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Old 10-31-2007, 11:21 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Default Re: Number of protection dogs

We started doing protection training with our GSD mainly as a challenge to him and to me as a handler. Add in the fact that I'm gone a lot at night, I wanted to know my wife would be safe. Evaluating his ability and building his confidence to deal with potential situations is what our goal is now. With a Great Dane who has a bark that shakes the house, and the visual impact of a dog her size along with the GSD, I feel pretty good about people leaving us alone. Teaching him to bite properly and be disciplined about it makes me feel better about him not reacting out of fear. At this point the training is developing his drives, his confidence and his bite grip. We're not working any situations beyond his training level but you can see him growing week to week. It's not a short term, take an 8 week course type of venture, it's a long term investment.

We originally looked into doing Sch, but the only Sch club near us is over an hour away and they were a pretty closed group. I got a snobby vibe from some of the members when we went to visit, and they never seemed to be taking new members or prospects, even though they only had about 8 members. They wouldn't answer emails either, so I decided they were happy with their little group and didn't pursue it further. I did notice they now have a line on their website saying they are accepting new members, but it doesn't really interest me at this point.
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Old 10-31-2007, 11:50 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Default Re: Number of protection dogs

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Originally Posted By: DanLTeaching him to bite properly and be disciplined about it makes me feel better about him not reacting out of fear.
Yup.

The other thing that many people don't really think about when they think protection training, but is the most important component of all is control.

If one is going to look to a dog for protection, either by training it thus or just trusting to it's natural instincts, control is imperative. Training gives control. An untrained dog can't be relied upon to truly defend.. it might, but it also might not. You don't know if you don't test it. But even if the dog does step up to defend, and untrained dog is going to be completely lacking in control. That means good luck trying to get your dog to disengage when you need him to. Even a dog with the best general obedience training in the world isn't likely going to hear and obey his handler when placed in a true life or death situation.

Training removes unknowns. People who assume their dog will protect just because it's a GSD or a SchH dog or whatever, have a false sense of security. If they ever are in a situation where they need the dog, and they expect the dog to protect them, they may be in for a big surprise when the dog bails and runs the other way. Put a dog through training, and you have a much more accurate assessment of what your dog will and will not do in that situation, and thus any sense of security you gain from the dog is going to be more based upon reality.

I agree very few people need a PPD. Even fewer have the resources and dedication to get a good dog, put it through good training, and keep up with the required maintenance training. For most people an imposing looking dog with a protective reputation and a big bark is enough, as a deterrant is all that's required in 99.9% of cases. But if someone expects more out of their dog than that, formal training is going to give them realistic expectations instead of a false sense of security, and it's going to give them the control needed to get through a situation if the dog ever is called upon to protect.
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Old 10-31-2007, 11:54 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Default Re: Number of protection dogs

Exactly. I have a few with schutzhund training, only 1 do I know would protect in real life. Oxana doesn't have a mean bone in her body, would just lay there and look at them, lol. She's a sport dog. Hardy has been tested and we continue to do refresher training from time to time. But as you said, CONTROL is the key.
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Old 10-31-2007, 12:56 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Default Re: Number of protection dogs

Jarn,

You are asking good questions. I have had at least one GSD for the last 10 years of my life. I got one as soon as I had a place of my own and could afford one, and have never looked back. My first GSD was a German Showline, and he was an amazing dog. He taught me how much I could trust a dog provided I put in the time to train and socialize him. He was naturally protective from about two years of age. No growling or hackles, he was extremely confident in all situations. If a strange man was anywhere near my property I would know immediately and if the guy was weird or did not look right in any way he wanted at him or wanted him gone. A door could not be open in the house without him watching it until it was closed. Through his training I learned more about the breed and what a real GSD is meant to be and do. When it came time to get another pup, I went working line. I had always been intrigued by SchH, and when I got her home her athleticism and focus blew me away. I knew I had to get her into something, so I checked out the nearest SchH club and got completely addicted immediately. I just added an adult male working line GSD to train as well. For me, a GSD can give me everything any other breed can (with the possible exception of a bird dog, and even some GSD's can do that) but hardly any other breed can give me what a GSD can. I get all the companionship and affection any other breed can give me, but along with that I get deterrence and possibly reaction if something happens. There are people in this world that have no respect for human life that will take away everything that my family and I hold dear in the blink of an eye. In order for them to accomplish this they will need to go through two GSDs with protection training (primarily SchH but transitioned into real world as well) and a 300 pound man with a 9mm Berretta. Common sense would dictate that they would move on to an easier target, and that is all Im looking for. If someone is prepared to handle those defenses and skilled enough to do so, it means that I have done something to someone which has made me a target for the wrong people (which I do not intend to do) and Im a gonner anyway.
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Old 10-31-2007, 01:18 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Default Re: Number of protection dogs

well the more i have luc, and now teagan, i can see the deterrance aspect.

i have to admit, last month the police arrested a gang that was mugging and assaulting people in the park where i take the dogs to go potty (though we stay in one corner of the park) and i never worried b/c a)i don't carry valuables when we're out for a walk; b)i don't act like i'm scared (years of feeding and trapping feral cats in nasty downtown alleys (always wear shoes b/c of the needles) taught me that attitude is everything, and most people, other than drunks, will leave you alone if you leave them alone); and c)i had a large dog with me.

teagan moves forward at every strange dog and person she sees. i described her as looking for a collision, and that's the best way i can think of to put it. from the short period of time i've had her, she has displayed a willingness to engage.

i guess i just don't worry about being in a situation where i'd need this, but you guys are really raising some good points, so thank you!
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Old 10-31-2007, 01:27 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Default Re: Number of protection dogs

There is a woman at our club who has a real nice Mal. On the field the dog is a beast, very well trained, immaculate obedience. The woman came home one day and this guy who had done work on her house a few weeks before was getting out of her pool! He apparently was working on another house down the street and used her pool to cool off. The man started approaching her when she was asking him what the heck he was doing. She didn't like how he was coming towards her. She gave the dog the "secret word" and the dog didn't move. The dog knew that the pool was a fun place where she and her human friends would swim, so she didn't think of the guy as a threat. Now she's trying to make the dog more civil and try and teach her that protection doesn't end on the field- work with hidden sleeves, work off of the field, etc.

