To train a dog to guard is not a simple task, especially for the dogs that do not have a protective nature. However, big breed dogs that have a desire to protect can be easily trained for the KNPV sport. To train the dogs that have a protective and guarding nature takes a little time but to train a dog that lacks this trait will take a longer time. At the end of the day, you will need to be patient and persistent throughout the training process no matter which dog you have.
Exercise for the Certification Trial
In order to make your dog learn the right exercise, you need to know what type of exercise it has to do at the certification trial. A dog that has received the basic obedience training will have a greater chance to perform well at the trial. So, let’s take a look at the exercise that your dog will need to perform at a certification trial.
• There will be a judge in the trial who will be observing your dog.
• The judge will point at a place in the field that your dog will need to be placed at.
• After you have placed your dog at the right place, you will now need to lay it down.
• Now, place an object (it can be anything that the dog can guard like a purse, jacket, or a shoe) in front of your dog.
• The judge will now signal you to leave the field and to go out of sight of your dog.
• A few minutes after you leave, a helper will enter the field.
• The helper will pass by the dog by keeping a small distance.
• The helper will then walk a few meters away from the dog.
• Now, the helper will turn back, facing the dog, and moving right at him.
• The helper will now try to snatch the object from the dog, just like a burglar.
• The dog will need to bite the helper to make him/her go away.
• If the dog continuously bites the helper, the helper will leave the object and take a few steps backwards.
• At this point, the dog should be able to leave the handler alone and get back to the object without taking any help from the owner.
• Now, the judge will give a signal to the helper to make him/her leave the field.
• As soon as the helper leaves, you can return to the field to pick up your dog.
The key to training your dog to perform this exercise is to first make sure it has received proper obedience training. Your dog should be able to stay down for a long time and should also be able to control at its bite. Make sure that you divide this exercise into different steps and gradually begin to train your dog using any type of object that you want it to guard.
Let’s break down this exercise into different steps to make it easy for you to train your dog in the best possible way.
Before you start preparing your dog for this exercise, you need to put it on a long leash. Once the dog is on the leash, you can now start the exercise by training it to stay in a down position for a long time. The key to gaining success in this exercise is to keep the dog calm. You will need to put an object in front of your dog but make sure your dog is not sitting over the object. Don’t forget to add distraction at the place of training. It will help your dog learn to stay calm and focused. Even with several people walking near the dog, the dog should be able to stay down.
Now is the time for the helper to enter. The helper should be at a safe distance from your dog. Once the helper begins to come closer to the dog, your dog will definitely want to attack him/her. If your dog tries to move to get to the helper, you need to pull on the leash and make it stay at its position. If the dog understands your command and stays down calmly, the helper will easily be able to come closer to the dog. Now that the dog is completely calm and least bothered about the helper, the helper will need to make a sound to get the dog’s attention. You will need to be close to your dog or you could also kneel besides it to give it your support.
A dog that has an aggressive nature will probably go out of control and would want to bite the helper. In such cases, you need to take a break from the training to make your dog calm. You need to teach your dog to stay in its place and avoid letting it bite the helper. If the dog takes a bite, you will need to start the training process all over again.
The second step is all about training your dog to not bite the helper when the helper is moving or standing in front of it. To be able to succeed in this step, you will need a helper that has the ability to read dogs. The helper should be able to stay alert and know what the dog is likely to do and make changes to his/her behavior when the dog loses its temperament. At this point, the helper should make movements or simply stand in front of the dog. If your dog is trying to get to the helper or trying to bite him/her, you need to calm your dog and make it stay down. While you are handling your dog, the helper should stay still in front of it.
Once you have been able to control your dog’s temperament and made it stay down, the helper can start moving around or away from the dog. You will need to repeat this exercise over and over again until your dog learns to stay down. If the dog bites the helper, it will become extremely hard to control its behavior and keep it down. That’s why you need to make sure that you master this exercise. If your dog is able to stay down peacefully by keeping an eye on the helper, you can now move onto the third step.
Now that the dog is down calmly paying attention to the helper, the helper will be moving around d the dog, coming towards it, walking back, and then standing right in front of it. Because the dog has learnt to stay calm and focused by staying at its position, the helper will step sideways and offer the dog their leg or their upper arm. Once the dog shows interest in biting, the helper can move their arm as high as possible by letting the dog bite at the bicep. The helper can also bend over to make it easier for the dog to bit the arm. This is done to make the dog learn that biting at these parts is alright.
If the dog is unable to target the right part (the bicep), you will need to place it in a position where it can easily get to the arm or you can force its head in the direction of the arm.
Another part of this exercise is to train your dog to bite the helper when it is only two to three meters away from it. If the helper is at a long distance and the dog is unable to control its aggression, it will run towards it to bite it, which is not the thing you are trying to achieve. You need to make sure that your dog attacks the helper when it is closer to the object. Dogs that are quick pickers will easily be able to practice this but the dogs that are slow or less smart will attack the helper when they are moving far away from the dog. Such dogs often end up not taking any action even when the helper is near just because their owner commanded them not attack when the helper is at a far distance. You will need to train such dogs to attack the helper when they are near and leave them as soon as you offer the treat.
Now comes the part when you need to train the dog to perform in your absence by increasing the distance. You will also need to stop using verbal commands at this point because the dog needs to perform on its own. You will start training the dog to be cam when you leave is by moving about 15 to 20 meters away from it (still on the leash). If the dog makes movements and is trying to play, you need to correct it using the leash. Make sure you do not use verbal commands.
When you are at a great distance from your dog and the helper is moving away from the dog, you need to observe what your dog is doing. If your dog is still trying to get the helper, you need to use firm corrections to make your dog stay at its position. However, you need to do all of this using a leash. You cannot show yourself to the dog. If your dog doesn’t take the corrections too well and is only getting scared of you by not taking any action at all, take help from someone else to correct the dog. This is the best way to ensure that your dog doesn’t get mad at you.
Now your dog is completely trained to perform this exercise on its own, without a leash or you in front of it. Let the dog be on its own with the object and make an assistant stand close to the dog to give it verbal commands. Make sure you practice this exercise until your dog has been perfectly trained. This is the only way to score full points in the
In order to keep your dog focused on the helper, make the helper move in front and around the dog several times. This will help you avoid letting your dog attack the helper when he/she is moving away.
In the end, it is all about how well you train your dog and how many times you make it repeat the exercise. Do not forget that it is extremely easy to make Protection dogs follow a strict program.