So I was watching a mali do some police training exercises at training the other day. This mali has almost killed two men (bad guys) this year because of crushing femoral bites that nearly severed the major artery.
He was bought, trained, and placed, by a friend of mine (she owns/runs a police k9 training facility). This same dog is handler sensitive. Crushing (obviously) bites, fearless, fighting, hunting, machine...and yet handler barely needs a small pop on a tiny pinch collar to make the dog comply and stay under obedience.
This got me thinking about handler sensitivity and I was discussing this with her. She has placed and trained tons of police k9's and told me she'd take handler sensitivity any day of the week. I have to admit, it is always pretty cool to see an incredibly strong dog that is so in tune and sensitive to his handler.
My male is handler sensitive. I value it more and more as he get's bigger and more mature (he's 16 months now). That, plus he's my first dog, and I'd rather "fight with him" as little as possible because I'm not totally confident in my handling skills to take on a handler hard dog.
I don't have any kind of "sacrifice" in bitework (so far) that makes me wish he was "harder" towards me. He's everything I wanted in a working dog, but I know that some people really want that "handler hard" dog, that challenges even them, will come up the line at what they deem an "unfair correction"etc...
Wondering what other's opinion in the sport and/or working community is on this. Do you prefer a more handler sensitive dog, and why? By handler sensitive I'm not meaning the dog that falls to pieces under a correction, I'm meaning one that has high biddability and doesn't want to come back at you, and takes a correction more as a "go go go" to do the right thing. By handler hard, I mean one that comes up the leash.
The more I think about it, and the more working dogs I see, the more I think there is supposed to be this handler sensitivity in the breed (sometimes I see this called biddability). The dogs are supposed to work WITH their handlers, respect their handlers, die (essentially) for their handlers. The dog's that I've seen washed for handler hardness or lack of biddability, didn't give two farts about their handlers and seemed to be doing it because they HAD to or enjoyed the fight, not because they had a desire to work with the handler and often obedience and control was a huge issue.
Another question could be, do you lump biddability with handler sensitivity, if not....what is the difference, in your opinion?
Thanks for reading, just curious on other's thoughts on this. :-)
"An excess of size is an unserviceable feature for breeding, his powers of endurance, his speed and the smartness of his movements suffer in all circumstances. Giants are never nimble."-Creator of GSD