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Discussion Starter #1
I'm not sure if "bitework" is even the right word. For context, Jupiter is 8.5 months, is finishing up Obedience 3, and I am looking for an activity for him. I'm looking at obedience, agility, and also maybe something with bitework. I have no need at all of protection; so the bitework would just be for sport, exercise, and fun.

Trainers have told me that the bitework-trained dogs are actually better controlled and less likely to bite than otherwise, but then I've also heard stories to the opposite effect.

I'm interested in training Jupiter so he listens to me in the "real world," not just in the kitchen or training room when I have treats, or when I have his prong collar on and can muscle him around.

Is there any kind of consensus about the biting issue?
 

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it depends on the trainer. Some people train bitework and have no idea what they are doing. Someone who is working toward a sport title with a good helper/ decoy can do a lot to help your dog with confidence and self control. All dogs know how to bite. Bite work helps them gain the control to stop on command and to look to you to see if it is a biting situation.

A good club will want to try your puppy first. Not all dogs enjoy it. My big-boy loves bitework. My gal-dog wasn't interested in tussling with strangers (she might now that she is older and more confident but we've changed sports). If you are interested you should visit the club first to watch. Also they will expect you to work towards a title, starting with the BH.

Also remember that your dog is still very young. Our guys don't really reach full maturity until 2 or 3 years old, so keep working obedience games. If you keep having fun with your dog and working as a team and using fair consistent consequences for foolishness you will end up with a great pal in a year or two.
 

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SchH/IPO/IGP is all about obedience. All dogs know how to bite. We teach control, when it is allowed, and when it isn't.
 

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...all of the above said, CORRECT training on a dog with the CORRECT temperament and foundation, should not make a dog less safe to be around.
 
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As others have said. It all depends on the dog and the training. Proper training shouldn't change who the dog is. All these dogs do bite work and are pretty serious in their work. One of the was even handled by an eight year old girl both in OB and Pro

28468579_936756269825535_594297490760634325_n by Jeremy Friedman, on Flickr
21232115_843526862481810_1941519359673941971_n by Jeremy Friedman, on Flickr
image4 by Jeremy Friedman, on Flickr
image3 by Jeremy Friedman, on Flickr
31543101_10214362082238556_3204617095459373056_n by Jeremy Friedman, on Flickr
Kimber-boys by Jeremy Friedman, on Flickr

https://www.facebook.com/t17workingdogs/videos/1007532142747947/
 

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As others have said. It all depends on the dog and the training. Proper training shouldn't change who the dog is. All these dogs do bite work and are pretty serious in their work. One of the was even handled by an eight year old girl both in OB and Pro
And they looked fabulous together!
All of those dogs are a credit to their breeder.

The problem is not the bite work , it's that every schmuck in the world thinks they can make their dogs tough, and every Joe with a dog thinks it should reproduce.
One of the reasons I let no one handle my dogs but me. Shadow is soft and timid, prone to fits of hysteria. Snake quick and never bluffs. Only a fool would encourage a dog like that to bite, but I cannot count the number of idiots who have taunted and pushed and provoked her. All in the name of toughening her up and teaching her to be a "real" dog. Because apparently she's a fake one.
Every time we excuse irresponsible breeding, every time we want "just a pet", every time we tolerate the "too hot" for a pet home we add to the erosion.
The bite work does not make the dogs less safe to be around. We do.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks everyone for the responses! I do have a ten-year old, so I certainly wouldn't want to encourage Jupiter to be more bitey or aggressive. From what I can tell, he is neither fearful nor aggressive, but he isn't a Golden Retriever, either. But he's just 8 months and I'm a GSD newbie.
 

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There's too many variables to really answer that question. Depends mostly on the dog, as well as the training. Having a bad training program with a not so confident dog could be a recipe for disaster.
With IPO there is such a focus on protection being on the field, a routine, same stuff all the time, that I believe most decent clear headed dogs can easily make the connection that ok we are on the field and we are doing protection, and that guy with the stick and sleeve is the bad guy.
Most people that do IPO aren't looking to train a dog for personal protection, myself included, so you wouldn't be alone in just wanting to train for the sport of it.
The sport is all about control and precision, to an obsessive extent.
The amount of work and dedication it takes to train a dog for IPO I do believe that the dog is much more controlled than most other dogs out there.
That being said I think that anyone who wants to train a dog in bite work needs to be serious about keeping up with training. We have a much higher need for responsibility to control our dogs as if something did happen, no matter the situation, it's likely the bite work training will be brought up against the dog.
 

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Thanks everyone for the responses! I do have a ten-year old, so I certainly wouldn't want to encourage Jupiter to be more bitey or aggressive. From what I can tell, he is neither fearful nor aggressive, but he isn't a Golden Retriever, either. But he's just 8 months and I'm a GSD newbie.

What they learn on the field does not change their temperament. So many pictures of my friends with their little kids and big IPO dogs. I can hand my IPO3 dog off to any child and he will work with them, play ball with them, etc.

If your dog is solid then you should not have a problem.
 

