Developing a protection dog, regardless of the discipline, comes in two stages. First, the foundation must be laid in which we develop the basic drives that impel the dog to bite, and the interaction among these drives. Further, in the foundation work, we must introduce the dog to the various kinds of equipment we will use to maintain his training including sleeves, bite suits, and muzzles. The dog must learn how to properly target an attacker with courage, intensity, and decisiveness. Thus, foundation training includes teaching the targeting of the vital grip areas. How we use both civil agitation, as well as equipment, to teach the dog to be man-oriented is also a significant issue that must be explained. This is critical for police dogs and personal protection dogs. Further, we need to develop the dog’s reactions to all manner of distractions during bitework that may frighten him off the grip and render him, at best, ineffective in a street situation, or, at worst, a liability to the handler deploying his dog.
Second, the dog’s skills must be developed. These skills begin with the out on command, guarding, hold and bark (if desired), redirects and out and returns, and the call off. Further skills, such as area searching, tactical building searches, felony vehicle stops, and passive bites, should also be discussed and demonstrated.
Being a good decoy is not just about “catching” dogs safely. It is more about understanding the training progression from foundation development to training skills. A decoy must know how to bring out the behaviors in the dog, because in patrol training, for the most part, and especially in the foundation work, it is the decoy and not the handler who is the mechanism for conditioning the behaviors.
Every movement the decoy makes, how every training drill is set up, teaches the dog either something we want the dog to learn or teaches a habit that may be counterproductive to effective street deployment.
For the full article see: http://www.tarheelcanine.com/2013/01/decoy-patrol-training/ by Jerry Bradshaw