Helper Program

DVG America Trial Helper Certification Program

The Trial Helper Certification Program has three primary goals:

1. To test dogs in an assertive, fair, and safe manner under the protection rules of the German Kennel Club (VDH).  

2. To produce a high level of consistency in testing dogs in the protection phase of a trial.

3. To identify those helpers who excel and who can work at a championship level.

A. Qualifications for Certification: Qualifications for Certification as a national level helper

1. Before you apply for certification, you must have regularly worked with some Schutzhund club as a training helper for at least one year.

2. At the time you apply for certification, you must:

3. You must have a thorough understanding of the protection trial rules for all three levels. You should also have a general knowledge of dog behavior and training principles. You do not have to have trained a dog to any title.

4. You must be in good physical condition. You must be sufficiently coordinated to carry out the helper's task in an assertive, fair, equitable, consistent, and safe fashion for all dogs in a trial.

B. Application for Helper Certification by a Club.

Any DVG club may apply for a helper certification seminar.

The club must

The person certifying the applicants is entitled to the same rates of compensation and expenses as those given to a trial judge.

C. Individual Application for Certification

If you want to attend a helper certification seminar and do not know where they are scheduled, contact your KG OfG for information on upcoming seminars and certifications in your area.

D. The Certification

The helper certification takes one day. While it is generally presented by the LV OfG, the LV OfG may, if the LV LRO aggrees, appoint a DVG Judge to conduct the helper certification. A judge may not judge a trial and hold a certification seminar on the same day.

The certification consists of the following:

1. A discussion of the rules and updates by the LV OfG.

2. Reviewing the subjects which are part of the written certification test.

3. Trial procedure critiques on the field.

4. A physical conditioning test in which you must run about 400 yards, at a moderate pace, in full protection equipment, without showing physical limitations.

5. Working three dogs showing skill and a correct understanding of the rules in IPO 1, 2 and 3. The number of dogs worked and the rules tested will be at the discretion of the LV OfG.

6. Satisfactorily complete a written test on the trial rules and procedures. The questions for this test will come from, and any subsequent VDH Rule changes published in DVG America magazine or on the web by the LV LRO or LV OfV.

**NOTE** You may have to provide your own protection equipment and a dog capable of performing the bite requirements for a least IPO 2 level protection work. Do not expect the sponsoring club to provide this for you. If you don't have the equipment or dog, the LV OfG may excuse you.  

If you satisfactorily complete the above you will receive a "Helfer Sportpass" published by the DVG. You will then be eligible to work DVG trials at the level specified in the sportpass. The LV OfG will classify you at one of three levels:

Class 1. You may work in any trial or championship within DVG.

Class 2. You may work in any club trial or in the KG championship.

Class 3. You may work only in a local club trial.

Normally, a newly certified helper will receive a Class 3 ranking, but this may be upgraded by the LV OfG as you gain experience and are recommended for a higher ranking by trial judges, the KG OfG, and the LV OfG.

E. Maintaining Certified Helper Status.

1. To maintain your status, you must work four dogs in a trial every three years or attend a helper seminar.

2. Attending helper seminars is no longer required, but strongly recommended because of the ongoing changes in rules and regulations.  Alternately, you must review the information published in DVG America magazine to stay current on rule changes.

3. Your "Helfer Sportpass" will automatically expire if your membership in DVG is canceled for any reason. If that happens, you will have to go through certification again if you want to reactivate your helper status in the future.

4. Your "Helfer Sportpass" expires after ten years from the date it's issued if you have not worked any dogs or attended a helper seminar in that time. The only exception to this rule is for those who have current LV OfG or KG OfG status.  

F.  Requirements for Helper Certification and upgrades:

Club level 3 certification:

Any DVG member can apply for certification. Their club President and Training Director must sign an application verifying the Helper is qualified for certification and has been working with their club for at least one year.

Helpers must have enough experience to safely pass both written and practical tests at one of our (2) day helper Seminar/Certifications under their KG or LV OfG with aminimum rating of (S) satisfactory.

Regional level 2 upgrades:

For level 2 upgrades, Helpers must have worked at least (4) trials and/or seminars with (12) dogs in their books signed by the Judge or OfG with a minimum rating of (SG) very good.

