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Protection Training Q&A
Protection Training Q&A
ASK CINDY YOUR DOG TRAINING QUESTION
I try and answer every question I receive on dog training. I may often come across as a little on the blunt side, (some may call it brash). That is because I consider myself an advocate for dogs and not dog handlers. I am an advocate for common sense dog training and not the latest fad that appears on the horizon. Good dog training is not rocket science. It's common sense.
- If you have a
good sport dog do you need a protection dog as well?
- Can you recommend videos or books
for training a Doberman?
- Can you define fight drive for me?
- Can you tell me why fight
drive is so important in building search training?
- I have a client with a 5-year old
GSD. They wanted a personal protection dog. This dog only goes after
females, usually young and they are always showing fear toward the dog.
They want me to fix the problem. What do you recommend?
- I called some trainers this weekend
and they said the dog doesnt need to have any genetics, they could
teach personal protection. Is this true?
- In protection work, should the
helper be a stranger or friend to the dog?
- I have a rescue dog that is either
timid or aggressive around tall men. Should I protection train him?
- Will protection training my 2-year
Rott put my family in danger?
- We just bought an 8-week old pup
for family protection. We also have a 10-year old. Is it safe to leave
them together when we arent home?
- Can you give me a list of
German commands for my dog?
- My 12-month dog wont bark
in protection work. What should I do?
- Can I over-socialize my dog
for protection training?
- I signed up for a protection dog
class and I feel that I have been scammed. Can I do the helper work
on our own dog?
- Can I use a friend as a helper
for bite training?
- My husband thinks you train a
dog to be a perimeter guard dog by spraying him in the face with vinegar.
Is that true?
- Can a protection dog be used in search
and rescue work?
- We have 2 dogs in our Sch. club
that are 15 & 17 months old. They have no prior training. Neither
shows much prey or defense. Can they be trained in protection work?
- I want to become a helper. Can
you give me some advise?
- What do you think of Koehler books?
- My dog will protect the home when
I am there, but not when Im gone. What should I do to correct
- My 11-month Bull dog doesnt
have a full mouth bite. What can I do?
- We sent our dog to a guard
dog trainer. I think he created some problems. Can you offer any advise?
- My friend has a Doberman as a guard
dog for his business. The business was recently robbed. Did he over-socialize
- Do your videos train dogs to hit
an arm which is holding a gun? We live an area where the Bloods and
Cripps have run through our back yard.
- My young dog will work in prey,
but the instant the helper slips the sleeve the dog spits it out. What
should we do?
- My female will not out the sleeve
once it has been slipped by the helper. We have tried everything. Do
you have any ideas?
- I live in Greece and have been
doing helper work for 2 years. I am having a problem moving a female
into some form of defense. Any ideas?
- My young male hackles up a little
(near the tail) just before gripping in bite training. Should I be concerned?
- I would like to train my dog to protect
my car. What should I do?
- I am having some problems
working my dog in defense. He showed aggression on the first session
of training (at night) but when we tried the training near our house
he did not seem to be very interested. Can you give me your thoughts?
- I have a 2 year old male American
Staffordshire terrier and besides chasing cats it does not do anything
else. I want it to protect me and it is too friendly. A trainer told
me this is the wrong breed. What should I do?
- I had 2 trainers test my dog.
They want to take my dog for 3 to 4 weeks for training in their kennel.
Should I do this?
- Can you tell me what I should
be doing with my 1 year old Dobe to help bring out his defense drive?
- My wife and I own a motorcycle shop in a rough part
of the cities. Is it possible to have a dog loose in the store for
protection and still have a dog that is safe with customers?
- Can I buy a trained dog in personal protection.
I am leaving in the guards and need something for my family?
- Do you recommend anybody to train my dog in Protection?
- How can I get my 3 year old Pit Bull to protect my yard
if I am not home? I do not have a helper.
- I recently purchased a 4 month old Dobe. I want him
trained to protect me and my business at night. Do you do this kind
- I'm trying to teach my new dog to bark at the door bell, strangers, and knocking but can't seem to get it right. Can you recommend some DVDs or articles to help me out?
- My dog's bite-work is worrying. She goes in very fast, pulls hard and holds in there, …as long as the handler is pulling on the leash. As soon as the pressure is off she loses interest and lets it drop. Any suggestions?
My goal overall is to have a
well-rounded dog, as most people. I have seen sport dogs that have obtained
titles, and wanted to know realistically, if you have a good sport dog
do you not have a "protection dog" as well? I always thought
that a protection dog was a dog that basically stays with you or in your
vehicle to keep the "bad guys " away. The way I have seen some
protection dogs trained here, I would not trust them to come off a leash.
I have seen Schutzhund dogs, and Ring dogs better trained than some protection
dogs. Can you get your goal of "protection" from a sport dog?
Thanks for your time.
Schutzhund and Ring dogs are
much better trained than a protection dog - not even in the same league
as far as the amount of training. This does not mean the Sch and ring
dogs are protections dogs - they are sports dogs that may be able to
do personal protections if they are cross trained and have the genetics
I recommend that you read my
training articles on my web site and maybe start to pick up some of my
training videos - this is where you will learn.
I belong to the Peak Schutzhund
Club in Colorado Springs, CO. I have been looking for information regarding
training Dobermanns in schutzhund. If you have or can direct me in the
right direction I would really appreciate.
Protection training (like all
dog training in my opinion), is not breed specific. In other words, we
do not train a Dobe any differently than we train a Rot or a German Shepherd.
Training varies according to the temperament and drive of the individual
dog and not its breed.
So the job of the handler is
to recognize prey drive, nerve levels and hardness (or softness in a dog)
and adjust the training accordingly. This is not an easy task for new
What I recommend is the new
trainers begin with Bite Training
First Steps of Bite Training. These 2 videos are going to get new
people on the right road. They are far from everything that needs to
but they are a good start in the right direction.
Can you define fight drive for
I assume that anyone interested
in this question has some understanding of the drive
of protection work. If you need more information, go to the article
on my website about it.
My definition of FIGHT DRIVE
is this: A dog has fight drive when his protection work carries
the forwardness of prey with the intensity of defense. A dog with good
fight drive is willing to engage a helper or suspect in every circumstance,
under every condition regardless of training equipment being present or
not being present. A dog with fight drive knows he can win every fight
that he get into and is willing to carry the fight to the suspect.
Fight drive is not something
a dog can be trained to have. It is a genetic part of the dogs make up.
He either has it or he doesn't have it. The American bloodline dogs have
zero fight drive. The German Show bloodlines have very very little fight
drive. If you would ever find a German Show Bloodline animal with a little
fight drive, it is not enough so that dog can ever genetically reproduce
it in his off spring. On the other hand fight drive is not something
a young dog can have because it requires a dog to have considerable
in training and maturity before he can develop fight drive. In other
words, dogs don't just wake up one morning and have fight drive. It
is a result
of good genetic make up combined with good training to produce a confidence
that the dog can win in every encounter every time.
By this I mean that when people
say that their "one year old dog has a ton of fight drive" they
are 100% wrong. It is almost impossible to have a one year old dog with
a lot of fight drive. A dog is not mature enough at that age to have
a fully developed defensive drive. Without defense being developed the
dog can not have fight drive. What these people are seeing is a dog that
is very intense in prey drive.
Fight drive is more than a dog
that is intense on the training field. Its a dog that is willing to carry
the fight to the helper or suspect at any time anywhere. This goes well
beyond a schutzhund field or a dog that is willing to protect his home
against intruders. I tell friends that you need to experience fight drive
in a dog to understand what it is and once you see it you will never forget
Also it is not necessarily a
dog that is vicious, sharp or dangerous to be around. That is a misconception
with people new to protection training. My current police dog has extreme
fight drive, yet he is very socialable. He is good with children and
people. Anyone can walk in my office without any fear of being challenged
attacked. Yet when I work with him on the street he has an instinctive
bad guys. This dog senses a fight and goes into high gear. He exudes "fight
drive" and when suspects see this they know that they are not dealing
with a normal dog. They quickly see that this dog is doing more than
just barking at them. He exudes a power and intensity that they can feel.
know he is willing to bite them and bite them with intensity. The beauty
of this is that 99% of the time this takes the fight drive right out
of the suspect and makes him comply with what I want him to do.
