Protection/Sch. and HA dogs

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

Postby Malli » October 1st, 2006, 3:40 am

I'm really just curious about this. The thought to ask about just occured to me as we currently have a police K9 in at work right now and he has to be muzzle for some exams/blood collection etc as he nipped a staff member at the clinic who referred him to us.
I understand a police dog being a little high strung as the need for the dog to have a totally uninhibited bite in his line of work; however, it ocurred to me that I have seen at least one, and heard of a couple dogs who are involved in various Protection sports and are HA, only the handler is ok with the dog.
What do those involved with these sports think about this?

To myself, a dog who does any type of protection work should have a rock solid temperment, so he is able to judge the true nature of a situation, so he is safe when he is not working, but perhaps I'm missing some side of this...

I thought this would be an interesting discussion.

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Postby jlewin » October 1st, 2006, 8:07 am

i have seen it but it's not that common. most handlers involved in ring, or schutzund are very experienced but i have been to some clubs where the member and trainers are just scary so i'm sure that could pick an improper dog or damage an animal through training which would bring out some problems.
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Postby Leslie H » October 1st, 2006, 8:45 am

I think there are a lot of variables to consider, especially the breed of dog, the type of sport or work, and the level of training.
For example, Xanny is what I consider a low level sport dog. She has moderate drive, she loves bitework, and she is not particularly well trained. She is extremely friendly, and has had only minimal defensive wiork done. She has passed a variety of temperament tests after beginning bitework, CGC, TDI, TT, GDT, BST. NKCCGTT A trainer/decoy referred to her as "Dr. Jekyl and Mrs. Hyde", telling me that he had never seen a dog so intense in bitework, and so calm about everything else.
Even then, I do have to be attentive. Her ball drive is fairly high, and if people are playing with balls, she fires up, and disregards everything else. She has wantonly slaughtered a kickball, and 2 footballs, all through training errors on my part (I'm not sure why I'd think that if I threw a tennis ball, she'd run by the football. Thank goodness the boys at my work, that she was visiting, all thought it was awesome.) This summer at our Grantville show, a location she's done bitework at several times, she looked across the ring while we were walking along, saw our judge walking, and started getting all hyper, like she had seen a decoy, ears pricked forward, yipping and bouncing. It caught me off guard, I suspect she thought the judges billowy clothes were a bitesuit, I walked her up to the judge, and she realized her error, greeted her, and looked eagerly around, disappointed that no one was wearing bitework equipment.
All that ramble being said, I wouldn't expect a serious working dog, of a guardian breed to be friendly, it might well bite me if I was foolish enough to try to pet it, or doing something else that intruded upon its personal space, or otherwise challenged its dominance. A very different creature than our silly, loving APBT's.
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Postby pocketpit » October 1st, 2006, 3:08 pm

For me much of it depends upon the breed of dog but it's not a trait that bothers me really. If the dog demonstrates respect for the handler and they are under control, that's all I require to make me happy. I don't mind if they have to be muzzled for an exam or procedures.
For sport work and for personal protection the dogs need a personality that allows them to be bold and sometimes (depending upon the sport or work) make decisions on their own. Consequently that kind of dog often is very dominant or controlling. That kind of dog often doesn't appreciate being hurt (ie injections or something similar) or man handled by people they don't know. They don't know them and therefore have no respect for them.
I personally think that for a simple exam the dog should be able to be restrained by the handler without fear of being bitten but conversely most responsible owners might request a muzzle for safety reasons even if they don't feel they need it. Who needs an accident to happen?
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Postby Malli » October 1st, 2006, 3:12 pm

The dog I am thinking of is a standard schnauzer, the training and club seemed very reputable, the dog had excellent obedience, but no so good with other people.

I know I've petted at least a couple of police dogs, I guess this is the exception to the rule.

BUT, I assume all the Mal's on this board are friendly? They certainly read that way in various posts, they are a gaurdian breed correct (the cobra comando's use them, I think?)?

From my understanding, I expect a guardian breed to alert, and perhaps be stand-ofish at first, but I did not expect them to all have HA, perhaps I got the wrong impression...

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Postby jlewin » October 1st, 2006, 4:25 pm

their protection drive should not be immediately mistaken for HA. Mal's tend to be very friendly, but you better ask permission before you pet one. that's just the way it is. Sometimes us APBT owners get spoiled because our dogs were bred to be so human passive it's ridiculous. many many dogs get protective and it doesn't have to mean anything about their "friendliness" or "niceness" if the handler is comfortable he/she should be able to convey that to the dog, but if the dog isn't sure accidents can happen.
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Postby pocketpit » October 1st, 2006, 4:41 pm

I don't know enough about Standard Schnauzers to even begin to say whether that is proper temperment or not. I'm clueless to what they are like.

I know I've petted at least a couple of police dogs, I guess this is the exception to the rule.

BUT, I assume all the Mal's on this board are friendly? They certainly read that way in various posts, they are a gaurdian breed correct (the cobra comando's use them, I think?)?


I think a great deal of police dogs are not pettable but there are always exceptions to the rule. Much again depends upon the breed and the department's ability to have a good trainer. Our local departments usually have a couple of dogs that do the PR work and the rest you won't get the opportunity to pet unless you know the handler well. And they only use German Shepherds (they're not smart enough to handle Mals).

