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Discussion Starter #1
I'm just starting to introduce the e-collar to my dog, so I know this might be a little premature, but I have a few questions for down the road.

One is regarding when I reach the stage where my dog understands the recall and the e-collar correction for failing the recall in a backyard type setting. If my dog is highly distracted and fails the recall even with me pushing the constant on the e-collar (which from what I understand means that it might need to be turned up just a little), would I continue keeping the constant correction on as I go to the dog and then let go once I get ahold of the dog (and then turn up the level of stim for the next time)?

Then the second question would be similar, but in a police trial bitework setting. If my dog runs after the decoy and fails to recall, should I hold the constant button down, even while my dog is on the sleeve and until I can get to him? Wondering how that works with his bite. The only other option I guess I see is to let go of the constant button once he's on the bite (which could also be confusing) and go get him and turn up the level a little and try again. I don't want to give him a negative while he's on the bite, but at the same time, don't want him to get away with failing a recall and think he's safe once he gets to the decoy.

I guess that raises a third question for me. When my dog is doing well on recalls in the backyard setting, even under intense distractions, and I move to using it in a trial bitework setting......should I have him on a long line to start with all over again? I don't think his level of distraction will be higher than it is in the backyard when a neighbor's dog is out, but it will be a different setting.
 

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My advice is; first read Lou Castles website re; use of e-collar. Then, I'd engage in conversation with him. Just a suggestion.

DFrost
 

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My first recommendation would be to actually train with a trainer proficient in the use of e-collars. There is much to be learned besides strapping on the collar and pushing the button. One needs to know WHICH collar is right for their dog. They are not all the same. One needs to learn proper fitting of the collar. A collar too loose will not work as it should. A collar too tight can cause sores. Where to put the contact points on the dog is also important. I was trained never ever to put the stimulation box on the back of the neck. Next is correct stimulation level. If the stimulation is too low, you will not get the results you seek. If it is too high, the collar itself can become the distraction or you could actually cause the dog real pain.

If you cannot find a remote collar trainer, or just for additional information on e-collar training, do read the articles on Lou Castle’s website. He is a wealth of information. I enjoyed reading them and learned from them.

I was taught to use the nick button (and verbal command) for every command that I gave the dog, not just the command that the dog failed to perform. My instructor said that the whole point was to teach the dog to be voice conscious. I wanted the dog to listen to the command and perform it each and every time, not just when the collar was on or the dog was afraid of a correction. Next, I needed to make sure that the dog fully understood the command. Commands were taught in baby steps and if it appeared the dog was confused, I took a step backward. I was also taught not to give a command that I could not enforce. In the beginning, everything was taught on leash or long line so that I could “help” the dog until the command was performed each and every time without the “help”.

My instructor believed that obedience was the key to a great working dog. My two shepherd’s obedience had to be impeccable before I could move on to bite work. A couple of exercises I did with them was during play sessions. In the beginning, each was on a 100 ft long line. I would throw a ball and then have them return to me or sit in midst of the chase for the ball. When we first started, I needed to use the long line to stop them. They were also taught to spit the toy or article out on command.

With my dogs and our client’s dogs, I have found that if the e-collar training has been done correctly and the obedience is there, the distraction(s) matters not. The dog will perform the commands given because they have learned to be voice conscious not collar conscious.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the input.

I actually already have a collar and have been getting him used to wearing it. I'm just starting the beginning steps of training with it now. And I've read the articles on Lou Castle's website. It's great info and that's exactly what I'm going off of. Maybe I missed something that would answer these questions, but I didn't think so, since they're kind of specific.

I'm just anticipating that this specific dog will need to have the level of stim turned up a bit with specific higher distractions. This is mostly based on the levels of correction he takes from me on a pinch collar. If we're in an obedience setting or low distraction, he's very soft with me and too much correction on a pinch (from me) will shut him down. However, in a bitework setting, increase that level of correction about fivefold and you will get to him. With his highest distractions, a very hard correction on a pinch collar will stop the behavior and give me better results that same day.....but try it a different day and those corrections I gave him don't seem to be in his memory. Which is one reason I'm looking forward to the ecollar. I think it will be the best thing for him. More of an instant correction at a decided level; he decides when to make it stop (once he's fully trained using a long line of course); and there should be less conflict between he and I (right now he wants to avoid me when he fails a recall under high distraction and it turns into a game of chase). I feel like I'm just banging my head against the same wall over and over with no positive changes. He does great recalls with positive training and with some low to moderate distractions, but all the corrections in the world on a pinch collar don't seem to be getting me anywhere with higher distractions. Which is unacceptable for a police dog.