I have a question regarding
a client that has a 5 year old un-neutered American bred GSD that
is a fear
biter. This dog only goes after females, usually young and they are always
showing fear towards the dog. This dog has bit several times, only
the skin. This dog has had "protection training" from a very
questionable trainer in the area...very defensive oriented, from the
old school. The Jack Healy method out of US K9 Academy.
This dog is nothing but a poorly
trained guard dog IMO, no protection dog. The dog seems to be alright
with the family but very nervous around guests.
My question is what would be
your first step in trying to alleviate this problem? Now the family really
does not want to give the dog up and have made it quite clear how much
they love him.
This is rather simple. As a professional
dog trainer you will find that honesty is the always the best solution.
Sometimes it's going to make people mad and sometimes it's going to mean
turning business away. In this case these people need to have a very clear
explanation of the situation.
- They need to have the temperament of the animal explained
from a drive standpoint. You need to explain exactly what a "fear
biter" is and why this is so dangerous.
- Your advice should be to destroy the dog. It does
not matter if they disagree. They must understand your position and
how dangerous this animal is to all children. It's like allowing a
hand grenade to be left around the house while kids are playing.
- They need to understand that the dog should have
"NO MORE" protection training. At 5 years of age this dog
is not about to be changed. In fact if they refuse to destroy the dog
they should do an about turn and discourage all types of aggressive
behavior in this animal.
- You should stress that the dog must be 110% obedience
trained. It must be under control at all times, in every circumstance
and under any distraction.
- If they are not willing to
make this commitment, then walk away from them. Your reputation is more
valuable than getting involved with something like this.
If this dog has gone through the Jack Healy method of
protection dog training. He has gone through avoidance bite training.
Basically this is barbaric. Healy and his crew will take any pound dog
(which is the major source for their dogs) and protection train them through
avoidance training. They will also tell any customer that their dog can
be protection trained. They just don't tell them how they do it.
They tie a dog out on a very
short line and then basically put so much pressure and stress on a dog
that it in goes into a fight or flight mode. The dog's possibility of
flight has been removed because it is tied out on such a short line.
Its only option is a "fight for your life" situation. This
training often involves beating a dog until it can no longer take it.
At that point
the dog learns to attack. It learns that the only safe thing to do is
bite a person. This training produces very
around. They bite their handlers, their family members and anyone else
close. This training basically "makes a dog a little crazy."
I call it the GULAG method of dog training.
I called some trainers this weekend
and they said the dog doesn't need to have any genetics and they could
teach the dog Personal Protection. Is this true?
In good old American english,
this is 100% bull shit. These people that you are talking to are either
inexperienced trainers or rip off artists that are only interested in
getting your money.
Genetics is the most important
aspect of personal protection training. This is followed by a sound foundation
in prey bite development and then a solid foundation in defense to build
the dogs fight drive.
A dogs ability to work
in prey is 100% genetic. If a dog does not have prey drive it can
be properly trained in protection work. Prey drive is needed to release
the stress of defensive bite training. If a dog does not have prey
a foundation in prey bite work it has no way of relieving the stress
that's brought to the dog in defense. Dogs that lack prey but are
in defense become neurotic, sick crazy dogs. These are dogs that are
dangerous to be around.
For a dog to work as a personal
protection dog it must have fight drive. (If you dont know what
fight drive is, refer to my article on the subject). Fight drive, like
prey drive, is 100% inherited. It can not be trained into a dog.
All dogs can be worked in defense.
Dogs that lack a foundation in prey and a genetic foundation in fight
drive will resort to avoidance as a means of defense. If they are not
allowed to run but are backed into a corner and forced to fight -
will fight, but later in real life when presented with a stressful
situation they will always resort back to avoidance. This is how these
call themselves professional dog trainers will train a dog that's not
genetically capable of doing the work. They tie them up in the same
spot and beat
them until the dog fights in fight or flight. But once that same dog
is in a different spot and its not tied up, it will run.
With all this said, I will say
that most dogs can be trained to bite. If they do not have the genetics
needed for the work they can be trained through "avoidance"
to bite people. This is a barbaric method of training a dog. The dogs
are tied out and basically beat on until they learn that the only safe
thing to do is bite a person. Trainers put these animal in the fight
or flight mode by adding so much stress that the dog is literally fighting
for his life (because they eliminate the possibility of running away
through being tied out.) This kind of training usually makes a dog neurotic
a very unstable dangerous animal to be around. Dogs trained like this
will often bite their owner and family as well as guests.
My advice is to call these so
called trainers back and tell them that you sent an e-mail to a guy who
seriously questions their statements, methods and integrity.
My question is about choosing
a helper. Should the helper be someone the dog knows, or not? I have read
a lot of articles, and some say the dog shouldnt know the helper,
some say they should and some say it doesnt matter. I have read
a lot of your articles online and it seems you know what the hell youre
talking about. I would appreciate it if you gave me an answer to this
E. Jones SFC
This is a good question. When
a young dog goes through bite development it does not hurt for the dog
to know the helper. In fact, it does not hurt if the helper teaches the
dog some of this work. The fact is that prey work is not threatening
for the dog. Prey work is a comfortable place for the dog to work.
When the dog begins to mature
and is worked in defense, it should be worked by a stranger. If you
to develop the dogs into a serious sport dog, a personal protection dog
or police service dog it must learn to look at the helper as a fighting
partner. This can not happen if it knows the helper as a friend.
I remember 15 or 20 years ago
when we did not know anything about protection work. We would work
in bite work and then afterwards allow the dog to approach the helper,
be petted and treated like an old friend - HOW UTTERLY STUPID we were.
In trying to prove how safe this work and our dogs were - we were actually
confusing the dogs.
Take it from someone who has
made most of the mistakes one trainer can possibly make - if you train
with helpers or people who do this - either convince them of their folly
or stop training with them. Protection training is serious business. We
have a moral responsibility to train dogs with sound temperament and good
nerves. If one accepts that, then we owe it to our dogs to provide the
best training possible. This is not a game.
I have a one and a half year
old male GSD. He was a rescue dog and hadn't been socialized at all when
I got him (almost a year ago). He is very smart and learns everything
I teach him right away. I've been wanting to start him on some protection
training, my problem is that he is very dog aggressive and tends to be
either intimidated or overly defensive around tall men, although he has
been slowly improving in both areas. I don't want to encourage any uncalled
for aggression. Would protection training at this point just mess him
up or would it make him more confident and less intimidated around men?
Would using only women agitators make a difference.
My feeling is that it would
be a mistake to try and protection train this dog. The odds of getting
dog coming from a dog pound with the genetics that allow him to be protection
trained is about 1 in 100,000. Your dog is already showing signs of bad
nerves (shying away). This means he is stressed from just the sight of
a tall man. To add the stress of a man (or woman) putting pressure on
him in bite work would send him over the edge and make him neurotic.
In my opinion the only dogs that
should be protection trained are dogs with good temperament to start with.
These dogs have good nerves and can handle the stress of bite work.
You would be better advised to
work on calming your dog down around tall men. Do this by trying to keep
a small bag of treats with you when you are out for walks (hot dogs work
well here). When the dog shows signs of avoidance or aggression towards
tall men, ask them if they would mind tossing your dog a treat. Make tall
men "hot dog machines" to your dog. This will often change the
dogs attitude towards them.
If you try and solve your problem
with protection training you will end up with a dog that is so sharp (aggressive)
that he is a danger for people to be around. Dogs that are like this can
only be used as security dogs behind a fence where they never come in
contact with people. I don't think that is what your goal is.
You would be better off to concentrate
on obedience training. I recommend my video titled Basic
I have a two year old Rottweiler.
He is friendly and we live in an apartment building. He is fully obedience
trained. I would like to train him to be capable of protection work. My
concern is that he will become aggressive towards neighbors and children
during the training period? Will this training program change his personality
and make him unpredictable?
If a dog has a good prey drive
and good temperament before he starts training he is not going to have
that temperament changed by bite training if it is done properly.
Read the articles I have on my
web site about drives. There is nothing dangerous
about prey drive work. In effect its a game for the dog. The dogs love
the work (if they have prey drive).
