What liabilities are you introducing when training bite work? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-30-2013, 01:00 AM Thread Starter
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What liabilities are you introducing when training bite work?

My pup, Sagan, is 15 weeks old and while I'm a ways from introducing any defensive drive I have started to nurture his prey drive with a flirt pull and tug work. That said I am still unsure of the consequences of having a dog in the future that is bite ready and is comfortable in stressful circumstances. I know I want a confident dog but I don't think I necessarily need a dog proficient in bite work, especially if it could introduce liabilities to everyday life.

The reason I am entertaining the idea is two-fold. (1)The random occurrence where you want and need your companion to be protective and (2)giving him a purpose and reinforce the natural reward system (for his own satisfaction). My concern is that if he is trained in bite work I could imagine scenarios where he knows biting is a way to resolve an issue and might bite when inappropriate (would this only happen in a improperly socialized dog?). Although that said, on the flip side, I could understand that a dog trained in stressful environments would better recognize situations when to be protecting and when to be relaxed.

Some questions if anyone with experience would be so kind:
(1)Is bite work just another exercise and behavior the dog is performing to get a reward?
(2)While biting looks agressive, is a dog going for a bite having an agressive attitude or are they just amped up and excited to get the bite and get the prize?
(3)I know people reference distinct drives (prey, defensive, and fight) but are those drives significantly different from each other? If building drive is all about frustrating and prolonging the reward aren't the defensive and fight drive just the addition of distractions in proofing your dog (defensive-stress, fight-physical contact)?
(4)With a dog finding satisfaction in biting are they exponentially more of a liability than a dog that hasn't been introduced to those exercises?

I know it may seem that if I am not totally sure I want to introduce bite work I shouldn't, but I would like to have as much information as possible before making my ultimate decision.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-30-2013, 07:48 AM
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1) no and yes. No, because GSDs do have a strong protective nature. Yes, bite work can be trained just as a martial art would be for humans.
2) Again depends on the motivation for the bite. Dogs bite for more than one reason.
3) Yes. See 1 and 2. No, see 1 and 2.
4) Bite work helps both the owner and dog. The key thing for both is control. If the dog and owner are trained in bite work that vastly increases the possibility that you will have control and the dog will listen even when it is at its highest drive state (whatever the motivation for the drive may be in the particular situation.) Depending on the lines and the individual dog, a GSD may bite regardless, so your having control is much much better than an owner who does not. Many owners think they have control over their dog because they obey basic obedience commands. The problem is the dog is not in a very high drive state so both dog and owner are totally unprepared and do not have control just when the situation demands it. Now if you are not present and a dog is just by itself in your yard, the control and assessment of the threat is up to the dog. A GSD properly trained in bite work may be more confident so their threshhold for biting may actually become higher. Which means they will be less likely to bite at a non-threat when alone. Also, proper protection dog training exposes dogs to different scenarios, both threatening and non-threatening. Again, the dog learns to have better discernment of either situation. Having said that dogs make mistakes just as people do, so do not put your dog in the situation where it is up to him to decide when to bite.
With regard to legal liabilities, please consult your lawyer.

Last edited by Ocean; 05-30-2013 at 07:57 AM.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-30-2013, 09:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sagan View Post
My concern is that if he is trained in bite work I could imagine scenarios where he knows biting is a way to resolve an issue and might bite when inappropriate (would this only happen in a improperly socialized dog?).
It would depend on training. My dogs are trained to act only when I say or when I am actively getting physically attacked. Although that said, on the flip side, I could understand that a dog trained in stressful environments would better recognize situations when to be protecting and when to be relaxed. This is the key. IME the dogs are more comfortable in most situations and read body language (both yours and attacker) very well.

Some questions if anyone with experience would be so kind:
(1)Is bite work just another exercise and behavior the dog is performing to get a reward? Both yes and no
(2)While biting looks agressive, is a dog going for a bite having an agressive attitude or are they just amped up and excited to get the bite and get the prize? Depends on the dog and how it's being trained.
(3)I know people reference distinct drives (prey, defensive, and fight) but are those drives significantly different from each other? Yes, but you also have different types of those drives. If building drive is all about frustrating and prolonging the reward aren't the defensive and fight drive just the addition of distractions in proofing your dog (defensive-stress, fight-physical contact)? If I'm understanding your question correctly, then no.
(4)With a dog finding satisfaction in biting are they exponentially more of a liability than a dog that hasn't been introduced to those exercises? No, just like a martial artist who finds satisfaction in training his discipline doesn't walk around punching everyone in the face. Those who no they can protect themselves generally have a lot of confidence. With that, one doesn't feel the need to "prove" it every two seconds.

