About IPO

IPO Dogsport is an internationally recognised sporting activity for dogs

IPO Dogsport is a fun and exciting sport for participants, their dogs and spectators. The sport involves people from the hobbyist to the world class competitor and all of those in between. Most of our members are hobby trainers and they train and compete for fun and recreational sport, however some of our members are high level competitors with one of our members successfully competing in the 2007 IPO FMBB World Championships in France.

The purpose of IPO is to identify dogs that have or do not have the character traits required for a Working Dog. Some of those traits are:

•Strong desire to work
•Strong bond to the handler
•Protective Instinct

IPO training tests these traits. It also tests physical traits such as strength, endurance, agility, and scenting ability. The goal of IPO Dogsport is to illuminate the character of a Dog through training. Breeders can use this insight to determine how and whether to use the dog in producing the next generation of Working Dogs.

BH (Entry level)

IPO Dogsport has an entry level called a BH Test (Begleithunde or Traffic SureCompanion Dog test) which involves entry level obedience and environment type testing. Once you pass your BH you may compete in IPO I, II and III. These competitions have three (3) components, tracking, obedience and character assessment.

All dogs participating in an IPO Trial must have first passed the BH Test, the international prerequisite for entry into an IPO/VPG Trial.



The tracking phase tests not only the dogs scenting ability, but also its mental soundness and physical endurance. In the tracking phase, a track layer walks across a field, dropping several small articles along the way. After a period of time (this could be from 20 minutes to a 1 hour), the dog is directed to follow the track while being followed by the handler on a 33 foot leash. When the dog finds each article he indicates it, usually by lying down with the article between his front legs. The dog is scored on how intently and carefully he follows the track and indicates the articles. The length, complexity, number of articles, and age of the track varies for each title.


Protection/Character Assessment 

Protection/Character Assessment is where the utmost control and teamwork is shown and the temperament of the working dog is displayed.

In the protection phase, the judge has an assistant, called the "decoy", who helps him test the dog's courage to protect himself and his handler and his ability to be controlled while doing so. The decoy wears a heavily padded sleeve on one arm. There are several blinds, placed where the decoy can hide, on the field. The dog is directed to search the blinds for the decoy. When he finds the decoy, he indicates this by barking (the hold & bark). The dog must guard the decoy to prevent him from moving until recalled by his handler.  At specified points, the decoy either attacks the dog or the handler or attempts to escape. The dog must stop the attack or the escape by biting the padded sleeve. When the attack or escape stops, the dog is commanded to "out," or release the sleeve. The dog must out or he is dismissed. At all times the dog must show the courage to engage the decoy and the temperament to obey his handler while in this high state of drive. Again, the dog must show enthusiasm. A dog that shows fear, lack of control, or inappropriate aggression is disqualified.



The founder of the German Shepherd Dog Club of Germany, Captain Max von Stephanitz, had the foresight at the turn of the century to realise that the then current role of the herding breeds would undergo change as the modern industrial world developed. He saw other roles that the dog could be utilised for as a servant and companion to man and one of these roles was as a companion guard and service dog. Seeing the breed as a working animal and respecting the breed for this he encouraged the utilisation of the dog as a service dog. Through the training of the dogs for service work, the breeders were able to select dogs who showed the desired characteristics for this work. Further, the breeders were able to learn a great deal about canine behaviour through the training and evaluation (testing) of the dogs. As our society and social culture have evolved, the ways of training and testing of the dog have changed along with this evolution of society.

Today this sport is practiced in all five continents and twenty-eight countries of the world. The question often asked is "what is the purpose of this sport or form of training and what benefits does it bring to both society and the dog?"

The answer:

Our members are responsible dog owners who recognize and promote the value that well trained and well bred dogs can bring to our community.

Some of our members are breeders who have produced working dogs for the community such as Police Service, Search and Rescue, RAAF, Detection dogs, Obedience and the family companion dog.

Click HERE to view IPO Rules

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