If a dog does not have prey drive
then that dog can only be trained by using its defensive drive. I do not
recommend this. There are too few trainers that truly understand this
type of work and it is too stress full for most dogs. I do not believe
that family dogs should be trained strictly in defense. It makes them
So that's the way to view this.
If your dog has good prey, you have little to worry about. If he does
not have prey drive - forget it. You will only stress the dog and no one
really knows how the stress will manifest itself without knowing the temperament
of the particular dog. It is not worth the risks to family and neighbors.
It is very easy to determine
if a dog has prey drive. Even inexperienced dog trainers can figure this
out if they have the right information. If you decide you want to learn
how to work a dog in prey, I recommend my tape titled The
First Steps of Bite Training.
We have an older dog, (10 years),
will it be OK to leave him with our puppy when we are not home?
Absolutely not, if a pup is
left to grow up with another dog it will look at other dogs as companions
not people. Pups should be kept separated from older dogs unless the
owner is present to supervise. It is OK to take them out together
when you are
with them (for walks and play) but they should be in separate crates
or kennels when alone.
In addition, older dogs tend
to try and dominate puppies. This is not the atmosphere we want our future
family protector to grow up in.
I purchased a GSD that has excellent
working bloodlines. He has super prey drive. I did not discover your videos
until he was almost a year old, but I still wanted to train him in personal
protection. So I started with the 1st steps of bite training. He does
really well in the bite work. I just cannot get him to bark at the helper,
even when he pops in and out of the blind. When I took him out in the
field and tried the stranger in the bushes, he just looked cautiously,
but never barked. What do I do now?
Get my video, The
First Steps of Defense. It sounds like this is a dog with very
high thresholds (hard to tell from a email). If it is - it does
not do a good
job countering but rather locks on and does not let go. If this is the
case (and it is a high threshold dog its going to take a skilled
to bring the dog out properly and even then its never going to be a great
working dog because it does not receive threats and therefore does
react. This is often a genetic thing.
If it is this - the dog needs
to go out and have the snot scared out of him to teach him that there
can be bad guys out there. Once he realizes this he will bark. I would
strongly not recommend this without studying the tape I talked about
If its done on the wrong dog or done to much on the right dog - it will
destroy what you have worked to build over this first year.
On the other hand it may just
be poor work - either from the helper or the training techniques. Again
- not something that can be determined from an email. Don't take offense
- but it is always a possibility when I have no idea who people are or
what their skill level is.
I have a 10 1/2 month old female
German Shepherd. Is it possible to over socialize a dog? If so, I
I did this. My dog LOVES everyone. I take her to meet a lot of people,
and there're are a lot of family and friends coming to our house on
daily basis. She does not bark when our doorbell rings, and when it does
ring she runs to the door tail wagging and ears pinned back. My problem
is that I do want her to start protecting the house w/o being a killer
dog. (I have 3 children). She treats family and friends the same way
treats strangers. Is she too young to start showing aggression(barking)
towards strangers who come to house? Will this aggression (barking)
naturally or must it be taught. Our last female shepherd was a great
watchdog and it was not taught, it just came to her. Should I keep
her, or should I back off a little?
Your dog sounds like a nice dog,
becoming territorial is a factor of genetics and maturity not socialization.
Your dog sounds like it has good nerves. If you want it trained you will
have to do some testing when it is older, (18 months). The bottom line
is that if you want this you need to learn about the drives that are used
in the work. Go to my web site and read the articles.
A lot of dogs will bark at people
when they reach maturity. They do it because they have weak nerves. The
very instant anyone puts any kind of pressure on them they turn and run.
The fact is 99.999% of the dogs out there fall into this category.
If you would like to learn more
about this work you should begin with our tapes The
First Steps of Bite Training and The First Steps
I've been doing agitation work, and training my dog
for the past 6 months now. To better my knowledge as an agitator, and
trainer I've recently purchased a couple of your training tapes, and numerous
books on the subject. I've come to the conclusion that I've been caught
up in a bit of a scam. It's a combination obedience-protection class.
One Hour of obedience (mostly healing) immediately followed by bite work.
The class contains approximately 15 dogs.
All dogs are present during the bite work. The advanced
dogs would all fall in to the category of extreme prey drive with no
training. I love working with the dogs and wanted to continue towards
Schutzhund competition. My girlfriend is also in the class, due to her
need of a protection dog. Would my working our dogs myself cause problems?
Could she pose as the handler, and myself as the agitator, or would
open up problems in the advanced stages? Your tapes talk of the handler
working the dog in prey drive early in the training, but I'm unsure
what degree of isolation between the dog and agitator should be used
in the defense stages to prevent problems. We both have quality bloodline
Shepherds and want to continue in our training. I've been unable to locate
any kind of club or training in this area that's of any quality. Can
continue to train our dogs or have we been left up creek so to speak?
While its always better to have experienced strangers
do helper work this is not always possible. You can do a lot of the prey
work and bite development yourself.
You can not do defensive or aggression work yourself.
At that point you are going to have to find another person to help you.
A lot of dogs are trained in sport work 100% in prey.
This happens when people do not understand bite work or when an individual
can not handle a dog in defense/aggression so its better to work the dog
I would recommend my video The
First Steps of Defense.
Will it be a problem using a friend of mine as my dogs
helper for bite training, concerning being around my dog when we are not
Its not a problem, but do not get stupid and show
everyone how great your dog is by letting the friend buddy up to the dog
after the bite work, or be buddies at any other time. He must remain neutral
around the dog when he is not working. He does not pet him, he does nothing
My husband and I are opening a shop. My husband wants
to get a dog that will offer some protection when we are not there. He
is talking about "perimeter training" the dog. I think by this he
means that the dog will guard the property in the night. He says to train
a dog to do this, the trainer uses vinegar and sprays the dog with it.
He says this is only done at night, so that when customers come into
the shop during the day the dog will not attack. Is this the proper method
to use? And can you train a dog just to attack at night? (Our shop will
be open in the evening when it is dark outside.) I should mention we
a small child and I am concerned for her safety around a dog that has
been sprayed with vinegar. Another question I have is if we leave the
dog in the shop at night he will be alone for at least twelve hours every
day. Isn't this too long? I should also mention the shop area is not
fenced, and there are other shops in the same block.
This vinegar idea is a crazy idea. Whoever told you
this knows nothing about dog training.
Spend your money on a good alarm system because you
are asking for problems to approach this security issue thinking the way
that you are. You are 100% correct - 12 hours is too long to leave a dog
without the opportunity to go outside.
I have a male GSD that I have started trailing work
with for SAR. I would also like to get into one of the Protection sports,
such as NAPD. My questions is this: Can a protection dog be used in an
SAR environment? People have hold me that he would be fine for trailing,
but could not be trusted, due to his bite work, in air-scenting, when
he is running free.
Police service dogs with proper training are used for
off leash searches all over this country. It would be very simple to do
S&R with a sch sport dog. Most sport dogs will never bite in a real
If you want to learn how to do this, get my video that
I did with the RCMP, Training Tracking Dogs S&R
They are the experts on S&R and all of their dogs
bite - isn't that an interesting point?
Last night at our Schutzhund Club practice here a member
brought by a 15 month old bull mastiff. I have a rottweiler of the same
age, and because neither were trained or worked with earlier, neither
have much prey or any defensive drive. Do you have any videos or books
or advice that deal directly with this problem? Some people do not have
the ability or desire to purchase another dog/puppy, but desire to work
with the dog they have. Is there anything that they can do?
At 17 months it's kind of late to start a dog. The emphasis
needs to be in developing prey. I go into this in my video The
First Steps of Bite Training.
The work on older dogs may mean that the dogs are stressed
a little in defense (this must be by an experienced helper.) The dogs
will bite and then he must be worked on the carry. In the beginning the
dog will not want to do it. When he hits the sleeve the helper must instantly
come back in a give pressure. The dog will learn that to keep the helper
from stressing out he must hold the sleeve. When the helper has slipped
the sleeve the helper should stop - move back and face to the side and
not directly at the dog there should be no eye contact during this time.
The instant the dog drops the sleeve he turns and comes back in to stress
The risk is to stress too much and push the dog into
But what you need to find is if the dog really does
have prey. Many have prey, but because they did not go through bite development
during the early months the dogs do not look at the sleeve as a prey
Some dogs have absolutely no prey these dogs should
not be trained in bite work. They can be trained to bite but it will
to be strictly in defense and because the dog has no prey it will have
no conduit to release the stress that is used in defense.
