GSDSAR Diesel & Jim: (Sorry in advance for writing a book)
Thanks for your input and concerns, I appreciate it. Much of what you have written here has crossed thru my thoughts at one time or another during these last few months. I have had conversations with several city and county police officers, a lawyer, a police chief of the largest city near me (pop. 300k+) and my trainer to work out a plan to help my church avoid further robberies. I am sorry that this took a while to get back to you I had written in a reply several times but got timed out and when I logged back in the input was lost. It seemed like when I got timed out my free time was out so I decided to write it another time… This time I have learned my lesson and am writing this in a word doc and will paste it in. I have tried to address some of your concerns and suggestions, but as always your feedback is appreciated.
I have been training my 1.6 y/o male with Kreative Kennels for close to a year now. As best as possible I train there twice a week and occasionally train at another club strictly for SCH. If you take a look at KK’s web site you will see that although he does SCH well, he is primarily a K9 training facility. (He is also the Trainer for Alameda Co. SCH Club.) KK has dogs all over the US and internationally as well. We are doing small step training making sure that Chunk has a very solid foundation for SCH and eventually PP. During Chunk’s training he does gun/noise, night/day container- small building training, and various bite work exercises. Greg (TD) has built him into a confident and at times fearless dog. This is not to say that we haven’t had to regroup and start over with the basics again to get it into his head but we always seem make progress. Make no mistake though, I know that he is a "Green" dog.
The female GSD that will be accompanying us is my “mistake” SCH dog. She is bred for K9 work and has that personality. Around the house she is the suspicious one who is reticent to accept strangers until I do. I am hoping that she will agitate Chunk with barking and the two of them (with some commands for them) will be intimidating enough to stop any aggressive actions. Although I live in a rural ag. community, I have lived in fairly high crime areas in the Bay Area (San Jose) and have dealt with intruders in the past. (Definitely not making me an expert or officer.) As a young college student I was a security guard for a department store chain’s warehouse. We had jewelry, furs and expensive clothes and on usually the most inconvenient nights I would get called to open up the facility and walk thru it with the local PD.
As for the person who is in the building late at night or early in the morning without our foreknowledge, I understand. There won’t be a fear release, intimidation bark or any type of aggressive behavior on our part if we come upon an intruder. Calm is the best approach as any law enforcement official will tell you. This belief got me thru a PCP infused intruder in my house unharmed… (My first shepherd had some motivational influence on his behavior but every one survived the intrusion unharmed.) I will release the dog (s) as a last ditch effort only, for mine or my pastor’s safety. At no time will a passive intruder or homeless person be attacked just because he is in the building. I currently work for a local homeless mission in a very high crime area. Common sense, wisdom and some help from Above will prevail. The homeless will be taken to shelter if the offer is accepted. The working dog to me is similar to a gun, you can never get the bullet back so be really sure that you are in mortal or close to mortal danger if it goes off. I understand the warning issues and we will announce their presence when we are searching each room.. That includes our yelling “Stop Hitting My Dog, hold still” should a bite take place. He does out well but I haven’t experienced a live bite where his fight drive is totally in control yet.
Lastly to address the dog’s personality, they are both socialized around children, adults and other dogs. When we train in the church with people there his reward for searching or tracking is to be able to chase the ball thrown by kids. I would never bring him in to a situation if he had just done a bite or aggression work to be around any one at the church. I am 99% sure that he would play too rough with some of the younger kids but biting is not one of my fears. He comes into my office with me occasionally on Fridays, is not fearful around the homeless, has a mellow personality around people as a secret lap dog and has been taken to all sorts of places to meet people. He is a very happy, well balanced dog that is safe around people until the switch is turned on.
Jim- I want to especially thank you for the time and reality check for me in your post. I will draw on your experience and training when talking with my TD. BTW, your comments aren’t perceived as being harsh, I am grateful for your input….
Thanks again to all………………….. Phil