I know it may seem that if I am not totally sure I want to introduce bite work I shouldn't, but I would like to have as much information as possible before making my ultimate decision.


^In blue

As far as liability. That's the reason I title in sports. It gives some type of credibility to my training. Shows that I didn't just create an aggressive dog but that I have a lot of control over the dog. On top of titles I also like doing the CGC. Basically anything that shows temperament. Does it really mean anything if the dog were to bite? Probably not but at least I have something to back us up. That being said I think when you have a dog trained in bite work the handler needs to be more vigilant and pay more attention to their dog when in public settings than your average handler/owner.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-30-2013, 01:19 PM
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how will people know you bite train your dog if you don't tell them?
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-30-2013, 01:38 PM
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The real purpose of breeding the working protective breeds would be for use in police and military applications. Using the dogs in apprehension work in those applications is less of a liability as they are an accepted tool in apprehending bad guys. However, people do still have the right to own a dog for personal protection, which brings with it significant liability. I think you answered your own question. Since you are not totally sure you want to introduce your dog to bitework, you shouldn't. I agree with mycobraracr that protection sports give you goals, support, knowledge and confidence to handle a dog that has been taught to bite humans. I really don't see a big need for PP dogs.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-30-2013, 11:56 PM
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if you don't go out and announce you train in pp i dont see how it would be more of a liability


ALso in protection sports like psa gets very close to real life situations


IPO is probably the best though for someone just looking to have fun that does not want to get into all the nasty stuff. My trainer told me himself very few gsd's actually enjoy real PP like mine does. THe furthest they go is Tug and get taught how to bark. Most are turned away. Same thing in vancouver a good friend of mine was a pp trainer for 15 years and he often turned many/most dogs away.

I think most dogs who like to chase and tug will be accepted into some IPO clubs, i am not too sure how strict they are.

Last edited by pets4life; 05-31-2013 at 12:00 AM.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-31-2013, 01:25 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input everyone. With my inexperience it just seemed hard to know what human logic applies to dogs, if any. Maybe that's why trainers rarely agree, we will never know how a dog thinks and each one is different from another. I think as I understand it I may just keep increasing the prey drive and may stop at that, just doing sleeve work as game with no real defensive drive. At least not until I am more familiar with it all and my dog would be ready to be caught my a handler/decoy. That seems like the safest bet, having a dog with the suit and a strong bark paired with natural defensive tendencies may be all I need until I know more.

Quote:
I think you answered your own question. Since you are not totally sure you want to introduce your dog to bitework, you shouldn't.
I understand that but I also think it would be very irresponsible of me to make the decision I want my dog to do bite work without doing my due diligence in knowing exactly what all the implications are. I understand that since the Osama situation the malinois market has a high demand and I can imagine a lot of those dogs might end up with irresponsible owners that think they want something they can't handle.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-04-2016, 11:45 AM
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so what did you decide to do? has been working out like how you expected? i'm thinking of introducing some bite work but i'm worried the high prey drive mixed with ability to bite might introduce some new behaviors i would rather not deal with.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-04-2016, 01:01 PM
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I dont think training a dog in bite work is something you should just dabble in(not that you are). It makes a dog much more serious but is all about control. IMO it is good for both the handler and the dog to go through this type of training because of the discipline in teaches. If a dog has strong nerves good instincts and is well balanced bite work will be a great way teach control and even improve obediance. This is a bit of an extreme example but the dog in this video does not seem like the guy would could over react and bite because he got spooked by a stranger shaking your hand or see child dashing across a field and Chase it and bring it down.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jGMQ--jWhcU

That being said it takes a great deal of work to get to this level and definitely the right type of dog. Like i said good nerve and balance are key to a dog that is confident and will be successful in whatever type of bite work you decide to do. A good trainer will evaluate your dog and tell you whether he is a good candidate and will not do protection work with anyone that has a big dog and the money to pay for it.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-04-2016, 04:19 PM
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i suppose i could teach a dog to have good instincts through repetition but strong nerves?? hmmm...
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