I am interested in becoming a trainer. I used to go
with a family member every week while he worked his GSD, so I am not new
to the sport but I am a new to training. I own an American Bulldog from
good lines now and I am working him, and I have a female puppy coming
as of June this year and she is from excellent lines and I am going to
work her. I am interested in becoming a trainer/agitator for other people.
What advice would you have for me? I live in Weymouth, Ma.
I recommend you read all my training articles if you
want advice, there is a ton of it there.
I also recommend you get my video, Bite
Training Puppies. This video is going to help the selection test
for the litter that you are going to get your pup from.
If you want to learn to be a helper you will need 4
There is a ton of things to learn and nothing compares
to experience but these tapes will get you way down the road to doing
things the right way.
I know you are busy but I would appreciate some feedback
from you regarding treat rewards. I am currently training my two year
old rott/shepherd mix, a family pet, and will soon start training a GSD
for police work - I'm a deputy sheriff in Oregon.
I've done my homework on many different types of training
methods. Most seem to be useless for my purposes. I doubt a strong tempered/dominate
dog would really respond to those types of training which are geared for
the politically correct - which I am not a current member of!! (Nor ever
One of the methods that I've been very impressed with,
and one that will get the results that I want - a dog that obeys my
RIGHT NOW! - is the William Koelher method. I did try this method but
the preliminary work was extremely boring for both me and the dog.
I recently purchased your video on basic obedience training.
I have to comment that I was very impressed with your methods. It is a
very common sense approach to dog training - and I like common sense.
(Apparently you are a reserve LEO so I'm sure you know what I mean.)
The one and only concern that I have with your method
is using a treat during the first stages of teaching the dog a command.
Will this have any negative effects in the long run? Am I going to end
up with a dog that does not obey my commands RIGHT NOW!?
I guess what I am fishing for here is some thoughts
from you on this matter - a little reassurance perhaps? I have been
contact with people who train dogs for the blind, etc. I have also contacted
a representative of the Koelher method, who assured me that giving any
treats during training will basically ruin the dog - more or less my
interpretation of this person's answer.
I've switched my tactics and am using the methods you
teach on my mix dog, with great results. He seems to enjoy the sessions
and so do I. Not at all boring. I've also done some preliminary work
with my GSD puppy using treats with equally positive results. I of course
not "correct" my puppy, who is 15 weeks old. It is a positive
Anyway, I am thrilled that I happened onto your web
site. The department that I work for requires us deputies that are "so
bent" to obtain, train and obtain certification for our dogs. Yes
we are a little behind times, but that's the way it is - and I love dogs
so I'm willing to do whatever is necessary to have my own K9. I appreciate
the fact that you offer the types of videos that you offer. I'll be able
to train my dog from these videos.
Twenty five years ago I bought the Koehler books. At
the time this was the only information available on this work. The books
were my first experience with protection work, and at that time they made
Over the years the training concepts have advanced light
years ahead of Koehler, to the extent that his methods are on the same
level as the model "T" ford. In my opinion if they took his
books off the shelves at the book stores it would be better for dog training
So with that in mind, you now understand how I think
about whoever represents Koelhers books and training methods. They need
to either get out of the business or come into the 21st century.
Dogs go through 3 phases in training:
- The learning phase
- The correction phase
- The distraction phase
In the learning phase the handlers
should use any motivations (fun) method the dog responds to. This
they should use food, a toy, exaggerated praise, or all of the above.
To teach the dog the meaning of a command. We don't want to
beat ( correct) a dog for not performing a command that he does not
is simply unfair and will destroy the relationship between the dog and
his handler. Doing this (using the Koehler methods) is the reason
to do obedience and look like they would rather be
anywhere else on earth than out there working with the handler.
If people want snappy obedience
they need to learn what stimulates a dogs interest and use these
methods. If a dog responds to food (and not all adult dogs do) then use
it. If they respond to a toy then use it. The job of the handler is to
find out what motivates his dog and then use that as a tool in the learning
For those people that say "If you use food the
dog will always require food" - well - these people are not dog trainers.
They don't understand the process.
Once the dog knows what a command is they are expected
to mind when told to perform the command. If they do not they are corrected
for not doing so. After a correction it is very important to praise the
dog to show him that you still love him and respect him. He just needs
to learn that you are the pack leader and you expect him to mind. New
trainers fall down here because they do not praise enough. I go through
all of this in my video Basic Dog Obedience.
After the correction phase, the dog then goes through
the distraction phase. This is where the dog learns to respond in every
circumstance - even when there are other dogs, kids, your wife, food
bowl, or tennis ball laying on the ground in front of him. By raising
of distractions as the training progresses (and always being ready to
back up the training because you went to far to fast) you end up with
a dog that is quick, happy and obedience. By setting up training scenarios
where the dog sees a distraction (ie his favorite ball laying on the
training field), and teaching him that the road to that ball is to perform
an obedience exercise first the speed at which a dog works will go up
and up. Part of the training will be to correct the dog to show him that
he can not just run over and grab his ball without working.
Let me give an example. I use this exact process in
training my police bite work. One of the exercises is to send your dog
after a suspect who is standing 100 yards away screaming at you. Part
way there you must either down your dog (as he is charging the man) or
simply stop the dog and do a straight recall. This is a very very difficult
exercise for a high drive trained police dog. The helper is a level 10
distraction for him.
The training begins with a long line. The dog is sent
and before he gets to the end of the line he is told to down. If he
not do it he flips over backwards as he hits the end of the line. Once
down he is called back to you and the very instant he reaches your side
he is sent in for a bite. When we begin to see anticipation on the "down"
we drop the long line and go to an electric collar to reinforce any mistakes.
In the end the dog learns that his road to the helper
is to down, bark, then return to the handler on a recall. After he does
all that he will be sent for a fight. When this light bulb goes off in
the dogs head and he realizes that this is how the game is played the
speed with which he returns is amazing.
As far as we are concerned, the helper stimulating
the dog to try and provoke a fight is a distraction. It's no different
that a hot dog for other breeds of dogs. The helper is a tool to distract
the dog so we can force him to be obedience and mind.
So to say that you should not use food in training
is stupid. You use what works to maintain drive and working attitude.
Being consistent with your corrections and praise is the key.
Hi, I was wondering if you can help me. I have a 3 year
old American Bulldog that wont protect the house when Im gone.
But he does when I am there. When I am home he wont let anyone come
in. He will protect me but when I am not around he doesnt do anything.
Can you tell me what I should do?
This dog has a strong pack drive - that's why he protects
you (as the leader), but lacks some territorial drive - he would protect
or at least bark when you are gone.
He needs to have his defense drive stimulated when you
are not there. If you want him to bite then you need to take him through
the bite development in The First Steps of Bite Training
and one on The First Steps of Defense.
You could just do the defense work if you are only interested
in the dog barking - you just need to make sure you do not do too much
of it and make him neurotic.
I would also read the articles on my web site about
I have purchased your puppy tug, bamboo whip, first
steps in bite training video, and now your soft sleeve. I have an 11
month old English Bull dog. He weighs 80lbs.
My question is this. Even though he is extremely aggressive
towards the tug and the sleeve, I can't seem to get him to bite with
full mouth. He constantly tries to bite with just the front part of his
mouth. Is he still too young? His mouth seems to be big enough to handle
it. Any suggestions on how to make him grab on with a full mouth? He
really attacks the hell out of the sleeve. By the way I'm very happy
my purchases. I hope you can help me with this.
A full mouth grip is a genetic issue. While there is
a possibility that your training is flawed, which is causing the poor
grip, it's more likely a genetic factor.
You need to not worry about it, continue to do what
you are doing and let the dog grow up. When he is way more mature, maybe
18 months - you start to do defensive work. Stress will always improve
the grip, but if you do defensive work too early on your dog it will
kill his drives.
I really enjoyed reading your site, & like everyone
else, have a few questions. (I hope you don't mind) I had my GSD obedience
& protection trained at the Guard Dog Training center, Berkshire Park,
NSW Australia, by Fred & Lewana Osmani. When I first approached them
Lewana talked to us about dog training, but every question I asked she
seemed to cut me off & asked me to buy their video showing what you
get. We did & were impressed with what we seen. After 2 weeks (in
which they said it would take three) they rang & told us he was ready.