I saw that Lou had checked this site and was hoping he might answer too......maybe I'll take the advice of emailing him directly and get his thoughts. I just wanted to address what I see as a potential issue and find out what to do ahead of time, rather than get to that point, have it happen, and then write about whether I messed up or what I should have done different. This is a whole new area for me....lots of learning to go
 

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Originally Posted By: mikaK9there should be less conflict between he and I (right now he wants to avoid me when he fails a recall under high distraction and it turns into a game of chase). I feel like I'm just banging my head against the same wall over and over with no positive changes. He does great recalls with positive training and with some low to moderate distractions, but all the corrections in the world on a pinch collar don't seem to be getting me anywhere with higher distractions. Which is unacceptable for a police dog.

I saw that Lou had checked this site and was hoping he might answer too......maybe I'll take the advice of emailing him directly and get his thoughts. I just wanted to address what I see as a potential issue and find out what to do ahead of time, rather than get to that point, have it happen, and then write about whether I messed up or what I should have done different. This is a whole new area for me....lots of learning to go
Yes, emailing Lou is a very good idea.

In the mean time, try to stop chasing him. By chasing him, your playing a game on his terms when he should be obeying on your terms. Try letting him drag a long line or long leash at all times. Call him to you using stim and use of the leash to pull him to you until he comes in readily without use of the leash/long line. As your calling him in, continue use of stim (push the button much like you would as if using a bic lighter) and your recall command (come or whatever) until he is all the way in to you. Once he comes all the way in, stop stimulation and praise heck out of him.

Your right about distractions. During the learning phases, under greater distraction you may find yourself needing to up the stimulation to get his attention. Just remember that once you have his attention, the stimulation can come back down to his normal working level.

<span style="color: #FF6666">He does great recalls with positive training and with some low to moderate distractions, but all the corrections in the world on a pinch collar don't seem to be getting me anywhere with higher distractions.</span>

You should find that once he is totally collar literate and voice conscious, this will change
Your already on the correct trail. Your asking questions and you recoginize that there IS more to e-collar training than putting the collar on and pushing the button.

Good luck in your training.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks....

and I know there's much more to it than just pushing the button. In fact, I think that's part of why it's taken me so long to adjust to the concept of even using an e-collar. Lou's website helped me make that final adjustment. I was sold after reading the article on finding the working level stim of the dog. Very different from my concept of e-collar training from watching others. Makes a lot of sense.

And I haven't even begun a recall with the collar yet. So the work I've done is on and off lead with and without a pinch collar. And the game of chase....I guess I meant it kinda loosely. I completely agree that it's just a bad idea all around to chase a dog around. Turns into a very big game for them. For us, it's just been me going to him in a steady way, and him trying to avoid me. It doesn't take much for me to get him, but I can see the relationship damage. The long line helps a lot, but at some point it has to be taken off. He always does well with it on. It's when he knows it's off that things get tricky under high distraction. Like you said, I think the e-collar will help with that a lot. We still have a ways til we get to that point too. Today was just finding his working level.
 

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Originally Posted By: Tracie
My instructor believed that obedience was the key to a great working dog. My two shepherd’s obedience had to be impeccable before I could move on to bite work. A couple of exercises I did with them was during play sessions. In the beginning, each was on a 100 ft long line. I would throw a ball and then have them return to me or sit in midst of the chase for the ball. When we first started, I needed to use the long line to stop them. They were also taught to spit the toy or article out on command.
Tracie,

What type of bitework training did this trainer do with your dogs? I have not heard of that much OB prior to protection work of any kind, but reading your methodology with the e-collar and advice you obviously know training. I'm looking to learn different approaches. Was it all in defense? Was there a foundation in prey? Thanks for any explanation.
 

