Posts Tagged ‘dog training’
Monday, May 4th, 2009
In my industry, you’ll hear a lot of people refer to training as “working the dog”. While possibly offensive to those not in the field, the terms “train” and “work” are commonly used interchangeably.
Sometimes, though, people will ask if dogs actually see personal protection training as “work”. Here is what they really are asking: do dogs enjoy being trained?
The answer is an unequivocal YES!
It takes a special dog to do personal protection and service work. Only the top 1% of dogs actually qualify for our rigorous program. Being so selective serves two purposes. First, it is important that a dog possesses all of the genetics, natural talents, abilities necessary to finish the program. It is nearly impossible to train a dog to completion without the proper attributes. In fact, trying to force a dog into something it isn’t ready or willing to do is like pushing a rock uphill. Secondly, training is a time and labor-intensive endeavor; our dogs all have years and years of training behind them. We are extremely selective when choosing puppies because we really want the dog to complete the program.
Every dog is born with a purpose. Most dogs will become family pets and companions. However, there are a few that are simply born with everything that it takes to do protection work. Just like humans enjoy developing their talents, dogs born with the desire and intelligence to protect enjoy the challenges of fine tuning their given abilities. These simply aren’t the type of dogs who would prefer to lie in the sun all day. They would rather be practicing their bite work or learning commands, tracking or testing their agility on the course. They need stimulus. I would not allow a dog to continue in our program if he or she seemed reluctant, uncomfortable, or disagreeable. It is not good for the dog or for our clients or for us either.
My motto is “do what you love”. This is why I am a protection dog trainer. Our dogs express the same sentiment, not in words but when they complete their agility training for the day and are still ready for more or when they execute a command without the expectation of anything more than verbal praise.
I have a job to do but it doesn’t feel like work because I enjoy it and it is my purpose in life. My dogs? They feel exactly the same way.
Monday, April 27th, 2009
I’m as proud of our new litter of Belgian Malinois puppies as if I had fathered them myself.
Our most recent litter was the result of breeding two extraordinary Level III Belgian Malinois, Cindy and Ducko. The offspring turned out to be everything we expected and more.
We start our pups in training at 5 weeks of age. It is at this point that they are introduced to wearing a collar and lead. To make sure they are well socialized, we take them everywhere- crowded streets, to the store, parks- so they are exposed to as many people and different surfaces as possible. The pups are also exposed to children and other animals. This sets a great foundation for the future since we have zero tolerance for child or animal aggression.
Today ushered in their first experience on the agility course! Their performance could not have been better. They enjoyed it and we enjoyed it knowing that, just like their parents, these pups will be well suited for high-end personal protection, military or law enforcement work.
Contact us if you have any questions or are interested in obtaining a Belgian Malinois for your home or business.
Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009
I have had many clients who have purchased a protection dog from me after having been the victim of a violent crime. These are some of the best deliveries because I know that their chances of having anything else happen will now be minimal. Plus, the victim will often say that getting a protection dog has made them feel safe again. It’s great to know that our dogs are helping some of our clients in ways that go beyond just providing security.
While training, we often reenact situations and scenarios that are most likely to occur in reality. In fact, I listen closely to our clients who have been in violent situations and tailor the training around the crime with the addition, of course, of a protection dog. As you can image, adding the dog makes the outcome completely different!
Sometimes I hear other trainers say that they never allow their dogs to “interpret a situation” and that their dogs will only become defensive on command, when you tell them to. I understand the motive behind this and agree to a point. It’s true, it is very important that the handler has complete control over a highly trained and possibly lethal protection dog. However, I have found through the years and from my clients that, when put in extreme circumstances, sometimes it is okay to allow the dog to come to your defense without receiving a verbal command. The key is to train the dog to understand not only verbal direction but physical cues as well. It can be done.
One of my female clients who had been the victim of a vicious assault by a stranger spoke in detail about how the crime was committed against her. In training I keep what she said in mind. In her circumstances, a stranger struck her from behind, in the back of the head, in an effort to incapacitate her. Lying on the ground but still conscious, she described the state of shock she went into. She explained that she was not able to speak immediately after being hit. Fortunately, she escaped but even as she dialed 911 her speech was extremely slurred and she was confused as a result of the head trauma.
This is a perfect example of when a protection dog needs to understand that his or her handler needs them to come to their defense. Although the victim would not have been able to give a verbal command, our dogs are trained to take physical cues from their handler. In this situation, the protection dog would have jumped into defensive mode and targeted the wrist of the hand holding the weapon. The dog would have continued to bite until the person left. This crime would most likely be prevented all together if the protection dog had been present since the dog is a visual deterrent alone.
Another situation would involve someone breaking into your home as you sleep. The dog must protect you even as you are awakening and not able to fully comprehend the danger you are in. Given the dog’s superior sense of smell, an unknown person shouldn’t even make it a few feet past the front door.
I know that this treads a fine line since, obviously, you don’t want your protection dog to defend you when, say, someone bumps your shoulder. So we at CCK9 focus on the difference and train our dogs to come to your defense when your body language demonstrates exceptional fear. Also, without a doubt, your protection dog will always respond to verbal commands indicating that you are not in danger.
So it really is to your advantage to have a protection dog that is able to interpret if their handler has or will be assaulted. With a properly trained dog, this ability doesn’t mean a loss in control or that you aren’t in charge. It just means that your dog is prepared to come to your defense when you need them most.
Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009
It takes very special equipment to train our elite personal protection and guard dogs. Much like a carpenter must possess the proper tools to create great work, so must the dog trainer start with the best equipment available.
