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Old 02-05-2013, 12:30 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default protectiom training

Currently I have a 15 week old puppy and she is going through obedience training at a pet store and I would eventually like to have her trained for protection training. My question is how old do you typically start with the protection training? I spoke with a trainer today and he said that he usually would start them now until their baby teeth fall out. Things he would do would be have her chase around a so called lure that would be on a stick maybe have her work on some sleeve biting and have her get used to the commands. Is this too young bc I was always thinking she should be about 1 years old when we start. Oh and I tried to post a pic but I am on my phone and I am unable to. Check out my pictures in my profile.
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Old 02-05-2013, 12:32 PM   #2 (permalink)
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All you should be doing with a puppy you intend to train in some sort of protection work is socialization socialization socialization, drive-building, tug work and a little basic obedience.
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Old 02-05-2013, 01:11 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Depends on the dog, depends on the trainer, and it depends on the handler.

Storm started preparing for bite work and drive building exercises from day 1. Lots of flirt pole, tug of war, desensitizing to all sorts of noises (whips, metal trash cans and bowls, gun shots, umbrellas... some things we use during bite work and some random stuff dogs would normally see as "scary" or would proceed with caution), we also did a lot of work with the rag (burlap and leather) during bite work as a small puppy. Lots of fun little games... that's all it is for a while. Prey drive, no defense.

We took a break once she started teething. When her adult teeth came in and her mouth felt 100% again, we returned and starting with the pillow, and then to the wedge. At almost 9 months, she's now on the puppy sleeve and we occasionally rotate the wedge and pillow still... depending on what we are trying to work on.

Some trainers (and handlers) want to start a solid foundation is OB first, and work up from there... starting protection at a later age. For me, as long as there is a good balance between their obedience and protection.... I start right at the beginning. Just make sure you do keep both obedience and Protection at the same level and importance.

There is no right or wrong on "when to start" as long as it's done properly and at the dogs level... not just what you or the trainer want.
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Old 02-05-2013, 02:44 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I thought they had to have VERY strong obedience first? Just be careful. There are people out there that will put too much pressure on a young pup and can just ruin it.
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Old 02-05-2013, 02:52 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by TrickyShepherd View Post
Depends on the dog, depends on the trainer, and it depends on the handler.

Storm started preparing for bite work and drive building exercises from day 1. Lots of flirt pole, tug of war, desensitizing to all sorts of noises (whips, metal trash cans and bowls, gun shots, umbrellas... some things we use during bite work and some random stuff dogs would normally see as "scary" or would proceed with caution), we also did a lot of work with the rag (burlap and leather) during bite work as a small puppy. Lots of fun little games... that's all it is for a while. Prey drive, no defense.

.
Is it okay to work some of these things (some, not all) like playing with a flirt pole, tug, and desensitizing to MILD stimuli with out the presence of a trainer? What would you recommend to start with just myself before getting involved with a trainer for a 9 week old puppy?

I wouldn't try to do any sleeve biting on my own but I too am considering getting involved in protection training. I don't want to desensitize to any really scary stuff until she's a little older because I don't want to imprint her with fear, but in my puppy's temperament test video they made a really loud sound and she went to investigate instead of cowering, so maybe it would be okay to expose her to more loud sounds since she seems confident?
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Old 02-05-2013, 03:11 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I wouldn't try to do any sleeve biting on my own but I too am considering getting involved in protection training. I don't want to desensitize to any really scary stuff until she's a little older because I don't want to imprint her with fear, but in my puppy's temperament test video they made a really loud sound and she went to investigate instead of cowering, so maybe it would be okay to expose her to more loud sounds since she seems confident?
Desensitizing is to prevent the dog from becoming sensitized or afraid of things. You need to desensitize a dog while it is young, part of the socialization process. This work has to be done correctly and at the proper age. If a dog isn't properly socialized, a robber could walk into your house and open an umbrella and send the dog fleeing under the bed. Adult dogs are often afraid of things they never saw as puppies. With this in mind, you have to make sure your puppy sees everything, especially a whole lot of strange people.

You should also talk to your insurance agent. A lot of insurers will not insure or will jack up the rates on a home with dogs they consider dangerous. They will probably want a whole lot of information about the dog's training.
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Old 02-05-2013, 03:23 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Desensitizing is to prevent the dog from becoming sensitized or afraid of things. You need to desensitize a dog while it is young, part of the socialization process. This work has to be done correctly and at the proper age. If a dog isn't properly socialized, a robber could walk into your house and open an umbrella and send the dog fleeing under the bed. Adult dogs are often afraid of things they never saw as puppies. With this in mind, you have to make sure your puppy sees everything, especially a whole lot of strange people.

You should also talk to your insurance agent. A lot of insurers will not insure or will jack up the rates on a home with dogs they consider dangerous. They will probably want a whole lot of information about the dog's training.
Ooops I meant to rephrase to something along the lines of I won't start with BIG scary things, but rather work up starting from smaller, less scary things and gradually increase. I realize my wording sounded like I was planning on avoiding desensitization entirely, my bad!

