PDA

View Full Version : Four-legged tactics and training


springmom
January 11, 2006, 10:25 PM
I was lurking the last few days and read the "gene pool" thread started by Sir William. After exchanging a couple of PM's, I decided to post a thread regarding canine tactics and training for we who walk our dogs and who carry our concealed weapons.

First, this is by NO MEANS a critique of Sir William. It simply points out some "outside the box" things we can do, and is only offered as such. I am more of an expert on dogs by FAR than I am in tactics or guns, having owned, trained, and rehabbed "rescue" dogs for years. Still, IANAAT (I am not an animal trainer) and IANATN (I am not a tactican ninja) so ignore at will.

We all know that if we go out with our handguns, we also need to go out with our CHLs (you DO always CARRY that license when walking your dog? right? :rolleyes: ). You must have your cell phone, because if there is a problem you WILL need it and will need enough juice in the battery. You will also have:

1) one or more dogs on the end of leash(es)
2) a pooper scooper
3) an umbrella, if it's raining
4) a child or two in tow if you have small rugrats
5) utterly unpredictable surroundings (passers-by, other rugrats playing in the street, cats running along to distract your dogs, etc.)

If I were to find myself in a situation in which I needed to protect myself on a walk, a whole lot of decisions would need to be made in a big hurry, most of which can be addressed (and are) by others on this forum who really do know their stuff. However, there is the issue of the dog(s). Several people have suggested "let the dog go". IMHO, this would be the least useful response.

Why? Because the dog, unlike you, cannot size up the situation and think it through. He is going to respond on instinct, on feelings and awareness of YOUR feelings (if you think dogs can't sense YOUR fear, think again). If bullets start flying he is likely to panic. If you let him go before bullets fly, he becomes, well, a potential hostage. I don't know about y'all, but my dogs are trained to be FRIENDLY when we're out on our walks. They are greeted by every kid and every adult that sees them, they love it, they seek it out... and if I were to just let them go, they'd likely go wander off for attention from the BG(s), thereby making them hostages.

Besides, the last thing you need in an already difficult situation is more unpredictability.

To that end, if you have dogs and you carry your gun when you walk them, train your dogs. Teach them down-stay, and get them to where they can do it flawlessly. It takes tons of work. For this to be effective if the SHTF, the dog must be able to do it without responding to distractions. If your dog doesn't even know how to sit-stay, you may have months of work ahead of you; but you must be able to down-stay your dog so that you do NOT have to worry about where he is, what he's doing, and whether he's going to get shot.

In our family, our dog walks are on a very predictable path. It helps if your dog knows "his walk" so that he knows exactly how to get home if you DO end up having to let go of his leash. But that's a last resort.

So: let's assume that a bad guy has trailed me around the block and I am on one small stretch of our neighborhood where people are actually not always out and around. And I need to take cover. I want to be able to down-stay the dog, then put my foot through the leash grip or step or kneel on the leash to ensure the dog stays put. THEN I have both hands free to shoot, call 911, AND to pat the dog to reassure it as needed.

What we do NOT need to do is turn our dogs into doggie ninjas or K-9 officers. All we want is to get out alive, and for our pets to get out alive, of any bad situation. Keep them still, keep them quiet, and keep them down, would be my advice on that.

Back to lurkerdom, but this is important, IMO.

Springmom

Capt Charlie
January 11, 2006, 11:13 PM
Excellent thread, Springmom! Being a dog (and horse) fancier myself, I do NOT consider my dogs expendable. Only things I would add to yours is 1. de-sensitize your dog to gunfire, and 2. teach them to obey hand signals. My first German Shepherd was trained to low-crawl in the direction I indicated :cool: .

STAGE 2
January 11, 2006, 11:28 PM
Not to trample, but training your dog is just as important as training with your firearm. If dropping the leash and letting the dog go isn't useful, then I would surmise that there has been a severe lack of canine training.

I'm not suggesting that one walk around with giant dobermans that have a death wish. Quite the contrary, the less threatening a dog looks the better. Provided that the dog is of reasonable size (40 lbs or heavier) properly trained is the best asset the you can have when things go bump in the night, even if the assailant has a gun.

If you can train your dog to stay put while rounds are going off there is no reason why you cant train him to attack the threat.

springmom
January 11, 2006, 11:59 PM
I'm not sure that I am clear about what kind of "attack" we're talking about. If you mean "attack someone on the street" then I could not POSSIBLY disagree more. Most dogs are NOT temperamentally suited, nor are they trainiable, as K-9 officers (which is what we're talking about here essentially---a dog that can be told "get 'em" and will do that). However, most dogs ARE temperamentally suited, and do not need training, to defend their masters if the threat is on the dog's home property. IOW, if the dog is defending its pack (you) it will go on thousands of years of instinct and you don't need to train him to do what he will do naturally.

A humorous (although not to the officer involved) example is the Attack Of The Killer Chihuahuas recently in central California, where an officer nigh on got his ankle chewed off by a pack of chihuahuas who were just protecting "their boy" from the big bad man who was chasing him (of course the big bad man was a police officer...) And there too is a reason not to try to train your dog to attack. Imagine for a moment that some sort of SHTF, your dog has gotten involved, and then the police show up. Imagine the problems when the officers approach, and your poodle, Fluffy, decides to take a nice dog-size chunk out of the officers?!?!?! :eek:

So, if you can down-stay the dog and step on the leash, that keeps the dog under control, out of the way, and prevents Fido from becoming a problem to the officers who respond, or to other onlookers/rugrats/misc. individuals who do NOT need an attack dog charging into them.

