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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I apologize in advance for this being a long question: We have three helpers at our club (SchH/IPO), that have three different philosophies pertaining to the working of a young dog (8 months to 16 months):

Helper #1 believes in not staying in kindergarden with a dog. He believes in moving a dog from tug to intermediate sleeve (no bite wedge or puppy sleeve in between) fairly quickly because either the dog has it - or does not have it. He will not back up in training or provide animation to build the young dogs confidence. His philosophy is the dog will learn to bite whatever presented or else he's done for the day.

Helper #2 believes that you should not work a dog in protection work or obedience until the dog is at least 16 months old.

Helper #3 believes if the dog is not biting the tug hard and full, bite pillow, puppy sleeve then wait until the dog is consistently biting hard at each step (rag, tug, puppy sleeve etc) before moving to the next item. His philosophy is keep the dog in "kindergarden" until it is ready to advance to the next higher level - at all stages. He believes in providing animation until the dogs confidence level is built.

Being fairly new to the "dog sport" world, maybe I am missing something.
I don't understand the first two helpers philosphy - even though I have heard them explain it many times. I don't want a 16 month old Mal, or any other dog for that matter, running around without any obedience. I don't understand why I would want to force feed a sleeve onto a dog that obviously does not understand "the game" or is conflicted. Needless to say, I only allow Helper #3 to work my dog.

What are your thoughts or experiences concerning which helper you would choose.

Thanks in advance for all replies.
 

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I says #1 is a season decoy, he does not want to waste time with mediocre dog, he just want to work the better one.
#2 is old school but it has its merit, let the dog be a dog until he grows up and then train, he probably use more compulsion than the other because the other reason is that he wants the dog to grow up to be able to handle compulsion and pressure.
#3 is more like my style, he will probably have more sucess with more dogs than the first, but then he must also knows, some time the dog just ain't got it no matter how many baby step you take.
You just need to work with whomever you feel most comfortable with.
Good luck.
 

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1) i'll agree this guy seems "old school". i can't imagine your club growing very much with this guy. moving too quickly can certainly be to the detrement of a dog and there's nothing wrong with backing up in training whether it be bitework, obedience, tracking, etc. not every dog has the genetics to be a bundeseiger (sp?) champion and not everyone wants to put the time in for that anyway. there should be a place for someone who has a "borderline" pet that wants to work their dog to a SchH I and this #1 guy isn't going to be the guy to work that dog.

2) i couldn't imagine having a 15 month old dog running around my house with no obedience training. i can buy the "no bite work till 16 months" a lot better than i could "no obedience till 16 months old".

3) i think everyone would agree that this guy is the most balanced, progressive, comtemporary, etc.

i do think it's an advantage to have three such diverse ideas about training in your club. people come to clubs with as many ideas about their dog as you can think of. the experienced SchH person who comes in with a super, dynamo, genetic fireball, they might want to work with #1. a person with a passable dog might like #3 and the person who brings in the completely unruly and untrained older dog might like #2.
 

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I would look at the dogs that each helper has worked consistently.The dogs dont lie.It also depends on the dog.For sport,the 3 guy is by far the safest and hopefully wont screw up your dog.That doesnt mean he is the best.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks so much for the input everyone who replied so far.

Some of you were able to determine right off that #1 has been around SchH for awhile (I'm impressed), but has never done helper work for a young dog to their first title. He has worked older dogs, already trained and titled, that entered the Nationals though. What confuses me most about #1 is he contradicts himself in that he says he does not back up for a dog, yet he backs up frequently in protection training his dogs who are just under two years old. He also asks helper #3 to work his dogs and use animation when doing helper work for his dogs.

I was told that it does not matter what breed the dog is when doing helper work. I disagree with this as well, more so concerning young dogs. Neither 1 or 2 has ever worked anything but GSD's and Rottie's. I'm not of the belief that you train/teach all dogs anything in the exact same exact manner. I definitely think "reading a dog" no matter what the breed is important here.

Another question - Is it best, while the dog is young, to stick with one helper rather then utilizing whoever shows up for training that day. I know the dog will have to be proofed on various helpers once they learn ,but considering the different methods and beliefs in their helper work would it not be best to keep consistency for a dog who is learning?
 

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A training decoy who is unable or unwilling to work different types of dogs is a narrow minded fool.

It's one thing if you're working your own dogs, but there's so much variation in dogs when it comes to club-level sport that you just can't have that attitude, n if you're incapable of training a different way then the decoy needs to go back to decoy school. Stick with #3, don't even let the first 2 look at your dog. JMO.
 

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Is it best, while the dog is young, to stick with one helper rather then utilizing whoever shows up for training that day.
THIS is really interesting. I trained my dog - for bitework - initially using clear threats, then associating the threats to a cue to an attack. With that process it is fully beneficial early on to have as many different decoys as possible present threats. It was never a prey/animation scenario.

In a sport dog, the issue IMO is different. Owners will try to do the best they can for and with each dog. If you have a dog that doesn't care who the decoy is...use different decoys. If your dog is a "little shy" with people he doesn't know, then build him up and be gentle; back up a bit with some extra animation each time a new decoy shows up, etc.

At the end of the day...a good sport dog shouldn't care who he's biting...at any age. In theory, the "drives" should be very, very high.

Regarding your helpers 1, 2 and 3...I agree with Greg...it doesn't really matter what the decoy puts in the dog's mouth. What he does when the dog's mouth is ON the thing is what's important. Bite pillows...wow...

Decoys that are continually going back are sometimes too apprehensive. When a dog faces an obstacle, sometimes you need to PUSH the dog past it. If you wait him out, sometimes the obstacle becomes reinforced and THAT plateau becomes harder and harder to surpass.

Also, I find it beneficial - often - to put a dog back in its crate if it doesn't bite well the FIRST time.

As with everything dog related - it's dog dependent.
 

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Lacey,

Find a helper that is in tune with what YOU want for YOUR dog. The big thing is that the helper/decoy is working for you...let me say that again, they are working for you. The second thing is that not all dogs, regardless of age, are on the same training page. Different breeds mature at different rates and handle stress and new information on different degrees.

You can't expect all puppies to have the same drive, some GSD like the Czech lines are very defensive by nature. Why work a puppy in defense, let it naturally come out. Work young puppies in prey and build them up.

I am against one dimensional helpers who only know one way of training, folks like that screw up more dogs than they do good.
 
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