Hi Kris and Tonia,
I’m writing to tell you what a fantastic experience this two day workshop has been for us – a real eye-opener. Our understanding about the nature and training requirements for protection / working dogs has taken a massive leap forward. As the private owner of Von Forell German Shepherd puppy, it was clear from the responses around us that other owners, breeders, and trainers on the course were similarly affected.
Perhaps the first aspect of protection dog training to impact us was the fact that a protection dog is a certain type of dog, one that is programmed genetically, then brought to engagement through specific training and care. The protective behaviours are then just a natural extension of the integrity and spirit inherent in the dog from the beginning.
The magic begins in the breeding and selection process, and then just carried through to maturity by respectful handling and shaping of the dog within it’s specified environment. You can’t expect just any dog to fulfill this expectation. It’s a “horses for courses” scenario, and accepting a highly spirited dog is part of the package. It’s the drive factor that is all important, and accepting the responsibility that handling that drive as carefully as a high-powered vehicle is a requirement.
The advantages of the Von Forell Training Systems was abundantly clear. Any concern that this was painful or harmful to the dog at all was quickly dispelled through clear explanation.
The next powerful awareness was a greater understanding of the true nature of dogs, and how the selection and breeding processes need to reinforce the relationship the general public has with the concept of dog ownership and responsibility. Rather than a “them” and “us” mentality, support for dog ownership and interaction with dogs needs to happen at a community level.
This begins with some pretty basic education about the motivation governing a dog’s behaviour. Our community are expected to take on board basic road rules and respect for moving vehicles. This isn’t much different, however it is chronically lacking. The difference between innate, positive drive principles and unwanted defensive aggression, and public confusion of the two, are a prime example.
Thirdly, our five month old German Shepherd had an absolute ball !! He was so motivated with enjoyment that he was charging to the car this morning in anticipation of repeating yesterday’s activities with the trainers. To see dog after dog leaving the arena with heads and tails held high, their hard-won tug-toy or training-sleeve prizes gripped firmly in their jaws, was a joy to witness. The dogs engaged in the training as a positive experience, and all came away extended in some direction.
Worth every cent in both time and effort !! Thanks so much for the availability of the course, and all your valuable research and advice.
Sharon and Alexandra Lazidis