German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
87 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
What are you looking for?

When you are looking for a complimentary stud for your brood bitch, what do you see that shows evidence of strong nerve? Obviously, this is only one consideration, but to me would be a CRITICAL one.

I can't help but think, watching high level SchH competitions, where is the evidence of nerve in this dog vs. that dog? When the dog is conditioned to step on a strange field and perform a specific routine, what are the details that set 'dog A' apart as confident/strong-nerved and 'dog B' as not quite there?

Sometimes I see a dog slide to the side in the h/b, or maybe they are not quite as intense as another dog, but I'm not convinced that is evidence of nerve strength over better or more consistent training techniques.

What details do you look for to discern between super high-drive and confidence with a willingness to engage an opponent?

Thanks for any feedback!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,597 Posts
IMO, schH only marginally tests a dogs nerves. Here are some things to consider:
Does the dog easily adapt to working in a new environment with new decoys?
How does he do in bitework on slick surfaces without stressing.
Will he climb on a vehicle and engage?
What is his reaction if while biting, the decoy rubs his legs with the stick or shake a jug full of pebbles.
Is the dog gun sure?
Will he bite a female decoy?
Will engage in a dark building or alley?
There are many other tests, but these are a few.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
87 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thank you for the feedback!

I recognize sound sensitivity is a big red flag, however, it seems this and a lot of the other situations you suggest could be conditioned. How often do you see puppies playing on a flirt pole and the handler gets them to re-bite and rubs their head, chest, and feet? Starting with quite noises the dog is exposed to increasingly loud noises, ending with a gun shot. I'm not saying conditioning a dog is bad, its helpful, but can't that mask fair nerve to look like strong nerve?

I do like the suggestions of evaluating how the dog engages in a dark building, alley, slick surface, or on a vehicle. Also, biting a female helper. I say that b/c most people don't condition their dog to do those things specifically.

If I understand, what you're saying is you want to see the dog in action in an unfamiliar situation. I would agree with you. When you observe this, what are details are you looking at? Tail carriage? Hesitation? Full-bite? Fight on the sleeve?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,597 Posts
You would look for changes in the dogs grip (as determined by the decoy), the dog vocalizing in a stressed way, which can sometimes be growling. Simply shutting down and failing to engage. Also, will the dog tolerate legs bites and suitwork. Dogs quickly learn the sleeve is not part of the man and some dogs are uncomfortable with leg bites because the decoy has he hands free to potentially harm the dog. Will the dog let the handler pick him up while he is on the bite and keep a strong, calm grip?
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
18,687 Posts
If you know what you are looking at there is a lot you can see on the trial field. I do prefer to see dogs in training, but that isn't always possible. Heck, except for Javir, not a single dog I have bred to have I ever seen trial. I have spent time with all of these dogs off the field, except for Hannes (sire of my D litter), and seen a few in training. The ones I couldn't see work I had to trust the opinions of other people, pups they produced and my knowledge of the lines.

On the trial field I look for a dog that shows confidence in all three phases (if I can get the chance to see tracking). Dogs that are not bothered by the crowd (I don't care if they notice) or the judge. You can see some dogs that will startle when something is not exactly as they expect.

In protection I want to see a dog that comes into the blind with power and is pushing the helper almost looking like they are saying "go ahead, make my day, move, move, please move". I prefer a dog that centers on the man and isn't hiding off to the side or putting the sleeve between themselves and the helper. Sometimes the latter can be due to training. I HATE cookie barking and tend to dismiss a dog on this alone. Then watch how willing they are to listen to their handlers. Yes, some strong dogs can be hard to call out, but a dog with sound nerves is able to hear their handler. The escape bite tells me not as much about nerves, IMO, though it will show if a dog is actually trying to stop the helper, shows strong willingness to engage. Once the helper locks up, does the dog transition easily from biting and goes quickly into a strong active guard or a very intense silent guard (most are not). Does the dog stay clean? Good guarding is an indication of nerve (also a bit of training). A dog that feels confident does not need to bite. Biting relieves stress for many dogs especially when they must guard for a long time. Unfortunately conflict with the handler can cause dogs to get dirty as the handler approaches, but at least I want to see the dog who can guard confidently until that point. When the helper reattacks, does the dog engage with confidence and then attempt to over power and fight the helper during the drives? Does the dog just tolerate the stick hits or does that pressure (a correctly done drive does apply pressure) cause the dog to fight harder to stop the helper. Does the grip shift or get chewy during the drives? The rest is sort of the same, obedience, intensity to the helper, willingness to engage, etc, but for the most part I think you can tell the most about the dog during the guarding and on the reattacks.

