Debating on Protection Training - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 02:33 PM Thread Starter
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Debating on Protection Training

Hi all,

I'm going back and forth on whether or not to start Cody with protection training. I would want to do real life scenario sort of stuff, not Sch/sport.

I am wondering for those of you who have PPD's...are you glad you did it? Exactly how time consuming is it? Did you dog get more or less aggressive after training? Meaning when he wasn't commanded to be aggressive. Does your dog play a lot rougher after it? etc... any negative affects of it?

My neighborhood is rough. Just this weekend at obediance class i heard a story of someone's PPD (presa Canario "pitbull on steriods") saved them from being jumped...

I mainly want a command for him to act aggressive, show teach, bark, lunge. whether or not I take it all the way to him actually being taught to bite and take down is another question.

He's 1, and has a lot of sch titled dogs in his blood. he's DDR lines

thanks for your thoughts

A tired puppy is a good puppy

CODY - Sable GSD Born 11/15/09
MANDI - GSD/Husky/Lab Mix Born 6/3/06
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 02:55 PM
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I am interested as well for Wolfie. His trainer has told me a bunch of times that he would be a great PPD dog, and I should get him into it.

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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 03:32 PM
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Its very time consuming. Most people couldn't tell the difference between a dogs prey bark and their defensive bark. If you are generally in fear for your life the dog is already well aware of your body language and is also going to be in the defense. That being said, you need to have a dog that works in the defense (after good prey work) to know what the dog will do in real life.
I don't think it has any effect on how rough they play or aggressive they are. Dogs willing to play rough though, make good PPD/Schutzhund dogs. My male only occasionally plays with my female, but my female always plays with anyone who will oblige her. She plays extremely rough. He does too, but not compared to her. The only other dog she plays with is a Cane Corso, and even then she occasionally lets my female know its getting to be too much. Its a back and forth thing though, so its a pretty even match.
PPD dogs are mostly useful as a strong deterrent. The main difference between a sport dog and a PPD dog is that you are shifting the focus of the dog from specific tasks and focusing on the sleeve, to whatever scenario might pop up, and that the sleeve is not part of the equation anymore. Sch is a very good basis for a protection dog. You can go straight to PPD, but this is better left to a professional trainer... too much chance you'll end up with a dangerous dog that you can't control. You just need to transition them to non-sport after the basics are down. Get the behavior you want with a helper and sleeve, then transition to a hidden sleeve and more realistic scenarios, always making sure the dog is still stable, solid nerved, and cool headed. You do not want a bezerk PPD as then you can't actually take them anywhere. Both my dogs accompany me literally everywhere it is legally allowed. They are constantly in public on restaurant patios, in my car as I go to school, they go into lowes & home depot (yep... its allowed), etc. If they ever threatened anyone I'd undoubtably be asked to leave immediately and not return so I can't stress enough making sure they are calm in public
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 04:11 PM Thread Starter
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thanks Hunter...

so you DO feel a PPD can become dangerous...

His obediance is getting pretty advanced, and I'm not much into tracking so that's why I thought straight protection would be better for me than SCH. plus i don't care about titles, breeding etc...

lots of great thoughts so thank you very much

A tired puppy is a good puppy

CODY - Sable GSD Born 11/15/09
MANDI - GSD/Husky/Lab Mix Born 6/3/06
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 04:21 PM
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I don't care about titles or breeding either. I haven't decided if I'm going the full sch title thing or not.

I think a proper PPD should be aloof, but calm and quiet in public. He should never show undue aggression, but should never be suprised by someone approaching either. My male is clearly always on guard in public.. my female... not so much, but she's a puppy and its improving so we'll see.

I've done a bunch of tracking, but not a bunch of schutzhund tracking. Its actually pretty fun to do I think. The dogs love it also. Its also useful if you train for just general area article searching, to find stuff. As a joke one day I was demonstrating scent training to a friend and hid a dollar (only thing I had on hand that had a distinct scent and wasn't something he really wanted) for him to find and mark on. A week later we were outside, and he ran off to pee. I wasn't paying him that much attention, but he returned with a dollar. I have no clue where it came from lol. He has found my car keys for me before

Good nose work is also important for a dog doing protection work I would argue. Keep in mind a dog can use his nose to detect someone not visible, and it is certainly used in assessing someone's threat. Someone sweating nervously, or someone under duress (thieves are often scared when they attack you) smell differently than people who are calm and normal.

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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 04:26 PM Thread Starter
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i could use help finding me keys/wallet occasionally haha

i didn't realize nose work would play much of a role in protection though...very interesting.

im going to observe the protection class and go from there. plus, who know's Cody may not even be cut out for it...

A tired puppy is a good puppy

CODY - Sable GSD Born 11/15/09
MANDI - GSD/Husky/Lab Mix Born 6/3/06
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 04:34 PM
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i could use help finding me keys/wallet occasionally haha

i didn't realize nose work would play much of a role in protection though...very interesting.

im going to observe the protection class and go from there. plus, who know's Cody may not even be cut out for it...
A dogs nose is more integral to his experience of the world than his eyes

Most dogs can do it, and if he can hack schuzthund then he can be a ppd. Some trainers just aren't able to adapt themselves to the dogs well enough to accomplish some goals.

