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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was reading a topic on the Jerry Springer board about dogs before "the split". Someone talked about dogs so crazy for the sleeve, they notice nothing else around them. This person talked about how the dogs are now bred this way where they do not perceive anything as a threat. This was sited as a negative by this person.
Another person commenting said that a dog who considers the helper as a threat, after repeated training, is not a good dog.
What are your opinions? Who is the "better" dog?
Anne
 

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I guess I think a threat is a threat, plain and simple. Someone verbally or physically threatening the dog or intentionally getting in the dog's space or my space in a threatening and provocative way. That's when the dog should respond. I don't like it when the dogs are screaming uncontrollably in the parking lot just getting harnessed up for protection. I like them to have control and show they are actually thinking and paying attention, not just getting nuts over the sight of a sleeve.

In my own training, my helper can touch my dog and even do some obedience with him. He cannot correct him hard without a problem from the dog, but I don't think anyone but me can (he's not a dog that will let just anyone take the leash and start jerking him around, but I think this is good and like this about him). Lately in tracking we've been preparing for different things that happen in a trial, so getting the dog used to a person or people near him or at various distances behind him or next to him while tracking. On Sunday the helper was within kicking distance of the dog as he tracked and indicated articles without creating problem, and was also in my "group" for obedience training. Ideally I'd have a variety of people and not be intentionally putting helpers in my dogs space in other phases, but there's not always much of a choice when training, especially when I want help with tracking. So far it hasn't seemed to matter anyway. Now, the dog is not so complacent that I or my husband could "work" him in protection. It does have to be "real". He does not have the raw power that a dog with better genetics might have, but I like that he activates well on his own, when appropriate. Since my dog is not just a SchH dog but primarily my companion that comes a lot of places with me and does a lot of different activities, I have to place control higher on the priority list for him that I might with a different dog with a different lifestyle.

I do not like sleeve/equipment oriented dogs or training. The sleeve definitely has it's purpose but I think the real catalyst in bitework is both the dog responding to a threat and the dog being able to bring power and aggression on his own (like coming into the blind initially when there is no threat or stimulation). The dog should be ready to fight, not just want to play games with a jute sleeve. That's just the way I feel about it. The dog bites the sleeve as the acceptable method of diffusing the threat. Then the dog can hold that sleeve and be in his own space because he "won". The more I see little bitty puppies coming out to play games with rags and small tugs, the more I feel there isn't much point, other than to check the dog's grip and see how he responds in general in the environment, but the real work begins when the dog is more mature. But please, correct me where I am wrong!
 

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Another person commenting said that a dog who considers the helper as a threat, after repeated training, is not a good dog.
What are your opinions? Who is the "better" dog?
Anne
I would think it depends on the helper... is he/she a threat/threatening??
My novice opinion is that I would rather my dog see the threatening helper as a threat. 1st time or 100th.
 

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Very interesting Anne, though I think you know how I feel, this just happened to me. I have 22 month old West German male that has the real nice prey drive and solid nerve(5-5 Fero,5-5 Arek Stoffelblick)
About three months ago the helper threw the sleeve to the side in protection work and lo and behold he goes after the sleeve. So then we do it a few more times and he continues even when "stung" by the helper. I was surprised as we do full suit work and Fero has been on suit for over six months. Since I've been working on H&B for past couple months we have only used sleeves in the work. I was very concerned because he wasn't taking the threat from the decoy seriously. So for past 8 training sessions our TD is only one that worked him and with no equipment at all but just focusing on decoy...old school training. Saturday I had four sleeves put in semi circle while I worked him on decoy. He didn't go for the sleeves on the ground once. He stayed focused on the decoy, then we rewarded him with bite and he crushed the sleeve.
My point is it is very easy to let a dog with the unbalanced drives of some dogs today get caught up in eqipment fixation. Our TD hates equipment fixation and was as surprised as me that the dog had slipped into it.
Now my 8 monthy Czech/W German puppy won't have this issue because he is always focused on the helper and drops sleeve and refocuses on helper on his own. Fero is my first all West dog in about 10 years and his prey is high...great for grips but not as balanced as I like. I think a dog should have natural suspicion and protectiveness of owner from genetics.
 

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I was reading a topic on the Jerry Springer board about dogs before "the split". Someone talked about dogs so crazy for the sleeve, they notice nothing else around them. This person talked about how the dogs are now bred this way where they do not perceive anything as a threat. This was sited as a negative by this person.
Another person commenting said that a dog who considers the helper as a threat, after repeated training, is not a good dog.
What are your opinions? Who is the "better" dog?
Anne

Better for what?
 

