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Old 02-28-2014, 03:24 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 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?
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Old 02-28-2014, 03:55 PM   #2 (permalink)
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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.
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Old 03-08-2014, 08:09 PM   #3 (permalink)
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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.
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Old 03-08-2014, 08:15 PM   #4 (permalink)
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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.




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Old 03-08-2014, 08:48 PM   #5 (permalink)
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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.
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Old 03-08-2014, 10:28 PM   #6 (permalink)
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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.
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Old 03-08-2014, 10:31 PM   #7 (permalink)
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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.
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Old 03-08-2014, 10:33 PM   #8 (permalink)
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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.
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Old 03-08-2014, 10:36 PM   #9 (permalink)
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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.
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Old 03-08-2014, 10:50 PM   #10 (permalink)
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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.
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