The concept of IGP evolved over 100 years ago in Germany and the first trial was held in 1901. The intent of IGP trials was to emphasise and evaluate the correct working temperament and workability. Today the exercises have changed slightly and depending on the IGP degree, with IGP1 being the first title and IGP3 the most advanced title.
Before a dog can compete for an IGP1, it must pass a temperament test called BH (Begleithundprüfung, which translates to "traffic-sure companion dog test". The BH test consists of two Parts:
- Part A is an obedience routine including heeling both on and off leash, sit, drop in motion and drop under distraction.
- Part B is a temperament test where the dog's behavior is tested in normal life situation: walk on line with other dogs, walk between strangers, be approachable by a stranger and be indifferent to passing cars, runners and bike riders.
IGP involves three phases: tracking, obedience and protection. A dog must pass all three phases in one trial to be awarded an IGP title. Each phase is judged on a 100-point scale. The minimum passing score is 70 for each phase. There are three IGP titles: IGP1, IGP2 and IIGP3. At any time the judge may dismiss a dog for showing poor temperament, including fear or aggression.
Tracking: The dog must retrace the path of a person (300-800 paces with 2-4 turns) after 20-60 minutes have elapsed and be able to find 2-3 lost articles.
Obedience: The obedience is conducted on a large field, with the dogs working in pairs. One dog is placed in a down position on the side of the field and its handler leaves it while the other dog works in the field. The dogs then switch places. In the field, there are several exercises including heeling, gun shots, heeling through a group of people. There are sit, drop and stand exercises, one or two recalls, three retrieves (flat, jump, A-frame), and a send out, in which the dog is directed to run away from the handler straight and fast and then lie down on command. The dog must not be intimidated by distraction, including the sound of a gun or a group of strangers milling about. The phase is judged on the dog's accuracy and attitude. The dog must show enthusiasm. A dog that is uninterested or unhappy scores poorly.
Protection and Obedience: The judge has an assistant, called a 'helper' in this phase. The helper wears a heavily padded sleeve on one arm. There are several blinds on the field. The dog is directed to search the blinds for the helper. When the dog finds the helper it indicates this by barking. This is followed by several 'assault' simulated situation, where the dog must respond properly. The dog must out when commanded to do so or it is dismissed. The dog must display courage and it all time it must show a temperament to obey the handler. A dog that shows fear, lack of control or inappropriate aggression is dismissed