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"I have not heard of that much OB prior to protection work"

I've trained police working dogs for more years than I care to remember. In my program, OB is always the first step. It lays the foundation for control in every aspect of training.

DFrost
 

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Originally Posted By: mikaK9Thanks....

and I know there's much more to it than just pushing the button. In fact, I think that's part of why it's taken me so long to adjust to the concept of even using an e-collar. Lou's website helped me make that final adjustment. I was sold after reading the article on finding the working level stim of the dog. Very different from my concept of e-collar training from watching others. Makes a lot of sense.

And I haven't even begun a recall with the collar yet. So the work I've done is on and off lead with and without a pinch collar. And the game of chase....I guess I meant it kinda loosely. I completely agree that it's just a bad idea all around to chase a dog around. Turns into a very big game for them. For us, it's just been me going to him in a steady way, and him trying to avoid me. It doesn't take much for me to get him, but I can see the relationship damage. The long line helps a lot, but at some point it has to be taken off. He always does well with it on. It's when he knows it's off that things get tricky under high distraction. Like you said, I think the e-collar will help with that a lot. We still have a ways til we get to that point too. Today was just finding his working level.
I do hope you did not take my post as an insult to your intelligence
It certainly was not meant to be. Alot is lost in typing verses face to face or phone conversation. I have been training with the e-collar about 3 years now and it never ceases to amaze me the number of people that think all problems will be instantly solved by strapping on that e-collar. It happens to be those people that make it so difficult for responsible trainers to get many people over the "shock" collar phobia
So many people cannot grasp the concept that an e collar can be used in a positive way. The level of stim, if done correctly, is at such a low level the dog really is not in any pain.

Yes the long line does eventually have to go. I cannot imagine a police dog running down a suspect with a 100 ft leash
The long line is just one of several stepping stones to acheiving our goal...stop the dog dead in its tracks no matter what. Another little trick of the trade....just put the snap minus the line on his collar. For the moment, trick him into "thinking" he has a long line on. Once you see that works, use smaller and smaller snaps until you do not need one any longer.
 

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Originally Posted By: ZeusGSD
Originally Posted By: Tracie
My instructor believed that obedience was the key to a great working dog. My two shepherd’s obedience had to be impeccable before I could move on to bite work. A couple of exercises I did with them was during play sessions. In the beginning, each was on a 100 ft long line. I would throw a ball and then have them return to me or sit in midst of the chase for the ball. When we first started, I needed to use the long line to stop them. They were also taught to spit the toy or article out on command.
Tracie,

What type of bitework training did this trainer do with your dogs? I have not heard of that much OB prior to protection work of any kind, but reading your methodology with the e-collar and advice you obviously know training. I'm looking to learn different approaches. Was it all in defense? Was there a foundation in prey? Thanks for any explanation.
Hi John,

My remote collar mentor was a retired K9 officer. He trains police dogs in New Jersey as well as personal protection dogs. I also was instructed under the watchful eye of another retired police officer who after his retirement went to WI to Robin McFarland's E-Collar School. Yet another mentor attended Fred Hassens E-Collar School.

With my dogs, we did mostly personal protection. I attended the DVG club for a while but really had no interest in competing with my dogs. I also paid close attention when the K9 Officers were training at the facility with their dogs and even closer attention during Police Dog Handling seminars
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Quote:I do hope you did not take my post as an insult to your intelligence It certainly was not meant to be. Alot is lost in typing verses face to face or phone conversation.
Absolutely not
In fact it's good you're trying to make sure people know what they're getting into. What you wrote about is exactly why it has taken me so long to come around to the e-collar. I've just seen too many people with poor ecollar training and dogs that are being/have been damaged from it. That's why it was so refreshing to me to read Lou's article about finding the working level of the dog. Completely different than I ever thought about the ecollar.

About the OB and bitework....an interesting take on it is from people I know who judge police trials often. I've heard from more than a few that they can tell whether the dog will recall, false start, etc. from the way the handler walks onto the field with the dog.....because the level of OB shows right from the start. If the dog doesn't have good OB going into it, good luck w/ the distraction of a decoy running downfield
 

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Tracie,
It's really nice to read confirmations on the way my own trainer has worked the e-collar in with my dog, I never would have tried this on my own, I will read the web site you listed as I am interested deeply now that I realize I'm not going to damage my dog by my ignorance. My trainer has been very helpful.
 

