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Old April 18, 2002, 05:23 AM   #56
boris_01
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Join Date: November 14, 2001
Location: N.C.
Posts: 61
Large breeds such as the varied Mastiff breeds are intimidating in appearance. We have been involved with the training of several of these breeds. But not with great success. Honestly, many people missread what they call protectiveness. People often believe that a dog who barks, growls, snaps at or bites is protective or is a good candidate for a protection dog. But not necessarrily so. Self preservation is the primary instinct in the animal kingdom. Or the human kingdom for that matter. To expect an dog to override that instinct and to put himself in the way of a threat is expecting a lot. Humans do not do it NATURALLY. Humans have the ability to reason and assess a situation before reaction, allowing us to overide the self presevation instinct. Dogs do not. What most people call protectiveness is a dog who perceives a threat and reacts in a way of defense. The level of confidence determines the level of threat that the dog sees in a situation. It could be something as simple as what a PERSON may sees as nonthreatening, like standing motionless, staring at the dog. ( a threatening posture in the animal world) Or a child shyly and slowly reaching out to touch the dog. Again slow motions sometimes seem as a threat or challenge to a dog. If the confidence level is low anything out of context may trigger a defensive reation. Such as the dog in a new environment with different surroundings. Someone new comes over to visit, who the dog sees as a possible threat because they do not know them. ETC. Protectiveness implies that the dog can distinguish a threat and without concern for it's own safety react to protect another. Not saying that it does not happen, but not often. More often it is simply missinterpreted defensiveness. But defensiveness is not a bad thing. In training a actual protection dog you use the dogs defense drive and his prey drive to stimulate him to bite. Conditioning him through situational training to gain control and to teach him correct reation to the situation. In training you are able to direct or channel prey or defense drives to build confidence and make a more balanced dog. In our experience a lot of the Mastiff breeds simply do not have the desired prey drive to carry them through a threatening situation and to bulid their confidence. But they do have defense drive. And defense drive coupled with lack of confidence creates a "sharp dog". (Meaning quick to bite.) Remember the level of confidence determines the level of threat the dog perceives. Well time to go to work. Maybe more later.
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