What age did you start a hard sleeve? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-18-2012, 01:01 PM Thread Starter
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What age did you start a hard sleeve?

I know every dog is different. Just curious what age your dog started biting a hard/trial sleeve? My girl is 10 months (yes I know still a baby) and still on a soft sleeve. I'm getting impatient and really want her on a hard sleeve. I just feel like we haven't made any improvements in a while (not that what sleeve she is on has anything to do with that). Any way, I'm done rambling. Thanks for your help.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-18-2012, 01:07 PM
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Other than one little session before teething where we used the "oven mit" for fun, Pan used a normal sleeve from the beginning, but we only did a few sessions of bitework before he was about 16 months old because he was young and immature. It wasn't really an issue of equipment such as how I want the dog to be worked.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-18-2012, 01:09 PM
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I know Koda started the bite suit at 7 months (I remember calling my breeder and gushing about Koda, lol), so the sleeve should be a month before.


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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-18-2012, 01:13 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Liesje View Post
Other than one little session before teething where we used the "oven mit" for fun, Pan used a normal sleeve from the beginning, but we only did a few sessions of bitework before he was about 16 months old because he was young and immature. It wasn't really an issue of equipment such as how I want the dog to be worked.

I know a lot comes with age. We have been doing "bite work" since she was 4 months. Mostly prey and just working her bark, targeting and launch stuff. We have started some defense but only at a distance. I guess because I have been working the same thing for the last 6 months I'm getting impatient and want to move forward.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-18-2012, 01:17 PM
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I would just put her up for a month or so and try again. Each session should be meaningful and show some improvement. If that's not happening it might not be the work, but the dog isn't ready to progress and if that's the case, why overwork the same stuff and open up opportunities for conflict? Even with my young dog who is 23 months there is only so much we can do. Because of other activities, heat, and commitments we've only been to Schutzhund once a month maybe twice if lucky and sometimes I wonder if we're kind of at a plateau (though he did awesome this past weekend, but we let him try some new stuff).
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-18-2012, 01:28 PM
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My previous dog wasn't on a regular sleeve till after a year, and my current dog isn't on any sleeve right now, at 10 months old. This is intentional, as we take it slow and wait for them to mature.

They are/were both males and were slow to mature...also, the helper I work with (Carlos Huerta...the best in the universe) takes a unique approach with each dog and makes sure to do things the RIGHT way, step-by-step so as not to rush, confuse or stress the dog (in the wrong way).

I get VERY ansty too...don't worry, at least you have a female...they always tend to progress faster than the boys!
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-18-2012, 02:00 PM
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Whiskey started at 11-12 months old and Wiva went on it at 13-14 months old. I got Wiva at 9 months old and Whiskey at 6 months old. I would much rather take it slower than faster. I've seen lots of problems come from pushing dogs too far before they're ready. Slow and steady! Good luck!

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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-18-2012, 02:02 PM
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How are the grips? If they are hard and full then I would put her up until she is 15 months or so. I might put her up anyhow. Hard grips and power come from aggression/fight and a dog needs to be mature before working in aggression. People are too much in a hurry (yes, I realize waiting is tough). Maybe pull her out and see where she is once in awhile.

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-18-2012, 02:11 PM
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I started Dooney back right before Easter- she was a little over a year old and she has been on the sleeve for 3 weeks now. Sorry you are getting frustrated with the wait- but still a youngin

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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-18-2012, 02:12 PM
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We started foundation work with a sleeve at about 8 months - rag, flirt pole, and bite pillows before that. He is 16 months now. Transitioned briefly to a suit and have been working with a softer leg sleeve over the arm to teach bicep targeting, develop his bite, and to get him confortable biting up high. It seems to be working well. That will be a continual thing. We do go back and do some sleeve work every once in a while to develop his confidence using flee scenarios and sends. Will be transitioning back to the suit shortly. He is still very immature and I am careful with what we do and who works him. He is the type of dog that will easily suffer a setback if worked improperly. We did a little defense with him when he was just over a year and he loves the fight but it stressed him more than I liked for his age so we went back to more prey type training and keeping it fun for him. It is slow but foundation work is key and he is soooo immature I don't want to push him too much. Slow and steady.
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