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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-01-2011, 08:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chicagojosh View Post
thanks Hunter...

so you DO feel a PPD can become dangerous...
I'm not hunter, but this is a good question and many people do wonder about this.

There are a lot of factors and variables that will affect the end product once you start protection training with your dog.
The training, assuming it is well done, in and off itself does not make your dog more dangerous, but you have to start out with a dog that is suitable and of proper temperament for the work.

IF (big IF) you have a dog good temperament, IF you have good, knowledgeable training, IF you go slow and build a solid foundation of obedience and control in bitework, IF you have full confidence in your dog that you can control him always, and IF you are willing to continue on with the maintenance training on a regular basis so that basis of obedience, confidence in a fight, and control even when working in high-drive, be it prey drive or defense drive is always there, THEN no, the training in and of itself will not make your dog more dangerous, if anything, it teaches the dog greater self-control and builds a stronger bond with the handler due to the intense level of training.

Though the protection phase and the obedience phase do need to be trained together, because if you put too much control on a dog at too young an age, they can become unwilling to work away from you, and not trust themselves to act independently when appropriate, since their early training has drilled into them that the safe thing to do is to stay by your side and wait for the owner to tell them what to do. Absolutely wonderful for a well behaved pet, not so much for a working dog that needs to have the confidence to sometimes, in some situations, make decisions on their own.

That is why when we raise Schutzhund dogs, we always harp on people to just let the puppy be a puppy, and we put up with some behaviours, like jumping on people, that the dog is supposed to be comfortable with at a later stage in their training. We don't want to extinguish those behaviours, but use them later on and build on them.

Obedience is crucial for a dog trained in protection, whether for sport or for real - even more if for real - and no matter how well behaved and obedient your dog is under normal circumstances, it is a whole different ball game in maintaining that level of control once your dog is working in full prey or defense drive. So that is one reason the training takes time, and it takes expertise - not too much obedience when young, then bringing in a TON of control and obedience when working in drive.

The importance of having this obedience base is the reason that Schutzhund clubs will absolutely want members to actively train in all three phases and not just in protection; they won't work a dog in protection if they are not satisfied that the owner has the skills and knowledge to put that base of high-level obedience on their dog and that the dog is under the owner's control.

Training a dog with questionable temperament in protection absolutely CAN make it more dangerous. Here is a dog that has no confidence, sees everything and everybody as a threat, would rather run than engage, but has over and over and over again been pressured to stay and fight. If the dog didn't have inappropriate fears before, it sure does now! Not fair to the dog, and a liability to the owner.

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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-01-2011, 10:04 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much for joining the talk Castlemaid. That is very helpful information.

More about Cody's temperment:

-He is sometimes dog reactive on lead (maybe 15% of the time)
-He has only once shown aggression toward people (growling) and that was a bum in an alley
-He is great with people in our house, and friendly to those who want to pet him on walks
-He likes to play rough with our other dog
-He LOVES fetch, flirt pole, tug

My odediance trainer said I should think about it. She love's GSD's. Owns one and a Belgian Malonois and does protectino with them. When she said I should think about it, I asked if she thought Cody was up to par obediance wise to start and she said definitely.

My biggest concern is keeping up on training. Right now I can meet once a week for obediance, and could add once a week for protection, but what about in 5 years? who knows.... nobody can really know what their life will be like in 5 years, so I can't say I'll be able to keep it up his whole life...

any new thoughts? thanks

A tired puppy is a good puppy

CODY - Sable GSD Born 11/15/09
MANDI - GSD/Husky/Lab Mix Born 6/3/06
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-01-2011, 10:42 AM
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Of course its important to know he has drive and is highly motivated, what the trainer really needs to see is how the dog deals with stress. Ultimately you wont know if the dog can do the work until you're knee deep in the work and hitting a brick wall in the training goals.

A properly selected and trained PPD is more safe for strangers to be around than any lab, gsd, chiuahua, or poodle. A poorly selected and trained PPD is only a little better than being around a mountain lion. All the behaviors we normally don't allow in dogs we are asking the dog to do in certain conditions. Keep in mind that of the normal reaction a dog has (fight, flight, avoidance, submission), we are telling him that his only option is fight. Not all dogs are ok with this. I know my male is. I'm still trying to figure out if my female will commit. If a PPD can't react with logic and reason when assessing a situation, he instead reacts with emotion (happy thoughts in training, fear in stressful situations). Bad decisions mean people get bit who should not have. A PPD has to be clear headed, and have strong nerves, and be unshakable. This is what enables him to make sound decisions to bite in the heat of an actual assault on the handler/dog.

If the trainer is worth her salt, and handles a malinois, then you can probably reasonably trust her opinion better than a run of the mill obedience trainer. I think the breeder accidentally gave me a black malinois She's mal shape and size, and mal attitude and energy. They are... quit the handful... not for beginners at all.

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Last edited by hunterisgreat; 02-01-2011 at 10:48 AM.
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