Training Video 06-29-07

Weight pull, Protection, Agility, Flyball... you name it!

Postby DemoDick » June 29th, 2007, 3:33 am

One of the challenges I deal with in Connor's training is his reaction to loud noises, especially gunfire. If he hears them in the context of bitework, he will engage the decoy, as that is what he has been conditioned to do. However gunshots during obedience will produce a ton of avoidance and stress in this dog, because he hasn't learned to cope with that particular stimulus while remaining passive.

This training session shows how we began to teach him to deal with gunfire and whip cracks during obedience. At the beginning we stimulated him with gunfire and I simply let him engage the decoy for a bite and slip without obedience commands. I did this to maximize drive and build his confidence for the session before asking him to do anything new or unfamiliar.

I did not want to use a correction collar during this exercise because I wanted to minimize the amount of stress on the dog to keep him clear-headed and calm. I am handling him on a wide flat collar and standing on the leash most of the time. When you see him correct himself by breaking the down and lunging forward he's not receiving a painful correction. The goal was just to get him to stay in the down and remain passive during agitation, then reward him with a bite. As the video plays you can see him become clearer and more calm. I was also able to move progressively further away from him. There is a marked improvement by the end of the video, and I'm really happy with the sessions.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVgyCTEfdsU

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Postby amazincc » June 29th, 2007, 6:24 am

That is very impressive! You train your dog w/german commands?
I really like the way he pays attention to you...
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Postby iluvk9 » June 29th, 2007, 8:30 am

Simple question: Why does the decoy guy pet Connor and say "good boy" as he is biting the sleeve?
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Postby maberi » June 29th, 2007, 8:36 am

This is a great video. It is really interesting to see how fast Connor is catching on and you can definitely see him become calmer as the video progresses.

I am also totally impressed with how hard Connor goes into the decoy. I guess that is why the decoy uses a swinging movement once Connor makes contact so he can transfer some of that force away from his body.

Cool stuff!!!!
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » June 29th, 2007, 8:55 am

Joyce that's the exact same question I was going to ask! I couldn't figure out the head stroking - I'd be afraid of losing a hand!

Demo, how long was it before you saw that major improvement? It happened around 4:55 in the video, but I'm sure it was longer than that. If not, I expect miraculous results when Inara and I come visit in July! :wink:

And I love how proud Connor looks when the decoy relinquishes the sleeve - he just prances away shaking it!

Great video!
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Postby mnp13 » June 29th, 2007, 9:19 am

Simple question: Why does the decoy guy pet Connor and say "good boy" as he is biting the sleeve?


To create calmess in the grip. We want to produce a dog that is comfortable and calm when biting, and head stroking and praise helps wth that.

Joyce that's the exact same question I was going to ask! I couldn't figure out the head stroking - I'd be afraid of losing a hand!


That's another reason we do it-decoy safety. If the dog is liable to drop off the bite and bite something else whenever he's touched is crates a safety issue for the decoy.

Demo, how long was it before you saw that major improvement? It happened around 4:55 in the video, but I'm sure it was longer than that. If not, I expect miraculous results when Inara and I come visit in July!


I only edited out a couple of minutes. He got the point in less than ten minutes of working time. Once you make it clear they learn really fast.

Yes, the commands are in German. Thanks everyone!

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Postby katiek0417 » June 29th, 2007, 9:28 am

On June 29 2007, 7:36 AM, maberi wrote:I am also totally impressed with how hard Connor goes into the decoy. I guess that is why the decoy uses a swinging movement once Connor makes contact so he can transfer some of that force away from his body.



If a decoy doesn't "give" with the impact, it can jam the dog, cause a broken tooth, etc...

Demo, this is an interesting way of you teaching this. Michelle and I were talking about Connor and gunfire the other morning. I am having a similar (not exactly the same) problem with Nisha. When she is heeling, she can hear gunfire, and not even look away from me...however, gunfire during the long down makes her break. However, she doesn't go for the decoy. She runs to me. She's not afraid of the gunfire (you can fire continuously while she's heeling, and she doesn't care, you can fire while she's in the grip, and she bites harder)...

So, what I've been doing is standing with her, putting my foot on the leash, then taking one step away for every gun fire...if she holds the down, she gets her tug...I've gotten to about 4 feet away, and I'll probably start using a long line on her to get further....after a while, though, I will just tie her to a tree, and if she gets up, let her correct herself...
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Postby mnp13 » June 29th, 2007, 11:00 am

that last post "by me" was by Demo.

"someone" forgot to sign me off.
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Postby katiek0417 » June 29th, 2007, 11:02 am

On June 29 2007, 10:00 AM, mnp13 wrote:that last post "by me" was by Demo.

"someone" forgot to sign me off.


Yep I figured LOL
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Postby babyreba » June 29th, 2007, 11:36 am

that vid is great--i love how you can see the progression.

and i also love that connor barks while he's got a grip on the sleeve!
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Postby cheekymunkee » June 29th, 2007, 6:47 pm

GREAT video!
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Postby InBearsMemory » June 29th, 2007, 8:48 pm

I love seeing your videos. That was great! Thanks for sharing.
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Postby iluvk9 » June 29th, 2007, 9:18 pm

Two more questions: Do the decoys get paid to do this? Are they "trained"?
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Postby katiek0417 » June 29th, 2007, 10:21 pm

On June 29 2007, 8:18 PM, iluvk9 wrote:Two more questions: Do the decoys get paid to do this? Are they "trained"?


Decoys are typically not paid...they're the "dummies" that get dressed up and let dogs bite them...