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I don't know enough to know what is "correct" or what makes a better dog. But I do know what I am comfortable with and what I like. I really don't want a dog that sees a helper that he works with every week as a "threat". That word means to me that there is fear involved or need to defend. I guess that I am just not comfortable with my dog seeing a person that he faces off with every week being something he should be afraid of or need to defend against. Especially with the absence of ME acting afraid or threatened.

I think he should view him as an "opponent". Maybe there isn't a difference, but in my mind there is. I want my dog to see the helper and think "Hey that is the guy that I get to fight with every week. This is when I get to do the things I like, run, jump, bite, wrestle/tug..." I like when I see the dog physically challenging the helper and even when they are holding the sleeve you can see it in their eyes that they want the fight to continue.

Maybe I am just naive though and dogs don't think that way.
 

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I was reading a topic on the Jerry Springer board about dogs before "the split". Someone talked about dogs so crazy for the sleeve, they notice nothing else around them. This person talked about how the dogs are now bred this way where they do not perceive anything as a threat. This was sited as a negative by this person.
Another person commenting said that a dog who considers the helper as a threat, after repeated training, is not a good dog.
What are your opinions? Who is the "better" dog?
Anne
I don't think it is a matter of "better". I think it depends on what the handler wants and needs. If a person want's a dog strictly for sport and does not want the liability of a dog that might bite someone "in real life" a dog with tunnel vision for the sleeve and no aggression might be a good thing.

The person who said "a dog who considers the helper as a threat, after repeated training, is not a good dog" is an idiot. If the helper is unable to impress the dog and be a threat then it's time to change helpers.
 

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So for past 8 training sessions our TD is only one that worked him and with no equipment at all but just focusing on decoy...old school training. Saturday I had four sleeves put in semi circle while I worked him on decoy. He didn't go for the sleeves on the ground once. He stayed focused on the decoy, then we rewarded him with bite and he crushed the sleeve.
We did something similar in the summer with some of the sleeve happy dogs in the club to bring up more of "man aggression" (if that is the right term) in the dogs. We started with some suit stuff and then we put them on the table and did agitation work without sleeve reward. The reward was simply driving the agitator away from the room.

We did this for about 6-8 sessions and after that, the helper could toss the sleeve around in protection and the dogs would give the sleeve a quick glance at best and go right back at the helper. Some wouldn't even look at the tossed sleeve whereas before they would fixate (lunge, bark) on the sleeve.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The person who said "a dog who considers the helper as a threat, after repeated training, is not a good dog" is an idiot. If the helper is unable to impress the dog and be a threat then it's time to change helper


I am in agreement with what you are saying and also a little bit with what Ruthie is saying. Meaning, the dog should view the helper as an opponent but also a little more seriously than just being someone the dog wrestles with on Sundays. There should be a level of danger in it for the dog and that comes from the helper....or it should anyway, ( in my opinion, of course).
I have two females here who would like to kill each other. Something about the other one really makes them angry and that "anger" they have toward each other is not going away. The same two dogs get along well with other dogs but for years now, if they spot the other one, it's on. Never goes away because something about those two dogs brings out the fight in the other one.

The helper should be someone who can make a dog "angry", in a similar way , where simply seeing the helper brings up the fight in the dog.
However, the idea that you can just switch helpers makes me laugh. Like there are so many to choose from.
 

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However, the idea that you can just switch helpers makes me laugh. Like there are so many to choose from.
Got that right!!
 

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I do not like sleeve/equipment oriented dogs or training.
You find that much more than you'd think, nowadays. The sleeve oriented dogs are not only safer but much easier to handle than the once that are being worked over defense and perceive the helper constantly as a threat. More and more people are going away from defense to sleeve oriented dogs.

I guess good training lies somewhere in the middle. Going from one extreme to another doesn't always help to fix the problems...
 

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It sounds like everyone is saying that the dog is either sleeve happy or "threatened" by the helper. Again, maybe I am just defining threatened based on the meaning of the word and not with the SchH spin. But, it seams like you can have a really confident dog that doesn't get scared, likes to fight but isn't sleeve happy.

Anne, I think I get what you are saying that it should be taken seriously. Re-reading my post, it sounds like I am saying that it should just be a game to the dog. That isn't what I meant.

I guess I just don't understand how a training scenario is going to give a dog a REAL threat. It isn't like a situation where someone is going to truly hurt them or their handler. With week after week of them seeing that no one is going to REALLY hurt them and the fact that their handler is not acting afraid. I just don't see how it can really be a threat to a confident, strong nerved dog.

