Administrator & Alpha Bitch of the Wild Bunch
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Michigan, USA
Like Lisa, the more I've learned over the years and more dogs I've trained, the longer I find myself waiting to start protection. We now wait to start dogs until they show the full mix of drives that we want to utilize in protection. They need not be fully developed yet, but they need to be present enough to tap into somewhat. We might do a little bit of puppy work when young, but then put the dog up until the range of drives, not just prey, is accessible. We play tug and such of course with them ourselves, and we do develop some things and encourage certain behaviors (and not allow or discourage others) when playing tug, but the primary work with a helper doesn't happen until the dog is ready and the drives are there. Since some of those drives aren't there in pups and require maturity, that means waiting until the dog is ready. When that happens depends on the dog. It may happen at a few months old, or it may not happen until way over a year or even longer.
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