Most do not have to pay club dues, though.

Most decoys are trained to catch dogs. PSA for example, has a decoy camp every year in all 3 regions...

Greg is, however, a PSA certified decoy (was actually one of the original 3 decoys for PSA), and we have been very lucky to get guys in who want to not only learn how to catch dogs, but also certify....
"Rumor has it, compulsion is evil."

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Postby SisMorphine » June 29th, 2007, 11:14 pm

On June 29 2007, 9:21 PM, katiek0417 wrote:
On June 29 2007, 8:18 PM, iluvk9 wrote:Two more questions: Do the decoys get paid to do this? Are they "trained"?


Decoys are typically not paid...they're the "dummies" that get dressed up and let dogs bite them...

Most do not have to pay club dues, though.

Most decoys are trained to catch dogs. PSA for example, has a decoy camp every year in all 3 regions...

Greg is, however, a PSA certified decoy (was actually one of the original 3 decoys for PSA), and we have been very lucky to get guys in who want to not only learn how to catch dogs, but also certify....

I swear I wish you lived closer!! My friend REALLY wants to get into decoy work, but I can't recommend anyone around here for her to train with. There is one trainer, but he charges a few thousand bucks for a week or two of "camp" and I haven't been impressed with his training, and though I haven't seen his decoy work I'm inclined to not be so pumped about it since I know how he trains.

And I really want her to get into decoy work so that I can work Teeny :D I'm showing her the basics that I know regarding puppy tug work, but beyond that I'm not going to be much help.
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Postby SisMorphine » June 29th, 2007, 11:15 pm

Connor is looking good. He is "talking" less on the bite than he was last summer. Awesome work. I LOVED seeing him "get it"!!
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Postby DemoDick » June 30th, 2007, 12:16 am

Demo, this is an interesting way of you teaching this. Michelle and I were talking about Connor and gunfire the other morning. I am having a similar (not exactly the same) problem with Nisha. When she is heeling, she can hear gunfire, and not even look away from me...however, gunfire during the long down makes her break. However, she doesn't go for the decoy. She runs to me. She's not afraid of the gunfire (you can fire continuously while she's heeling, and she doesn't care, you can fire while she's in the grip, and she bites harder)...

So, what I've been doing is standing with her, putting my foot on the leash, then taking one step away for every gun fire...if she holds the down, she gets her tug...I've gotten to about 4 feet away, and I'll probably start using a long line on her to get further....after a while, though, I will just tie her to a tree, and if she gets up, let her correct herself...


It sounds like Nisha and Connor have the same issue with the down. He only knows two ways to deal with gunfire. He either becomes aggressive towards it (which is great for bitework) or runs away from it (which screws up obedience). If I don't let him use aggression to overcome it he will drown in avoidance. Not good for the PSA 1. So what I'm trying to do is to let him use aggression to deal with the stress, after he gives me an obedience behavior. I should be able to increase the time between stimulus and release to get my long down with gunfire. I hope. :)

I will eventually start using a reward tug upon returning to the dog, but for now the noise is creating a ton of stress and I want to offset it with a bigger reward...hence the sleeve.

Connor is looking good. He is "talking" less on the bite than he was last summer. Awesome work. I LOVED seeing him "get it"!!


Thanks! I actually like the way he vocalizes now, especially barking into the counter. That high pitched screaming he used to do was due to a lack of trust in the decoy (improper foundation work). I've been working on getting him to see the decoy more as a sparring partner and it has helped with control and calmness in the bite. Plus LOTS of prey bites and slips and maybe one out a week. Darrel is an AWESOME decoy and trainer and has a good grasp of behaviors. I'm very happy with how things are going right now.

Thanks again everyone.

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Postby DemoDick » June 30th, 2007, 2:06 am

that vid is great--i love how you can see the progression.

and i also love that connor barks while he's got a grip on the sleeve!


Thanks. I'm really enjoying his new bark into the counter (when he regrips deeper and pushes into the decoy). It's just so pushy and rude. He also punches the decoy in the groin with his front paws during the bark and hold.

A lot of bitework people think that vocalization on the bite is a sign of weak nerves, but as long as the dog is not backing out of the grip or chewing I don't worry about it. This particular dog is ALL fight drive, and I'm trying to get him to calm down and enjoy himself. So far, it's working nicely.

Demo Dick
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Postby Malli » June 30th, 2007, 11:50 pm

I was going to mention that screaming bark at the beginning of the video. You've done great work. He seems much more calm/focused/aggressive at the end of the video then at the beginning when its almost panicky/nervous/strung, the tell seems to be his shrill bark, and that just vanishes, once that disappears, the rest seems to fall into place with him. Or that's what I see. I get the impression that he'll be much more level headed in OB and your bitework just from this kind of thing.

I've done a similar thing with Oscar and his ball(he is insane for fetch/retrieval), I throw it and he has to watch it until I release him to go and fetch it; first he was a HUGE spaz, freaking out, lunging, almost pulling me off my feet, and I had to hold his collar in a bent over "brace" position. We eventually moved to him holding a sit nicely with me holding the collar, then holding the sit next to me, then holding the sit in front of me, and now, I can release him, send him to fetch, stop him mid fetch, have him return, do a command, and then send him out to finally retrieve it; its become like a game for us, and he has learned a little patience.

nicely done :)
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Postby TinaMartin » July 6th, 2007, 3:49 pm

Great video. I hope to do that some day with Gator. I have to do one thing at a time though. My husband already complains I'm never home. Weight pull is getting put into the mix but he knew that was coming.
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