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It could- if your dog is unstable and/or the training is done improperly.

For some dogs who want to bite anyway, training or not, controlled bitework and confidence building along with obedience and control can help, not hurt. But with those dogs I'd be taking precautions anyway- bitework or not.

For a stable well bred dog, evaluated and started by an experienced trainer, shouldn't be a problem. Plenty of family dogs do IPG. Most not at the absolute top levels but lots of reasons for that (IPG takes time, so do kids, something usually has to give). IPG is mostly about precision and control- and that includes the protection portion.

Be very careful to chose a good training group or trainer and go from there.
 

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There are tons of other super fun dog sports that in my experience are more accessible. I'd have to drive a minimum of 2 hrs in either direction to find a working dog group but there are 4 or 5 different choices of kennel clubs and non kennel clubs offering competition obedience classes, agility, barn hunt, AKC tracking and dock diving to name a few no more than an hr away. And I live literally in the middle of nowhere so you might have way better resources

You can get real world obedience in an AKC focused obedience class too.
 

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Same dog.

There are too many variables to give a simple answer. In general, the temperament of the dog will determine its reaction to stuff. Training will find tune that response.
 

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David, those two photos are great. Really spells out what is possible with a good dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Jupiter has never shown any aggression as far as I can tell. Landshark puppy stuff, he had in spades. He also has developed a nice tolerance of other dogs that seems to have improved when we started going to the GSD club and doing obedience with 10 other GSDs. Just the other day, I sat in on a bitework training session and there were 6 black GSD puppies, one of them barking his head off at Jupiter. Jupiter just sat there watching him, seemingly not feeling threatened at all.
 

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I used to be an insurance adjuster who paid claims on dog bites. There are lots of insurance companies that will cancel your insurance if you have a GSD. If you have one trained in bite work, and they actually bite someone, that will probably count against you in any civil case.

They will ask a logical question -- if you didn't intend your dog to bite, why did you give it bite training? Likewise with every type of aggressive dog training.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I used to be an insurance adjuster who paid claims on dog bites. There are lots of insurance companies that will cancel your insurance if you have a GSD. If you have one trained in bite work, and they actually bite someone, that will probably count against you in any civil case.

They will ask a logical question -- if you didn't intend your dog to bite, why did you give it bite training? Likewise with every type of aggressive dog training.
That makes sense. I wonder if it has any ramifications here in Arizona, which has strict liability. As the owner, you are legally responsible for any dog bite that occurs, without having to prove negligence.
 

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That makes sense. I wonder if it has any ramifications here in Arizona, which has strict liability. As the owner, you are legally responsible for any dog bite that occurs, without having to prove negligence.
My guess would be that it might have some effect on punitive damages, if any. Also, insurance companies keep records of such things and you could wind up with some note on the record that you have a GSD (very bad) trained in aggression. Lots of companies are just flat denying insurance to GSD owners these days.

I don't think I would put any family dog through any aggression training. Every GSD I have ever had has been naturally overprotective, anyway. Anyone who tried to harm me in their presence would deeply regret it. If anything, my problem has been to try make them calm down. I can't imagine why bite or protection training would be useful unless you were planning on launching the dog against someone before they become an immediate physical threat. That, of course, is assault with a deadly weapon in all but very limited circumstances.

But then, I view most of the fancy training to be wasted on family dogs. I could teach my dog to dance, too. Why? Do a lot of work so I could feel cool that I have a dancing dog? My dogs' highest and best purpose is Active Teddy Bear. That doesn't take a lot of training.
 

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My guess would be that it might have some effect on punitive damages, if any. Also, insurance companies keep records of such things and you could wind up with some note on the record that you have a GSD (very bad) trained in aggression. Lots of companies are just flat denying insurance to GSD owners these days.

I don't think I would put any family dog through any aggression training. Every GSD I have ever had has been naturally overprotective, anyway. Anyone who tried to harm me in their presence would deeply regret it. If anything, my problem has been to try make them calm down. I can't imagine why bite or protection training would be useful unless you were planning on launching the dog against someone before they become an immediate physical threat. That, of course, is assault with a deadly weapon in all but very limited circumstances.

But then, I view most of the fancy training to be wasted on family dogs. I could teach my dog to dance, too. Why? Do a lot of work so I could feel cool that I have a dancing dog? My dogs' highest and best purpose is Active Teddy Bear. That doesn't take a lot of training.
I'm curious why you keep referring to it as aggression training? All dogs are capable of biting and training is about control, ei: making your dogs calm down.

I also know that in some states, Montana springs to mind, if you are on private property uninvited and get bitten you have no recourse. Likewise if you provoke the dog, like by threatening it's owner, or if you are bitten during the commission of a crime or while engaging in a criminal act you also have no claim.
In Canada the laws are different. In Saskatchewan, when I lived there, if you are on private property whether invited or uninvited and are bitten by a dog that resides on that property you have no case. Most provinces protect dogs from provocation that results in a bite and most provinces side with property owners in the case of trespass or uninvited persons.
 
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