I guess like what you pointed out in bold, what is the 'correct' way to do it? Just the gradual increase or is there something else to it too, a specific age (ie 10-12 weeks to start?)?
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Old 02-05-2013, 03:36 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I thought they had to have VERY strong obedience first? Just be careful. There are people out there that will put too much pressure on a young pup and can just ruin it.
Although some people believe this to be true. I do not (like I said in my original post... there's no right or wrong... just preference). You build them up gradually. In the beginning, bite work is all a game anyways. There's no defense in it... it's all prey drive. A good game of tug of war... however you want to look at it. The puppy should not be stressed or scared in ANY way. So to me... that's like saying you can't play tug or ball with your puppy until you get a solid OB foundation. Sounds silly. Now should you have a good OB foundation before a good game of fetch in a 10acre unfenced public park with dogs and birds everywhere... sure! Just like you should have a solid OB foundation if you are sending the dog out for a long bite without a leash at a decoy in the bite suit. If the levels you train in each are even... there should not be a problem.

The way I work with mine and how most at my training group do it is the dogs go through intense OB work outs, some do tracking as well (for Schutzhund dogs, and Police K9 work), and then we have bite work at the end. For the puppies, it's about 1-3 very short sessions each. All stages are trained with equal importance. There are MANY occasions where we also ONLY do obedience in certain work outs. That to me is extremely important... but, that doesn't make me believe that my dog shouldn't do bite work until we are IPO1 level OB. Everything is trained equally here.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mego View Post
Is it okay to work some of these things (some, not all) like playing with a flirt pole, tug, and desensitizing to MILD stimuli with out the presence of a trainer? What would you recommend to start with just myself before getting involved with a trainer for a 9 week old puppy?

I wouldn't try to do any sleeve biting on my own but I too am considering getting involved in protection training. I don't want to desensitize to any really scary stuff until she's a little older because I don't want to imprint her with fear, but in my puppy's temperament test video they made a really loud sound and she went to investigate instead of cowering, so maybe it would be okay to expose her to more loud sounds since she seems confident?
Marnie explained it perfectly!

Don't make it bad or scary... make it fun! When I brought Storm home she already had solid nerves. However, at feeding time I used to take her bowl and drop it to the ground with a few kibbles (it's a metal bowl.. very loud) When she went and ran up to it... I praised her and let her eat the kibbles of the floor. It became a game to her. With my trash can.... I would empty it and turn it on it's side and push it. She found it fun to play with.... I praised her. I bounced it on the floor (it's a plastic round trash can). Didn't bother her. I would take trash bags, and shake them while throwing yummy treats at her... or throwing her favorite toy when she acted excited/interested or even just ignored it.

When a dog DOES react scared... I would leave the item on the floor and add treats to it... or a favorite toy. When they were interested and went towards it, I praised them and made a happy sounds. It became fun for them. A few days of that and they were running around with the item in their mouth or pushing it around the house. There are different ways to do this, and it depends on the dogs temperament. But you do have to desensitize and socialize young. Don't wait, because once it's a true fear for the dog as it ages..... it's VERY hard to get the dog over it. Right now is the most important time to imprint all these odd situations on your puppy. Don't go so far to where they are stressed... but, don't stop introducing strange things. Make it fun, and keep it stress free. When your dog is 2yrs old full grown and can walk through any situation and objects like it's nothing.... you'll be extremely thankful!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marnie View Post
Desensitizing is to prevent the dog from becoming sensitized or afraid of things. You need to desensitize a dog while it is young, part of the socialization process. This work has to be done correctly and at the proper age. If a dog isn't properly socialized, a robber could walk into your house and open an umbrella and send the dog fleeing under the bed. Adult dogs are often afraid of things they never saw as puppies. With this in mind, you have to make sure your puppy sees everything, especially a whole lot of strange people.

You should also talk to your insurance agent. A lot of insurers will not insure or will jack up the rates on a home with dogs they consider dangerous. They will probably want a whole lot of information about the dog's training.
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Old 02-05-2013, 03:47 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Ooops I meant to rephrase to something along the lines of I won't start with BIG scary things, but rather work up starting from smaller, less scary things and gradually increase. I realize my wording sounded like I was planning on avoiding desensitization entirely, my bad!

I guess like what you pointed out in bold, what is the 'correct' way to do it? Just the gradual increase or is there something else to it too, a specific age (ie 10-12 weeks to start?)?
Gradually over time... never too young to start though. I've seen really good breeders out there actually start this from around 5 weeks.

Storm's breeder started with the metal bowls from the beginning when they were being weaned. He also would go out back (at a very safe distance for the pups ears) and fire a few rounds from his decoy pistol, and some other guns while the dogs were in their pen inside the whelping room. Once they were old enough to come outdoors, he would put them in a puppy pen to play while other dogs were being worked. So they heard all the commotion, the whips from bite work... the decoy yelling for courage tests, etc. Storm could careless about any of that. They were also handled by many people out at training... lots and lots of socialization.

Just make sure to not stress the dog, it's all about fun. Don't take the bowl and toss it across the room... just set it down first... let the pup look at it, play with it.. lick it. Etc. Put some treats on it... peanut butter.. or whatever they enjoy. Then gradually just drop it a bit while playing... getting a little higher each time. This is what worked for Storm. Duke I had to be a little more.... creative, and slow. His nerves are not nearly as strong as Storms... he was also an adult when I got him and EXACTLY the living example of what happens when you do not socialize a dog early in life with every day events and items. Puppies, IMO, are much easier to make games out of items and situations.
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Old 02-07-2013, 07:58 AM   #10 (permalink)
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If you have never protection trained a dog/pup, then let your pup grow up to 15 to 18 months old with plenty of socialization, then get your dog assessed by a highly regarded trainer to see if you have a good candidate. Starting puppies out with this should only be for the experienced so you can know what you are doing or creating. Good Luck.
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