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I often run Kimber through any scenario that I can come up with and that we can run safely. She always does them without too much effort. Last night wasn't the case. This is the first time in a very long time that I actually had to break it down and show her the picture. I'm not exactly sure what it was, and I'm sure if I just sent her it would've gone differently, but for safety of the decoy that wasn't an option.

Scenario: Passive decoy under a tarp in a field at night. Sounds simple enough. Kimber does a lot of passive work. This time was a little different. I think on the first attempt she got a mouth full of tarp so she spit it and was trying to find the "bad guy". Unfortunately, I can't let her do that and risk biteing the decoy in the head, hands or feet. So I pulled her off and reset. Second attempt was better, but she still was hunting for the decoy and I really wanted her to just stick where I put her. Here is a video of our final round. I was happy with this one and will expand on this scenario in the future.

 

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That looked fun. I remember watching you play with the puppies on a tarp and thinking it was a great idea, because those tarps get used everywhere and make all sorts of scary noises and movement.
Was she trying to move the tarp in earlier attempts? Or just trying random bites that you felt were unsafe? Because I have worked with a couple of dogs who would have moved the tarp.
 

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That looked fun. I remember watching you play with the puppies on a tarp and thinking it was a great idea, because those tarps get used everywhere and make all sorts of scary noises and movement.
Was she trying to move the tarp in earlier attempts? Or just trying random bites that you felt were unsafe? Because I have worked with a couple of dogs who would have moved the tarp.

I think she was more trying to move the tarp to get a good bite. The problem is she was moving up the body. I didn't want her anywhere near his head/face. Too hard to see, and predict exactly what she was going to do. I don't really question if she will bite or not, but I don't want to hurt my decoy's. We will take some risks in my club, but always calculated risks.
 

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I think she was more trying to move the tarp to get a good bite. The problem is she was moving up the body. I didn't want her anywhere near his head/face. Too hard to see, and predict exactly what she was going to do. I don't really question if she will bite or not, but I don't want to hurt my decoy's. We will take some risks in my club, but always calculated risks.
Something I noted when Sabs was working, and I have no idea how your dogs live at home. Sabi always woke me up by "finding" me under the blankets and pillows. I realized at some point that at work when people were hiding under stuff she employed the same tactics, which in our case could be dangerous for her. But try as we might her go to remained rooting around under stuff to get to the person.
 

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Something I noted when Sabs was working, and I have no idea how your dogs live at home. Sabi always woke me up by "finding" me under the blankets and pillows. I realized at some point that at work when people were hiding under stuff she employed the same tactics, which in our case could be dangerous for her. But try as we might her go to remained rooting around under stuff to get to the person.

Haha Kimber doesn't do that. Now Xander on the other hand does and thinks it's funny. Kimber is usually good about not messing with the blankets. Shoot last time we were camping, I drug her under the blankets to cuddle me for warmth haha. She was hot and panting and I was shivering. She did her job though.
 

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Are the noises the decoy’s make just to amp up the dog? Or are they really hurting? Or a bit of both? Always been curious about that. I’d imagine even in full bite gear, they would still experience some pain from force?
 

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Are the noises the decoy’s make just to amp up the dog? Or are they really hurting? Or a bit of both? Always been curious about that. I’d imagine even in full bite gear, they would still experience some pain from force?

He is feeling her. Kimber regularly punctures through the suit That being said, Tino is tough dude and willing to work any scenario no matter how stupid haha. So in this case I asked him to make some noise. We originally were going to have him 100% passive, but since we struggled a bit on this scenario, I wanted Kimber to get a big win. So I asked him to make the noise to let her know she was getting him good and to continue what she was doing. Does that makes sense?

We feel the dogs in the suit. Any decoy worth a darn uses a thin suit so the dog can feel him under it. We want dogs to hunt for the man, not material. I have scars from dogs puncturing through. It happens sometimes.
 

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Are the noises the decoy’s make just to amp up the dog? Or are they really hurting? Or a bit of both? Always been curious about that. I’d imagine even in full bite gear, they would still experience some pain from force?

He is feeling her. Kimber regularly punctures through the suit That being said, Tino is tough dude and willing to work any scenario no matter how stupid haha. So in this case I asked him to make some noise. We originally were going to have him 100% passive, but since we struggled a bit on this scenario, I wanted Kimber to get a big win. So I asked him to make the noise to let her know she was getting him good and to continue what she was doing. Does that makes sense?

We feel the dogs in the suit. Any decoy worth a darn uses a thin suit so the dog can feel him under it. We want dogs to hunt for the man, not material. I have scars from dogs puncturing through. It happens sometimes.
Makes perfect sense. Except the part about being a willing decoy ?. Tino deserves crazy respect for that!
 

