Age to start - German Shepherd Dog Forums
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-28-2014, 03:24 PM Thread Starter
Crowned Member
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Posts: 19,496
Age to start

What do you think is the optimal timeline for testing or starting a dog in protection? At what age do you take a dog out and see what is there? Do you do stuff like throwing bite pillows around or tie the dog to a fence and have a helper creeping around a tree 30 feet away, or...? Do you take a dog's pedigree into account or do you (as a handler or helper) test a young dog the same way?
Liesje is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-28-2014, 03:55 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Denver,CO
Posts: 321
For protection at our club we usually wait till about 9 months and then bring out on the field with the handler and see what the response is with the helper trying to get the attention of the dog and then go from there. If no response wait again a month and then try again until when the helper is moving in a way to raise bark for his threat then slowly build from there. An example is we have on new pup who just turned about 13months and he took a while before he would see the helper as a threat to bark at but now he is one of the hardest biters and likes the fight really nicely.
szariksdad is offline  
post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-08-2014, 08:09 PM
New Member
flyfishinwoman's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 6
Is your dog stronger in prey or is it a naturally defencive dog? That will determine the age at which the pup is generally started. With a dog that is more prey-driven, you can start at an early age because prey work does not introduce pressure/stress. If your dog is more defencive, then it is a good idea to wait until the dog is mentally mature to handle the "threat" of the helper. The main thing is to start working the dog within it's dominant drive then channel to the other - so you have to ascertain which is the stronger drive. An experienced helper will be able to guide you in this matter, and young dogs should always (if possible) be started with the most experienced helper available.
flyfishinwoman is offline  
post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-08-2014, 08:15 PM
The "I'm not dead yet" Administrator.
gsdsar's Avatar
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 7,755
I brought Nix out first time around 5 mo. He showed zero interest in interacting at all with helper. I could get him to engage, but barely. So I put him up. Panicked a bit. Talked to lots of people, and finally just last weekend at 13.5 mo brought him out again. Same helper. Different dog!!! He was fully engaged, barked easily, bit well, re-engaged, tugged.

My boy is much lower in prey drive than the young dogs. So it was in his best interest to wait. Plus I have been a bit paranoid about who I wanted to work him for the first few times.

Sent from Free App

"So that others may live"

Hannah vom Steffenhaus, BH, Wilderness SAR
Eisenhower v.d Polizei "Ike" Wilderness SAR, CGC
B'Lena z. Treuenhanden
Nixon vom Banach, RATN
Phoster, FEMA USAR(Labrador)
Ch. Pennywise Sticky Wicket(Dandie Dinmont Terrier)
gsdsar is offline  
post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-08-2014, 08:48 PM
Crowned Member
GatorDog's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 4,605
I have introduced it to my dogs right away, but my last two have through the roof prey drive, so it was easy to start them on foundation stuff. I got Aiden at 6 months ish and he started around 7 or 8 months will very little prey drive and I wish I had the knowledge to have gone slower with him.

Feuergarten German Shepherds

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
GatorDog is offline  
post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-08-2014, 10:28 PM
Crowned Member
mycobraracr's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 3,552
I bring them out around 10-12 weeks to see what they do. Then again about 20 weeks. After that I wait until the 7-9 month range and go from there.
mycobraracr is offline  
post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-08-2014, 10:31 PM
Elite Member
trcy's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Southern California
Posts: 1,514
We started when he was about 4 months old. They just used flirt poles at first, then small bite pillows, now he's biting larger bite pillows. He has not done any sleeve work yet. He just turned 9 months.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Riley - 11/05/2012-8/30/2013 (Myasthenia Gravis)
He will always be in my heart.
trcy is offline  
post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-08-2014, 10:33 PM
Crowned Member
Jax08's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: NNE PA
Posts: 27,424
I had Seger out a couple weeks ago at 4 1/2 months. He was out about a month earlier. Showed a lot of interest then but wouldn't bark. He was very into it this last time but the helper interacted with him more also.

Jax08 is offline  
post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-08-2014, 10:36 PM
Elite Member
Blitzkrieg1's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: KW Ontario
Posts: 1,965
Did a lot of stuff at home. Brought her out at about 12 weeks and was fighting the helper for a rag and barking nicely. Has nice prey and lots of defense. So have to be careful to keep it all in prey. Been going once a week since. Building the bark and hold atm, previous to that all drive, grip and strike building.

Bastian the Beast

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Blitzkrieg1 is offline  
post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-08-2014, 10:50 PM
Crowned Member
mycobraracr's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 3,552
I should also add that I don't like to bring puppies/dogs up in all prey. So I prefer to wait until they are mature enough to handle it. No need to rush it. My current puppy has only been out three times. I have really like what I have seen every time. At only five months, she still has a lot of maturing to do. So for now I wait. I will bring her out again in a couple months and see how she does.
mycobraracr is offline  
Sponsored Links

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the German Shepherd Dog Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome