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PD - another viewpoint 1 year 5 months ago #144

  • Mark
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I am going to stick my two pennies worth in here.
I have been following this debate with interest and whilst I feel that both camps have some valid points I would like to add a little more food for thought.
To the best of my knowledge (past 30 years) there has always been some discord concerning “real biting” dogs and the namby pamby collies that play big dogs. To my mind its one of the aspects of the sport that used to elicit a lot of micky taking especially because the namby pamby collies used to beat the “real biting” dogs more often than not.
Having owned and trained both Collies and Mali’s I can state with absolute certainty that a small Waggerland Collie had no trouble latching onto and staying on a bite suit or large sleeve with bitebar. I can also state with the same certainty that I will never use a bite suit in training ever again.
To my mind the single biggest threat to this sport comes from the wide spread use of bite suits. Before you jump down my throat please let me explain my reasoning.
First and foremost my dogs are my pets, they are my mates, and for me to willingly teach my mate something that could result in a one way trip to the vets to my mind is wrong.
Yes, bite suits/jackets protect the helper. In doing so they remove the obvious target, they remove the helpers need to make sure the dog bites the arm and only the arm and over a short period of time they diminish the dogs ability to distinguish what they can and cannot bite.
There is a world of difference between a dog targeting a large obvious sleeve and a dog biting a person dressed in a jacket. Unfortunately, once the “genie” so to speak is out of the bottle I am not sure it is possible to put it back in.
Looking at this from a non-competitors view point I think the issue is much larger than sleeve or bitesuit. I think you have to make a choice of whether you want to continue training family pets to do the exercises in relative safety or step things up and potentially apply for membership to the list of dangerous dogs in this country cause make no mistake with the continued use of bite suit/jackets the crap will hit the fan at some point.
I know there are a lot of folk that will totally disagree with everything I have written but before you dismiss it out of hand, have you ever considered that if an accident was to happen where you would legally stand owning and training a dog that has been taught to bite a person. Just consider the Dangerous Dogs Act and how it could apply to you….

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PD - another viewpoint 1 year 5 months ago #147

  • Mick
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Hi Mark,

I’ve just read your ‘two pennies worth’. I am shocked that you think this way, as you and I have been to the KNPV World Championships and Mondioring World Championships and you know that the dogs there are trained on bite suits. You have watched these dogs compete, and seen the same dogs before and after competing walking around the crowds of spectators. We have also queued for refreshments and the same dogs with their handlers are amongst us. All these dogs are quite social. So why, with your experience would you say it poses a risk? Where is your evidence - what you are saying is pure speculation, and the language you use is adding to the misconceptions of those who do not understand or train for PD.

I have trained and worked dogs in sport and professionally for over 30 years. My police dogs have also competed in Working Trials. My dogs and most Police dogs have also lived as pets when off duty, and have enjoyed the same freedoms as any other dog.
None of my dogs has ever taken anything other than the target i.e. the arm- left or right. Over the years there have been thousands of police dogs trained on the bite jacket and there is no evidence that training on this equipment and the way we train with experienced helpers has ever caused an issue.

You must know that for Trials dogs the PD round is situational. They know the set-up, they are cued by the challenge, and they are commanded to engage with the helper.
None of this happens in the park.

You must also know that training for PD does not change the temperament of a pet dog, and that after a Trial they are the same good natured dogs that they were before it.

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PD - another viewpoint 1 year 5 months ago #148

