Archive for March, 2013

Can I do bitework with my own dog?

Posted in Training Theory with tags , , , , , , on March 2, 2013 by guy2932

This is a question I often hear debated. The short answer is yes. All the preliminary work with ragging, teaching the rules of engagement around ragging and all the developmental stages of bitework up to and including full running bites can be performed on yourself.

The dog can learn so many things by doing this and it is a perfect way to prepare him for working on the helper. It is also more convenient if you don’t always have access to reliable help. You can expose the dog to new and novel stimuli whilst working on yourself and also branch out into other areas such as person search and standoff.

What you cannot do very well is introduce the dog to any real threat. The dog either won’t perceive you as a threat or if he does, you run the risk that you will damage your relationship and the dogs confidence.

I have always found that a game of rough and tumble is great fun with my dogs, it gets them used to being man handled and so is not a shock to them when they experience it from someone else and it makes them resilient to my voice and actions. This is important because although I try to be a  calm, consistent handler, I am human  and sometimes lose my rag, shout, get frustrated or act in some other way which is probably not beneficial to dog training. being used to playing games like this makes them resilient to my human failings.get down

A concern that is often raised is whether this opens the doorway t being bitten by your own dog in confrontations or other high stress situations. As long as the dog is learning the rules of engagement I have found it more to do with the individual dogs genetics. Those of the weaker nerved variety will redirect under pressure and there is nothing you can do to stop that other than prepare them properly for the job in hand and try to maintain an outlet for their stress. stronger nerved dogs are less likely to redirect despite you doing any prey driven bite work on yourself.


If you are not happy with your dog biting you then don’t do it. I am happy and think it is too valuable to not do.


How to control your dog

Posted in Training Theory on March 2, 2013 by guy2932

If you own a dog you already control it. Your dog cannot eat, drink or do very much else without your assistance. If you have a dog that you cannot get to do what you want when you want your problem is not one of control.

Your problem is that you cannot communicate effectively with your dog and are therefore unable to explain to it how it can earn the resources that you can make available to it. You control the resources and that therefore puts you in a very powerful position over the life and well being of another living being. You therefore have a duty to establish a way to communicate effectively if you require the dog to do certain things at certain times.

You need to learn how to create cues (classic conditioning) and to reward behaviours you want (operant conditioning) in order to maintain them. You can learn how to do these things in Positive Police Dogs: Philosophy.

Remember, you already have the control. You must now accept responsibility for establishing effective communication. Don’t blame, train. The dog is already doing what it finds rewarding. If you want it to do something else, train it.IMG_2188