Almost every helper seems to have a different opinion about it. Some trainers even think that aggression is the problem what can cause issues in prey drive or in the bite.
For me “good active aggression” is willingness to fight with the helper. The dog who shows active aggression wants to challenge the helper in all guarding phases and on the grip. The dog wants to dominate the helper. So it is not only the barking before the bite. It is the whole emotion in the fight with the helper.
Why some trainers thinks that aggression is a problem in protection? In my opinion because they have seen aggression which hasn’t been reinforced. Dog’s weakness front of the helper or reactivity can make problems in bite or even block the prey drive. Developing aggression is developing the dog’s self-confidence.
Imagine the barking dog behind the fence. First time when someone passes the yard the dog is scared and barks. Person passes the yard so literally rewards the dog’s behaviour. After repetitions a good dog feels stronger and eventually shows very active aggression. In protection training we want to transfer this emotion into the bite as well.
Sometimes the easiest solution seems to be working more in the prey drive. It can work... especially if the dog is capable to make tons of frustration thru prey and learns active barking behaviour and face the helper during that. Sometimes the dog can just become more reactive and dependant for the prey stimulation. Sometimes the dog just focuses on the prey and wants to “forget” the helper.... means that the dog looks at the sleeve instead of the helper and helper’s behaviour doesn’t even effect on the dog. Imagine that you have dog in obedience and you praise the dog and the dog never shows any reaction towards your praising just sees the ball. If the dog doesn’t see the helper in protection training it is hard to develop or change the dog’s behaviour.
What is the fight what I would like to see?
- Active guarding where dog is challenging the helper. Not just reacting helpers body language. The dog is putting pressure on the helper.
When a helper is developing the dog, he is putting pressure on the dog to get the dog more and more self confident but eventually this should be other way around.
- Active fight on the grip where the dog shows his natural way to fight with the helper.
Again I would like to see that the dog shows activity not just a reactions on helper’s pressure. Dog wants to fight. Like imagine when you are tugging with the powerful dog and your arms are hurting 😂 the dog is not doing that because you make him to do it. He does it because he wants. In protection training this should show even more.
If the dog is active and confident in guarding phases most likely you don’t face so many outing issues. There is many dogs who are confident in prey but reactive and not so confident towards passive helper. So there is not so much willingness to out under pressure. So the correction for the out is not always the right solution. You need to think if your dog is active in aggression.
Let’s train 👊