What a great thread!
VonIsenguard - your posts are really insightful and mirror what I have experienced myself and what the trainer at my club has been telling me.
In June this year I titled my boy, Mascani Ikon, to SchH 1 and in July to Kkl 1. I have been showing dogs for 30 years and I don't think anything has come close to the huge sense of acheivement I got from that. http://www.pedigreedatabase.com/german_shepherd_dog/dog.html?id=654811
It all started because I wanted to enter a dog into the working class at the British Sieger. I have bred all but one of the dogs which I own (5 - mostly veterans!!) and although I show and breed they are mainly my companions so the thought of sending my young dog away to be trainied was a no go! Having decided to give it a go myself, I am so glad I did and I now have three obsessions - breeding, showing and schutzhund.
Without a doubt the bond that I have with Ike is deeper than any other dog I have owned - I love them all but they do not "know me" like he does and I do not "know them" like I know Ike.
We are working towards SchH 2 now - fingers crossed and I have a litter of 4 week old pups that I intend to keep a bitch from and start all over again - so excited!