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Thought this would be a good topic, not real sure if it has been discussed before but thought I would throw it out there.

Since the decoy is such an important part in training a sport dog. I thought some of the more experienced folks could tell us.

1 what makes a good or bad decoy?

2 What has been some of your experiences in finding one that you were satisfied with?

3 And for the people looking to get in to traing a PPD or Sport Dog what should they look for in a decoy?
 

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Timing, timing, timing, and does he/she understand dogs.
I've seen helpers that had all the right stuff except for understanding what the individual dog needs.
I've seen people that had a great understanding of the dogs, but, no way would I let them catch my dog.
It's a tough combination to find, but IMHO, the helper is who makes the club. Not the USA, DVG, WDA, ARS, PD, yadda, yadda, yadda!
 

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Bob said: It's a tough combination to find, but IMHO, the helper is who makes the club.

The handler can make a so so dog look good and really make a great dog look OH SO BAD.
 

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Patrick Cheatham said:
Bob said: It's a tough combination to find, but IMHO, the helper is who makes the club.

The handler can make a so so dog look good and really make a great dog look OH SO BAD.
I agree with your assessment of the handler but in our club, the primary helper is also our TD. That's probably common. It's his job to determine if the dog, and or handler are a trainable team.
We have a couple of "pet quality" dogs on our club. These few are here because of the honest effort put out by their handlers. It's up the the evaluation of the helper/TD to assess these people and discuss thier limitations with them. That's after a discussion with the board wether these people/dogs can make it.
It's still the helper's final call.
At the very least, you dog will be trained incorrectly by a bad helper. At worst, he could break teeth, jam necks, even break dogs necks with improper helper work.
 

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We have a number of clubs in our area. We suggest people visit all of them and watch how things are done. Unfortunately, newbys have no idea what they may be looking at.
I stressed the timming thing. Does the helper jam a lot of dogs. Does he/she look fluid/balanced/smooth, or does he/she look like a dancing monkey when the dog is running at them? A good helper should, IMHO, look like a bull fighter. Nothing herky jerky. they take the dog/bull and guide it through the move.
I could also use the analogy of a baseball catcher. It looks like he's just letting the ball land in his glove. If a 95mph fastball is caught wrong, it ain't purdy.
This is my views on Schutzhund helpers. Ring, ARS, etc are out of my call. I suspect the timming and smoothness would be equally important.
 

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Bob Scott said:
We have a number of clubs in our area. We suggest people visit all of them and watch how things are done. Unfortunately, newbys have no idea what they may be looking at.
I stressed the timming thing. Does the helper jam a lot of dogs. Does he/she look fluid/balanced/smooth, or does he/she look like a dancing monkey when the dog is running at them? A good helper should, IMHO, look like a bull fighter. Nothing herky jerky. they take the dog/bull and guide it through the move.
I could also use the analogy of a baseball catcher. It looks like he's just letting the ball land in his glove. If a 95mph fastball is caught wrong, it ain't purdy.
This is my views on Schutzhund helpers. Ring, ARS, etc are out of my call. I suspect the timming and smoothness would be equally important.
OK, thanks, Bob. This is a big part of the reason I watch every training video clip the forum members are nice enough to post (hint hint)......

Some I have watched three or more times, studying the helper.

Then I have also read the comment that the work should *not* look choreographed.

But so far, from what I have seen, there is quite an area between "choreographed" and herky-jerky.

This is a good thread, Patrick, IMO, and one that I hope will have more activity.
 

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I am was new to Schutzhund just a couple of years ago, and I quickly found out in the bite work you better have good helper. Lucky for me I ended up with dog that is natural at this so I have been able to get away with less than perfect helpers. I have seen a number of dogs that have had good potential but never got proper training from the start and quickly turned into a mess for both dog and handler.
I would recomend to anyone new to bite work seek out the top helpers and go to seminars they put on. I have found you can learn and get more done in 3 days with high talent then you will all summer with less experience. My personal preference would be
Ivan Balabanov, Mike Ellis, or Dean Calderon. (and theyre are a few others) This is all these guys do for a living any one of these has seen and worked hundreds of dogs (and that is conservitive). Once you watch them it becomes real apparent theyre skills in both communicating with you and your dog, anyone of them is lighting fast on the timming. I would also recomend never work your dog on a new helper (for training purposes) unless you have seen theyre training methods firsthand and it is something you are comfotable with. So I would recommend watch anyone of these guys and then you will have an Idea of what helper work should look like before you get started.

Dan Reiter
 

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what i look for is somebody who is willing to put out the effort to learn. as is the case with most law enforcement agencies around here, we decoy for each other. sometimes we'll have a newer officer who is interested in being a handler and they come out and volunteer their time. we have one of those right now. the kid has ZERO experience. last week he took a bite from my dog with a sleeve and made the mistake of "squaring up" to the dog. when both of my dog's paws landed square in his gonadular region, he learned that he should present the side of his body when he only has a sleeve. he was on the ground for about 10 minutes and said he thought he was going to throw up (only the guys know the pain i'm talking about here), but the kid was back up taking bites 15 minutes later. he takes direction well and never makes the same mistake twice.

another thing is don't be fooled into thinking that just because someone has been catching dogs for 30 years that they know what they are doing. they could have been doing it wrong for 30 years. so for me, i'd rather have someone who is willing to learn than someone set in their ways if they don't do it how i want it. that is key also. i'm not the best decoy in the world, but i will do whatever the handler wants even if i think another way would benefit the dog more. i can discuss it with him after the session, but standing there in the bite suit isn't the best time to debate philosophies (IMO).

then you have the very gifted helpers who just have a knack for reading a dog and knowing when to work a dog in different "drives". these are the kind of helpers i will drive 2 hours to work with (like i do with gregg). these are few and far between.

i also think that it is important for the helper to explain to the handler what he is trying to do with the dog (if they are not familiar with one another).

so many different things to think about...
 

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Well said on all points Tim. Specially the gonadular presentation of the helper. :eek: :D
I have the good fortune of having that special helper that can read a dog OR handler like a book. One of his MANY strong points is explaining exactly what he's doing and why. That's an ongoing thing during training day.
 

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Bob I agree with you. It's all about TIMING and we call it READING the dog. All dogs are not the same so you have got to know what the dog is thinking and what he's going to do next. You have to know what will make the dog do what you want him to do.
We had a schutzhund helper in our club that didn't weight 130 pounds but he had wrestled in college and he knew how to use leverage to his advantage. He has caught some mighty tuff dogs. Yes he's been on his butt from time to time. It's better to take the fall than hurt a dog.
Good post here, thanks
 

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somebody who is willing to learn and to listen.
Fysically strong (like you all have seen on vids there is an confrontation between dog and decoy),

I don´t mind to do some decoy work but i can´t do the hard work on a distance..usually if im decoying it is civil work or the bark and hold or something like that.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Patrick: The handler can make a so so dog look good and really make a great dog look OH SO BAD.

Sorry I meant the helper, got in a hurry but I guess that was a handler error LOL.


Bob said:Unfortunately, newbys have no idea what they may be looking at.

That's why I wanted some help, it seems like a good helper is just so hard to find. One that knows what he's doing and can teach a newby like me.
 
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