Besides, train your dog to attack and you will lose your homeowners' insurance faster than you can say, "sic 'em".

Springmom

pickpocket
January 12, 2006, 12:02 AM
Capt. Charlie:
Being a dog (and horse) fancier myself, I do NOT consider my dogs expendable

I'm interested in your SD tactics while horse-walking :D

About the puppies - much of your response is going to be based on how your little buddies are trained. If your dogs are relatively mild-mannered and mostly friendly, then they are less likely to be a tactical asset in such a situation.
However, as Capt. Charlie stated, desensitizing your dogs to gunfire would be a great prevention step. This would at least ensure that your dogs won't panic.
If your dog is not trained to protect you, then letting go of him/her may not be a great idea...I'm not sure...I don't own a dog.

I know my parents' German Shepard, though, is fully trained to protect family, and I would indeed hope that they would let her go if faced with an attack situation.

I've seen trained attack dogs in action (admittedly not in a civilian setting) and all but the most hardened and committed people are going to crap their pants as soon as a 75lbs attack dog starts to pay attention to them. For one, I would think that the dog would provide enough of a distraction that BG isn't going to really notice the fact that you're concentrating on sight alignment/sight picture :)

I don't know how liable you become if you own a 'rabid attack dog', though...lol

Bradbx
January 12, 2006, 12:30 AM
you mention putting your foot through the loop, that doesn't sound good to me, in case the dog is spooked (or decides to go offensive) and takes off running. kneeling on the leash might be ok.

hand signals are great, our last dog would come running with a downward point to your feet. The current dogs (dogsitting for my sister) are young and a pain to deal with :(

springmom
January 12, 2006, 01:56 AM
Right, I agree that standing or kneeling on the leash is better, but the loop does provide a third possibility... options are good ;)

Letting a dog "do what comes naturally" is fine in the home, but again, dogs that are "attack trained" by civilians can be a real problem. Training a dog to down-stay just takes a lot of consistent work, praise, and treats. "Attack training" in the sense of a K-9 officer type set of behaviors, is expensive, highly specialized, and I certainly woudn't even begin to think of doing it, apart from homeowner's liability issues.

Think of it as a gun that really CAN have an accidental discharge...can "go off" by itself because if IT thinks there's a problem, then , well, you really DO have a problem. Also, don't forget, as dogs age they tend to get more cranky. Mine certainly are, and they really are the lovers of the entire neighborhood, but their eyesight isn't what it was, their hearing (always had selective deafness, but that was in regard to "NO" and "DROP IT") and if you have a CRANKY, elderly "attack dog"???? On a walk???? in a neighborhood???

I don't think so.

Remember, the point of this thread is to train the dog so that you can keep control, keep the dog out of harm's way and away from being hit by a car or used as a hostage...and all that needs is good training on down-stay. And firearms training, but I know my two will NEVER accept loud noises nearby. They HATE FIREWORKS. Fireworks are the devil...just ask my Irish terriers...

Springmom

Sir William
January 12, 2006, 03:29 AM
My dog has been gun trained. He just has a independent streak in his make-up. When I first retired I had a small hobby farm. I had a few head of cattle, some donkeys, self-supprting hay crop and great hunting. My neighbour called me one day and asked me if I knew where my dog was. I said he was outside. The neighbour said he was outside alright. My 10 lbs puppy had his Brahma bull cornered in and would NOT let him into the pasture. I went over and whistled and he barked at the bull and came to me a happy and proud puppy. I have seen him stand on top of another bull in the pond in the summer. He just is not afraid of anything. I have added a new retractible leash and he is slow to respect it. I am trying to teach him to stay and lay when I drop the lead. He just wants to be right by me. He understands and obeys basic commands and he is trained to ONLY eat what I give him and NOT to eat anything unless I say OK. I had no trouble with most of his training but, he HATES the mailman. He has been sprayed twice by the regular route carrier. My dog doesn't go for substitutes, just the regular route carrier. My dog WILL bite! A doper came up to us one night asking for money. The dog bit him in the crotch when he grabbed my arm. I gave the dog extra treats for that. I am going to be patient and teach the little fellow to respect his lead. Non-verbal communication is something we are working on.

RsqVet
January 12, 2006, 07:52 AM
A few thoughts on this as someone who works extensively with dogs and has worked with police K9’s and other service dogs ---

1. Protection trained K9’s are not the unpredicatable liability that many speaking on this thread would have one believe, that is if done with the right animal and done well, in fact many police K9’s go home with their handler to a family and children with no ill effects. These same dogs go to schools and community events for public outreach and interact with the public, again with no ill effects. When it is time to do their job they do it and do it well. Training of this level takes skill, a good mentor and a lot of time --- probably as much time as mid level copeditive shooters spend per week. Anything less than this, or people using old training ideas that seek to simply create an anti-social dog is of course a significant liability and the reason why there is such a negative impression in general of anyone who considers civilian protection dog training. Poor training is of course not limited to civilians and there are some departments that I know of that have absysmaly outdated and backwards training. I’m not advocating anyone get their dog trained in this manner unless it’s something they want to do and do right, however the notion that it’s inherently reckless or dangerous is the same as the arguments against cocked and locked 1911s. I think it needs to be clear that it’s not.

2. In any sort of confrontation in the street it’s reasonable to expect that all bets as to training will be off unless one gets their dog acclimated to gunfire and drills every couple weeks in this manner --- a blank gun may be a good aid in this. This is the same as any dog training, frequent practice and repetition is needed to keep your dog current. Training needs to be as realistic as possible with much randomness introduced --- diffirent places, settings and so forth to keep the dog from developing the wrong cues, or cueing off of routine. Any dog tossed into a self defense encounter without this sort of training may do just about anything ranging from run to attack.

3. In terms of actually having to shoot while holding a dog everyone would be well advised to use one of two variations of the standard 6 foot leash, either the type the has a loop right up at the clip so it can be easily held as a very short lead or the type with a clip at both ends and rings along it so it can be looped very large and placed over a shoulder as a shoulder lead to hold your dog. Either of these variations will be a big help compared with a 6 foot lead. The retractable leads are not a good idea unless one is in the woods or something as they can break easily and make the animal very hard to control.

4.So far as our K9 friends their best use out in the street is probably as a judge of situations and character, if my dog’s hackles go up or he refuses to go down a trail I listen and don’t it’s that simple.

5. So far as being out in the street with my dog, when threatened by other dogs my biggest fear is for my dog’s safety and for how things will be perceived after the fact as he is a German Sheppard and in spite of the fact that there are plenty of vicious cocker spaniels, labs and so forth I personally worry about perception and having to argue after the fact so my guy is trained to be able to be picked up and carried if need be, and I always position myself between him and any incoming threats that way it will be myself who gets bit and has to defend himself, not my dog.

Hope that this is of use, good thread.

springmom
January 12, 2006, 08:48 AM
1. Protection trained K9’s are not the unpredicatable liability that many speaking on this thread would have one believe, that is if done with the right animal and done well, in fact many police K9’s go home with their handler to a family and children with no ill effects.

Right, I couldn't agree more about K-9. My point is that there's a big difference between getting a retired police dog (hey, hubster, can I have one??? :D ) and trying to train Fluffy the poodle to attack because you can train him to sit-stay or down-stay. ;)



These same dogs go to schools and community events for public outreach and interact with the public, again with no ill effects. When it is time to do their job they do it and do it well. Training of this level takes skill, a good mentor and a lot of time --- probably as much time as mid level copeditive shooters spend per week. Anything less than this, or people using old training ideas that seek to simply create an anti-social dog is of course a significant liability and the reason why there is such a negative impression in general of anyone who considers civilian protection dog training.

...and, if I may be indulged one OT comment, one of the reasons that some breeds are being banned or ridiculously limited in some communities. Used to be "German Shepherd dog" was the equivalent of "Four-Legged Satan" to many folks. Now it's any of the "bully" breeds, Rotties....even my Irish terriers, because of the word TERRIER, cost us more for our homeowners' insurance! And these two couch muffins are about as scary as a bowl of Irish oatmeal.... unless somebody threatens me, especially. End of off-topic parenthetical remark. :rolleyes:

Poor training is of course not limited to civilians and there are some departments that I know of that have absysmaly outdated and backwards training. I’m not advocating anyone get their dog trained in this manner unless it’s something they want to do and do right, however the notion that it’s inherently reckless or dangerous is the same as the arguments against cocked and locked 1911s. I think it needs to be clear that it’s not.


I think this is an important correction and clarification. I would emphasize, though, that many dogs---in fact, I think most dogs--- are not temperamentally suited to this training. There is a good reason that K-9 officers usually come from one of several breeds, just like there is a reason that drug sniffing dogs are not usually pugs or bichon frises :eek: THEORETICALLY, you should be able to train my ITs to sniff drugs, be guard dogs, point to pheasant, retrieve downed birds, be "earth dogs" (that IS one of their breed strengths, BTW) and act as service/guide dogs. But in practice, that is not gonna happen.

My second post actually was a response to this post:

If you can train your dog to stay put while rounds are going off there is no reason why you cant train him to attack the threat

which I think is an overgeneralization, for the reasons posted above.

I do think I'd still be quite concerned, even about a properly-trained K-9 officer, as he/she aged if he/she started getting cranky. Maybe it's never a problem; I'd love to hear from some of our LEOs on the boards who have worked with or who have been partners to K-9 officers about how they do after retirement in their older years.

I would sure repeat, though: don't just drop the leash, if there's trouble; you will endanger your dog, especially if he panics, and his confusion and panic might endanger you too.

Like I'm some tactical guru.... snort.... :p

Springmom

Capt Charlie
January 12, 2006, 01:07 PM
I would sure repeat, though: don't just drop the leash, if there's trouble; you will endanger your dog, especially if he panics, and his confusion and panic might endanger you too.
The only thing that worries me about actually holding onto the lead is, what happens when you're about to pull the trigger and ol' Rover decides to hit the end of the leash? Unless you've got a Taco Bell dog, your aim will be diverted to ???.

So what do we do with the leash? If you don't want to let go, here's a thought: Clip a carabiner to the handle of the leash. It can be clipped to your belt in a heartbeat, or wrapped around something (lightpole, etc.) and clipped to itself, leaving you free to maneuver and aim.

Any other ideas?

drjeffrock
January 12, 2006, 01:26 PM
Rsqvet, great post! Thanks for the good read.
As I live in SoCal and dont have a CCW, I never carry when I walk my dogs, but then again most people tend to cross the street when they see my dogs, whether they are cracked out or not.:eek:
A couple comments on this thread: Use a plastic supermarket bag instead of a clunky pooper-scooper, it's less cumbersome.
I would like to just re-state the importance of diversity and randomness in training. I do a bit of rescue work with Akitas (time permitting) as well as help some friends out who have "problem" dogs. Now, I cannot stress how many times I have had people say "My dog is so well-trained, blah, blah, blah. They can sit, stay, roll over... I then tell them (the person) to lay down on the ground and utter those commands. You would be surprised how many dogs just look at them as though they are nutcases and dont obey their command when in an akward position.
As Rsqvet mentioned, our 4-legged buddies are excellent judges of character. They will pick up on a near-by BG's adrenaline/chemical rush whatever you wanna call them before you will notice. They can also tell who is not a threat. I live on the 3rd floor of a complex, my second floor neighbor beneath me happened to accidentally walk into my apartment one evening. He had just gotten home from doing construction work, and he must have been exhausted. Christine was doing her thing in the living room, I was watching TV in a bedroom. The dogs start barking their heads off. I scream "Shut up!" from the other room. It keeps going on, so I get up. I see they had cornered my neighbor. They knew the guy wasnt a crazed homicidal maniac. I told them to back off and they did. The poor guy was white as a ghost.

If you want your dog to be calm, and rest by your side when the bullets start flying, I would consider doing 2 things.
1) De-sensitize your dogs to gunfire.
2) Religiously train your dog to sit (stay) and down (stay.). Sometimes this can be easier said than done, especially with Akitas. :o
When I say sit, or down, I expect my dogs to sit or lay down until I tell them to get up, whether it be 1 minute or 20 minutes. I dont really use a stay command, sit and down are pretty much known to them that they stay in that position till I tell them "Ok, come here." LOL, I have literally put them in a stay and come back 25 minutes later to them in the same position. I had forgotten to call them out of it.:o It has helped me with encounters with off-leash dogs tremendously. It's no fun when a pug or Yorkie comes barrelling down the street trying to attack your dog and you need to keep your dog calm. We all know what the headlines would read, even if my APBT was provoked...
I dont know, in a SHTF situation, if I am hiding for cover, I know for a fact that the first thing on my mind is not going to be "Let me jeopardize my dogs' lives and let go of the leash to see what happens." If the BG is such a threat that I am taking cover, I am not going to send my dogs out, unless the guy is right in front of me.
Late one night, my old lady's car got towed by this scam of a tow-truck company. We raised hell, and finally were told to meet them in some tow-yard in the hood at 2am. Of course I took my dogs. When Christine and I got out of the car at the yard, we saw like 5-6 guys with ill-intent on their brain. We walked the dogs to Christines car, our Akita hopped in with her. I turned around and got into my truck with our pit. Our dogs were really keyed on the situation and I know for a fact that our Akita was about 5 seconds away from lunging at this guy. Ah, this brings up another point. Spend time learning your dog's body language inside-out. That way, you can see how your dog is reacting to a situation before he lunges, barks, etc. I am not talking about tell-tale signs of submission like tail between the legs or tucked back ears. Spend time analyzing the way his/her chest sticks out and positioning of the nose in situations. A great deal can be learned about your dog by doing this.

STAGE 2
January 12, 2006, 03:39 PM
I'm not sure that I am clear about what kind of "attack" we're talking about. If you mean "attack someone on the street" then I could not POSSIBLY disagree more. Most dogs are NOT temperamentally suited, nor are they trainiable, as K-9 officers

I'm not impliying that a dog should be able to fly across the parking lot and attack at the sound of a command or find crack in suitcases. However what I am suggesting is that should someone attack you, the dog should be trained to respond with force.

As far as temperment goes I would be inclined to say that a dog that meet the minimum requirments of being a viable defensive companion has by default an adequate temperment for this kind of training. We're not talking about cocker spaniels, chihuahua's or little toy dogs. Anything from a small lab to an australian sheepdog would be fine.

Again the point isnt to have cujo do the job for you, its for the dog to distract and restrain the assailant to a point where you can regain control of the situation. Trying to do that, step on a leash or tell the dog to stay put while fending off an attacker simply cant be done effectively.