I can't speak for the other Mals on this board, only mine. The current pup is friendly and my former two were social as well. The male I used to own was very territorial though. He was fine in social settings but I would not have recommended that you come on our property, or approach his car.
I already have a "real" dog at home and didn't feel the need to own another at this point in time. So I specifically chose my puppy for sport work. She's from the same mother as my other female was. I know her mother is social, her sister was social and I requested a high drive but social pup from the breeder.
However there are more non social Mals out there than there are social ones. I know a great many of them that are friendly if the owner is present and I know many that you would not pet regardless. They are known for being sharp and hard dogs. I think the current trend to use them for sport work has helped shaped more stable dogs but much of the temperment also relies on what kind of lines they are from.
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Postby Malli » October 2nd, 2006, 3:21 pm

hmmm... ok thanks guys!
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Postby katiek0417 » October 3rd, 2006, 7:46 am

My female mal is overly friendly. Someone could break in my house, and she'd show them where everything is - I'm just kidding, she knows the work, and she's very protective. However, people can come up to her and pet her.

My new puppy will also be socialized.

On the other hand, my boyfriend's male, is an ass. He is a product of his environment. A guy who had more money than brains went to Belgium and bought dogs. He bought Jue as a 10-month old puppy. He brought him back and kept him in a kennel run. Greg got him when he was 3 - still in a kennel run. Because he was kept in a kennel run, he wasn't socialized, and he learned not to trust anyone. This dog will eat anyone (but Greg) up for touching him. Lately, we've been working on getting me able to let Jue out of his crate and let him out to use the bathroom. At first, I was always armed with food, and now I can just let him out. But I can't touch him....Does he like me? Probably not...but he tolerates me. I also think that Jue WANTS to be social, but doesn't know how (my puppy is out of him, and out of 6 litters, none of his puppies have ever been antisocial). He was never taught how to be. I've noticed that lately he has been coming up to me and rubbing up against me. I let him make the decisions about getting attention. Typically you wouldn't do that with a dog but I want him to know that I have no expectations of him - that I'm just his "friend." No corrections. Nothing.

I have met people in PSA who believe their dogs should not be friendly to other people. A vast majority, though, believe that their dogs should at least be social. This doesn't mean that the dog is an "attention whore" it just means that someone can touch them without getting eaten up. This is simply an insurance....
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Postby Malli » October 3rd, 2006, 12:50 pm

Thats kind of what I thought.

The police k9's that I have had the opportunity to pet have been "tolerant" of it (they didn't seem to care, but boy was I excited :lol3:)

I kind of expected the dogs temperment to at least be ok with being social in general, even if they aren't all that interested in it. I also assumed that the dog may be protective of his house and property, but would look to the handler for body language as to how to behave(if the handler/owner were present), and would generally accept someone new.

thanks for your input!

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Postby mnp13 » October 3rd, 2006, 1:21 pm

In my opinion (please note: my opinion) most unsocial dogs have no business in sport. I was at an event where I was warned to stay outside of the 6 foot range of the dog. The handler didn't even feel her dog was safe if you walked near the dog, let alone pet it (which I had no intention of doing in the first place!). This dog doesn't belong anywhere in public if it can't even be under enough control of the handler to allow a neutral person to pass by without being in danger.

If the dog is that unsafe it should be muzzled if it must be out - which in my mind means it never should be out.

That said, I have met Jue, and he is only nasty if you try to touch him. You can have a conversation with Greg at a normal distance and Jue will not react to you. I wouldn't suggest you get at all aggressive in manner or voice, but he is safe to be around - if not to touch.

Some sports have a manditory "stand for exam" that the judge does. If the handler does not have enough control over the dog for someone to touch the dog on the head, back and butt, there is a problem. We're not talking checking teeth and feeling for their nuts.
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Postby pocketpit » October 3rd, 2006, 5:35 pm

In my opinion (please note: my opinion) most unsocial dogs have no business in sport. I was at an event where I was warned to stay outside of the 6 foot range of the dog. The handler didn't even feel her dog was safe if you walked near the dog, let alone pet it (which I had no intention of doing in the first place!). This dog doesn't belong anywhere in public if it can't even be under enough control of the handler to allow a neutral person to pass by without being in danger.


I would share your opinion, YIKES that's scary!
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Postby katiek0417 » October 3rd, 2006, 8:35 pm

On October 03 2006, 12:21 PM, mnp13 wrote:That said, I have met Jue, and he is only nasty if you try to touch him. You can have a conversation with Greg at a normal distance and Jue will not react to you. I wouldn't suggest you get at all aggressive in manner or voice, but he is safe to be around - if not to touch.

Some sports have a manditory "stand for exam" that the judge does. If the handler does not have enough control over the dog for someone to touch the dog on the head, back and butt, there is a problem. We're not talking checking teeth and feeling for their nuts.


Many people do not understand that about Jue...he IS safe to be around. I wouldn't suggest trying to love on him...but Greg has enough control that Jue won't bite someone just for being around. That being said, he took a long time to be like that. There was a point in time, where if Greg brought Jue out to work, the field needed to be cleared....a lot of hard work went into making the dog tolerant.

Also, most sports have actually done away with the physical exam...specifically b/c judges were getting bit. A BIG part of the Schutzhund temperament exam was a stand for exam. After DECADES of having it in there, they took it out...there is no longer a stand for exam. The judge can ask you to show him a dog's tattoo, but he/she can not touch the dog.
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