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mikaK9 said:
Quote:
About the OB and bitework....an interesting take on it is from people I know who judge police trials often. I've heard from more than a few that they can tell whether the dog will recall, false start, etc. from the way the handler walks onto the field with the dog.....because the level of OB shows right from the start. If the dog doesn't have good OB going into it, good luck w/ the distraction of a decoy running downfield
This is true. Also, and e-collar trainer can spot an e-collar trained dog from a mile away too. While e-collars are not permitted in the police trials I have attended, you certainly can tell the e-collar trained dogs from the ones not e-collar trained. The level that the e-collar trained dog can focus on it's handler is amazing and you can almost guarantee a near perfect performance. (Spoken from my own first hand experience)
I so enjoy watching the police dog trials!
 

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Originally Posted By: BetsyTracie,
It's really nice to read confirmations on the way my own trainer has worked the e-collar in with my dog, I never would have tried this on my own, I will read the web site you listed as I am interested deeply now that I realize I'm not going to damage my dog by my ignorance. My trainer has been very helpful.
The results are really outstanding and so long as it is done properly, e-collars are not harmful to the dog.

Please do visit Lou Castle's website. He really is awesome
 

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DFrost,

Few people that post here need to qualify themselves any less than you do. That is exactly what I was looking to learn, and why I asked for details. The few PSD trainers/handlers I have been around also trained for SchH, so the methodology and development of the dogs seems to be done differently. So I gather the protection work is mostly all done in defense?
 

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Originally Posted By: mikaK9One is regarding when I reach the stage where my dog understands the recall and the e-collar correction for failing the recall in a backyard type setting. If my dog is highly distracted and fails the recall even with me pushing the constant on the e-collar (which from what I understand means that it might need to be turned up just a little), would I continue keeping the constant correction on as I go to the dog and then let go once I get ahold of the dog (and then turn up the level of stim for the next time)?
Reading ahead I see that you've ready my articles and are using my methods. The answer is "Yes, you'd increase the stim level." Do so a little at a time until you see some response from the dog. It may be that he recalls or just an ear flick. As soon as he turns away from the distraction, take your finger off the button. I'd stay at the same level (his working level, where he first feels the stim when at rest) unless you see that it loses its effect. If that happens go up slightly. If you see the distraction present increase the stim a little in anticipation of him needing a slightly higher level at to catch up to his level of distraction.

Originally Posted By: mikaK9 Then the second question would be similar, but in a police trial bitework setting. If my dog runs after the decoy and fails to recall, should I hold the constant button down, even while my dog is on the sleeve and until I can get to him?
There's no need to "get to him." I suggest that you use the recall command and stay back. With most dogs that have been through conventional training, when you approach, they anticipate the out and bite harder. Some will "get growly." Some will spin around to the other side of the decoy, so you can't get to the leash to correct him. With the Ecollar and the recall command, there's no need to. Stand back, give the command at the same time that you press the button and wait for him to come to you. If he doesn't then increase the stim level a bit until you see that he's feeling it.

If he fights this, let me know and I'll give you another method that I can just about guarantee will work with him.

Originally Posted By: mikaK9 I guess that raises a third question for me. When my dog is doing well on recalls in the backyard setting, even under intense distractions, and I move to using it in a trial bitework setting......should I have him on a long line to start with all over again?
Once he's working well on the recall from the bite you can start giving him other commands off the bite, the down or the sit. You can recall him, let him come back a few feet and send him for another bite or you can down him, or anything else that you want.

Originally Posted By: TracieI was trained never ever to put the stimulation box on the back of the neck.
What reason were you given for this? I do it sometimes. Usually when teaching the down.