As RsqVet pointed out, and as I have experienced numerous times in the past, dogs have a far greater "social radar" than humans could ever want to have, both for 2 legged and 4 legged (or sometimes no legged) critters. If you've got the dog otherwise properly trained, then they will be inclined to defend you regardless of where you are. Why confuse the dog and try and get him to stop when his natural instinct in in fact to defend his master. Doing so only makes him sit out of the important half of the equation.

springmom
January 12, 2006, 07:09 PM
I was presuming we were talking about the dog you currently happen to own, not the ideal dog to have in such a situation. My current dogs can dig rats out for you double-time (well, Jackson actually prefers going after house geckos) but they're not going to be trainable as defense dogs outside our home. I'm agreeing with what you're postulating, but I'm just limiting it to inside the home; whereas you're thinking it will work outside. But you're assuming the dog is of a certain type; I'm saying that the dog you have is the dog you walk,and the dog you have may or may not be trainable that way. Mine would not. Maybe after they cross the Rainbow Bridge I'll get another GSD like the Late Great Gracie (Amazing Grace, so named in sarcasm for her utter lack of gracefulness and her ability to sweep everything off a coffee table with one swipe of her tail), :rolleyes: but the ones I have now, that I walk now, that I have to think defensively with/about now, are not gonna do what you're talking about.

Springmom

springmom
January 12, 2006, 07:57 PM
After reading all this and posting the above, the hubster served up the chili and we turned on The Naked Gun 33 1/3 If you have not seen that lately, rent it, and imagine a dog on a leash in the middle of the baby strollers.... :eek: :D

Springmom

STAGE 2
January 12, 2006, 09:20 PM
I was presuming we were talking about the dog you currently happen to own, not the ideal dog to have in such a situation

I am.


My current dogs can dig rats out for you double-time (well, Jackson actually prefers going after house geckos) but they're not going to be trainable as defense dogs outside our home.

Why not? Either an animal is adequate for defense or its not. Where it is doing the defending isnt really relevant.

RsqVet
January 13, 2006, 05:31 AM
Couple of more things guys, if this gets long or tedious for some them please feel free to ignore:

1. So far as aids to controlling dogs on lead, yes clips or carabineers work great, also if you are like me, I am usually wearing a last chance belt any time I am in jeans --- you know the nylon belts that double as a harness, cinch strap or whatever, anyway this has a large D ring at the front that you can clip into and I have done so in the past with my dog when I have needed both hands.
2. Springermom raises a good point about breed perception and it’s worth mentioning that breeds have minor pre-dispositions, however it’s far more important what and how they are trained and managed than what breed they are. I personally am against breed specific restrictions or legislation and would think that most gun owners could understand this from the position that we have been put in over the past decade which is frankly quite similar. As a point of interest I had a personal conversation with one of the largest proponents of breed restrictive legislation where I suggested a more meaningful form of research to analyze the environment from which aggressive animals arise only to be told that it would not be cost effective and “face it we can’t get people to stop buying automatic weapons so we’ll have a while to go before we can completely ban all the vicious dogs” This remark lead to a rather in depth education of the man by myself on the NFA, the GCA of 1968 and the 1986 ban of automatic weapons which of course led no where except I’m sure to identify myself to him as unworthy of the profession but hey.

The other thing to remember is that while breeds are better or worse suited for tasks by predisposition, many can be trained to do things not commonly associated with their breed if they are physically up to it and the trainer is good --- I have seen schutzhund (protection) trained labs and goldens, sled dog teams of Poodles and German Shepard and Poodle, German Sheppard and Akita trained hunting dogs. Not to mention the fact that US Customs for awhile, maybe still and some forward thinking police departments were evaluation shelter animals for use as patrol dogs, breed and pedigree aside.


3. Briefly when considering what anyone says about dog training always remember that it’s a lot like human psychology, there are many theories and systems that are all partially correct and work in the hands of those skilled with them, and in the end success probably depends more on skilful and true application of the training than on the particular system or theory chosen, though there will be many who will beat their chests about the superiority of “their way”.

In addition most very successful animal trainers have an ability to involve and engage the animal in a trust and leadership role, corny as this sounds but I will never win a physical confrontation with most large dogs and all horses or so forth so I have to on some level relate to them and not just push them around but lead them. It’s very interesting to see people getting the hang of this with something as simple as giving shots to dogs --- I personally have vaccinated some of the rankest back yard chained up dogs on Indian reservations that you can find without anyone of any skill to help me, yet I often see 2 or even 3 people struggling with a family pet to do the simplest of things.

4. With all due respect Stage 2 I take your statement to imply that any dog that is physically capable of biting / intimidating can be trained to do so in defense of his owner and this is completely untrue as such training requires the right temperament in the dog, just like I am sure you would agree not every human is cut out to be an army ranger, SEAL, fire chief or so forth, not every dog is cut out for protection work REGADRLESS OF ANYTHING, there is no such thing as protection “lite” if you are training a dog to be protective you are actively choosing to bring the genie of canine aggression towards people out of the bottle and it had dam well better be the right dog. Ever meet someone who could not pass the psyche exam to become a cop? That is what I am talking about but on 4 legs

Briefly dogs can show aggression for a variety of reasons, however 2 useful categories to divide this into are fear and dominance --- the fear aggressive dog is the one who is a lose cannon and completely unpredictable --- maybe he will bite / fight, maybe he will run away and pee, who knows? The classic posture is ears down, tail between legs, head low but growling – like I said this dog is unpredictable and who knows what he will do. The dominant dog wants to be the boss of you --- he may be barking or lunging but his head is up, his ears are erect and tail it out and ready. The good news is there is no question as to what he will do, the bad news is that he will try bite you or otherwise put you in your place which he sees as somewhere below him. The good news is he may be controllable with certain cues you can give him that are understood as non-verbal canine communication.

