Sport dog versus protection dog

I just read a post on a dog forum blasting a dog for letting go when being hit with a pvc pipe and then retargeting. “The dog was EXTREMELY defensive and would come off the bite if you struck her with PVC pipe insulation and then bite elsewhere. I don’t like what I saw at all. She was too aggressive to be around anyone but the family who had her. In my opinion, she could have been run off fairly easily with a bit of pressure. Interestingly, she had excellent environmental nerves, which leads me to believe that her growly bite and extreme defensiveness was attributable to the shit training…”

Sport dogs should not be used as protection dogs and protection dogs should not be used as sport dogs. They are being measured on different scales. It is comparing apples to oranges. From a personal protection dog stand point, I want a dog smart enough to defend itself from injury. The deep, full mouth bite so treasured in the sporting dog world is a death sentence for a dog in the protection world. Ok hypothetical situation: Bad guy gets dog deployed on him, he knows he’s screwed so he gives the dog a nice glaring object to target, his support hand. In his strong hand is a knife. Dog latches on, dog dies from injuries sustained from repeated puncture wounds. Or dog gets killed while hanging steadfastly to arm, just like it is trained, while it is beat senseless with a club or other blunt instrument.

In a violent encounter I want my loved ones, including my dog, to make it out alive. That is why I want my dog smart enough to see the other threat, disengage, and retarget. In nature, dogs kill through shock, muscle damage, or blood loss. When dogs hunt, they go in for quick bites, opening up blood channels and destroying muscle and tendons, leading to shock and blood loss or immobility, while at the same time avoiding their preys attempt at defense, be it a strong kick, a head butt, or what have you. What good is a protection dog if it is out of commission with the threat still viable and coming after your loved ones?

It is a great disservice both to the dog and the customer if the so called protection dog is in fact a sport dog with sport dog training. Now don’t get me wrong, I know sport dogs are trained extremely well for their game and I admire the handlers ability to train them to that level. But it is a game. If you are training for it as a game, that is awesome and I am happy that you are getting that bonding experience with your dog. Plus it is tons of fun, both for you the handler, and the dog. But a personal protection dog should be trained for its survival and thus the survival of the owner.

Below is a video demonstrating retargeting.


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