Shifting Gears in Protection Training



What is “switching gears”?

  • Making the dog “civil”
  • From the play versions of aggression to the mature versions
  • or going from mature versions to play versions of aggression

Factors to consider

  • Genetics – Some dogs just CAN”T and others can but with limitations to their aggression even when working at a high potential.Β  For example, you can’t train any dog to “real full mouth bite” on a person.
  • Age – you can start shifting and dabble but need to be CAREFUL.Β  It is unreasonable to have any dog under 2 years of age fight with the ability, confidence, and commitment that the same dog may be able to do when older. Dogs get better with age, especially after 2 and some dogs mature even slower. In my experience 3 is when dogs really show what they are capable of.
  • “Dominant” dogs tend to progress a little quicker when all else equal – related article on the owners “perception of dominance”
  • Purpose
    • sport
      • May want to shift the other direction
    • aggression rehab
      • may want a safe outlet for “aggressive” play.

Increase “trust” in the command

Example of a fast “on/off” switch

  • Obedience as a prerequisite a MUST
  • Quick and easy for dogs that have some experience in protecting their owner or defensive agitation.
  • Pros – great on a leash
  • Cons – some dogs may retreat if off-leash since it primarily directed at them
  • The alternative is to attack the owner on command
  • Example in the video had about a 4:1 variable ratio of “good” encounters vs “aggressive encounters” (video only shows aggressive encounters.

Play drive on suit or sleeve to “real fight” drive

  1. Agitator flanks AFTER the suit or sleeve is slipped
  2. Return with hidden sleeve (must be slippable or dog knows “out”
  3. Proof on the muzzle

Skin grabbing and escalating “attitude” while on the suit.

  • brings out more fight when dogs have mostly been in play
  • Can be a grey area between this and “desensitizing” the dog to aggressive intents
  • usually still needs a plan to fully proof separately with a muzzle and hidden sleeve

Getting a feel for a young dog without “ruining it”

  • avoid flanks on young dogs
  • can dabble with defense if the dog is able to successfully “win” and you are not seeing calming signals
  • triggering barrier frustration can assist in getting an initial bite

Testing Stryker