When we returned they said he had pat the "test" for protection
work, but would need more lessons with us present, he was fretting. They
showed us how he would walk etc. but he looked like he was crawling on
his belly so to speak. When challenged he would bark in a high pitched
tone at the other trainers. We took him home & could not get him to
do a thing, we returned him (as they say they guarantee the training)
& he would walk OK etc. for them. What they didn't tell us or the
video didn't show was that you have to jerk the neck off the dog to make
him respond! Also, his protection training was poor. We have since attended
approx. 7 lessons, with admittedly better results. He attacks the trainer
well now but when at home or on the street he is not as ready to defend.
I think his protection work is "environmental" he sees the trainer
from 50 meters away & starts growling, barking & even shaking.
He attacks him well though.
He still doesn't do all of the things that they show
in their video, such as bark & hold, off the lead attack, not eat
food from the hand etc. One other thing that irks me is that at the end
of each lesson they say a few more lessons will do him, then when I ring
up in a couple of weeks they say he's finished? I suspect they are so
busy they don't remember what they tell you.
All in all, I'm not sure what drives my dog has, his
obedience is sloppy & protection work inconsistent, sometimes when
he is chained in my work use & someone walks by he will bark &
growl at them in any area, & other times he will do nothing? I don't
know why. People come to the house & he will run at the door-barking
etc., we put him outside & every time he catches a glimpse of them
through the curtain he goes crazy again. The slightest noise sets him
off barking (sometimes) making him an excellent guard dog, but the inconsistency
is what ruins him. I can't be sure what he'll do & when. Its like
a car that won't start, you never know when though. I feel he has the
potential, we never hit him, he was easily house trained, and he will
pull very hard on the tug for ages (longer than I can) he's not nervous
etc., when he attacks the trainer he gives a fully bite on the sleeve,
unlike others I have seen just nipping. The trainers say he's good but
is not a hard dog, they want to sell us a female to toughen him up.
I am saving to buy some of your videos on obedience
etc. but I would like to know where he is at & where to go from here.
Do you think he is trained? Maybe I'm expecting too much? I don't trust
them to do any more training, I've never heard them speak of drives or
defense. Their method is jumping around at him agitating him with a stick
with a piece of nylon cord on it, whipping him on the leg whilst he goes
for them? He chases a tug really well & has a firm bite, would it
be O.K. to work on his defense more or go back through bite work?
I think you got caught in a commercial guard dog operation
that is more interested in making money than training dogs. They pushed
your dog into defense and did not put a foundation of prey drive on the
dog. Most places like this do that. They do not charge enough money to
do a proper job of training the dogs. They just take them out - push them
into fight or flight and make neurotic dogs out of them that will light
up when they feel threatened. This is no different than Table Training,
(read the article on my web site about Table Training and you will understand
what is being done here.) I will not repeat what is already written.
If you want to learn how to take your dog through the
proper steps of bite training, get my video titled The
First Steps of Bite Training and The First Steps
of Defense. By studying that tape you will determine yourself what
level your dog is at and what damage has been done. You will also see
if the damage can be repaired.
I have a question about socializing guard dogs. Can you over socialize?
My friend has a 3-year-old Doberman Pincher. He bought him from a family
that was afraid of him (because he is an aggressive and dominate dog)
and left him in his kennel a lot.
The dog was 11 months when he got him and vary aggressive.
He had to chain him up when people came around in fear that he would
bite someone. In the past two years the dog has had a lot of socializing.
He works in a shop were he lets the dog run around. Every one that comes
over pet's him or play's with him. He has ton's of prey drive, he's always
wanting to play tug or tarring something up. The problem is that the
day someone broke into the shop and stole a bunch of things from him.
Is this due to over socializing? Is there anything that he can do to
make sure his dog will protect his property when he's gone. I do believe
dog has the genetics. Once someone came at him in an aggressive type
manner and the dog bite him so he is protective and he does bark at the
when people knock or when he heir's a strange noise. I hope I gave you
enough information so that you can help him with his situation.
Thank you for your time,
It's hard to answer a question like this in an email.
It is very unlikely that a Doberman would have a very
strong temperament. The true working ability of this breed has been bred
out of it (which is too bad). Showing aggression, and biting someone like
you describe, does not necessarily indicate a dog that will be a good
If your friend wants a dog that is going to protect
his business when he is gone. He should not allow the dog to be friendly
to everyone who comes in. The dog should be kept away from the people
and then receive some training. Dogs don't naturally become good protection
dogs. They need to learn skills and gain confidence in their own abilities
to fight humans.
I was wondering what your opinion is on the idea that
a canine should take out the weapon hand when confronting an armed suspect.
I live in a neighborhood where two rival gangs live; the "bloods"
and the "cripps," and there have been times when the chased
suspects have run through our back yards. Some have been armed, some have
not. Do you have any videos showing how to train a canine to take out
the weapon hand and then bite strategically to disable the intruder. Here
is a scenario: An armed suspect/intruder enters the back yard of a house.
He/she is carrying a weapon (i.e. a gun, knife, and bat etc.) Isn't the
canine in jeopardy if the canine bites everywhere on the body, but the
weapon is still in the hand of the intruder? Isn't there the great possibility
that the dog can get killed? Please give any thoughts and opinions on
this matter. Do you have any videos or are you willing to show on video
how to train a canine to take out the weapon hand? Do your videos give
the viewer adequate knowledge to train a personal protection canine, police
Your questions indicate a complete lack of understanding
of dog training or the use of dogs in personal protection.
If you want to train a personal protection dog, get
a dog and train it according to my videos. You do not train a dog to go
for the gun arm, if an assailant has a gun in your home, you shoot him,
you don't send a dog after him.
I am a police K9 officer and we do not train dogs to
go for the gun arm. We train the dogs to attack when told to or when fought.
If we encounter someone with a gun and they will not put the gun down
we shoot them.
Bad guys occasionally shoot police service dogs. But
if you were to look at the number of bad guys bit vs the number of dogs
shot you would see that the shock of being bit hard by a strong dog is
more than most people can stand. Plus, the dog is a diversion to allow
the handler to take cover and return fire.
I seem to be having difficulty
with my dog not wanting to hold the prey. When I try this with a puppy
sleeve or with a tug she still stops playing as soon as there is no movement.
I purchased your video on The First Steps of Bite Training; however, I
had already created the problem. As puppy, we played retrieve with her
constantly. She will hold on the sleeve and pull hard until the sleeve
is slipped, as long as the sleeve is moving. She loves it when we challenge
her with the prey, not in a defense drive but as play. But as soon as
we stop she paws and barks at us to challenge her or to throw the item.
Now, whenever she does the counter while on the line and we release the
prey, she will immediately drop it and look at the helper to take it.
I've tried frustrating her by not allowing her to get a bite, numerous
times, but after several days of building frustration when she does get
the bite, she will still release it and wait. I even tried running in
circles with her after she has the prey, but as soon as we stop running,
she spits it out and looks at the helper. I've even asked the vet if she
has any problems with her teeth and he says that is not the problem. Any
suggestions would be helpful.
If any readers see this... please
learn from my mistakes and get the video for puppies before purchasing
The dog now must learn through
stress. In other words, your helper needs to stress the dog the instant
it slips the sleeve. The dog must learn that as long as it grips the sleeve
the helper stands passively and waits. But the instant the sleeve is dropped
the helper steps in and cracks the dog (how hard depends on the temperament
and drive of the dog) with the stick or whip.
When this is done properly the
dog will learn in one or two training sessions that it is much wiser to
grip and hold. This is the first step to take the dog into defensive training.
It is critical work and must be done with a feel for the dog. If the dog
is stressed too much it will shut down and go into avoidance (not good).
The First Steps of Defense is
the video that shows how to move a dog from bite development into the
more serious work. All dogs that are going into more specialized training
(Police Service Work, Schutzhund Work or Personal Protection Work) need
to go through this phase of training before moving on.
I just read the question on the dog outing the sleeve
when the motion stops - I am having the opposite problem where my dog
will not out the sleeve after carrying it. I have worked all her foundation
with an excellent helper and we have tried almost everything to get her
to out on command. He even had a very experience & good handler handle
her to see if I was the problem but she did the same thing to him.
