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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So yesterday i participated in a training day put on by the western states police canine association. about 50 dog/handler teams. they broke us up into groups and there were 5 scenarios that we rotated through. there were 8 or 9 in my group.

on one scenario, they called it "the courage test" scenario. basically it was environmental/decoy pressure. you started off on asphalt, you held the dog, decoy is in a doorway, agitates dog with empty 5 gallon water jugs with rocks in them, then runs about 15 feet deep into a room with slick floors, boxes and more empty jugs strewn about on the floor. you sent the dog and the decoy kicks the jugs on the floor at the dog while shaking the jugs and advancing on the dog for a frontal bite.

out of the dogs in my group, i'd say 3 dogs had a real hard time with it, 2 dogs did it very well, and 3 were so-so. at least one of the dogs that had a hard time were dogs with many street bites to their credit and i believe was/is considered a tough street dog by people is his area. my quesiton...what does this poor performance mean?

i have my own thoughts that i will post, but i'd like to hear some others first.

to answer the obvious questions: yes, i lucked out and gregg tawney was in my group. his dog was one of the ones that did very well, flew in high speed, no issues. my dog flew in, but because of the slick floor, didn't time his launch right and ended up raking the suit initially, then went in and held on confidently so i considered his performance in the so-so category.
 

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It means someone probably forgot to show the dog what he might encounter in a building n they got thrown off. Either you work thru it or you write the dog off if it's clear they will never make it. Or you hope there's never any felons that run into a building with slick floors and gallon jugs around ;)
 

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I'm completely sure that there's a big difference between environmental pressure and "man-pressure" from a dog. On one hand, I've seen dogs that have zero issues with anything environmental you throw at them, but if the bad guy yells and pulls them close to the body, they freak. On the other hand, I've also seen dogs that will take anything the guy with the schutzhund stick can bring, but get antsy when they bring out the palm fronds. I personally think that environmental pressure is 50% genetics and 50% conditioning. Most of the people who train for anything like Mondio, PSA, etc. start their dogs from the beginning with exposure to as many different distractions as possible (some schutzhund people, too, but unfortunately not enough.) If you have a well-bred dog, the chances are good that he'll be stable anyway - but all the extra exposure can't hurt. Then again, like I always say - a real criminal probably isn't going to be carrying a penny jug around in their backpack. :wink:
 

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Not sursprised that happened :wink: I think many "real" and tough dogs will be bothered by strange/weird situations if they never seen such scenarios before. It´s like when you see dogs in policedog trials that are considered tough streetdogs that show a bit of concern on a couragetest performed by a impressive decoy because they aren´t so used to that type of scenario.
But if they have trained for it they will do much better. In short, if a dog can´t deal with a situation it has been trained/prepared for, like the scenario you described, then I would get concerned.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Erik Berg said:
Not sursprised that happened :wink: I think many "real" and tough dogs will be bothered by strange/weird situations if they never seen such scenarios before. It´s like when you see dogs in policedog trials that are considered tough streetdogs that show a bit of concern on a couragetest performed by a impressive decoy because they aren´t so used to that type of scenario.
But if they have trained for it they will do much better. In short, if a dog can´t deal with a situation it has been trained/prepared for, like the scenario you described, then I would get concerned.
this is what i believe for the most part. for some dogs, it was the combination of everything. if you broke it down in segments, they were ok. slick floors alone didn't bother any of them. the jugs alone, same thing. the objects on the floor bothered one dog. when it stepped on the boxes and jugs while on the bite, it had problems. for most of the dogs i saw that had problems, it was the total package that was the issue. the helpers did a good job, when a dog had problems, of breaking it down and giving the dog some success in the scenario.

most all street bites are gimmes. the guy is running away, bite. the guy is laying passive bite. once the dog is on, they scream like little girls and the dog is removed. a k9 team can go through many years and many bites and never be stressed the way the dogs were in this scenario. if constantly exposed, like amber suggested, i feel that most of these dogs could adapt to this specific situation. most of the PSD trainers i know, unfortunately, don't stress these types of exposures. perhaps because as was suggested, it is not really encountered on the street. i know gregg does do these types of things with his dogs (probably because of the PSA influence).

