German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 4 of 4 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,107 Posts
Good advice! I always think of this when I hear people say their dog is bored with training, or not engaging with them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,040 Posts
I think Michael Ellis is a great trainer and teacher. I also believe that a fundamental problem many sport trainers make is that they try to overdevelop a dog's drive with the goal of creating speed and flashiness, which is desirable in a sport dog, but often comes at the expense of secondary obedience or protection obedience. Many trainers work a dog up into a frenzy, or if a dog is genetically very high drive, they don't pay attention and teach the dog that he has to gain some composure and think before he gets what he wants, such as a bite or a toy. As he said in the video, as you add more expectations the training becomes more challenging. For the challenge of increased control, as in sport, a correct foundation is so important because if the dog isn't taught some self control it will come back to having to retrain the dog when it would have been so much more productive to train the dog correctly in the first place. Some examples would be dogs that are bat **** crazy for a ball. Many would think that is a good thing, and to a degree it is. But if during the foundation training for obedience, the dog is so driven for the ball that he is always barking and in an extremely high state of drive, he will be very hectic and not learn very well or have much self control. A solution is to use food instead of a ball and possibly switching to a toy after some learning and self control has occurred. Over stimulation with a toy can also create problems with extended focus such as in heeling because in a trial there is no toy so balancing the use of the toy and correctly fading it are important. Another example is the dog that loves bite work. Again, this is a good thing, but if every time the dog comes out on the field for bite work and he is barking his head off and pulling on the leash, the same issues will occur. The dog will be hectic, he will have trouble learning proper bite mechanics and learning to out can become a real pain and sometimes futile. This has to do with what particular sport a dog is competing in. For example, in KNPV, it is not uncommon for trainers to do just what I mentioned-the dog comes on the field under no control and immediately does bite work with little to no obedience. Then later, severe compulsion is used to get some semblence of secondary obedience. But this goes back to Ellis'es comments about police dogs not needing that level of control and needing to work independently of the handler and KNPV is designed to select for police dogs, whereas IGP is designed as primarily an obedience sport in all three phases. The severe compulsion used in KNPV isn't pretty but it weeds out all but the hardest dogs. Compare that to IGP where the show line and weaker working line dogs are coddled and tricked with toys to learn different exercises with the totally incorrect motivation in the dog's head, such as barking for a ball in the blind. A solution is for the helper/decoy to wait the dog out until he calms down and is not barking and going crazy. This could take ten minutes or an hour. He might just sit there until the dog starts to figure out nothing is going to happen until he shows some calmness. If the decoy gets up and walks over to the bite pillow on the ground and the dog goes berserk again, the process of waiting for the dog to gain composure restarts. In some dogs that are more extreme and that have not been taught this self control early, the initial time investment can take a while, but in the long run, eventually the training excels at a faster pace with much better results. So while you need more dog to support the control, you need smart training that increase the odds of control being successful so that too much compulsion is not required.
 
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
Top