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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I thought of starting this subject, regarding confidence in working dogs, after a post I put on the bite work forum. In regard to a full mouth bite, Andes said, and several others subsequently agreed, that a full mouth bite was genetic from his observation. I will approach this from a breeding and hunting standpoint and the majority will be looking at it from a training and, hands on, protection dog stand point. Dogs are dogs and I think, outside of the classes of dogs differing(guardian dog as opposed to big game dogs), there are many similarities. I have purposely excluded bird dogs and varmint dogs because we are dealing with dogs willing to stand their ground facing far superior odds much bigger than themselves.

Andres used and example of breeding two dogs with full mouth bites together, resulting in pups with full mouth bites. This would be in opposition to two front bite dogs being bred resulting in front bite pups. If it is based on the assumption that it is genetic, the first pair would almost have to be homozygous to produce a whole litter with a full mouth bite. That would tell me it may indeed be a genetically controlled trait. A heterozygous pair would prove nothing even if they both had a FMB. These are just my thoughts on it as a breeder. I put a lot of weight on the individual dogs confidence. As a matter of fact, I put everything on it with my own dogs. My dogs are bred extremely tight and are all related in multiple ways. I don't even give a thought to, "will this dog hunt". I leave them alone till they are walking and "everything" is based on individual confidence. That is the one thing I have never been able to control, and short of cloning, I don't think it can be done. While a whole litter may be pretty confident, there will still be those more so than the others. The dogs in my yard, I can't tell 95% of them apart unless they are standing right in front of me together so I can look and see if the head on one is wider than the other and other very minor details. I think that may be why they have different colored collars. Dogs from one litter have blue, dogs from another have orange. Here is a picture of a male and female loping together, totally different crosses, and I can't tell which is which myself. Body style is the same, leg movement is almost identical. I could almost superimpose the pictures on top of each other to look like one dog.



The one thing I can do is get the same confidence level across the board. A dog with great confidence, from a hunting standpoint can whip the world. I think a solid confident dog can walk into a field trial with 500 people milling around and 200 dogs barking and walk the walk anywhere. I see this as being very similar to a spot dog event or even police work. Many dogs have to be tested on their home field or with a known decoy to look good. How much of this is innate confidence? In hunting situations, when the confident dogs move around for the timing, but when they make their move, they aren't coming out till the fat lady sings... or until they are badly hurt. In hunting, just as sport work, their are dogs that are just to hard. They won't ever back up and they usually don't live long unless they are darn lucky. There are a lot of similarities that I can see. The super hard dogs are too hard for dangerous game unless it is tree game and little contact is made....but they are not the best hog dogs unless you don't mind losing them....but I do. Personal protection dogs are like that. It isn't a game. They are there to win regardless of the cost to them. The difference being, they may be saving a life so they are more expendable.

Is the type of bite do to more or less confidence. I am not talking about fearful dogs at all. Out in the open, those dogs won't ever get close enough to get hurt whether it is people or hogs. Maybe it isn't confidence at all but smarts.
 

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Interesting compairison! In the sport of Schutzhund a full, calm grip is sought after. A less then perfect grip can be helped/developed to a point but under real stress, the dog will loose that grip.
The guys here that decoy on a regular basis will give a better answer then me, but with the little sleeve work I've done, the confident, full mouth dogs will actually grip harder under pressure.
At the same time, a dog with a good, natural grip as a pup can be screwed up in training and loose the desire to keep the full grip.
As far as varmit dogs not being willing to stand their ground facing far superior odd much bigger then themselves, I've seen more then one 12-14 lb terrier get the short end of a stick because it refused to leave a brush pile where they cornered a coyote. Same with ****. My first Border terrier would absolutely NOT try and get out of a fight with one. Even above ground where the **** has a huge advantage.
"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog".
 

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Bob Scott said:
... As far as varmit dogs not being willing to stand their ground facing far superior odd much bigger then themselves, I've seen more then one 12-14 lb terrier get the short end of a stick because it refused to leave a brush pile where they cornered a coyote. Same with ****. My first Border terrier would absolutely NOT try and get out of a fight with one. ...
Like my Border Terrier granddog who refused to come out of a dead log where he had a porcupine, despite a face full of quills. Pulled out by his tail, he ran back in the second his tail was released.
 

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THAT'S a terrier! :wink:
I might add that all the dogs I've seen with this confidence/heart/gameness have had a full mouthful of critter when they dove in.
A lot of the little guys that are in and out when they worry a varmit, seem to be using their front teeth and canines but when they make up their mind to go in for a kill, the bite is full.
 

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I don't think all the bite suit sports put as much weight on the full mouth grip as they do in Schutzhund. If that's the case, how do you guys/gals doing the suit sports view the compairison of confidence and grip?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
LOL I just knew you would look at it in that light Bob. I think the hole dogs and small terriers are a B*lls to the wall class of dogs. I should have said an 80 lb varmint dog. Better? :lol: :lol: Going to a dark hole is similar to testing some really hard dogs when going into a totally blacked out room after someone. It takes a special type of dog for that also.