Can someone explain to me where I am not understanding?
 

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Right now in the protection training Karlo is doing, he sees the helper as a threat. Because the helper tried to "harm" me(he pretended to push me, then whipped my leg), Karlo's aggression came out stronger. Once the whip hit my leg the lightbulb was pretty bright and Karlo's fight was on, and he hasn't backed down since. He is not sleeve focused at all, but isn't a dirty biter either(yet) I think the balance he has is perfect for his age/maturity level. Since this progression has happened, he didn't out when commanded, but we aren't worrying about that right now, so I haven't commanded it the past few sessions. He use to out on command before...

It takes a few minutes when we get on the field for him to adjust to the obedience phase but once he knows we are doing OB, not protection he is biddable and interactive to the TD (who is also the helper). The TD/helper does know when to stay a distance during OB if there may be some conflict with certain dogs, and possibly we will have that happen in the future.
 

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Sleeve-safe does not equate to sleeve-focussed. The dog must be safe to the sleeve or else a dog is DQ'ed or worse, a decoy is badly injured. Dog must know that he can only engage with the helper via the sleeve in Schutzhund. I can see the propensity for a dog to get sleeve happy for this reason. However, the sleeve isn't metal, its jute is comfortable and desireable for the dog in his mouth. My GSD love everything about the sleeve. The sleeve is highly visible for a judge to evaluate the grip. Perhaps we should use hidden sleeves or bite siuts - Oops sounds like Ringsport!? Or sleeves that are not desireable at all to the dog. Perhaps the constraints of Schutzhund as it is need to be adjusted to demonstrate true threat to the dog.

My dog is quite stable: read high threshold for getting pissed. But he loves the fight and he knows the only way he can "fight" the helper is with the equipment. He will focus on the man when pressure is on without the sleeve, but he knows that the helper will not just let himself get bit ( he has come close!) Yeah, we have just one helper and we want to keep him!
 

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The following questions are from an ignorant person who sees schutzhund as a good way to ensure that a GSD's protective instincts are under control. I will be getting another GSD and expect to train it in schutzhund. You are welcome to ignore my questions if they are too ignorant!

Does Vandal's initial question just concern dogs on the training field, or dogs both on and off the training field?

If it also concerns dogs off of the training field, then is the dog who sees the helper as a threat on the field also going to see that same person as a threat off of the field. Would I, in other words, have to be extremely vigilant to make sure that my dog did not try to protect us from the helper if we came across the helper off of the field. I am thinking of what my late GSD might have done, because he seemed to think that the best defense was a good offense. This was a very quiet, calm, and "thinking" offense. The dog was not "angry," just determined to remove the threat. Fortunately, he was naturally obedient to me. I am asking this question because I wonder if it is safe to train this kind of GSD in protection with any kind of threat.
 

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Sleeve-safe does not equate to sleeve-focussed. The dog must be safe to the sleeve or else a dog is DQ'ed or worse, a decoy is badly injured. Dog must know that he can only engage with the helper via the sleeve in Schutzhund.
I worked a dog last night that was not sleeve-safe. The dog outed and immediately went underneath the sleeve and nipped me in the leg. Not fun. And to me, that does not make me think of the dog as more serious or real. I just think I see a dog that is out of control and disobedient.
 

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I worked a dog last night that was not sleeve-safe. The dog outed and immediately went underneath the sleeve and nipped me in the leg. Not fun. And to me, that does not make me think of the dog as more serious or real. I just think I see a dog that is out of control and disobedient.
I had a dog that developed that habit. After talking to people that have many years more experience than I, and then going back and watching my dog, I found it was a problem that the helper and I (as the handler) had created.
Easy to blame the dog, but not always right:).
 

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Oh I don't blame the dog. I blame the handler (new guy, new dog) :D Disobedience is a handler problem, not a dog problem. The problem is when handler allows that kind of stuff to happen over and over again. Last night, when the dog bit me, I got on the dog, the TD watching got on the dog, but the handler didn't do anything. He just stood here and gave a faint verbal reprimand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
That , IMO, is not a case of disobedience. Many times it is the dog re-directing because of a conflict with the handler. You usually see it when the handlers approach. Some dogs bite the sleeve while others might look to bite elsewhere. I recently worked a Mal who did this and as we cleared up the conflict, by having the handler approach and praise vs correct, it started to go away and was pretty much gone in a few sessions.
 
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