Defense training on fearful dogs - Page 1

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by GSDguy08 on 26 June 2018 - 23:06

I saw a couple of videos on a Facebook page of a show line Shepherd doing "defense training." I cannot share the video on here(there are certain reasons, just, trust me on that), but the owner of the dog states how nervous the dog is (the tail was tucked at certain points), and they had the dog up on a picnic table, continually doing work to make the dog defensive. (I will just state, this dog looked fearful through a great deal of it) She stated in the description that by the end of their second session that the dog was wagging her tail, and on the ground barking and lunging and so forth. Alright, what are your guys thoughts on this? This area is a little different to my knowledge of training, but can this not be something that turns into a possible liability?

by Sunsilver on 27 June 2018 - 07:06

Table training (sounds like that's what these people were doing) has a bad reputation, and some dog message boards won't even allow it to be discussed. I don't know enough about it to comment one way or the other. I do know it's very 'old school' and a lot of the older methods were very harsh.

But subjecting an already fearful dog to this sort of treatment doesn't sound right to me. Fearful dogs often become fear biters when cornered, which is basically what you are doing with the dog up on the table where it has no way to escape. Encouraging the dog to be defensive is going to increase the risk of it biting someone. So yeah, I agree they are creating a possible liability by doing this.


by Hundmutter on 27 June 2018 - 08:06

If it is difficult to 'get' the full story from a normal training / demo vid (as is often said), then it is 100 times harder to fully understand when viewing

something of the nature of the film Guy describes. The difficulty is multiplied again by only having one viewer's description & impressions.

Given that paucity of info, it is really difficult to assess or comment on what was going on. Having said that however I tend to lean towards Sunny's view. And just how was the exercise in any way fair to the dog ? To subject any adult (presumably) dog to standing on a table and having attacks feinted at it sounds like JUST the silly games dog owners in general are advised to NOT do. If the dog is known already to have a nervous temperament, why would you do something like this ? You are not going to improve the underlying temperament, even if you seem to have trained in something of the response you wanted.

by Rik on 27 June 2018 - 13:06

if anyone read the Kohler books from years ago, he advocated some pretty harsh methods, flanking etc. to put dogs in defense. also very severe corrections in training that many people adhered to.

I have seen dogs that couldn't wait to get on the table and fight all comers, but I guess it depends on how sable the dog was to start with. putting an unstable dog in defense doesn't seem like a very good idea anymore. but as has been stated, that's impossible to tell from a description of a video.

by ValK on 27 June 2018 - 17:06

stupidity of some people seems have no bounds.
if you want to have protection dog, start from acquiring the dog, suitable for such purpose.
if you trying to get true gold by gold-plating shit, at the end you'll get just gold plated shit.

by yogidog on 27 June 2018 - 19:06

Sunny if a table is used right it is a tool with enormous power. When you bring a dog to the higher level where he is looking down at the decoy this will increase confidencen, aggression and power. IV had average dogs on the ground who worked well and when they where put on a table they were unbelievable and the aggression was much higher. The fight was much stronger. When u bring a dog to the edge of the table they learn very quickly to fight hard to get all feet back on the table.  all thus is then a new way for the dog to fight when he is on the ground. I use tables all the time the problem is most people cannot handle what it does to the dogs mind. But I would never use it on a week dog but without a video we will never know whether the dog was week or the persure was to much

by Rik on 27 June 2018 - 19:06

yogi, a very good explanation. a strong dog on a table gets stronger. a weak dog only shows defense out of fear.

the table is not the enemy, the trainer, dog, owner can be.


by astrovan2487 on 27 June 2018 - 21:06

sounds like a disaster waiting to happen from what you are describing. I'm by no means an expert but its an ugly thing to watch a dog that is scared and not into fighting the helper to be forced to fight. If the dog is not stable and confident to begin with you can't teach it to be by backing it into a corner and forcing it to lash out. Yeah you'll get fast results and a dog looking like a bad ass but it won't really be. Like Valk said, gold plated shit.

I've seen the table used in several different ways and I've never seen it in a bad light, though if you have a bad trainer I can see where it gets ugly fast. Where I train we sometimes use the harsh old school methods but it's always balanced out with high reward and less stress


by Koots on 28 June 2018 - 14:06

Yogi - good explanation of how a table can be safely and knowledgeably used to build up an already confident dog by a good helper who is familiar with the training technique and when to apply it. And sometimes, certain dogs with low prey but strong nerve, can be brought out with defense-oriented training as can be effectively done on a table. It is an effective tool when used properly with a dog that has the correct, stable temperament for it.


As far as the dog to which the OP is referring, it is difficult to make any assessment from video, let alone written information, so I cannot comment on that.

by Gustav on 28 June 2018 - 21:06

Defense training on fearful dogs usually ends in disaster....( a truly defensive dog) ....having said that tables and boxes are awesome tools when used by knowledgeable people and good dogs. Especially to strengthen aspects of dog like barking, defense, grips under stress, etc.
I actually like to put 8-12 month pups on tables/box to assess stress levels and how they handle stress....( of course with experienced person working the dog)

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