15 month green GSD not barking at decoy. - Page 1

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by tuffscuffleK9 on 14 July 2020 - 23:07

My green and I mean green 15 month male GSD will not bark at a helper even though he engages well. BTW he has world class IPO and Police genetics. He is a son of a US National IPO Champion and grandson of A World IPO Champion on sires side and Police Champions on dams side. So he is not weak genetically. Shows no fear or shyness at gun fire or whip cracks, as a matter of fact he barks and tries to tear out of crate when he hears gun or whip. Trainer told it looked like fear since he want try to tear from crate when he sees and hears protection dogs working. He has only had two sessions at Schutzhund practice. What do you think?

by GSCat on 15 July 2020 - 02:07

Does the dog bark on command?
Does the dog quiet on command?
Does the dog "like" the trainer, so he won't bark to intimidate/warn, but will bite/chase because he likes the game?
When the dog barks/tries to tear out of crate, is it a happy/excited bark, greeting bark, warning/snarly bark, scared bark, or something else?

Does the dog just get excited/want to get out of the crate because he hears the protection dogs and wants to join in or thinks he gets to play then/with/or?  As a very small puppy, mine got excoted every time she heard other dogs (especially GSD) or TV/Internet with dogs barking (especially GSD).  Siberian Husky only got excited when heard sled dogs. 

Is the dog trying to get away from the whip, etc., or wants to get out and play (whip or trainer is cue or?), or wants to get out and bite the person with the whip? Has the dog been taught to be proactive, or is he following commands only? Hackles up/down, tail wagging, tucked, or excited wagging, or? Ears? Pee in crate out of fear or excitement?
Does the dog not bark at other decoys?

Can you link a video of the crate behavior and the behavior with the decoy??


by emoryg on 15 July 2020 - 07:07

It’s not so uncommon for a dog starting at his age to want to bite before the bark.  The quickest way to get him to bark is to find a new helper.  Not saying abandon the one you’re using, just get someone who can read and react to dogs and teach that behavior.  It’s a basic foundation skill for every helper to get the dog to bark.  Frustration, isolation, opposition, pressure, pain and observation are just a few of the tools the helper has at his disposal to help even a basenji speak out.

It’s kind of a no-brainer if he is already barking at the sound of the whip and when he sees and hears other dogs working.   Have to scratch my head on that one.  Anyway, if your helper can’t put that together, make Bandura your friend and take it upon yourself to post him on the field while other dogs are getting worked.   Point out to your helper that if he sees or hears your dog bark, please react.  It doesn’t even have to be a good bark, just react to anything close and then start asking more of the dog.  If the helpers light doesn’t come on, help the dog yourself.  Every time he barks or sounds close to it, let him advance a step or two closer to the action, while keeping your helper safe.  Sometimes pulling back a step or two can help as well.  Keep asking more of the dog.  He’ll do what works.

Your dog wouldn’t be the first that was started from a crate on a training field.  Dog barks, open crate, bite, repeat.  He'll get it.  

Not sure about the fear in the crate thing.  That may be lost in translation somewhere. 

Q Man

by Q Man on 15 July 2020 - 09:07

I agree with emoryg...Just remember dogs don't think in complicated terms...They think in very simple ways...
I don't understand the Fear in the Crate thingy either...but I will tell you what I'd do...
1st: I'd bring him onto the field on leash while another dog is starting to work...You can keep at a distance that's comfortable for your dog and the dog on the field...Let your guy just watch and just gently encourage him with little pats and re-enforcement....
2nd: I've had dogs that wouldn't bark while working...and after many many sessions of trying to get them to bark...I basically just left it alone and then she began to bark like crazy...It's like the stress was off and she just let go...
There's a number of things that it could be...You just keep trying small things until something works...It's just sometimes "Less" is "More"...


by tuffscuffleK9 on 15 July 2020 - 13:07

Thank each of you for your comments. Each one of y’all gave me great ideas to think about.

GSCat: He does not bark on command. When he is in the crate and fires up to the noise of whip or gun his posture is that of excitement not fear,IMO. Also, when he is presented with a whip he tries to attack it, biting at it. The helper is young and quiet. That maybe part of his problem. I’ve never had him around another helper. Thanks for your thoughts.

emoryg: I like your advice. Gives me great food for thought. It very well could be the helper not bringing out the most from my dog. The helper is in college and very quiet and been a helper for about 1 yr. Good idea to approach field while other dogs are still working.

Q man: Thanks for the ideas and encouragement. The trainer and helper were both making it seem like my dog just didn’t have it. I believe I need to be more assertive.

Again, thanks to you all. I needed the encouragement. Although I have been training dogs for years (Scent work, obedience, service dogs, SAR, etc.) This is my first shot at Protection Sports as we finally have a club within 2 hrs of where I live. Nearest one over the years has been 3-4 hrs away.

Q Man

by Q Man on 15 July 2020 - 20:07

As you've been doing some sort of training before you then understand that "dog training" has its Highs and Lows...It's a roller coaster...I would say listen to others and try stuff...See what works and set aside what didn't...
No one has all the answers...The Dog is the one that has the answers and it's our job to figure it out...
I say the hardest part of dog training is...Patience...To know when to just move on and work on something else...then come back in awhile and try again...Whenever you feel like your at your wit's end...then STOP...and come back tomorrow...
Don't ever let anyone tell you you can't do something...just keep at it...The worst thing that can happen is you learn something new...


by tuffscuffleK9 on 15 July 2020 - 22:07

Thanks Bob. Sometimes we just need to hear a voice of reason.


by duke1965 on 16 July 2020 - 01:07

the way you describe looks like simple thing, dog is locked in prey and will focus on helper to give him what he is looking for, just break the routine by frustrating him, for example decoy running out of sight(behind blind) on and off, or giving the prey reward to another dog that will be on the field simultaniously


by GK1 on 16 July 2020 - 10:07

Would not group agitation of pups, young, green dogs etc. stimulate the cacophony, eventually paring down the group to individuals?

Yes a video would be educational.


by Koots on 16 July 2020 - 10:07

I do helper work at my 'club', and had to figure out how to get one young dog to bark. This dog's prey drive was good, and she wanted the tug/pillow, but when I was in front of her with it, she wouldn't bark, only lunged. So, I used frustration to make her bark. I had the handler 'post' her a little ways in front of blind, then I took the tug with me into the blind, playing with it and teasing her. Occasionally I would 'peek' around the blind and show her the tug. She got so frustrated that she squeeked out a little bark, then I ran around from behind the blind to reward her with a bite. I used another tug after she carried it, to attract her back to me after the 'out', and teased her while retreating into the blind. Didn't take long for her to figure out that she had to 'call me out' of the blind by barking.

If your helper is 'dancing' all around, he is the prey object, not the tug, so get him to stop his excessive body movements and use frustration to illicit the bark. Give quick reward for even a small bark at first, then ask for more in each successive session. If your helper cannot do that, then find one who can. It is better to travel farther to get good, experienced helper work than to have a poor foundation, IMO.

You can also work in this at home - backtie your dog to something solid, then tease him with a tug/rag/pillow until he barks, then give him the pillow and play.

BTW, I travel at least 3 hrs to train with my club, and 4 hrs (plus a border crossing, which is not doable right now) to train with another club.


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