Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
I guess I think a threat is a threat, plain and simple. Someone verbally or physically threatening the dog or intentionally getting in the dog's space or my space in a threatening and provocative way. That's when the dog should respond. I don't like it when the dogs are screaming uncontrollably in the parking lot just getting harnessed up for protection. I like them to have control and show they are actually thinking and paying attention, not just getting nuts over the sight of a sleeve.
In my own training, my helper can touch my dog and even do some obedience with him. He cannot correct him hard without a problem from the dog, but I don't think anyone but me can (he's not a dog that will let just anyone take the leash and start jerking him around, but I think this is good and like this about him). Lately in tracking we've been preparing for different things that happen in a trial, so getting the dog used to a person or people near him or at various distances behind him or next to him while tracking. On Sunday the helper was within kicking distance of the dog as he tracked and indicated articles without creating problem, and was also in my "group" for obedience training. Ideally I'd have a variety of people and not be intentionally putting helpers in my dogs space in other phases, but there's not always much of a choice when training, especially when I want help with tracking. So far it hasn't seemed to matter anyway. Now, the dog is not so complacent that I or my husband could "work" him in protection. It does have to be "real". He does not have the raw power that a dog with better genetics might have, but I like that he activates well on his own, when appropriate. Since my dog is not just a SchH dog but primarily my companion that comes a lot of places with me and does a lot of different activities, I have to place control higher on the priority list for him that I might with a different dog with a different lifestyle.
I do not like sleeve/equipment oriented dogs or training. The sleeve definitely has it's purpose but I think the real catalyst in bitework is both the dog responding to a threat and the dog being able to bring power and aggression on his own (like coming into the blind initially when there is no threat or stimulation). The dog should be ready to fight, not just want to play games with a jute sleeve. That's just the way I feel about it. The dog bites the sleeve as the acceptable method of diffusing the threat. Then the dog can hold that sleeve and be in his own space because he "won". The more I see little bitty puppies coming out to play games with rags and small tugs, the more I feel there isn't much point, other than to check the dog's grip and see how he responds in general in the environment, but the real work begins when the dog is more mature. But please, correct me where I am wrong!
Last edited by Liesje; 10-11-2010 at 12:02 PM.