The BH or companion dog title is a pre-requirement for IPO titles. All breeds and sizes are eligible with the minimum age requirements of 15 months.
There are three levels of the IPO test:
IPO 1, IPO 2, IPO 3
In addition to the IPO titles listed above, the United Schutzhund Clubs of America offers several other training degrees: the STPr, FH 1, FH 2, and IPO-FH tracking degrees; the AD which is an 12.5 mile endurance test (one of the requirements for the Breed Survey); separate obedience, protection and tracking titles that reflect the routines for IPO 1, 2, & 3 levels; and RH titles.
For IPO 1 the dog must be at least 18 months old and pass an initial temperament test by the judge. In tracking, it must be able to follow a track laid by its handler at least 20 minutes earlier. In obedience, the dog must heel off leash, demonstrate the walking sit, the walking down, and the long down under distraction, as well as the send-out. It must retrieve on the flat and over a hurdle, and over the scaling wall. In the protection phase, the dog must search 2 blinds, perform escape and courage test exercises, and demonstrate a side transport.
For IPO 2 the dog must be at least 19 months old and must already have earned its IPO 1 degree. In tracking, the IPO 2 candidate must be able to follow a track laid by a stranger at least 30 minutes earlier.
It must again pass all of the obedience and protection tests required for the IPO 1 degree, but those tests, for IPO 2, are made more difficult and require greater endurance, agility, and, above all, control. There is an additional walking stand exercise required in obedience. In protection, the dog must search 4 blinds and demonstrate a back transport of the decoy in addition to the IPO exercises.
For IPO 3, the dog must be at least 20 months old and must have earned both the IPO 1 and the IPO 2 titles. Again, the tests now are made far more difficult. The track has four turns, compared with two turns for IPO 1 and 2, and there are three objects, rather than two, that must be found by the dog. The track must be laid by a stranger and be at least 60 minutes old. All exercises in obedience and protection are demonstrated off leash. The walking stand is replaced by the running stand. The picture of obedience, strength, eagerness, and confidence presented by an excellent IPO 3 team is a beautiful illustration of the partnership of human and dog.