Originally Posted By: Tracie I was taught to use the nick button (and verbal command) for every command that I gave the dog, not just the command that the dog failed to perform.
At some point you want to stop giving the stim with the command. If for no other reason than sometimes you may not have the Ecollar on the dog or it might not work. My experience with this has been that if you constantly give the stim with the command, and never vary from this, the stim "becomes part of the command." And if, for any reason, you don't give the stim the dog won't obey. It's not that he's disobeying it's that the stim has become "part of the picture" and the dog thinks it's part of the situation. As we know, if a situation changes, the dog may not obey. The context has changed and dogs are contextual learners.

Originally Posted By: mikaK9 And I've read the articles on Lou Castle's website. It's great info and that's exactly what I'm going off of. Maybe I missed something that would answer these questions, but I didn't think so, since they're kind of specific.
You didn't miss anything there Mika, it's just that the articles were mostly written in a general sort of way so that anyone, a police dog handler, a SAR dog handler or a pet owner, could use them. I didn't get too specific to give the articles broader appeal.

Originally Posted By: mikaK9I'm just anticipating that this specific dog will need to have the level of stim turned up a bit with specific higher distractions.
Most dogs will need higher levels when they're distracted.

Originally Posted By: mikaK9This is mostly based on the levels of correction he takes from me on a pinch collar.
There's no connection between how a dog responds to a pinch collar (or any other correction device for that matter) and how he'll respond to stim; but any dog who's distracted will need a higher level of stim because he won't feel the basic working level.

Originally Posted By: mikaK9but all the corrections in the world on a pinch collar don't seem to be getting me anywhere with higher distractions.

Using higher and higher levels of physical corrections (those that come from a leash and correction collar) will cause all sorts of conflict that will cause problems down the road.

I saw that Lou had checked this site and was hoping he might answer too......maybe I'll take the advice of emailing him directly and get his thoughts.
If anyone has a question feel free to email me privately. I prefer to answer these questions on the forum though, so that other people can give their advice. I don't have all the answers and can learn, just like everyone else. If I don't jump in to the thread fairly quickly (a few days) just drop me an email and let me know that the discussion is going on. BTW that's how I got here today.

Originally Posted By: TracieIn the mean time, try to stop chasing him. By chasing him, your playing a game on his terms when he should be obeying on your terms. Try letting him drag a long line or long leash at all times. Call him to you using stim and use of the leash to pull him to you until he comes in readily without use of the leash/long line.
Good advice.

Originally Posted By: TracieAs your calling him in, continue use of stim (push the button much like you would as if using a bic lighter) and your recall command (come or whatever) until he is all the way in to you. Once he comes all the way in, stop stimulation and praise heck out of him.
Stimming a dog all the way in is really an advanced technique for me. I prefer to just give a continuous stim until he turns and starts towards me. Then I get off the button. Only when he's doing this very well will I give a stim all the way in. And I only do that once in a while.
 

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Originally Posted By: ZeusGSDWhat type of bitework training did this trainer do with your dogs? I have not heard of that much OB prior to protection work of any kind
This varies form country to country. Here (in the US) it's common to teach OB either before bitework or at least along with it. In Europe it's often done the other way round, with bite work being taught first and OB often not taught for at least a year, sometimes longer.

One reason for this is that in the US we have a "contingency-fee" basis to pay lawyers who sue people (and LE agencies), even if the suit is frivolous. In Europe that's not the case. (This may have changed, I haven't kept up with changes in the law there). There, you have to be able to pay your lawyer up front, before the case is taken. That tends to cut down on the number of lawsuits. And so here we tend to emphasize control to a larger degree. (Of course there are exceptions and some European countries makes us look like the old west as far as political correctness goes).

Part of the reason for this is that conventional methods of teaching OB, those that have a lot of conflict inherent in them, often weaken the dog's bitework. If you do this before the dog really understands what's expected of him during the bite, it makes it difficult to build him back up and some may never make it. Many handlers walk a teeter-totter with control and quality of the bite all the time. If they emphasize control, as they should, the quality of the bite suffers and vice versa.

But the Ecollar can be used to eliminate almost all of this conflict and so the bite work does not suffer. In fact, since the dog thinks he's always on the handler's "good side" it may even improve.
 

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Originally Posted By: ZeusGSDThe few PSD trainers/handlers I have been around also trained for SchH, so the methodology and development of the dogs seems to be done differently. So I gather the protection work is mostly all done in defense?
I'm not David but this is another topic that I'm interested in. This might make a better discussion in a separate thread. If you decide to go there, please let me know.

