There has been considerable confusion, even at the American Kennel Club (which novices presume to be the citadel of dogdom), about the sport of Schutzhund and the proper role of protection and law enforcement dogs. Back in the mid-1990s, the AKC sent out some strongly-worded warnings about dog clubs putting on events or demonstrations that show dog-aggression toward people. Most owners of certain working breeds were upset...
The history and the Standard of the German Shepherd Dog are, and should be, intimately related to the “parent club” of the breed. That’s true with any breed. If one does not agree with that underlying principle of almost everything concerning the breed, then unity in the sport and identification as a breed will suffer. An English Springer Spaniel that does not look anything like the historic or the British dog perhaps should have “English” dropped from its name in countries where breed type has strayed significantly. The Australian Cattle Dog, if it starts looking like a Whippet after drifting in Transylvania, should not retain that name. If some of the Yanks or the Brits want a different breed than the internationally traditional GSD, let them call theirs the Alsatian or something else, rather than the German Shepherd. Character should reflect this philosophy as much as physical appearance does...
A few weeks ago I got into a bit of a debate with another trainer over the fact that I did bitesuit work with a dog who is destined to be a competitive Schutzhund dog.
Discussions over the last few years regarding the protection phase center around active and reactive aggression. In these discussions the importance of having a dog initiate the work is generally agreed to by most.
Unlike most dog events, working dog competitions are not so much a test of how well a dog can do a particular exercise, but a more fundamental examination of the dog's temperament.
In the last two articles I had the opportunity to discuss Prey Drive Promotion. I feel that protection training should always begin there.
After my last article I was really stumped for my next topic. There are so many things one can write about. But with a lot of topics I found that a magazine article would either be too general and not of any great value or way too long and detailed to go into a magazine.
Again, I have to go by my observations on the training field. Once protection training begins, obedience is not given very much thought. Oh, don't misunderstand me, we all demand it. Hell, we need it to get our titles. The dog needs to be obedient during protection, we all know that.
The dog needs to learn to accept guidance from the handler. The key word here is guidance. The way many dogs act the first time an obedience exercise is asked of them in protection, I would say it is not disobedience that is happening.
Prey-drive, defense-drive, fighting-drive, etc. are the catch phrases of modern protection training. They are thrown around at every seminar we attend, they are the subjects of countless articles, but rarely do people agree on what is being said about these "drives."