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There is so much discussion all over the place about dogs biting for real and dogs being sleeve happy and so on. I'd like to put something up there for discussion...basically, is the strength of a dog indicative of what he shows in training? We all probably believe that a weak dog can appear strong in the field--can a strong dog appear weak?

There was a thread a while back where we talked about how some dogs that appear sleeve-happy in training will bite someone for real if there is no sleeve.

Consider this...when most people train their dogs in bitework, they do similar things over and over again. Maybe some will argue they don't 'pattern' train as intensely as some sports require, but in all honesty wouldn't the dog recognize a few things--like you loading up their equipment and driving somewhere, or the number of other dogs/people they see out wherever you train, the same decoy over and over again, maybe even the general 'scent' of everything.

So is it desireable for a dog to always have that 'edge' on them, thinking the decoy is always out to kill him, or is a dog that is truly stable the one that knows it's a game, treats it as a game, albeit a serious game? Do you guys let training then become a game, and proof the dogs over time, or do you train for reality purposes and never let the dog become familiar with anything?

Sorry if it's all over the place, I wasn't sure how to make this shorter without being more open for discussion...
 

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Quote: We all probably believe that a weak dog can appear strong in the field--can a strong dog appear weak?

No, not really. Weak dogs show themselves in many ways, so experienced "eyes" see them for what they are. However, I have known "weak" dogs with strong character that will protect their owners. I think that the bond that they have with their owners, and strong pack instinct make this more likely.


Quote:Consider this...when most people train their dogs in bitework, they do similar things over and over again.

True, we condition this response unintentionally.


Quote:So is it desireable for a dog to always have that 'edge' on them, thinking the decoy is always out to kill him, or is a dog that is truly stable the one that knows it's a game, treats it as a game, albeit a serious game?


This is something that is personal preference, along with what sort of dog you end up with. Back in the 70's, we trained bitework in defence. Most of the good dogs that I trained came to an understanding that it was not as serious as they first thought, and enjoyed engaging the decoy. They learned that you were not really going to cross that line, and the whip pops, and stick hits were not going to hurt them, and just tried to get you to come close enough where they could get a bite.


Quote: or do you train for reality purposes and never let the dog become familiar with anything?

A dog will see the patterns in your work, it is inevitable. THe most desirable thing that we want in a PPD is one that bites when commanded no matter the situation. If you confuse the hell out of a young dog, with this kind of training (no familiarity) you can make them hesitate.

Better to show the dog situations, and gradually let them be different. I can't really think of too many different situations a person would be in that required this kind of training. The dog needs to understand that he bites when told to. He should be alert in all situations, so that his actions can warn you of possible problems and be able to deal with them hopefully BEFORE the situation requires a bite.

There are many different ways of achieving this, but for this kind of work, an "edge" is desireable in a dog.



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