She has an extremely strong grip and does not want to
give the sleeve up. I have used flanking, prong collar, another sleeve,
etc... The next step is the electric collar.
She is very obedient in everything she does except for
this. I am very tired of having to go to such extremes. She does out without
a problem for a hold & guard. She also will out without a problem
when I put her up after her set of bite work is done. She will drop the
sleeve and jump in her crate! I bred this dog and ever since she was a
puppy she has been extremely possessive. I have always worked her in obedience
with a two toys and I have always offered her "trade" in order
to get something away from her. Was that my mistake?
What suggestions do you have?
The out in this situation is 100% a rank issue, in
A dog must completely understand whom the pack leader
is to have a clean out. You do not have this and you have not established
this position with your dog. To do it properly it must be accomplished
in every aspect of the dogs life, not just on the "OUT off the sleeve."
I have written articles on dominant dogs and how to
raise and live with them.
Two ball is a good start on this but it must expand
further than that. Many times a dog will not have as strong of a drive
for the ball as the sleeve. Therefore the work starts with a ball. The
dog must OUT the ball when told and if it picks it up it must be corrected
very, very hard. The bottom line is that the dog must clearly understand
that if it does not "OUT" the ball it will have a very hard,
hard correction. When the dog does OUT it must have a lot of praise. It
must be very clear that you are pleased that she did what you asked.
When it understands this then the same thing must be
done with the sleeve. The same thing here too - the dog must be praised
for dropping the sleeve.
Dear Mr. Frawley
My name is George and I e-mail you from Greece. I work
as a decoy for more than two years and I met a problem with a soft temperament
GSD I started to train her on tugs, sleeve, jan biere, and body bite
suit (only a few bites). I have to admit that I even pushed her a little
her home yard in order to give me a more defensive bark but the things
became worse than before. This dog is over socialized handler addicted.
Now I work her in spooky mode with me covered with a sheet and holding
a whip but she still gives me a bark more prey orientated that defensive.
She has a good grip and she fights for her prey. I tried her in different
locations and at the end of the session I allowed her to take the sheet
off me. Do you have any other ideas of working her?
It sounds like the dog is "locked in prey."
Always a problem because these dogs need to be hurt a little to make
them realize that the protection work is no longer a game of prey.
If she is ready for this (mentally and training wise)
work her in muzzle and also with a whip. I have an excellent Muzzle fighting
video - you can read about it on my website.
The bottom line is that a helper must learn to stress
a dog according to its temperament. It's your responsibility to know where
the "avoidance edge" is on each dog and work it close to the
border when the time comes that the dog is ready. It sounds like this
dog must learn that the helper is not a prey item but a fighting partner.
I seldom take females in this direction and am not sure that you should.
As far as I am concerned females can be sport dogs
and not service dogs. They can be worked in prey but the risk here is
the handler loses control in obedience when the prey is so high.
I know this is going to be hard for you to answer without
you seeing what is going on but I am going to try to explain clearly.
Cyric my 10 month old is doing something very strange
in his bite work. Just before he takes his bite on the chase he will hackle
up just in the crop area in front of his tail. Now he doesn't show anything
else that would suggest that he is afraid or intimidated as a matter of
fact he commits very well and bites full and hard. I was wondering if
this hackle could be from adrenaline or the excitement of the catch? What
do you think? I was also thinking that maybe it could be a hormone thing
as he is about in to man hood. LOL Please if you have a second just drop
me a line and let me know your thoughts. This pup is an Alk grandson and
is doing very well as he is already on bark and holds.
Thank you for your time.
You are probably right on the hormone issue. This is
a goofy age. It is an indication that the dog is a little stressed but
this is fine - it's the beginning of aggression coming into the dog. It
is also something I like to see in my dogs because dogs that do this at
this age usually have aggression that can be channeled as they grow.
If this gets worse - concentrate on prey work for a
while. But in my opinion it would be a mistake to do ALL PREY at this
point. The dog will get "locked in prey" if you do this. It
must work its way through this as a natural part of its evolution to become
a working dog.
My name is Kearney. I have a 3 year old male German
shaped I had some Schutzhund obedience training. He is the son of Yanku
von wilhendorf Sch1. I want to learn how to go about car protection. And
he is not lifting his leg when urinating. He is a housedog. He has good
drive, I want to do more with him can you give me some advice. he's a
wonderful dog one of the best I have ever had, and have had German Shepherds
for 16 years.
I cannot tell you through an e-mail how to train your
dog to protect your car. He must have the correct drives and genetics.
If you just want the dog to bark at people that come
near the car, then all you need to do is to leave the dog in the car with
the windows down about 3 inches. Let someone walk up to the car - when
the dog sticks his nose out - the person should snap him pretty hard on
the nose - when the dog barks - they should run away. During training
the dog must learn people it barks at run away. It would not take long
for the dog to be barking at people who come around the car. If you want
to do additional training I would suggest getting a few training videos.
Hello Mr. Frawley-
I got "First steps of Defense" awhile ago
and I have begun training a new dog with your techniques. His first
was away from home, a totally new place, and lit up on the decoy right
off the bat. All forward motion, deep defensive bark, very focused.
was very happy. The next session I used the same decoy, and used the
same distance (about 30 yards) with the same body language and verbal
The difference was this time I chose a spot about 10 yards from the house,
and it was 10 am. His response was lackluster. He did bark at the decoy,
but showed only a little forward motion. When he did bark and the decoy
backed up, he seemed to think the threat was over, and started to investigate
some horse poop on the side of the road. Just not very focused. Common
sense seems to say to go back to the night sessions for a while, but
wanted to get your take on it. Also, should the decoy move closer and
closer over the period of a few sessions? And how do you move from the
civil agitation into an actual bite? This dog already has a good foundation
in prey drive. Thank you for your excellent videos and your professional
The poop sniffing could be avoidance - without seeing
it I am not sure but it sounds like it.
The bottom line is that a dog should continue to show
aggression to a helper who is threatening. The issue in training is where
a dog shows avoidance, not the line that a dog shows a lack of interest
because he knows the helper or the place he is working. The goal is for
a dog to show strength when put in these defensive situations. The long-term
goal is for the dog to gain confidence and strength through multiple exposures
to the helpers.
If your dog has correct bite development and the right
genes it should flip into prey drive if the helper moves away from him.
One point you should keep in mind is that if you do
not have an experienced helper the dog should be taken to new places for
defensive training. Some dogs do not feel threatened when they are worked
by inexperienced helpers in familiar locations (like you describe here).
I have a 2-year-old male American Stafford shire terrier
and besides chasing cats it does not do anything else? It is not a guardian
at all. If someone strange comes into my house, my dog does not care
at all, sometimes he even moves his tail around and is ready to play
with the stranger. I hate this kind of behavior; I want to make it a
guardian. Can I do something about it? A trainer that I asked told me
that if I wanted a guardian dog I should get a Doberman or a Rottweiler
because the American Stafford loves everybody and that his skills are
only useful in the pit.
Is that true that the American Staffords are not
guardians at all? What kind of breed do you suggest me to get (apart from
German Shepard) in order to have a very good guardian dog?
This is total bullshit you talked to a fool for
a trainer. We just had a man killed by two security pit bulls.
If you want your dog to work you need to learn something.
You are at least making an effort but it is obvious that you only know
what end of a dog the food comes in and what end it goes out. I do not
like to be blunt, but this is the case. So the problem is with you and
not your breed of dog. You will have the same problems with Rotts or Dobes.
For a dog to protect, it must be trained. You would
not expect the son of a soccer player to be able to play soccer without
Here is a list of training videos to consider:
The First Steps of Bite Training
explains the importance of bite development and the steps a dog as young
as 6 months of age must go through before it can be ready for more serious
defensive training. I would suggest that you read the description of this
video on my web site. If you are not 100% sure of the drives that I refer
to, I would direct you to the articles I have written on this subject
on my web site.
The First Steps of Defense is
the video that shows how to move a dog from bite development into the
more serious work. All dogs that are going into more specialized training
(Police Service Work, Schutzhund Work or Personal Protection Work) need
to go through this phase of training before moving on.
