This Week Topic: Muzzle Training (3 of 4)
A key point from last week: Muzzle neutralization, when a canine becomes neutral to the muzzle (muzzle doesn’t distract canine) is the point at which I begin incorporating muzzle training.
“The Agitation Muzzle keeps your canine from becoming equipment fixated with sleeves/suits. Being able to train with least amount of equipment allowing physical contact with canine and decoy/helper during aggression work is paramount”.
A decoy/helper is the person that is training the dog, not the handler holding the leash. An experienced decoy/helper is important because if he is too aggressive or doesn’t react to canine hits properly, it can sabotage your training progress. A decoy/helper with the ability to read a canine and identify what drive the canine is in, builds on that drive and then transitions the canine to another drive is an art. A decoy/helper who can produce these results in canines is a skill set that is not instructed enough.
Often, a canine that is a weak or a timid hitter in a muzzle doesn’t always indicate a low fight drive. For some canines I have found that they don’t understand or appear confused on what they are supposed to do. Because of this, I train the canine on how to engage the decoy/helper. There are 2 methods I use for beginners: Sling shot method and Intro to muzzle. The video below shows a combo of both methods within a single session. Notice my voice inflections and keeping in mind that this decoy/helper is a beginner, he responds well with each hit. Canine Orka gets better at end.
There are also different variations of how a canine engages in muzzle training. The slightest touch from the canine on the decoy/helper is essentially a “bite”. With some canines you can actually hear their teeth chomping together as they try to bite. Then, there are the hitters, the canines who just destroy the decoy/helper. Ultimately, that is the end state, a canine that is committed to the fight. Watch a couple hits with Canine Argos.
In muzzle training the true essence of a canine’s drives surfaces. There are three important drives in working canines/home protection canines: 1) Fight drive – Fight drive is what keeps the canine engaged in biting with poise and with confidence. 2) Defense Drive – Defense Drive is what starts the fight. Defense drive puts a little fear into the battle. Understand, if a canine has too much fear, i.e defense, the canine could bail/run away. Too much defense in a canine can be counterproductive if it’s not developed properly. 3) Hunt Drive – Hunt drive is the instinctive desire to hunt, the core of a working canine/home protection canine. If someone is hiding the canine needs to have the ability to search for the person. If a canine exhibits a low or virtually no desire to hunt, no amount of training will be effective for multi-purpose work.
Next Week Post: Recap and Training Highlights using the Agitation Muzzle