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Categories: Schutzhund Protection Work

Q. I have a couple questions about barking and leash pressure during Schutzhund protection work. What would you suggest?
Hi Cindy,

Hope you are well. Just wanted to run 2 questions by you and Michael.

1. Deep Bark - in prey drive? I train Sch and would like to do as much as possible with my young dog in prey drive only. He has fantastic drives and a lovely friendly temper and I would like to keep it that way and continue training in prey drive only. This is why I like Micheal's system so much. My only concern is the barking at the blind - at high level competitions it is desired that the dog shows what people call 'active aggression' at the Bark and Hold where he barks very intensely with a deep bark meaning 'don't you dare to move Mr Helper'. In the more traditional approach this is achieved by making the dog mistrust the helper, put in in plain words the helper is often being nasty to the dog, or dog being put on a table etc so the helper actually forces aggressive respond and that aggression is trained and rewarded. There are many top sport dogs trained this way and I'm sure they have no problem knowing the difference between the training field and normal every day situations. However I would like not to take the chances and just have my dog liking everybody like he does at the moment. So I was wondering if there are other techniques Michael is using that teach that desired deep barking without the helper somewhat upsetting the dog? I trained my previous dog to do this by using 2 lines (one attached to flat collar and one to pinch collar) and the gentle opposition (not jerking) from the pinch collar created frustration and nicely changed the tone of her bark. But of course this will not be possible with the leash pressure trained dog so hence my question.

2. Leash pressure. How to transition the basic skill to every day walks in stimulating situations?
I started teaching it to my 6month old pup (was walked on harness till now) and the problem is my dog treats it like just one of the new tricks. He does this perfectly when I have my rewards with me and he is focused and everything goes as smooth as on your videos. However as soon as we are out and about on a walk he tries to pull - I stop then and continue to keep pressure until he gives away and leash becomes loose, he gets a praise. I haven't seen anything on the videos how do you transition from the basic leash following skill at home to every day life situations. Do I just need to give him more practice at home and garden and gradually increase the exposure to other stimuli?

Many thanks in advance :)

A. I wouldn’t be too concerned about the barking at this point, with correct training and confidence the barking will come.

I’d recommend Foundation of Puppy Bitework and Teaching Protection Skills Without a Decoy.

These 2 videos will help you a lot with getting your dog prepared for future training while keeping the stress to a minimum. I completely understand the type of barking you need for SchH (I competed for many years in the sport myself) and I feel that you can teach a lot of the barking yourself, or have a friend help. Michael demos that in the video about teaching skills without a decoy.

I teach an informal “walk” command where the dog learns to touch me with his shoulder, this is also shown in the video I mentioned above. It’s called contact heeling. This is black/white criteria for the dog and I don’t need to use my prong to reinforce it (which desensitizes the neck area). It’s used in rear transport for SchH and for defense of handler for ringsport but I also use it for informal walking where the dog shouldn’t pull. I use rewards (food and toy) once the dog understands the basics as taught on the video.

I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes
Recommended Products
Teaching Protection Skills without a Decoy
Teaching Protection Skills without a Decoy
2 Hours, 55 Minutes
Teaching Protection Skills Without a Decoy with Michael Ellis is a 2 hour and 55 minute video that has been in the works for about 2 years For the last 10 years, Michael has given seminars 45 weekends a year. Many of the training groups and clubs that Michael taught did not have access to a regular decoy. Over the years Michael developed this training program that allowed his training groups to practice biting skills while he was gone. Many of the members of these groups have gone on to get Schutzhund and Ring Sport titles. His system has been used on police service dogs, personal protection dogs and even Agility dogs. Many top Agility trainers are learning the value of teaching their dogs advanced tug skills. This DVD is an in depth, step by step study of Michaels system on establishing the foundation of biting skills without a helper or decoy. Trainers only need a friend or family member that will handle a bite wedge, a bite tug or a high value toy to assist them in rewarding correct behavior. The value of the training methods we show are that the dogs learn correct behavior and capping skills at a lower drive level. In the training steps, Michael explains how to start the training for each skill. He also explains when to add drive and stressors for these various protection skills. When these things are done correctly the work with decoys goes much faster and with fewer mistakes.

The Foundation of Puppy Bite Work w/ Michael Ellis
The Foundation of Puppy Bite Work w/ Michael Ellis
4 Hours
I went to my first protection training seminar in summer of 1974 and can honestly say that the training in this DVD is the most in depth study on the foundation of bite training for puppies that has ever been done. The video footage for this production has come from work with Michael Ellis that has been filmed over a 4 year period. We have dogs in this video that were filmed as 10 week old puppies that are 4 years old today. If you have studied the 7 earlier DVDs I have done with Michael Ellis, you will understand why I can honestly say that Michael is a genius at dog training. He takes training to a different level than anyone I have ever known.

The Power of Playing Tug w/ Your Dog
The Power of Playing Tug w/ Your Dog
5 Hours, 25 Minutes
This is another DVD that is done with Michael Ellis. It teaches trainers in a step by step manner how to use a toy as a reward in training your dog. It teaches dogs to OUT when asked and to bring the toy back when its released and it is all done with motivational methods.


20% off Select Michael Ellis and Ed Frawley DVDs, streams, and courses good through Thursday, July 9, 2020 at 11:59 PM CT