IPO Training

Zehfuss K-9 Training Center of Lawton, Oklahoma offers professional IPO dog training classes. IPO training is relatively new to the United States; however, the sport has gained recent popularity.

IPO is a dog sport that was developed in Germany in the early 1900s to test whether German Shepherd Dogs (GSD) act and perform in the manner that the breed was intended, rather than simply evaluating a dog’s appearance. Today, many breeds other than GSDs can compete in IPO, but it is a demanding test for a dog and few dogs can pass a IPO test.

There are three main reasons for increased popularity in IPO training. First, many people feel that there has been a decline in the quality of guard type breeds. IPO competition is a means of identifying property dogs for quality training. Second, people who become interested in IPO training find it very rewarding. IPO training requires the dog to display a variety of talents in a highly competitive framework. Lastly, there is an increased desire among dog owners to have an animal that fulfills the dual role of being both a protector and a family member. Note: Dogs that have a degree in IPO do not typically make good street protectors.

In an IPO examination, the dog is required to successfully display skills in three different areas: tracking, obedience and protection. The dog must pass in all three areas on the same day to get an IPO degree. There are three levels of competence:

  1. IPO I – Novice
  2. IPO II – Intermediate
  3. IPO III – Advanced

The requirements that a dog must fulfill become progressively more difficult as the dog progresses through his degrees.

A man and his dog playing baseball in the grass.
In 1990, Matthias Zehfuss, a Certified Dog Behaviorist, was a decoy at a National Schutzhund III Qualification.
A dog and its owner are playing tug of war.
A group of people standing around in the grass.

  • Tracking: Tracking tests the dog’s scenting ability, his determination and his concentration. The dog must follow the trail of a man and indicate any articles that the man has dropped along the way. He must be able to find turns on the track and be able to follow the scent regardless of the weather. The dog is judged according to the exactness with which he follows the trail and his attitude while tracking.
  • Obedience: Obedience evaluates the dog’s willingness to obey its master. It must follow orders to heel, retrieve, jump, sit, down and stay. The dog must not be distracted by the sound of a gun or from the presence of people. The dog is judged according to his accuracy, speed and willingness to perform the commands. The two are also judged as a team throughout the entire exercises.
  • Protection: Protection measures the dog’s courage, self-assurance and dependability. In this segment of the exam, the dog must find and warm the handler of the agitator, protect his master from attack and prevent his agitator from escape. The dog must perform these exercises at varying distances under the duress of vocal, visual and physical threats from the agitator. At the same time, the dog must not become over aggressive and out of control.
A man and his dog stand on the deck of their home.

  • The breeds that are used most often for Schutzhund training are the following:

    • German Shepherds
    • Dobermans
    • Rottweilers
    • Belgian Malinois
    • Dutch Shepherds

Special Features

Each class is privately taught by Matthias Zehfuss, Certified Dog Behaviorist and Professional Dog Trainer. You and your dog will receive personal, one-on-one attention.

Course Length

Six 30-minute classes (one class per week)

Prerequisite Classe(s)

The Zehfuss K-9 Training Center IPO dog training class requires special approval and consultation. Please contact us for details.

Two men and a dog are playing with an object.