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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a female GSD who has tons of prey and defense. Here lately a little heavy on the defense. She loves the sleeve and works great on it but we are trying to transition her to the suit. She's not consistent some days she does well but some days she just doesn't have much interest in , almost like its just not that fun, unless you put her into a little defense and then she'll bite it. The problem is that I don't won't her always in defense and we train in ASR so the suit is a big deal. The weird part is that she sees the sleeve as play and has a great time, not the suit, but she will bite someone for real. She has tried several times biting people who she saw as a threat. Her nerves are good and she can handle a tremendous amount of pressure. I'm just dumbfounded on this one. I have a few ideas on how to get her on the suit but I just wanted some more advice
and hear what other people had to say. She has been on the sleeve for a while and we went to the suit awhile ago but had the same problem so we decided to put her back on the sleeve to build even more drive; that still didn't quite work. I know that she is equipment oriented with the sleeve but yet she will still bite someone without it. You can work her with the sleeve and then toss it and come in on her without it and she will try to eat you up. Just need to put all this on the suit. My father (Jerry) has done the majority of the suit work with her but it just seems like she doesn't really want to bite him. Besides me and my wife he is the only other person who she has really bonded with(he's the only one that dog sits for me) and I think that this might be causing some conflict in trying to do the scenarios. She'll bite but not intense and won't hold, almost like she is saying I'll do it but why,I don't really want to. This has slowly been getting worse. At first on the suit with decoys she didn't know she did great but then its mainly been dad and shes gotten worse. He built her up on the sleeve very nicely, alot of prey but him doing threats to me and her just isn't working.Help. Sorry for the book, but I was trying to get alot of info out for you all to get a better picture. Should we just have to start over with the suit with alot prey or is it too late.
 

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suit work

Jay
I think you have answered some of your questions in your own post.
But first I have to comment on this, sorry. I personally don't like when people say the dog is equipment oriented. I think what people see when they say this is, the dog has a fond association with the equipment, meaning a ton of time was spent teaching the dog how to have fun and bite on this equipment which translates into the dog enjoying the equipment. It is not always fair to the dog to make the dog choose between a piece of equipment and someone that does not have any equipment on, which a dog with the proper drives may try to bite that person, but just how much fun and experience does said dog have at biting the person versus the equipment (unless we are talking about a seasoned street dog). Sorry, Jay just a pet peeve of mine, sorry to get off on that subject.
The above does have something to do I think with your problem. How much time does your girl have on the sleeve versus the suit?
How much time was spent trying to introduce the suit as a prey item (I know I can here some people shaking their heads)? The suit should be nothing more then another piece of training equipment to the dog. She should look at it as a bigger prey item then the sleeve, but it should still be a prey item. I personally don't believe the suit should mean the dog is biting the man or making things more civil (we have undercover equipment and muzzles to do civil work and testing), although if not introduce correctly the suit can take on that kind of aspect which I believe that may have happened with your girl, which makes it not as much fun for her. I am not questioning if your girl will bite someone for real or not, some dogs will, but still not have fun operating in so much defense. In other words her ability to stay in a defensive mind set for a prolonged period of time is part of the problem, or being put into defense by someone she knows and likes. She can handle it for a little but a prolonged period or from the wrong person will wear her down and the work will suffer from this.

I do some decoy work for some dogs that I have a social relationship with and this works to teach the dogs something's as long as the lesson remains friendly, but if I put the dog into a defensive mind set the bite work goes out the window. This happens even more if you have a dog that is a social animal to begin with. If a dog truly likes people you are creating a huge conflict in the dogs mind, which may have happened with your girl and your dad? The dog likes people and sees no reason to bite a person. So, we must provoke the dog into biting which usually means we have to put the dog into a defensive mind set, so now we have a conflict, the dog likes people and does not really want to do someone harm, but we are saying to the dog it does not matter how you feel you must bite (we are doing this by putting her in defense) so she will bite, but not whole heartedly. And the bigger the relationship the dog has with that person the more of a conflict the dog will be in.