The trained protection dog must not be somewhere between these two extremes, not a hopeless fear dog, there is no getting over that, nor so dominant that he thinks that he can dominate you or is otherwise a pain in the butt, always questioning your authority, though some of the best handlers can make a good go at it with a real dominant dog, in fact some prefer it, like horseman who like the most uppity colt. This is a very gross simplification of this but I think you can get the picture.

The other thing to consider in a dog’s suitability for protection or much other training is it’s motivation, often called play drive. Briefly what this means is how ball crazy is the dog? If you throw the ball under a truck is he going to low crawl there to get it or give up and seek other entertainment? Only well motivated dogs can be successfully trained for something as demanding as protection work.

Like I said earlier there is not such thing as protection “lite” thinking that there is or can be will either produce a unsocilized dog who is a liability or will get one into a situation where one is counting on a skill set that their dog simply does not have.

6. Lastly I hope I have not offended anyone, however by virtue of where I work and from having worked with Shepard rescue in the past I see all to many animals who for one reason or another have lost their way, all too often it’s a 1.5 year old or less un-neutered male German Shepard, Rottie, Dobie or Pitter that someone has had the intention of either making aggressive or protective and has failed miserably and that failure inherently is not the dog’s fault however they pay the price, all too often with their life.

springmom
January 13, 2006, 11:16 AM
Rsqvet...great post. Thanks for clarifying and making sense of my attempts on this!

But you ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY MUST GET US PIX OF THE POODLE SLED DOGS. ROTFLMFHO!!!!! Talk about something I'd pay good money to see...

Seriously, thanks. Great post.

Springmom (no er in it, LOL)

JDLittle
January 13, 2006, 01:01 PM
Comments:

1. I own a fairly well trained Rott/Lab mix that runs on the small side (85 lbs). She knows her basic commands, both verbal and hand gesture. She was earmarked by our trainer for personal protection training, but we didn't feel we could uphold our end of the training and discipline, so we declined. We are feeling the pain of breed discrimination, though, as we're trying to change our homeowners coverage provider. The magic word "Rottie" precludes us from several major carriers outright, even though she has training certificates while our neighbors Welshie that has bitten four people can get all the coverage they want.

2. Attaching the lead to the belt area would be a fairly bad idea. Anything that pulls or moves your center of gravity will do disastrous things to your fighting ability. My dog has enough pulling power to break the mortar on a brick porch (don't ask). I don't want to think about that happening if she was to take off with her lead attached to my center of gravity.

springmom
January 13, 2006, 01:08 PM
Ok. I'm asking about the mortar, but I'll bet I can guess.

Well one thing, if she starts off running, she can pull you out of danger. Maybe you could have a Tactical Skateboard strapped to your leg and she can just pull you along on that...

Maybe I need some lunch, I think my blood sugar's cratering....

Springmom the doofus

STAGE 2
January 13, 2006, 01:53 PM
With all due respect Stage 2 I take your statement to imply that any dog that is physically capable of biting / intimidating can be trained to do so in defense of his owner and this is completely untrue as such training requires the right temperament in the dog, just like I am sure you would agree not every human is cut out to be an army ranger, SEAL, fire chief or so forth, not every dog is cut out for protection work REGADRLESS OF ANYTHING, there is no such thing as protection “lite” if you are training a dog to be protective you are actively choosing to bring the genie of canine aggression towards people out of the bottle and it had dam well better be the right dog. Ever meet someone who could not pass the psyche exam to become a cop? That is what I am talking about but on 4 legs

NO offense taken, but I did not suggest that any dog is capable of defending his owner. There are obviously physical requirements involved. Also I am not suggesting that you average dog be as well trained as one in a K9 unit. What I am suggesting is that a dog who meets the requisite requirments can act as an extra set of hands or as an adequate distraction.

Using your SEAL analogy, I'm not advocating everyone walking around with a 110lb german shepard who does double duty as a police dog. However just because one can't walk out at night with a SEAL doesn't mean that a less qualified replacement is a bad thing.

As for protection lite, I'm not quite sure what that means. What I do know that that every defensive philosophy that I have come across shares the same adage in that anything that can be used should be used. A dog is no exception. I'm not under any delusions in thinking that the average dog can finish off an assailant with the owner doing nothing. What I am suggesting is that its going to be alot harder for an attacker to get to you with a dog jumping and biting

shep854
January 13, 2006, 03:18 PM
I don't own a dog, but this thread has been very interesting.

Out of curiosity, isn't a dog in itself a major turn-off to a Bad Guys? Are assaults common when the victim has a dog?

tiburondriver47
January 13, 2006, 03:43 PM
http://www.cck9.com/index.html

Here you can buy fully trained for protection k-9s (German/Dutch Shepherd, or Belgian Malinois

Would be very cool to be able to buy a fully train German Shepherd, but also very pricey.