Here you have an example of a dog that is outstanding when someone has a suit on, but will not engage a real threat in real life.
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Old 10-31-2007, 04:07 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Default Re: Number of protection dogs

Quote:
Originally Posted By: Chris Wild The other thing that many people don't really think about when they think protection training, but is the most important component of all is control.

If one is going to look to a dog for protection, either by training it thus or just trusting to it's natural instincts, control is imperative. Training gives control. An untrained dog can't be relied upon to truly defend.. it might, but it also might not. You don't know if you don't test it. But even if the dog does step up to defend, and untrained dog is going to be completely lacking in control.
that to me would be the biggest pay-off of SchH/protection training - the dog would be very well-trained and under control. the few SchH dogs i've seen in real life are extremely impressive, extremely self-confident, and extremely well-behaved.

dan - does adding in a civil component to the training effect how well the dog performs in SchH? is this confusing to them b/c of differences in the two, whether it's the bite locale or other holding behaviour? (edit: i have read elsewhere that SchH and PSD work aren't that compatible....maybe i'm wrong in thinking PPD work would be similar to PSD work and therefore the same issues would arise - curious as to opinions (man i'm nosy about something i'm not even doing with the dogs! sorry....))
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Old 10-31-2007, 04:35 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Default Re: Number of protection dogs

Jarn,

Apparently you and I are following each other around the board today and posting! LOL Anyway, the end result of all the training is amazing, but for lots of people that train in SchH the journey of training itself and the knowledge you attain about your dogs temperment (and yourself for that matter) ends up being the biggest draw.

As far as one type of work (PPD, SchH or PSD) affecting another it depends on the dog, handler, and quality of training. Bernard Flinks, a very well known SchH handler and trainer and K9 cop in Germany works his dogs in both. His opinion was that the right dog, with the right training, could be transitioned from sport work to PSD work in a weeks time and that he prefers to work this way because of the increased control he has with a dual dog. Now, he is REALLY good at both types of training, but it can be done.
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Old 10-31-2007, 04:52 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Default Re: Number of protection dogs

heh....so it seems!

can you transition back? from PSD to SchH? i guess so, if you train the dog right, you could work them back and forth, you'd just have to be careful that they'd repositioned (so to speak)?

i definitely see SchH as being a really amazing bonding thing to do with your dog, and a very cool part of GSD heritage. for me, i'm way too new of a handler, luc is most definitely not an appropriate dog for it (too soon to say about teagan), and it would seem that some of the SchH trainers around here are kinda big jerks to dogs (re my other thread). besides, to be totally selfish about it - i have for next summer a very specific running goal that will take a lot of training. i had decided after two months of having luc to give it up and focus on him, but luckily, after tearing a couple of ligaments in my ankle, my distances dropped down to where luc was able to train w/me, so he'll build up w/me and i can do the training and have luc with me. i'm putting in separate runs for teagan. during that timeline, i want to focus on basic and then advanced obed. with them, and i think that's realistic and won't be too boring....at least i'm hoping to have my cake and eat it too! if it doesn't work, the dogs come first, but i'm going to give it a try (though the thought of teagan w/more muscle blows my mind).
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Old 11-01-2007, 12:20 AM   #30 (permalink)
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Default Re: Number of protection dogs

jarn, I really don't know about the civil part and Sch because I don't do Sch. There is a triangle of prey, defense, and civilness that our trainers try to balance by using different approaches with each dog to help balance them out. Some dogs are more civil from the start, while others need to have that drawn out of them. One way to do that is, bluntly, to piss them off. Cracking a whip at their feet, smacking them on the nose with the handle, etc.

I think transitioning back from protection type training to Sch would be difficult, at least how we train and if the dog didn't come from a Sch background to start with. Our dogs are trained to bite any part of the body they can get to. Dogs that are more advanced are purposely given leg and back bites along with sleeve work. We don't do a blind search and then have the dog do a bark and hold. It's a search and bite, no bark and hold at all. So to retrain those things would be a reversal of what the dog has already learned. I'm sure it could be done with a good dog, since really, it's all about obedience, but I think it'd be easier to take a Sch dog and start working him in protection type training. Where any dog will drop off no matter it's training background is when you really start pushing the dog's limits and making him have to go from defense into fight mode. That is where the line is drawn between a true protection dog and a sport dog. I've seen dogs at our club being smacked right in the face and head with the whip handle over and over to make them break off the bite, and they don't. Or being wrestled to the ground and tied up in the decoys legs and being flipped around. Not a lot of dogs will stay on a bite when they are pushed that hard. Of course, we don't do that to every dog either, there are many levels of dog we train with, from beginners to dogs that have PSA certification. It'll be a long time before my dog is tested like that, if ever. We'll just keep working him and letting him get better and at some point his potential will be reached, and that is where he'll be maintained. Like one of my trainers said, you can't fit 32oz of dog in a 16oz bottle. Some dogs have bigger bottles to fill than others and you have to know when your dog has reached his limit.
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