To try to resolve this problem you have to try to make the dog see that the suit is not attached to your dad and the suit is nothing more then a prey item at this point. What I usually do is take the suit top off and swing it around and try to just play with the dog like I would when introducing a young dog to a sleeve or a tug. Once the dog sees they can have fun with the suit you can gradually start to slip back into the suit and see what happens with the bite, if the dog stays in prey (this should mean she maintains a nice calm grip) you have started to accomplish your end goal. But, the decoy work from your dad has to stay fun, if he makes it to much about him in the suit you will start back down the road you just came up, it has to be about biting the suit. If you have access to some good decoys every so often having them add some defense in small doses will give you what you want without your dad having to do this.

I have much the same problem with my wife's dog. We got him when he was 14 months old after he bit 6 people and was going to be put to sleep. So we know the dog has no problem biting someone for real. But, he does not handle prolonged defensive battles real well, he will not run, but for the sport that my wife is going to compete in with him I need the dog to maintain a cool head and a good grip. I can do a lot of teaching with me working him, but I have to keep things fun for him, I can not press the defensive button with him at all. I teach him certain exercises and then when I want to add some defense to the exercise I have a friend of mine work the dog and do this in small doses, so now I am getting what I want out of the dog.

Did this help at all? Sorry for writing so much, but I think the answer to this problem is not a one liner. Remember also with the sleeve versus the suit, their is also a physical separation that we can obtain with the sleeve that we can't with the suit, which adds to the defensive feelings some dogs have with the suit


Doug
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the post Doug. Thats the route I thinking I'm going to take. We're pretty much going to have to start over I guess. Reenterduce the suit in a more fun way. Should I do anymore work on the sleeve or just stick with the suit only and try to get her more excited about it and then later I can bounce back and forth with the equipment. Is it safe to leave dad to do this or do you think that her experience with him in the suit is going to slow her down or hold her back due to her previous conflicts?
 

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Jay wrote:
She's not consistent some days she does well but some days she just doesn't have much interest in , almost like its just not that fun, unless you put her into a little defense and then she'll bite it.
If she'll bite it with a bit of defense, have the decoy - NOT YOUR DAD - look away, and try to run away, as you pull her off the bite. Use a harness. The decoy should run away...and you give chase a bit. Don't even look at her during this. As soon as she begins to lose interest in the decoy, put her in a crate. Do ONE bite per session for a couple of weeks.

This is an alternate approach.

If you can't pull her off the bite because she's clamped down hard, have the decoy go down, give her a re-bite, have the decoy show submission and pain, and feed her the suit top.
 

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Jay
Actually I would make a point of having your dad work her through it. It is one of those things that will be more of a life lesson to her if your dad can bring her through this. I would stay away from the sleeve for a while and for the simple reason is she does not have a problem with the sleeve, so that will not get her over the suit issue. Just have him use the suit top or bottom as a big tug keep it off and swing it around and let her bite and carry it around, give it a couple of sessions before he tries to put it back on and then maybe it would be just one sleeve, you know what I am getting at right? You said she is a nicely balanced dog so this is something she should work through in short order, but you do have to go back to real basic stuff and build slowly. Then in the end to keep old habits or feelings from cropping up, I would keep your dad completely out of the defensive picture of things with her. Just my opinion.

Doug
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Doug-Yeah, I know what you mean with the suit. I have done this with some young dogs to introduce it to them and it has worked well. Defenitely agree with dad not doing anymore defense with her, ever. I'm not in a rush, her OB is exceptional I have started her in detection work which is going great, so we'll just take it slow on the suit and try to get her turned back around.

Andres- I know where you're coming from; in order to stay out and play she has to do the work. I think I can apply that when starting over with the suit. If she fades off I'll put her up and she just have to sit and watch and not get to play, which will eat her up. She goes crazy in the truck wanting to get out and work, so a little frustration won't hurt.

Like we say in training if it ain't broke you can't fix it. Thanks for the help guys.
 
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