I use my dogs as examples a lot, just because I know them better than any others, they are extremely tight bred, and they are really close to being homozygous. This makes it a different ball game as far as many conversations and topics go because I have spent years watching the different little quirks and such as well as what makes them tick. Even the most unconfident dogs will hunt and look like the most confident dogs in the world in the field because it is all natural ability. When you take them out of that setting is when they turn spooky. The confident dogs seem to go with the flow. In this respect, training a sport dog on the same field with the same handler all the time, less confidence may be alright. I am talking about the top dogs. Have you ever seen an unconfident National champion at anything where aggression plays a big roll? Once the right dog is found, the only thing that can really screw it up from there is his environment, handling training and such.....but, it takes a heck of a lot more to screw him up. IMHO
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I just read your post about the porcupine Connie. It reminded me of a very unhappy owner of one of my dogs. He called me an told me how much it cost to get all the quills taken out of the dog. That wasn't what bothered him so much as the fact the dog picked the porky up and tried to put it in his hand because he uses the dog as a retriever. Only with a terrier. :lol:
 

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:lol: Understood! :wink:
The varmit dogs you talk about such as the Mountain Curs, etc are mostly baying dogs aren't they?
The confidence that makes a good catch dog is also it's downfall in many cases. That's why I switched to JRTs from the Borders. As crazy as the JRTs are, they still are a better baying dog underground.
That's also why I put the question to the suit guys.
Jeff! Anyone? Be nice Jeff! :lol:
 

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F nice. :eek: :D Until you get one of your dogs doing suit or bitework with something other than an animal, these discussions are pointless.

However, it would be a very good test of wether or not your theorys in breeding and raising are correct. I would be very curious to find that out.

I have seen dogs without confidence that had a fmb but very weak at best. It is definately a genetic trait, but can be overridden by other factors.

I have yet to see a ring dog that did not fill it's mouth with a sleeve. Could they possibly make it fit a dogs mouth more perfectly? This is why the sleeve is a really crappy way of judging this.



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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Bob, actually I am not talking about bay dog per se. That is their job, to bay. I am talking about Airedales and other breeds that built a reputatioin on being really hard on game. Dogs have been bred down so much in the last few decades it is hard to find a good hard dog. Most airedales anymore are no better than bay dogs....people want them to be sweet. There is really about only one breed left in the US. That is the golden retriever... they just look like Airedales and Wolfhounds.....and poodles.
 

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Jeff, with the mals, generally being higher strung (nervier) then the GSD, does that make any difference in teaching their grip work?
With a nervy GSD they seem more apt to chatter on their bite.
That in itself tells me that confidence is a good part of a good grip.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
You don't have to be nice on my account Jeff. :lol: :lol: I can take it....but there are a lot of correlations between the dogs you talk about and the ones I talk about.....the big difference is, the ones I am talking about are getting hooked in the stomach, the chest, the ribs the neck. and will cry to go with me the next day regardless of how many stitches they have or how much hide is super glued back in place. They are playing for keeps, no games. Winchester was retired after getting hooked in the stomach(he had to be opened up that day to make sure his intestines were no torn) and after that happened, he pulled both canines out on the right side hanging on to that boar. No one is shaking a can of marbles at them. :lol: This is their life and they love doing it.

Besides that dogs are dogs and the same things make them tick. I excluded the light weights as in large varmint dogs now we are talking dogs that do as compared to dogs that don't. We are just looking at what type of dogs it takes to be really good as opposed to not so good. For bite-work, Jeff, these are 75lb to 90 lb Airedales, not the standard 45 and 50 lbers. The males have about 1 1/8" to 1 1/4" canines top and bottom. They have extremely long muzzles(kind of reminds you of a crocodile when they yawn), and are right behind rotties in jaw strength at according to one report I read, 1700 to 1800 lbs. Rotties were put at 2000. And they are terrier quick. Brisco, a 60lb airedale outpointed all the malinois and other dogs at bite work when he was titled for SCH I and was way up there when he made Sch II. it may have been at the II that he outpointed the others. He is in St. Louis. Bob should look him up sometime. Anyway, it isn't a matter of 'If" they can do it....it is a matter of what dogs would be best at it regardless of breed. :idea: :idea:
 

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I've see Brisco in trials. He's one of the few dogs in this area that really seem to enjoy the game as opposed to doing it "Cause I said so".
I wish folks would look at Airedales more seriously....although I think the terrier temperment would frustrate most bite sport folks. Doubtful if you could beat one into doing what their told. :D
 

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Quote:Jeff, with the mals, generally being higher strung (nervier) then the GSD, does that make any difference in teaching their grip work?
With a nervy GSD they seem more apt to chatter on their bite.
That in itself tells me that confidence is a good part of a good grip.

So when a dog chatters that means he is not confidant? I cry BS on that one. Maybe the Mals you have seen are junk. We have a lot that do not chatter.



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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Bob, One of the things that is probably a big factor in Airedales doing bitework is the trainer has to understand what he is working with. As you know, you have to understand them to get them to do what you want.....but you won't push them very far. They are not GSD or Malinois.

Anyway, back to the confidence part of all this.
 

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Chatter on the bite! Piano bite! The dogs I've seen (GSD AND Mals) that do this seem like the're about to self destruct the're so wound up.
That's what I was asking you! Is that piano bite related to confidence?
 
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