Need to run my track.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
18,687 Posts
Something I learned about suit work. A dog that tends to always bite low is not as confident as a dog that is willing to bite higher on the body. While I want dogs to bite any place on the suit that is offered or available and don't want to see a dog that can't target anything but the arm, I also want to see how the dog works on the suit and deals with the pressure.

Unfortunately for most people seeing the dogs off of the trial field or doing scenarios that don't involve trial preparation is not always possible. In the long run I know I can only test my females as much as possible and then evaluate the males as best I can.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,296 Posts
Speaking as the world's oldest, female SchH helper, ( hey, it's all about "credentials" these days), I would love to know the thinking behind the comment about female helpers .
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,779 Posts
I train mine to target a specific place on the suit regardless of what is offered, left side pec/bicep. Bc we also do Schutzhund I do *not* want to encourage leg bites

I work mine on women all the time. Out of necessity. Sometimes I don't want to work my dogs myself and I have no other helper and 2 girls are the first to volunteer lol

In such a female dominated sport I'm surprised there are not more female helpers
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
18,687 Posts
Hunter, I tend to avoid chest bites in my dogs who are still doing SchH. Once they are retired, then we work the whole body. Sort of off topic. LOL
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,779 Posts
Hunter, I tend to avoid chest bites in my dogs who are still doing SchH. Once they are retired, then we work the whole body. Sort of off topic. LOL
Chest, as in square chest? I'm talking about PSA style targeting. You talking about the same? I've not had an issue yet where they were confused if a sleeve was present
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,597 Posts
Hi Anne,
It is simply another piece of information about a dog. I have seen dogs that look very good in the bitework and then they won't engage a female. I don't know exactly what that means for an individual dog, but it shows reluctance to bite, which I don't want to see.
I also like the point about guarding. A dog that has trouble and will only do a silent guard or is very dirty, could very likely be lacking in confident and feels he has to bite to be secure.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,296 Posts
Anymore, I don't see that as a female/male issue. I see it as a situation where the helpers are not taught how to work the dogs properly. Just about every new helper I see displayed in pictures is smiling, which indicates a state of mind that is not compatible with helper work. Most people do not take women helpers seriously, so, they don't bother to tell them what to do, they just give them a sleeve to wear.

The entire mentality concerning SchH protection work has changed, so, what used to be considered something more related to being female, I see in male helpers ALL the time.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,779 Posts
Anymore, I don't see that as a female/male issue. I see it as a situation where the helpers are not taught how to work the dogs properly. Just about every new helper I see displayed in pictures is smiling, which indicates a state of mind that is not compatible with helper work. Most people do not take women helpers seriously, so, they don't bother to tell them what to do, they just give them a sleeve to wear.

The entire mentality concerning SchH protection work has changed, so, what used to be considered something more related to being female, I see in male helpers ALL the time.
I agree.

You won't catch me smiling lol
http://i1217.photobucket.com/albums...DB3412-16986-000003F3607C9988_zps22dddc33.jpg
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
18,687 Posts
Hunter, I don't do PSA. I am talking not presenting the front shoulder, chest or stomach until the dog is retired. We work arms, legs and back. I do this because I enjoy working my dogs in different scenarios and in non SchH situations. It keeps me and then fresh.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top