here's my dogs apprehension histories: first bite with first dog was on asphalt, guy was crouched down and got bit on the shoulder. second bite guy was passive in some bushes. third bite current dog, guy was passive in a building attic got bit on leg. fourth bite guy was in a bathroom and got bit on the arm. all gave up immediately. these were all gimme bites. no resistance. no uneven footing, nothing waved or thrown at dog. does this mean we should train for these types of situations? no, not in my opinion. we should train for the extreme situations where there is uneven footing. where the bad guy does offer resistance. where the bad guy does have objects in his hands and use them as weapons or distractors.

in short, in my opinion, that scenario is not enough to tell whether those dogs that failed were "tough" or not. as amber suggested, there is no way of telling whether or not those dogs could work through that with more frequent exposure to similar situations. i would tend to think that most of them could...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
thanks jeff. while i would tend to agree solely because it's MY dog, it wasn't flawless. the decoy said it was because he slipped, but who knows? there is always the possibility that he balked at everything going on, so i can't put him in the "he did well" category. maybe i'm being hard on the dog, but that's just the way i feel.

my main point in bringing this whole scenario is because, in my opinion, the ability of a dog to bite a man "for real" and environmental/decoy pressure confidence are not mutually inclusive. yes, the ability of a dog to bite a man "for real" is something that all handlers question up to the point their dog actually does it. this is a trait that not all dogs possess. the same can be said for environmental/decoy pressure sensitivity. i don't believe that if a dog can do one, he automatically can do the other. this scenario proved that point...

edit: also for jeff....chalk one up for a "half mouth" biter. call the entry what you will, but once he was on, HE WAS ON. didn't let go under the pressure. so much for full mouth = confidence theory :wink:
 

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Tim Martens said:
what did mike say? i don't read his stuff anymore...
Then why ask?

Mike, what you said about the half-mouth or full mouth not being the biggest issue -- then do I read it right: a less than full grip that does not adjust in response to pressure is preferable to a grip that starts better but then adjusts when pressured?
 

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I would think some dogs can sense the difference in it's handler whether it's a street scenario or a "fun" competition.
I like the full mouth bite from a sport perspective.
Not being LEO, I can only guess that full or short, if the dog stays engaged is all that counts.
The best answer is in the training. A perp is rarely going to fight the dog. As Tim said, a " gimme bite".
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Bob Scott said:
I would think some dogs can sense the difference in it's handler whether it's a street scenario or a "fun" competition.
I like the full mouth bite from a sport perspective.
Not being LEO, I can only guess that full or short, if the dog stays engaged is all that counts.
The best answer is in the training. A perp is rarely going to fight the dog. As Tim said, a " gimme bite".
believe me, i'd rather my dog have that full mouth bite. it looks prettier and it generally causes less damage on suspects. there is also less possibility of losing the grip when it's deep (more re-grips = more damage), but it isn't so with my dog. as long as he stays in the fight, that's all that really matters...
 

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Aside from more damage, in the real world, is the shallow bite more apt to get clothes instead of meat?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Bob Scott said:
Aside from more damage, in the real world, is the shallow bite more apt to get clothes instead of meat?
potentially, but it's not whether or not the dog gets clothing, it's what the dog does when/if he gets it. even with a full mouth bite, with a thick jacket, the suspect could slip the bite/jacket off. as long as the dog spits the clothing and re-engages, it doesn't really matter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Connie Sutherland said:
Why is it potentially more damaging? Is it because of the repeated bite sites? More toothmarks?
yes and if the canines are involved, when the dog thrashes, those long teeth do much more damage than molars.
 

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Connie Sutherland said:
Why is it potentially more damaging? Is it because of the repeated bite sites? More toothmarks?
Here's a science-y explanation. "In the wild," wild canines, felines, and other carnivores like hyenas don't take down prey with a "full mouth bite." Ripping and tearing is done with the front half of the mouth. Take hyenas, for example. They have one of the strongest bite pressures in the animal kingdom, but their crushing molars aren't for killing, they are for cracking bone after the kill. Kind of like parrots. They have amazing bite pressure to crack very tough nuts, but if a parrot is pissed off and wants to bite you, it doesn't do it with with the main part of the bill, but the two points coming together. *shudders remembering a bite long ago from an African grey*
 
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