I do little work in defense. I think that there are three combat drives, those that have the dog biting someone to support himself or the pack.

One is prey drive. This is mostly visually stimulated, absent an association that has been made, and consists of the chasing, catching, killing and eating of prey. It's part of survival, because dogs must eat to live.

Another is defense drive. Here the dog is defending himself or the pack from a perceived threat. Note that it does not have to be an actual threat. As long as the dog thinks there's a threat, defense drive can be involved.

The one that I look for and use for the most part is fight drive. It's fairly rare these days and many people have never seen it, so they question its existence. It has the dog detaining or driving off an opponent. It gives a calm, confident dog, the type I prefer for LE work as well as personal protection.

It's hard to find a dog that has a pronounced level of fight drive these days. Fifty years ago, I'm told they were more common. But trainers of sport dogs (the source for most police dogs in the US these days) discovered that prey drive gave a dog that looked more intense than a dog that worked out of fight drive. And since the sports are based on how a dog looks, rather than what he's thinking and how he got there, they bred more for prey drive than for fight drive and so it's much less common now.

This is not to slight sport work, but while it looks the same, it's not.
 

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Originally Posted By: LouCastlePart of the reason for this is that conventional methods of teaching OB, those that have a lot of conflict inherent in them, often weaken the dog's bitework. If you do this before the dog really understands what's expected of him during the bite, it makes it difficult to build him back up and some may never make it. Many handlers walk a teeter-totter with control and quality of the bite all the time. If they emphasize control, as they should, the quality of the bite suffers and vice versa.

But the Ecollar can be used to eliminate almost all of this conflict and so the bite work does not suffer. In fact, since the dog thinks he's always on the handler's "good side" it may even improve.
Lou,

This is exactly what I was wondering. Thank you for taking the time to provide in depth explanation.
 

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Originally Posted By: LouCastleI'm not David but this is another topic that I'm interested in. This might make a better discussion in a separate thread. If you decide to go there, please let me know.

I do little work in defense. I think that there are three combat drives, those that have the dog biting someone to support himself or the pack.

One is prey drive. This is mostly visually stimulated, absent an association that has been made, and consists of the chasing, catching, killing and eating of prey. It's part of survival, because dogs must eat to live.

Another is defense drive. Here the dog is defending himself or the pack from a perceived threat. Note that it does not have to be an actual threat. As long as the dog thinks there's a threat, defense drive can be involved.

The one that I look for and use for the most part is fight drive. It's fairly rare these days and many people have never seen it, so they question its existence. It has the dog detaining or driving off an opponent. It gives a calm, confident dog, the type I prefer for LE work as well as personal protection.

It's hard to find a dog that has a pronounced level of fight drive these days. Fifty years ago, I'm told they were more common. But trainers of sport dogs (the source for most police dogs in the US these days) discovered that prey drive gave a dog that looked more intense than a dog that worked out of fight drive. And since the sports are based on how a dog looks, rather than what he's thinking and how he got there, they bred more for prey drive than for fight drive and so it's much less common now.

This is not to slight sport work, but while it looks the same, it's not.
This is a fascinating topic to me, especially since there seems to be such a variance in how PSD, PPD, and SchH prospects are developed within each group. From what I've learned over the last year, modern SchH methodology seems to focus on teaching all exercises at a young age using prey, with some trainers transitioning to more "serious" work in defense/fight as the dog matures provided the dog inherently has those drives in them. I would gather that progression would not always be effective for PSD or PPD prospects since most of the time a dog cannot be evaluated for that work until closer to maturity and therefore would be a waste of time and resources due to the wash out rate unless the individual handler was training for both sport and street. I used to have a lot of assumptions and opinions about training in defense and fight drive, but it seems the more I see and learn... the less I "know" due to there not being much black and white and lots of gray in these types of training. It seems virtually any methodology can be effective and even positive to a certain type of dog when trained properly, and conversly ineffective and negative with the wrong dog when trained improperly.

To echo others, your experience and different perspective is welcome. Balance is a good thing.
 
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