The Problem with Protection Sport Dog Training


  • How main stream protection sport training contributes to problems in the indsutry.
  • Understanding basics of mainstream sport training
  • Pinpointing areas that need improvement
  • Why protection sport training left unchecked in a threat to pet owners.
  • Why protection sport training, left unchecked threatens dog training professionals.
  • What are other areas to study to understanding barriers to quality dog training standards for professiomals.

Disclaimer: The protection sport training influence, is not a problem with individual trainers, even those with the largest influence. Instead, it is a problem with the standards. The sport dog standard is so embedded into the industry, that singling out individual trainers or influencers is pointless. This lecture is meant to encourage trainers to fill in blanks and train to a higher standard. It is impossible to do a lecture about this subject without showing footage, to use as examples, for the purpose of learning.

The trainer in the abuse video, idealized sport dog trainers. It is not what these trainers taught him that is the problem. It is what the trainers did NOT teach him:

Is there self-policing?


Why are so many dog training tools banned in Europe?

Watch Here for Propaganda Video:

European Sport Dog Training Influence In the United States and other Countries without Dog Collar Bans...Yet

Basics of Old School Sport Dog Training

  • Behaviors are taught primarily with negative reinforcement alone, followed by positive reinforcement or positive punishment followed by negative reinforcement then positive reinforcement.
  • Premack Principal is also extensively used.
  • Highly effective for creating reliability.
  • Although there may be trainers that put a trademarked "brand" to their style of dog training for marketing purposes, it is the same basic concept that has been in place for decades and taught at most popular dog training schools that teach sport training. (How do I know? I have attended one of the schools and I have worked closely with trainers that have attended every major school and popular seminar based on old school sport training)
  • The biggest difference is generally in the mechanics and tools used.

Can you train dogs with "force-free" methods?

  • Partially yes
  • To say the reliability is superior to using all quadrants of operant condition is incompetance.
  • Ethics? A game vs real?

So what is the problem?

  • The process itself. There is more than one way to reach that goal and the quickest way usually isn't the best way.
  • The process is designed for the controlled environment and rules of a sport field.

The most obvious PART of the solution is to incorporate LIMA into standards.

What happens when the "status quo" of sport dog trainers is commercialized into the pet market?

  • Franchises - 2 weeks to be a professional dog trainer
  • Seminars - Ecollars handed over to novice dog trainers
  • 99.9 percent more compulsion used in the training process.
  • Terrible for PR and a catalyst for dog tool bans.


Why Banning Collars is not the answer:

  • The videos that are most horrific to watch is because the trainers are either choosing to not use those collar anyway, because they are not allowed on the competition field or because they are already banned.
  • You can not ban people from owning the shoes they kick the dog, the hands they punch their dogs with, or the leashed that they lift and slam their dogs with.

Facts about Sport Training

  • It is honoring training done on very specific dogs that are selectively bred to bounce back from this treatment, showing the RESULTS of training the same routine on a field that a trainer has sometimes been doing for decades.
  • It is designed to highlight the image of a well trained dog and not a process of a dog that was actually trained well.

Sport Training evolved from Hacking Temperament Tests

This is similar to what confirmation shows have done to the physical soundness of a dog. The heart of the original concept was hacked to the detriment of the dog.

In general: Sport training is to breed suitability testing as conformation shows are to judging the soundness of confirmation.

Hack number 1 - The illusion of the obedience

If a dog is really that non-compliant, that a world champion sport trainer needs to use high levels of electric stimulation or otherwise physically brutalize the dog to get a dog to drop a ball or a pillow on a plan grass field, does this dog really have the temperament that the title is supposed to prove.

Hack number 2 - The illusion of protection

It is not protection. It proves nothing. The dogs usually learn to bite their own handler as a game and the dogs are not allowed to be struck on the testing field. The most successful dogs are that way because they actually submit to the bad guy during training or otherwise forced to do so.

Hack number 3 - Fake tracking

Dogs are retrained to keep their head down and look for food left in the footprints of the person usually holding the leash, not to demonstrate how well they can use their natural abilities to find find people in the way that would be needed for any practical situation. It is not uncommon for trainers to punish the dog for lifting their heads off the ground and to use extreme food deprivation to teach the behavior.

Hack 4 - Fake searching

Dogs are taught to weave through a set pattern of blinds that with the intention of randomly finding a person standing behind one. An exercise that a 2 year old child could perform just as well.

Consequences of selective breeding for sport success.

  • Titled dogs are often unsuitable for the work they were originally bred
    • the loss of the "clear headed" dog
    • natural aggression vs barrier frustration with high play/prey drive
  • Sport dogs are often difficult for pet owners to own as well

Finding Solutions from a Foundation Style Dog Training Point of View

Steps that are missing

  • Ethics
    • Cynopraxis
    • LIMA
      • Skipping teaching steps for the purpose of:
      • giving fast "results" to novices at seminars
      • giving fast results for the purpose of in-kennel programs
      • anything that can be reasonably accomplished with Less intrusiveness and aversives
    • ABA
  • Ethology - No understanding of the real nature of the dog
  • Diagnosis - No understanding of "why"
    • undrerstanding aggression/disobedience vs "dick, jerk, self serving, etc..)
  • Cannot develop the right attitude without a basic understanding of the dog
  • Management - no concept of local laws or husbandry
    • Leads to unneccessary punishment/anxiety
    • Unnecssary bad press
  • Training -
  • Skipping teaching steps for the purpose of:
    • giving fast "results" to novices at seminars
    • giving fast results for the purpose of in-kennel programs
    • anything that cannot be reasonably accomplished with Less intrusiveness to the relationship or less aversives.
K9-1 command structure
Obedience Checklist 5.0

This is Part of a Understanding Problems in the Dog Training Industry Series



Force Free Dog Trainining


Dog Training Collar Bans


Police Dog Training Problems


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