Muzzle Fighting for Police Service
Dogs. This video will explain the work necessary to proof a dog that
is nearing the end of its training. The information in this video
is not only used for police work and personal protection work, many sport
trainers muzzle train their dogs to raise the level of intensity in the
Training Personal Protection Dogs
(get this last).
Thank you for producing such informative videos, the information you
present has not only helped me to understand the drives and drive
for protection work but has also saved me thousands of dollars on worthless
trainers. It has given me a better dog, I have owned protection dogs
but he is by far the best.
Jasper is now 20 months old and nearly finished with
his training, he has a strong prey drive and a solid defensive drive
good nerve. The trainer I have been working with recently lost his defensive
helper (due to a move). The trainer had suffered a stroke several years
ago, he wants to help finish my dog but I doubt he can do much more.
Because of his stroke he can not properly hold the sleeve, as a result
targets his hand instead of his arm.
Jasper is not yet finished as his grip is still a little
weak when placed into a strong difference situation. He shows no hesitation
on his attacks though. The problem is that he will not advance on the
helper or bark when told to "watch him" unless the helper
provokes him. How do I get him to show aggression on command without
to be provoked? He readily barks for his tug and sleeve when playing
at home or in the field but when it is serious he will watch and wait.
Recently I had him evaluated by 2 well known trainers
in my area and both did and said the same thing. They said they would
test his prey drive but instead of acting like prey (moving laterally)
they came straight in to him which provoked him in defense. They claim
he needs to be started over since he did not react in prey! They also
say he is "handler addicted" and that in order to have a confident
and stable protection dog he needs to be boarded with them for 3-4
so that he can receive intensive training with more than one handler.
They claim this is the only way a dog gains confidence! Is this true
a line of bullshit just to get me to buy their (expensive) program?!!
He has a strong pack drive and respects my position as his alpha, on
property and on our hikes when he is off leash (the areas we hike in
are remote and rarely ever run into other hikers), he never lets me
his sight. Ed, these people even use this as an example of poor self
confidence on the part of the dog! I don't think he lacks confidence
since he has
never shown any signs of avoidance and is very forward in his work. What
do you think?
No, you should never allow trainers that you are not
very familiar with to take your dog. This is a big mistake. It is very
common to take dogs and work them solely in fight or flight - this is
terrible work. Worse yet many of these guard dog trainers do TABLE TRAINING.
That is barbaric training. You can read about this in the articles on
my article page on my web site. I also discuss it on my web discussion
board. Do not go back to these people that want to take your dog for
several weeks. They are either amateur's or crooks. You are 100% correct
did not test the dog in prey drive, the dog is not weak because he chooses
to keep his eye on you while you hike.
I would suggest that you get The
First Steps of Defense, the video that shows how to move a dog from
bite development into the more serious work. All dogs that are going into
more specialized training (Police Service Work, Schutzhund Work or Personal
Protection Work) need to go through this phase of training before moving
on. This will teach you how to train the dog to react to your voice commands
when he does not see the helper.
Dear Ed --
I just wanted you to know that your training tapes were
very helpful and my Doberman has turned out to be an awesome dog. He's
great around people, has a tremendous amount of prey drive, and is doing
very well in beginning defense. I really owe a tremendous amount to your
videos -- my trainer is amazed at how fast my dog learns and how much
foundation I had laid in his early puppy-hood. I give the credit to you.
I have a question my husband asked and I don't know
the answer to. I haven't asked my trainer this either -- he's been very
good with my dog and I trust him, but not enough to risk screwing up my
Is there a command that you give a dog, besides "watch
him," that steps up the dog's threatening posture -- i.e., growling,
etc., before an attack? I'm probably showing my ignorance here, but when
you live in a place where there is a high crime rate it's nice to ward
off any attackers before they push the envelope. My son's best friend
moved here from Oregon two months ago and was mugged at knife point during
broad daylight last week. He was just walking from the beach to the store
in an area that's not known to be dangerous. Hence the question.
My dog has a lot of nerve and is not a fear biter --
doesn't do a lot of growling in bite work. He's still a young dobie
just over a year -- and I've chosen not to push him in defense. We set
up a scenario for the first time last week where I was standing by my
car with the back door open and told my dog to stay. The agitator was
wearing a body suit and walked behind me several times before making
aggressive move toward me. At that point I gave my dog the command to
go for him and he flew out of the car and grabbed the guy by the arm.
did the drill perfectly. We did it two times and the second time I actually
noticed my dog bare his teeth and growl. I think that was the first
I'd seen that reaction.
We have an older dog that's a Schutzhund 1 GSD from
Germany that we train side by side with and I think Ruger actually studies
him to figure out what he's supposed to do next. Uncanny.
Anyway, didn't mean to bore you. Thanks for all your
Nice to hear the tapes helped. There are a couple of
- Be very careful about working a dog (especially a
Dobe) in defense at one year of age. Dobes are usually defensive as
a rule. They are very intelligent and if you make a mistake in training
they are not going to forget it anytime soon. So keep working the dog
in prey. The only defense I would be doing would be at night. Take the
dog out for a walk. Walk into the wind - have a helper hide up wind.
As you approach, have him rattle the his keys or money in his pocket
- if your dogs ears go up give any command you like - i.e. Hey
you in the bushes - my Dobe has a thing for your ass, (just stick
to the same command - BAD GUY also works :)) The guy steps out make
a few threatening gestures - not too much pressure - just enough to
set the dog into barking - do not make him bark a lot before the guy
runs off - you chase for 20 feet and praise your dog. You will get 10
times more effectiveness than what you are doing now. You may want to
consider my tape on Training Personal Protection Dogs.
- Unless it is done properly, too much bite work in
a suit becomes prey work for the dog. The simple sight of the suit will
put the dog in prey drive. After the dog has learned to bite the suit
- I do not believe that it should be used that much - only for testing.
- Start to consider getting the dog used to wearing
a muzzle. So when it is old enough to do muzzle fighting it will be
used to having it on.
I've spent the last several days reading as many
of your Q & A sections,
training articles and so forth as I can. Thanks for providing relevant
and useful information, instead of just the usual sales pitch.
My wife and I run a motorcycle dealership (as you might
have noticed) that is located in the core of the city, and as such isn't
safest neighborhood. We are not a 'tough-guy' motorcycle shop in any
way, in fact none of our clients would qualify as a stereotypical biker
(most of them oil company execs, software barons and the like). 99.99%
of the time we have nothing to worry about, but every now and again we
are reminded of the reality of our location.
My wife often appears to be alone in the shop during the evenings as
I am typically in the service department still wrenching. To someone
passing by, it may appear to be the perfect chance - a lone woman at
night - for an opportunistic robbery or worse. The amount of things that
can happen before I'm aware there is a problem and arrive 'on-scene'
is a bit nerve wracking to say the least. It is an unlikely situation,
but the potential exists for certain.
Is it possible to train a dog to protect my wife and I in the store
without disrupting the normal interactions that take place? Because of
our location we have the occasional prostitute that wanders in to use
the phone or street people trying to escape the elements for a few minutes.
We also have our clients, prospective clients, friends, children (sometimes
horrible little monster children) etc - all the normal sort of people
that you'd see in a retail store. Can a dog that is protection trained
handle that sort of scenario without being confused? Is protection training
the right route?
I would expect that the dog would be with us virtually 24 hours a day.
He or she would live in-house with us, and be with us in the store while
we are there.
Thanks for your time Mr. Frawley,
If you knew what you were doing you could find a dog
that can be trained and still safe. The dog market place is littered
with crooks and swindlers people who prey on people that do not know
You need a strong male with absolutely excellent
nerves (not a sharp dog) but one who is tough and self confident.
The only way to get what
you want is to train this dog to alert on command and to only bite on
command – a very difficult thing. There are very few people who
I would trust to train a dog like this.
If you get a sharp dog you have a liability.
This may be a stupid question but I am wondering if I can
purchase a "trained" dog
for my family's protection. I live in a desolate area and worry about
my family when I'm gone. I have two nice dogs but they won't even bark
when people visit (they are lab and ??? mix). If it weren't for the deer
that feed near their underground fence (by the way it works great) and
geese that fly in to feed on acorns I don't think you could get a bark
from them at all. I love them but travel with my Guard job a lot since
Sept. 11 and just don't think they would protect my family. I am expecting
a long deployment soon and don't have time to train a pup. Is it crazy
to think I could buy a trained dog for protection??? Thanks for your
Most of the time people who buy trained
dogs get screwed. The personal protection dog market is filled full of
low lifes and hucksters.
