Schutzhund is the ultimate sport if you are truly interested in not only learning the difference between play and aggression; between prey and aggression; between fear and aggression…but becoming a SCHOLAR of understanding aggression and how to know when it is and when it isn’t. I urge you to study some of the videos by Ivan Balabanov as he truly understands how to shape the natural drives of a dog with a no conflict method.
Schutzhund is a sport and a training system for a working police dog. It is a 300 point test, with three levels. 100 points are TRACKING; 100 points are OBEDIENCE; 100 points are PROTECTION. They must qualify in all three areas. A Schutzhund dog would not be very good if he tracked a lost person and then bit that person at the end of the track. A Schutzhund dog is required to heel off leash through a mingling crowd under gunfire. A Schutzhund dog is at heel, off leash, when a crowd of people walk quickly toward him and hover over him. He must show NO fear or aggression.
These dogs have exemplary temperaments. They would not get very far in Schutzhund if they did not have SELF control in any situation, no matter what is happening. Training SELF control is not achieved by force or aversion. It is achieved by shaping their natural drives. Sound familiar?
A Schutzhund dog must be able to be called to a drop in mid air after launching for a bite. They are taught to bite through the use of building their PREY drive starting with a burlap sack and tug of war with it. The reward, even after the dog has reached the highest titling possible, for that dog, is to parade around with the sleeve in his mouth, tail wagging…like he is carrying his favorite toy. When the DEFENSE drive is brought forward it is very carefully done always ending with the dog winning and ending with PREY. I believe a lot of people might learn a lot about dogs if they took a dog through the rigors of Schutzhund.
To join a sanctioned Schutzhund club and work in the three areas…my opinion…nothing better for a person or a dog…even a pet dog.
Here is a great video if you want to understand true Schutzhund training. Carefully watch the very dance these two do. I love it.
I hope you will note that the training is all motivational and when the dog is biting, at first, the helper always turns away from him building only on the PREY drive. Toward the middle-end, he briefly begins turning full frontal on the dog BRIEFLY and that turns on the defense drive, but he quickly either turns away again (prey) or lets the dog win (lets go of the burlap roll). The body language between this “helper” and this dog is incredible. Imagine people learning to read and respond as well as this “helper.” I even love the term “helper” as they are not considered trainers…they are, and think of themselves as helping shape and build a dog’s drives.
I also want to point out that Schutzhund is not JUST teaching a dog to bite. It is an organized sport as much as agility or herding. Isn’t one of the positive ways to deal with biting puppies to let them bite and then teach them how much is too much and when to quit? This is the same thing, only better.