The Helper’s club president & training director must sign their application verifying that they are qualified and ready for a level 2 upgrade.

National level 1 upgrades:

For level 1 upgrades, Helpers must have worked at least (8) trials and/or seminars with (24) dogs in their books signed by the Judge or OfG with a minimum rating of (SG) very good.

Level 1 upgrades must be done at a National level Seminar/Certification under the LV OFG, Helpers must pass with a minimum rating of (SG) very good.

*To maintain any level of certification you must be a current DVG member in good standing and work at least (1) Trial or Seminar every (3) years*

Honorary status:

Honorary status is for any level 1 Helper that is retired or injured and can no longer maintain National Championship level work.

Emeritus status:

Emeritus status is for our elite level 1 Helpers, who have served as KG or LV OfG, been selected for KG and LV Championships, mentored multiple Helpers who have also worked our Championships, and are now retiring after years of service to LV America. All nominees must be approved by our LV OfG and LRO

G. Sanctions.

If you who fail to perform at a trial in a fair, equitable, consistent, and safe manner in accordance with the DHV rules, you may be sanctioned, as follows:

1. The trial judge may take your "Helfer Sportpass." If the KG OfG or the LV OfG sees the violation, they may also take your pass. The LV OfG may  suspend or cancel your "Helfer Sportpass," depending on the violation. The trial judge or KG OfG should take your pass and return it to the LV OfG if your violation is flagrant, or if it is impossible to adequately judge the dogs' protection skills based on your work. All infractions will be reviewed by the LV OfG, who makes the final decision on your status. The LV OfG can develop a corrective action plan and place conditions on you to help you regain your pass, or to have it reissued.

2. The LV OfG may downgrade your status, based upon feedback from judges and KG OfGs in the Trial Helper Evaluation

H. Trial Requirements

1. Helpers are no longer required to be certified to work local trials. However, Germany requires that the level of helper work be at the level expected of a Class 3 helper. If a non-certified helper is used in a trial and cannot or will not perform at a level expected of at least a Class 3 certified helper, the trial judge must excuse that helper. If the host club does not have a competent substitute helper, either certified or uncertified, the judge must cancel the trial.

2. You must work four dogs in a trial (it doesn't matter if it's two one-day trials or one two-day trial) for the judge to sign your pass.

3. Trial judges should submit a report on all certified helpers they see work a trial to the LV OfG. This information is invaluable to the LV OfG in identifying helpers that are working both above and below standards. It is also one way the OfG identifies championship helpers.

I. Helper Equipment

1. You must wear complete protection equipment when working a trial. Complete helper equipment consists of protection pants, protection jacket, groin protector, protection sleeve, and proper shoes. If the temperature is over 75 degrees, you need not wear the jacket.

2. Helpers are also required to carry a trial helper's stick, which must meet these specitications:

 4. Complete helper equipment must be worn at our Championship trials, including jackets, regardless of the temperature.

J. Championships

Only certified helpers may work in an LV or KG championship. To work in an LV championship, you must first work in another championship held under the rules of VDH

**Note**  To all Championship Helpers:

LV Championship Helpers, for the year they are selected, are not allowed to work any dog(s), IPO 1, 2 or 3, participating in the LV Championship from 12:00 midnight the Sunday before the week of the Championship until the Championship trial activities are completed.

This rule was adopted at the General Membership meeting on June 25, 1994 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

For more information about the Trial Helper Seminar and Certification Program, contact the


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DVG stands for Deutscher Verband der Gebrauchshundsportvereine, or the German Association of Working Dog Sport Clubs. DVG is the oldest Schutzhund training organization in the world. DVG was formed officially in 1947, but its roots go back to Germany’s first police and service dog associations formed in the early 1900s. DVG has over 30,000 members, with about 2000 of them participating in Schutzhund.

DVG exists for only one purpose -- training and titling dogs of all kinds. In Germany, DVG offers agility, FCI obedience, flyball, search and rescue, water rescue, and several other sports, providing competition opportunities for all people who love to train dogs, even the smallest of breeds. DVG is made up of over a dozen geographic regions (Landesverbands), all of which are in Germany except for LV DVG America. The president of LV DVG America is a member of the Board of DVG, and goes to Germany each year to the annual business meeting to vote on Board and membership affairs.

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