You also have the problem of your two other dogs. Trying
to add a third dog is a problem because it creates a dog pack and this
brings new problems.
If I were you I would find some weak nerved piece
of garbage dog that is afraid of everything. These dogs don’t
sleep too well because they know the boogie man and OBL are right around
the corner – so
they bark at the drop of a hat. Spend the money you would have spent
on a trained dog and buy a couple of guns – teach your family how
and WHEN to shoot. Anyone who comes through 3 barking dogs (or one barking
dog and two that wag their tail) needs to be shot in the head.
I am moving to Indy from Texas. I have a SchH3 female
that I adore. She is very smart and very loyal and very affectionate.
I had her
bred to a breed certified male SCh and she has had 4 great puppies,
all with her smarts and demeanor. I want to get one trained specifically
for protection ( as in elite protection) and perhaps tracking/rescue(
I am firefighter). The only one I can find nearby that looks like
I can trust is Al Gill, but he is too busy with police work. Can
you recommend someone?
Thanks for writing. I NEVER recommend people for
this because I don't believe in it. I recommend that you go to
my web site and read the article I wrote on my philosophy of dog
training. I think you will get some good ideas there http://leerburg.com/philosohy.htm
Professional trainers NEVER take the time to do something like
this at a speed that allows dogs to learn at a pace that does not
stress it. The result is they use too much FORCE because they have
Do the foundation work yourself. That's how it is suppose to be
done. Train the bite development in Prey - all the work in the
first 12 to 14 months is done by the handler - anyone who says
differently needs more training.
There are 2 training videos I recommend people get to start the
protection training process.
Focus and Grip &
Preparing Your Dog for
I produced both tapes based on the training of Bernhard Flinks.
He is a German police K9 handler and top Schutzhund competitor..
The beauty of this training program is the handler
does all of the foundation work in protection training himself.
dogs this can start at 8 weeks and go to about 12 to 13 months
of age. Older dogs receive the exact same training as young dogs
they just proceed through the program quicker. These videos teach
handlers how to do prey drive work with their own dog through drive
exercises. Dogs learn the foundation of the exercises that they
will need to know when they meet the helper for the first time.
I compare this to a father teaching a child karate. He is not really
fighting with his children, he is teaching them the moves to use
in a fight.
I recommend starting with "Training DRIVE - FOCUS and GRIP" It
is one of my best training videos. It's the first is a series of
tapes done with Bernard.
It is the foundation of Bernard's training program It teaches
handlers how to build a relationship of trust and understanding
with the dog. Bernard is the only instructor I have ever seen that
places so much emphasis on building a bond between the handler
The Drive and Focus video teaches you how to build drive in your
dog. Every dog inherits a genetic level of drive, this varies from
dog to dog. The training in this tape shows how to bring your dog
up to its own genetic level of drive. The tape then teaches the
dog to show self control while in drive. If you think of it when
a dog shows self control when he is in drive this is in effect
working under extreme distraction and that's the foundation of
Every dog MUST learn to control it's drive if it is to become a
competitive Schutzhund dog or a Police Service dog or a Personal
Protection dog or a Competition Obedience dog. The later videos
in this series will train the dog that heeling, sit, down and come
are drive commands and not compulsion commands.
Through this training we show how to work at building a calm solid
grip from day one. A solid grip shows a clear mind. We teach the
dog to be comfortable in maintaining the calm grip in the presence
of the handler. If a dog cant have a solid grip in the presence
of his handler he has a problem with the handler. We show how to
address this issue. We also teach the dog in the first steps of
the OUT command.
It takes 3 to 5 weeks to work through the training
in this video. When the dog has finished this work he is ready
to move into the
training in the second video. (Preparing Your Dog for the Helper).
QUESTION ON PROTECTION TRAINING:
I have a three year old American Pit Bull. He has had Schutzhund
training with a trainer in my area. He was a very good trainer
but now has retired.My dogs training is not finished and not many
people are willing to work this breed in Schutzhund. He is a great
dog with solid nerves and has done a lot of bite work. My problem
is he will not guard the yard. He loves everyone! I have encouraged
him to bark at the door when someone knocks and he does. It seems
like the only time he has showed aggression is when someone was
lost and pulled into my driveway, got out and approached me to
ask me directions. I think he only showed aggression because he
was on leash, by my side. How can I make sure he will protect my
yard and home without me commanding him to or if Im not home? I
don't have a helper. What do I do??
There is nothing you can do without a helper.
If you want some very good advice – don’t
do this. It is crazy. Anyone who comes into a yard with a pit
needs to be
shot. If the dog protects the house you have the best of all worlds.
You are setting yourself up for a law suit. If you choose to ignore
this advise I suggest you make sure you have good insurance.
QUESTION on Protection Training:
Hello, I live in Floral City, Florida.
I own a car lot in Inverness, Florida that has been broken into
I recently purchased a 4 month old dobie. I am looking to send
for training for two reasons 1 protection for me and family and
2 for protection at night at the lot against robbers who jump the
Do you provide this kind of training?
You screwed up.
A 4 month old pup is not going to protect anything for 18 to 24
Dobermans have had their working ability bred out of them. The
only thing you have is a visual deterrent.
I recommend that you go to my
web site and read the article I wrote on my philosophy
of dog training. I
think you will get some
good ideas there. You will see
why sending a dog out to be trained is a bad idea. I don’t
train dogs for people and don’t recommend it for dog owners.
I need help with Protection Training!
I have briefly reviewed your web site and downloaded your podcasts but I was hoping you could suggest some training or DVD so my new GS will Bark at the door, strangers etc.
My previous GS was fabulous and performed all these functions perfectly with little training from myself. Unfortunately he passed away from Cancer this past summer and I am trying to train a new GS.
The GS I have now I adopted so I do not know what happened in the past and she is 14 months old. She is a well behaved dog, trains fairly well, working on attention span but I believe it will be eventually worked out.
My problem is she does not bark at the doorbell, knocks, strangers in the yard etc. I have worked at the door with "speak" and rewards ready but she does not make the connection. She does nothing if someone knocks on the door and she sees them as well other than want to play with them. She is smart, I just have to find a connection.
I live alone so I need her to protect myself and the house. Please recommend a download, DVD or book, thank you!
The answer to your question is on the website.
There are recommended DVDs within the article, they are excellent!
Good luck with your dog.
I have a 12 month old GSD female that I am gearing up for Schutzhund work. I refer to your excellent DVD's for inspiration, especially those by Bernhard Flinks, that I consider to lay the state-of-the-art ground rules for us.
My female, aka Chinook, is coming along very nicely except in one area: bite-work. Her tracking is very, very good. Her obedience is as good as I can expect in a 12 month old bitch, but her bite-work is worrying. She goes in very fast, whether on a cushion or a sleeve, pulls hard and holds in there, … as long as the handler is pulling on the leash. As soon as the pressure is off, or the helper slips the sleeve or lets go the cushion, she loses interest and lets it drop. She has no instinct to possess the prey item, let alone carry a sleeve or anything else back to the car or the crate.
The helper is very experienced and knowledgeable. I have also worked her on other helpers who dismiss her as “needing her bite corrected” but so far, no deal. I can’t help thinking that the genes are simply not there. I was very attentive to begin with and chose a very active pup (I had virtually the choice of the litter) but maybe I mistook hyperactivity for fearlessness. My helper doesn’t think a bungee is the answer. His attitude seems to be “Let’s hope it fixes itself on its own …or…” I took my last dog, a male, up to a pretty good level in IPO 3 and he was a natural to bite-work. This problem has me stumped and I am thinking of maybe letting poor Chinook go. Any suggestions?
Has she always shown this behavior on the grip, or is it something new? Has she been through her first season yet? Sometimes adolescent dogs go through some funny phases as they reach sexual maturity.
How about when she plays with you? Will she grip and hold on with you off leash?
Depending on your answers to these questions, the easiest thing to do is to give her a bit of time off and let her mature and see if things change. If you are working with experience training helpers and they are doing all the problem solving properly, it may very well be that the dog is either immature and going through a phase or really doesn’t want to do this.