V. Stephanitz suggests that training the dog of the amateur to pursue can be important for when it is necessary not to lose sight of a criminal (thief) until the police arrive, but insists "the dog must never seize!"

The helper is to 'bolt for it', the trainer follows with the dog but does not egg him on to seize, but uses another command such as 'stop him'. He now teaches the dog to pass to the front of the assistant, and when there to stop him and bark- the assistant must stand still again, "for the dog must on no account seize him." He explains by adding: "This is safer than showing the dog how to compel the man to come to a halt by seizing the lappet of the coat, or bring him to the ground by jumping on his back, or by seizing one of his feet as it is raised," as these are the duties required of the service dog.

"Further too, this is not a matter for a service dog, but only for the protection dog of an unofficial amateur, as our old friend "William Sykes Esq." can bring an action for damages, for in spite of all the insecurities of the present times, we are still supposed to be living in a period when Law and Order have something to say occasionally (!!!).

Translation of the above: - law abiding citizens (unofficial amateurs) must not overstep their boundaries of authority (police work) by allowing their protection dogs to bite (man work), as it could well result in an expensive law suit (lots of money/dangerous dog)!

Now that sounds vaguely familiar!!!

He goes on to say in reference to the above, "These then are the duties which the protection dog would have to discharge against men".

V. Stephanitz makes it quite clear once again that the duties of the protection dog must never cross over to man work (attacking) in the following statement.

The further "Man-work" combined with seeking (called "beating" in German service dog parlance) and barking, or the pursuit of the one routed out, and the watching and escorting of one who has been arrested are duties of a service dog, for which we MUST NOT USE our protection dog, who must NEVER be trained to attack men"

Well now, that says it all really! Here in this one sentence V. Stephanitz has clearly defined the boundaries between the duties of the protection dog when compared to that of the service dog!

From here he goes on to discuss the principles of scent training and tracking for use in man work as well as other disciplines but also states;

"Man work is never to be joined with tracking work, the one spoils the other."

In denouncing the discovery of a perpetrator, the dog that is inclined to be sharp (bay to a stand still or prone to seize and fight) should be taught another way to identify the find. Once the dog gains experience in scent work he can continue on seeking out a hidden or buried object and 'picking a man from several others' - but reiterates that this too overlaps parts of previously described exercises, especially in so far as they come within scope of the escorting and protection dog.

He then finishes with the following warning on too much 'man work' with the service dog.

"Before I conclude my remarks on MAN WORK, I would like once more to utter a most emphatic warning against working the dog too much in this respect, and making him too sharp. Fighting with, and biting man is one of these "pleasures which can never *cloy" for a good dog."

* 'be over sweetened' so to speak.

Finally he turns our attention to the degrees of 'sharpness' required by both the service dog and protection dog in the following:

"The protection dog must be sharp, but this sharpness must be disciplined by training, turned in the right direction, and conditioned by the most perfect obedience. Sharpness has absolutely nothing at all to do with proneness to bite; a biting dog is a proof of wrong training and keeping".

"The dog too, who has been made too sharp, is a continual danger in the house and on the street, even for the relations and servants of the owner because he, when put on to any work, can find in every harmless treatment and casual movement, an assault on his master".

"The dog who is sharp as he ought to be, on the contrary, is harmless and good tempered even to strangers, although he is always reserved. He warns and threatens first of all; he does not fight at once, and above all, never bites immediately and senselessly when he can accomplish his purpose without a fight."

He concludes his remarks with a crucial warning for the service dog trainer in reference to man work and too much sharpness:-

"To train a dog too frequently on a man in the safety suit easily leads to this and thus to sharp biting, because he has learnt this when practicing with the safety suit"



'Man work' & attacking is service dog work pure and simple, and, as such, lies particularly in the province of the dog who accompanies the policeman.

"The notion of "Man" should convey to his mind something sacred and inviolable. We have already founded the whole of his education from puppy hood onward on this principle, and he must only make exception to this in the most unusual circumstances, and then too only on the word of command."

V. Stephanitz emphatically insists; the 'unofficial amateur' must never use the protection dog for 'man work' (seize), and is adamant that man work (seize) is for the 'professional' service dog only - and clearly states the distinctive difference between the two!

So, correct me if I'm wrong, but in actuality, those individuals (other than the law) employing 'man work' (attack) training with the GSD are doing so against the writings and beliefs of the creator of the breed and the co founder of the Verein fur deutsche Schaferhunde - Capt V Stephanitz himself?

As I was once told: "Perhaps it is time to question what has always been an accepted assumption?"

So, which is it?  'MAN WORK' (Attack) or 'PROTECTION' - According to the writings of Capt. V. Stephanitz!


Theresa Lewis -

'Camnusch' German Shepherd Dogs