Is it a bad idea to teach my 17 week old puppy to play tug or do some Schutzhund protection if I don't plan on working with a helper?
First, my wife and I wanted to thank you for providing us the information in Your Puppy 8 Weeks to 8 Months DVD and Obedience training DVD for setting us up with a wonderfully trained dog for life. The training has been fun and rewarding, so rewarding we are debating on doing more. We have a high drive doberman that just turned 17 weeks old yesterday. I have been interested in protection work and Schutzhund competition but we don't have any good trainers locally. Also, I am not sure if I will have the time to maintain such a high level of training long-term. I would like to get my dog involved in something, as she seems to get bored easily. Is it a bad idea to play tug, get her into bite work etc. if I never plan on having her go to the level of meeting a helper? We did get her for companion/threat deterrents. I would just like your opinion if its wise to begin any of this work without intending to have the finished product as she is a pet first. If you think starting bite work isn't the best thing for my situation and my dog, do you plan to make a DVD that teaches a command where the dog will put on an aggressive display? Is this covered in any of your DVDs?
Thanks for your time and sharing your expertise
I teach all my dogs the foundation skills for protection through playing tug even if I never plan on going any further (with our little border terrier pup, for example).
It's a great bonding exercise, it’s great exercise and teaches the dog self control. Doing these activities with the handler is a lot like a kid taking karate lessons, it's good mental and physical discipline that teaches mechanics & skills.
I'll list the videos I'd recommend below (keep in mind that your pup is starting to lose her baby teeth right now, so her mouth may be sensitive). We don't recommend playing a lot of tug with teething pups, they can have a negative association with the game if their mouth hurts.