drjeffrock
January 13, 2006, 04:49 PM
C'mon guys, its a German shepHERD. Just remember herd... <grammar troll rant OFF>
LOL, 18 thousand for a dog?!?!? No thanks, I would rather buy myself an MP5K. :D
I wonder how long they spend training the owner(s) of their new protection dog?
Rsqvet, I see lots of dumped Akitas as well. Very sad, the only thing they were guilty of was chewing on furniture, barking, attacking the cat, or what have you. The rescue I volunteer for currently has around 40 Akitas that are in fine temperament looking for homes. :(
Worst dog I ever saw was an Akita who's owner had tried to do protective work with it. It was a disaster, the person had no clue what they were doing. They dumped this dog on us that couldnt even be handled aside from a couple people.
It really gets me steamed because had the person researched the breed they would know that they are protective by nature. It irritates me when I hear of the average Joe trying to train their Akita for protection work.
Click on the linkl to see my pooches, carjackers beware!
[img=http://img6.imageshack.us/img6/6404/47b4ce01b3127cce9bc3e652b0c900.th.jpg] (http://img6.imageshack.us/my.php?image=47b4ce01b3127cce9bc3e652b0c900.jpg)

Fremmer
January 13, 2006, 05:05 PM
The only thing that worries me about actually holding onto the lead is, what happens when you're about to pull the trigger and ol' Rover decides to hit the end of the leash? Unless you've got a Taco Bell dog, your aim will be diverted to ???.


If you have to draw a gun, you need to drop that leash and let the dog go.

Don't get me wrong, I love dogs. I've even been adopted as a member of the "pack" by my friend's dog, and I sometimes like the dog more than the owner :D . But when it gets to the point that you have to draw and prepare to fire a handgun, you need to drop that leash and let the dog go.

Maybe I'm wrong, so you decide. Take your dog to an outdoor range. See how accurately you can shoot a handgun while also holding onto the leash and a (presumably) tugging dog.

Kneeling on the leash? What happens when Fido decides that you want to play, or walks in front of your pointed weapon?

IMHO, drop the leash and let the dog go; worry more about the person you are about to shoot, and about what is behind him or her.

Neophyte
January 14, 2006, 01:17 AM
Sorry for the OT, but:
I live on the 3rd floor of a complex, my second floor neighbor beneath me happened to accidentally walk into my apartment one evening
Er, with all due respect drjeffrock, do I need to point out the very bad thing indicated here? Yeek.

springmom
January 14, 2006, 02:15 AM
Take your dog to an outdoor range. See how accurately you can shoot a handgun while also holding onto the leash and a (presumably) tugging dog.

Kneeling on the leash? What happens when Fido decides that you want to play, or walks in front of your pointed weapon?

IMHO, drop the leash and let the dog go; worry more about the person you are about to shoot, and about what is behind him or her

.....because if I took my two idjits to an outdoor range, I wouldn't have dogs anymore, they'd run to Mars. Remember the guy with the Mini 14?????? LOL????

Seriously, I do see your point, Fremmer, and I certainly can't fault anybody who would do that; it might or might not create fewer problems. Until it happens, we couldn't know if Fido might run or turn around and hide behind you and trip you or who knows what.

It's been a fun thread, though... and somebody send me one of those $15K GSD's willya :D

Springmom

RsqVet
January 14, 2006, 05:52 AM
Stage2- Just to clarify, the idea of protection “light” was in reference to training or cultivation of protective or aggressive behavior in a dog --- the point being that there is no way to do this in a “light: manner, folks keep mentioning “I don’t need a police K9” well of that I am sure, more specifically you don’t need a dog trained in tracking, area searches, explosives or narcotic detection etc. however what you are still talking about is a dog trained to protect it’s handler, this by definition requires the cultivation of aggression in your dog, and as a consequence if one is going to cultivate aggression in a dog then the only responsible way to do it is in formalized training with a responsible mentor, there is no way around this, no “light” form of such training. I’m no suggesting that every protection trained dog be a super dog, in fact you would be surprised at how much police dog skills vary, what I am suggesting it that just as there are people who by virtue of their inherent psychological make up are not cut out for special forces, law enforcement or CCW, there are many dogs who are not cut out to be trained to be aggressive, and if we do bring out their aggressiveness and they go astray it’s our fault. Furthermore the process by which one does this is not simple, nor intuitive so it’s essential that anyone who wants to finds a good mentor to learn from.

Springmom --- I believe that the picture of a poodle team can be found in either the older edition of “ Good Dog, Bad Dog” or at: http://home.gci.net/~poodlesleddog/

JD Little – you might want to try Loyds, yes of London, they were receptive to this thing in the past. The restrictions are stupid and lead to all sorts of BS about “mixes” and so forth in attempts to avoid such stupid discrimination.

Another important point to remember about breeds is to match a breed’s likes to your likes and lifestyle, one of our number one problems is unemployed working dogs, i.e. you may love the way a GSD looks and have all the money to buy one of the best ones out there, but if you work in an office and expect that dog, breed explicitly for work and energy to sit at home and twiddle it’s paws all day while you are at work you may be very unhappy to see what a GSD can do to a set of leather furniture. Another common problem is folks who think a breed is cute but don’t understand there nature --- people who expect Bulldogs to be able to jog with them and other such foolishness.

BTW the price of 15-18k for a trained GSD reflects primarily the cost of training, the best puppy out of some of the finest breeding stock and programs in the world will still only set one back about 3K (don’t ask how I know that but if any one wants to know who I would recommend I can post that info), so the cost of 10-15k ought to give a sense of the time and effort it takes for this sort of training. Of course on the subject of puppies buyer beware is always a important thing if one chooses to buy a dog as interestingly enough if one goes to some of the mall pet stores they can have the honor of paying 3k for a puppy from some of the worst puppy mills in the nation. Price and breed registration are meaningless in this country, you have to find a worth while person who is in dog sports for the right reason and who is just as interested and critical of you as you are of them

Of course rescue and shelters is almost always a better option for most people and you would be amazed at the quality, variety and love one can find out there waiting.

