I love protection training. I think it’s a lot of fun, and I really enjoy training working dogs and bringing out the best in them. However I have to continuously bite my tongue when it comes to so many so-called “personal protection dog trainers”. There is A LOT that goes into training a real protection dog, and I mean A LOT. Many dogs can’t even mentally do the work. There are way too many trainers out there that can get a dog to bite a bite sleeve and then call themselves protection dog trainers. That is simply not how it works. In the vast majority of these cases the dog pictures that bite sleeve as nothing more than a really big toy. They wouldn’t ever bite someone for real unless your typical burglar starts breaking into homes with a bite sleeve or bite suit on. How often do you think someone is going to break into your house with a bite sleeve….never.
I see this everyday, multiple times a day. So many trainers either watched another trainer a few times, saw some videos, or read a book, and now they think they are protection dog trainers. Because we live in a civilized society, and because I know it will never get me anywhere, I continuously have to watch my mouth and make sure I don’t “offend” any of these “trainers” that think they know what they’re doing. Just because you can get a dog to bite a bite sleeve or bite suit does not mean that dog would ever actually bite an attacker in real life. In all reality, the dog would have no idea how to even bite if it wasn’t back tied and have something clear as day to bite onto presented in a way the dog is accustomed to.
A true protection dog is dangerous. A true protection dog needs to be handled like a loaded gun. However, what most trainers offer is a dog that really likes to play tug with a big toy. That’s it. They aren’t protecting anything. They aren’t really doing any more than playing tug.
A real trained protection dog is a great dog. They offer another means and another layer of protection and many people would much rather be able to take their dog along with them to protect them than a weapon.
To be able to train a protection dog you have to be able to read a dog. That is a thing that so many people think they understand, but in reality very very very few people can really read a dog. There are a lot of different drives at work in a dog. There is a lot going on in a dog that is doing protection training and a trainer needs to be able to read that and respond appropriately. And just for clarification, no that does not mean just presenting the sleeve at the right time. There’s more to it than that.
When I get on to some trainers about their abilities then they want to “show me” how great their protection training really is. I can honestly say I have not seen a single other person in the entire state of Kansas that I would trust to train a protection dog.
Don’t get sport dogs confused with protection dogs. They are separate things. While there are some sport dogs that are also solid protection dogs, this is often not the case. Sport dog training has it’s own set of really challenging rules and expectations, but with the right training a dog that could never handle being a real protection dog can look very nice out on the field.
Alright, I’ll get off my pedestal for today and leave this where it is. If I find myself aggravated enough I may have to go back and add some additional material to this article :-).