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Makes perfect sense. Except the part about being a willing decoy ?. Tino deserves crazy respect for that!
Haha yes he does. The reason I'm on Kimber the way I am in the video and have my leg where I do is to keep her from transferring down to his foot where he isn't protected. We are teaching dogs to bite, but that doesn't mean we don't try and do it safely.
 

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I like watching her work. You are a good team. I’m confused by a previous question. Doesn’t she know the difference between a working bite going after the decoy and someone at home under blankets?
 

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The reason I'm on Kimber the way I am in the video and have my leg where I do is to keep her from transferring down to his foot where he isn't protected.
Thanks for explaining that part. I thought you might have been on her in some type of 'touch exposure while biting' exercise but I felt silly asking.
 

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I like watching her work. You are a good team. I’m confused by a previous question. Doesn’t she know the difference between a working bite going after the decoy and someone at home under blankets?
I don't know about Kimber, but Sabs knew the difference. It was simply a default behavior, she was still going for a bite she just used a technique that worked for uncovering a target. In our case it was dangerous since on occasion the "target" was armed.
 

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I’d be doubly SOL if I trained Lyka. I sleep with my feet hanging off the bed uncovered. If Lyka has to go out in the middle of the night, she licks my foot once and does one whine. If she thought I was a decoy, bye bye feet! Lol
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I like watching her work. You are a good team. I’m confused by a previous question. Doesn’t she know the difference between a working bite going after the decoy and someone at home under blankets?


Absolutely! It's all about context. This is also where temperament comes in. But dogs are contextual creatures. Kimber knows what we are going to be doing weather bite work, ob, searches or just walking and hiking around by both the equipment on her as well as how I cue her up when I get her out of the truck. That doesn't mean that I don't occasionally change things up so that there is less equipment bias, but she can tell based off my demeanor as well. Not to mention giving the right commands.
 

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Very nice training and good on you to use your imagination to prepare for the unexpected. Too many dogs are just trained on a sleeve, and then put on the street. I've seen dogs come off a bite because of a rain coat. It's good to see how she overcame the strange feelings and committed to the bite.

Kudos for keeping your guy safe too. Those habits come from hard learned mistakes, at least that is how I seem to learn them.

Is this her first time biting through the tarp and not just playing around with it?
 

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Very nice training and good on you to use your imagination to prepare for the unexpected. Too many dogs are just trained on a sleeve, and then put on the street. I've seen dogs come off a bite because of a rain coat. It's good to see how she overcame the strange feelings and committed to the bite.

Kudos for keeping your guy safe too. Those habits come from hard learned mistakes, at least that is how I seem to learn them.

Is this her first time biting through the tarp and not just playing around with it?

Thanks brother! This was her first session biting through the tarp. This isn't the first bite. On the first one, she bit and spit it out and started trying to get under it or bite somewhere else. I didn't want her to shift up to his face or anything. So it took a little bit to get her to just bite and stay where I put her. So I started with her in a down next to his knee, and the decoy halway exposed. Then slowly covered him more and more. She eventually hit solid and worked a bite through the tarp for a couple minutes. Once she figured out what I wanted, she was golden. So that's when we did this video. So this was the best one of the night after working through the others. We did four bites in total to get it here.
 

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That's the way ya do it! Nothing like successive approximation to teach something incrementally. Let the dog figure it out in baby steps and gain confidence that they are doing the right thing.

Kimber always looks solid. I love a strong female.
 

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That's the way ya do it! Nothing like successive approximation to teach something incrementally. Let the dog figure it out in baby steps and gain confidence that they are doing the right thing.

Kimber always looks solid. I love a strong female.

Thanks! I'm definitely biased, but she is a super nice female. Everyone who's worked her has loved her. She's just solid all around. Good nerve, super social, good with other dogs as well. She's just a good well rounded dog.

She's usually so solid on stuff, that I can't remember the last time I had to beak something down for her like this. And again, I think she would have bit fine on the first one, but I couldn't risk the decoy. I've had my fare share of crappy bites and situations lol.

Since Kimbers back injury, her sport career is over, but we can still do a lot of fun stuff like this. Do more PPD stuff. I don't want her launching, so most her bites will be close, on lead and lower body these days.
 

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That's wise. I had to stop bite work all together with Fama because she just wrestled so hard that she would still end up hurting her back and paying for it for a week.

It's funny how something that you think should be simple for the dog can become a challenge. It just goes to show how differently our minds work. It's the willingness and ability to figure out the challenge with the dog that makes a good trainer.

It probably wasn't any type of reluctance to bite on the first iterations, but rather her reluctance to screw up. It just took a minute to figure out what daddy wanted. Then it's game on.
 
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