Drjeffrock ---- thanks for helping out all those lonely Akitas, they are great dogs, who had the misfortunate of having a spike in popularity a few years back so everyone jumped on the band wagon and got one on impulse and a short time latter there were quite a few out there in shelters when they had previously been a rarer breed. Your stories are the tip of the iceberg in the annals of human stupidity that could be related --- from people who have asked if I could pull down the testicle on a dog who had only one descended so he could breed it to the dog’s sister, to choke chains imbedded in the neck by 3 inches with the smell of rotting flesh, to people who believed that orange Shasta would worm their puppy (breeder told them it’s the combination of dye and bubbles that gets those nasty worms), to obvious dog fighters who themselves are bandaged up from gun fights, but then I digress….

Fremmer
January 14, 2006, 11:49 AM
A very good thread started by Springmom. Good job!!!

drjeffrock
January 14, 2006, 11:57 AM
Neo, my old lady and I had a come to Jesus meeting after that regarding keeping the front door locked. Thank goodness it was a stand-up family man with 3 kids, and not some gangsta thug coming into my place.:eek:
If anyone is interested in reading up on dog training basics, I highly recommend Patricia McConnell's The Other End of the Leash.

Croker Island
January 14, 2006, 11:28 PM
I am lucky enough to be able to live with my dogs (two American Bulldogs - Johnson type) and have them with me at work all day. They are extremely perceptive of my temperament and how I react to my environment. I believe a person who shows insecurity in their environment will give confused messages to their animal. This is not to say you have to be overpowering in every situation for your dog to get clear direction but as leader of the pack offer quiet confidence. My dog "taco" offered great assistance to me while visiting the Gold Coast (Australian equivalent of Miami) two weeks ago. A bloke offered to knock my head off in a public car park, which did not worry me overly except for the potential visit to court that always follows when some jerk gets what coming to them. Taco imediately woke from his sleep in the back seat and before I could negotiate a more diplomatic outcome, Taco had taken matters into his own hands/paws, and did a bit of his own negotiating (the arm shoulder and neck area mainly) which diluted the situation instantaneously. I was so proud of him, I nearly cried.. The other guy did cry. Bystanders that saw this mans outburst were so impressed with Taco's effort, they want to buy his pups. After that we had a couple of fabulous days at the beach. BFFE (best friends forever)
What I got from this is the connection between a person and their dog is a lot deeper than people think, you need to treat them as another human being..don't worry they will understand you..

By the way, both my dogs will let children climb on them, pull their 'bits and pieces' and be completely happy, once they have had enough they find a spot out of the way.

Capt Charlie
January 15, 2006, 12:23 AM
First and foremost Croker, a hardy welcome to TFL! There are a number of other Aussies here as well.

What I got from this is the connection between a person and their dog is a lot deeper than people think, you need to treat them as another human being..don't worry they will understand you..
You know, when I consider my dog's insight into my thoughts and emotions, it seems almost supernatural at times. Either they are far more observant than we are, or there is another sense we're not aware of at work.

My first German Shepherd was a washout from the military (long story, but she was labeled a coward with no aggressive tendencies whatsoever) I was told not to depend on her in a pinch. No big deal; I wanted a family pet, not a guard dog. We bonded very tightly, and about a year after I got her, I took her for a walk around midnight. The alley was dark, and I didn't see the guy that stepped out behind us with a 2x4 in hand. He didn't see her. She did see him. She hit the end of the lead so hard it was jerked from my hand and proceeded to remove a pound or two from his backside. I later told those I got her from the story, and they didn't believe me.

Almost any dog worth his salt will willingly die for his master. It's just the way they are. I really, really miss that old girl :( .

Skyguy
January 15, 2006, 12:43 AM
Almost any dog worth his salt will willingly die for his master. It's just the way they are.

I can swear to that. Our scout dogs in nam were brave heros. They saved lives. They sensed things that we missed. They stopped/signaled at booby traps, mines, snipers, ambushes. They were KIA, too.

So sad that they were handed off to new handlers and were never able to retire or come to the USA.

Croker Island
January 15, 2006, 01:55 AM
Thanks Capt Charlie. Skyguy, my sympathies that you didn't get to see out the lives of those dogs. If there was more people with the spine these dogs have, the world would be a better place.
Any way I'm off to chase some pigs with Taco and Burritto now, they love it!

tanksoldier
January 15, 2006, 03:54 AM
If the situation arises where you have to draw your weapon, the doggie is expendable even to the point of being shot by the BG or even by a PO.

I love my dog, he's the greatest... but he's not more important than my life. If I'm drawing down on a BG I don't have time to give complex orders or handsignals, I have to focus on the threat.

My dog's instinct (he's a Rot/ Ridgeback mix) is clearly to close with and engage an identified threat... he's especially protective of my wife. I'm better off using that instinct as a second weapons system and distraction than I am trying to train it out of him... even if it costs him his life.