Command Control K9 Ltd is very specific about the collars and leads used in both the learning and finished stages of dog training. All of the tools that we utilize are hand made exclusively for us by a master leathercrafter and to our custom guidelines.
Our training method requires multiple types of collars and leads. One collar, however, that we never use is called an “e-collar” or shock collar. Not only are they a cruel method of training but also they are completely unnecessary to trainers who know how to properly train a dog. Often, videos online will show a trainer working with a dog. The level of obedience is impressive until you notice the small device that they are holding which looks like a cell phone. It’s actually a remote control for the shock collar. It is unfortunate evidence that the dog was not given the proper training foundation early on and now the trainer must rely on the e-collar to get results.
All of our finished dogs are off leash obedience trained; they respond to commands off leash just as well as if they are on a leash. As you can image, dogs must start their training on a leash before off leash obedience can be taught. Unique to CCK9 is the long 7-foot lead, with brass double snaps and a floating ring, used when we walk our dogs with structure. The leads commonly found in pet stores are only 4-6 feet long, too short to have the best control over a protection dog. It seems counterintuitive but a handler has far greater control when they hold the leash in a loose, u-shape. Protection dogs take their cues from the handler and when the handler is holding the leash too tight it indicates stress and tension. The dog will respond to this negative message by being overly defensive. Since all of our dogs are off leash obedient, there is no loss of control when using a longer lead. The dog will always heal on your left with or without a lead. Therefore, longer leads allow the handler to communicate easily with their protection dog.
Another piece of equipment especially useful when training dogs for the police or military is our 3-foot police lead with a handle. Police dogs require a tighter lead since the dogs are often put in tense, acute situations. The handle, held in the officer’s left hand, allows full use of their right hand to discharge a firearm.
One of the best pieces of equipment for at home use is the small pull tab (in the middle of the photo). The ultra-light pull tab acts like a small lead and allows the trainer to easily correct a dog since it is impractical to attach a full size lead to a dog while it is being trained in a home environment. All of our protection dogs are trained in home environments and therefore you can imagine how useful this bit of equipment is.
Lastly, our clients often remark on how great our 1 3/8 inch leather flat collar is. Sturdy, strong, and highly crafted, it makes a statement about your elite personal protection dog.
All of the equipment is included when your protection dog is personally delivered to your home or office. We do not sell these items to the general public.
The attention to detail, down to the collar we use, is what makes CCK9 a leader in the personal protection dog industry.
Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009
When it comes to protection dogs, most customers normally request a male dog. The military, law enforcement and clients seeking K9 security dogs overwhelmingly feel that males are the most physically imposing and effective visual deterrent. Therefore, the majority of dogs that I train are males in order to meet this demand. It is unfortunate, however, that the special attributes that a female brings to the table aren’t widely known. All in all, female protection dogs are extremely capable; they just have an image problem.
Marketing over the years has misaligned female dogs as weaker and less able to defend their handler. Nothing could be further from the truth! Once females have been introduced into their new family they almost always bond closer to their family than their male counterparts. More affectionate and less independent, watching over and protecting their owner is a much deeper emotional affair. The intensity of their bite, when in defense, is actually greater.
It has been my experience that female protection dogs are much easier to train and learn at a faster rate. They are adept at integrating into their new family and swiftly blend into any situation they are consigned to. They are fantastic at blending with family pets and children. Size really isn’t an issue since there are plenty of females that are physically formidable. Command Control K9 is able to provide any size or build that you desire, male or female.
One of my own personal protection dogs is a female. CCK9 produces exceptional dogs and Emma fits the CCK9 profile of everything an outstanding protection dog should be. Yet there is a certain ‘protective tension’ that can be felt when she is at my defense. Teeth bared, saliva, stiff stance, intense growling, just as spectacular as my male personal protection dog but with a slightly more hot-blooded twist. She’s a protection dog with the added benefit of being like an over protective mother all rolled into one.
So when you call us to talk about ownership of a protection dog, whether it be a German Shepherd, Belgian Malinois or Dutch Shepherd, please keep an open mind when considering gender. You’ll be very happy with one of our males but the benefits of the female canine should be recognized.
Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009
Pit Bulls are of the most ferocious and toughest dog breeds in the world, so many people wonder why they aren’t used as elite protection dogs. Especially since they are so strong, agile, and aggressive. While its true that pit bulls are athletic dogs that can both inflict and withstand a lot of pain, they are simply too unpredictable to be trained as elite protection dogs.
There are many pit bulls that make great family pets and guard dogs. These dogs are lucky enough to have very caring owners who take the time to train and socialize them properly. However, more often than not, pit bulls are not trained and the animal reverts to its instinctive aggressive nature. Sometimes these untrained dogs attack neighbors, other animals, or even newborn infants.
Pit bulls were bred for centuries to be used in dog fighting and bull baiting, and only with extensive, proper training, can this tendency for violence be controlled. Unfortunately, many pit bull owners don’t bother with training, or even worse, they encourage the aggressive behavior. Pit bulls are found in animal shelters across the country because of lazy or uninformed owners.
Pit bulls do make excellent guard dogs, and can be used for basic protection of your home and property. Many pit bulls will instinctively attack an intruder, and the mere sight of a pit bull is often enough to scare away criminals. Some pit bulls can be even trained to attack on command, but the consistency of attack and release can be sketchy. Put simply, they are highly trainable, yet have been known to sometimes rebel. German Shepherd puppies and Belgian Malinois, on the other hand, are consistent, predictable, and make perfect elite protection dogs.
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