  • Mark
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Hi Mick,
As usual with a couple of exceptions I agree with everything you say, nothing changes ?B)
I am quite surprised that you are shocked, I have always believed you knew that I thought that bite suits were totally impractical for this sport if for no other reason than you cannot run in one. As you say bite suits are used in the KNPV, Mondioring, Ringsport and various other sports around the world. But those sports are NOT Working Trials.
I will defer to your greater experience as to what the police use but as the Police have not competed in WT for a very long time I think it’s a moot point.
This sport for as long as I have known it has always been more about the training of the exercises rather than the detention of a hardened criminal. C’mon let’s face it a Collie is never going to stop a determined criminal.
I have never said or inferred that Bite suits/jackets change a dog’s personality. To the best of my knowledge no one in this sport knowingly trains a dog in defence and the vast majority of dogs in this sport are family pets. My first Mali was a family pet and if you remember on his first session with a bite suit he tried removing the helpers right nipple (Jeff Allen) this was because the helper did not have the imperative to make sure that the dog only took the right arm. There was no aggression in the dog he was just doing what we had trained him to enjoy. It was enough for me to see that bite suits were not a direction I wanted to go. The dog in question lived until 15 years of age and put his fair share of helpers on their backsides and with that one exception never failed to take the sleeve.
I suppose what I am trying to say is this sport has survived for many many years with just a sleeve on the right arm, it allows Collies to compete along side GSDs, Rottweilers and Mails on an equal footing. Albeit the speed and weight of the Malis is causing an issue with the chase but the only thing a bite suit will do to help with that is to stop the helpers running – a simple rule change will be much cheaper.
PD has changed very little since I first got involved in this sport. If the intention is to change the sport into something completely new then why not be upfront about it a say so.
On a personal note I do not believe that any trainer that has taught a dog on a bite suite can in all good conscience send their dog after a helper protected with only a sleeve. Hence my comment about Bitesuits being a threat to the sport.
Lastly, you ask about evidence – evidence to what? All I have expressed is a few common sense observations and personal views that I have obtained over the years.

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PD - another viewpoint 1 year 5 months ago #149

  • milliner
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Hi Mark, up here, the police use bite jackets but the dogs are still taught to bite the arm. Just gives the dog a different picture I believe. I'm not an expert obviously, just an interested spectator.
Interesting debate.
C

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PD - another viewpoint 1 year 5 months ago #150

  • Mark
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It appears that my previous comment “potentially apply for membership to the list of dangerous dogs” has been misinterpreted. Without doubt it is my fault as I obviously assumed too much. So as to avoid any other misinterpretations I will try to clarify my reasoning..
The vast majority of folk that I have met in this country teach the initial stages of bite work in a similar manner.
They start with a ragger/sacking progress to bite rolls puppy sleeves and ultimately full sized sleeves.
Now, IF the trainer is any good they will have ensured that this game is the dogs favourite exercise. They will use this desire to get the sleeve(toy) to build drive. I have known a few cases where the desire for the sleeve will override the desire for a bitch in season.
This is where you need to instil a bit more control into the dog, too much you lose drive, not enough you end up with a out of control (Dangerous) sleeve happy dog.
This is where things can go badly wrong. Not all trainers are equal in ability or experience and even experienced ones occasionally get it wrong, to be fair a sleeve happy dog is only really a liability around folk that have sleeves on.
I got my first Mali back in 2003 and I trained him in a similar manner to how I have trained countless other dogs over the previous 25 years – Opps, big mistake, they don’t need as much motivation and he ended up very sleeve happy. To sort the problem out I placed sleeves all around the house in an effort to desensitise the dog to the sleeve. After a few weeks the dog learnt to ignore the sleeves unless they were on someone’s arm. At our weekly training sessions the dog would not be allowed a bite, over a reasonably short time with a lot of help from Mick, Earl and Woodsie the dog came back down to earth. Unfortunately, during Kye’s period of rehabilitation a friend of mine popped in with his new wife. Roger used to help me when I trained a Collie and was quite useful in a sleeve. Whilst me and his wife were talking in the front room Roger picked up one of the sleeves and went out into the garden. To say he was not expecting a 35Kg Mali to hit him head on would be an understatement.
Bless him, he just kept apologising for being such a knob whilst we took him to hospital to have his head stitched up after clouting the patio.
The main point I am trying to make is at no time was the dog being aggressive, he was just enjoying his favourite game which I had taught him has no consequences. The other point to bear in mind is that for legal reasons the dog did not bite Roger and Roger willingly picked up the sleeve.
You can take from that story what you will but to my mind the thought of teaching the family pet to target something that is indistinguishable from an Anorak of other outdoor coat just beggars belief.
Can you imagine the excuse “I am sorry M’Lord but her coat looked like a bite jacket”
Yes, I agree that the Trials field is very situational but the training field/venue is not always so for fairly obvious reasons.
I am sorry chaps but I stand by my earlier comment “I think you have to make a choice of whether you want to continue training family pets to do the exercises in relative safety or step things up and potentially apply for membership to the list of dangerous dogs in this country cause make no mistake with the continued use of bite suit/jackets the crap will hit the fan at some point.”
I could have worded it slightly different, but the sentiment would have been the same.
The above are personal experiences / observations and no evidence is available before you ask.

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Last edit: by Mark.
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