Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Protection Training

Gateway K9 Training is one of the few training businesses in the area that offers any sort of protection training, and I wanted to share some insight on this training.

First off I must begin with the fact that we are extremely selective on who we will take into our protection programs.  If you just want a junk-yard dog, who will bite anyone within it's reach, please go somewhere else.  We offer training, not animal abuse.  A truly trained dog is under full control of his/her owner at all times, and is 100% safe and stable.  If we do not believe that you will keep control over your dog, and don't have good intentions for your dog we will direct you else where.  The same goes for your dog.  If we do not believe your dog has the temperament for protection training, we will not train them.  This is not only for our legal safety, it's for the safety of all those who might come in contact with your dog, including you.

With all that aside, let's talk about what protection training is.  Not to be confused with Schutzhund, which is an actual sport based on bite work, tracking and obedience, protection is top notch obedience combined with any act of defense from the dog.  When we say top notch, we're talking about your dog being able to perform an off leash down at the drop of a hat, before the hat hits the ground.  You must have control over your dog at any given moment.  Imagine your dog at full speed, chasing his favorite toy.  You should be able to yell out, "COME!", one time and have that dog flying back in your direction. 

After obedience comes the actual defense part of the training.  Before the training begins you have to determine what level of defense is actually needed for your situation.  Statistics show that most intruders and would be criminals are deterred just by the sight of an intimidating dog.  So in 90% of homes a large black lab who doesn't even know how to hurt a fly proves to be all the protection that is needed.  The first level of defense that we actually train is more of a vocal defense.  Barking and growling on command.  I can't tell you the times that just telling my dog to growl has deterred questionable people from approaching me.  Most criminals do not want to mess with a dog who looks and sounds mean.  From there we can train a dog to actually corner a person, all the way to an actual bite.  Again 99.9999% of owners only need the first level of training.  Actual bite training is usually reserved for our police and military clients. 

The length of time training will take varies greatly with each dog.  Obviously the level of ob
edience varies from a dog who just needs to sound vicious from that of a dog who is needed to perform greater task.  Every dog learns at a different rate, and every owner as a different schedule and a different amount of time that they are willing to reserve for training their dog.

Good candidates for a personal protection dog would be any breed who is well socialized, not nervous in new situations and who loves to play.  The obedience portion of training should begin around 8 weeks of age, while protection training should never really begin until the dog has reached maturity.  For more information on our training programs please refer to our website at http://www.gatewayk9training.com/ or email me at emily(at)gatewayk9training(dot)com. 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Tricks, They're Important Too

I've had several clients go cross eyed at me when I'd give them the homework of teaching their dog a trick.  After all, what does 'giving paw' have to do with top obedience or protection training?  Plenty.

What if your life revolved around work, more work, eat dinner, potty, sleep and more work?  Everyone whether human or animal needs a break, we all need to do something fun.  I have yet to meet a dog who didn't love to perform some action, that didn't have to be exact, and get rewarded for doing it.  After doing obedience command, after obedience command a trick is a perfect release for all that work.

There's more than just adding in fun to your dog's life by teaching them tricks.  You are developing your dog's mind and body.  Most obedience commands are harnessing movements and actions that dogs naturally do.  How challenging is it for your dog to lay down?  You might be challenging your dog by asking hem to hold that down for a length of time, but they already lay down.  But do they commonly kick out a front paw?  Or hide their eyes, spin in circles, jump through your arms, stand on their hind legs?  Tricks make your dog think outside of the box and use different muscles they don't use daily.

Training a dog tricks require the owner to get on the floor, face to face with their dog.  The owner has to act more openly then usual, they have to act silly, and give praise when they might not normally give praise.  These interactions with your dog deepen the bond between the owner and the dog.  The dog receives tons of attention and play time, and you the owner get to relax and have fun with your canine friend. 

Tricks also re-enforce commands the dog already knows and encourages the dog to respond quicker and more happily to their normal obedience commands.  Also tricks are a great way to finally get the kids involved in your pet's training.

Tonight spend 10 minutes teaching your dog a new trick, there's millions of reasons why you should, and you can get your whole family in on the act.  Stay tuned to our blog in next few weeks as we post some great tricks to get you going! 

Friday, October 1, 2010


This week on a local radio show, the guest, a 'dog trainer' from a rather commercialized and popular kennel, was asked a question as to wether or not a certain breed of dog was still concidered 'nippy'.  Her answer was "Oh, no.  We've bred that trait out of the dog".  Now, I'm not here to discredit any other trainer... and we all know that not two trainers can agree on anything, but I had to share some insight on this topic.

As we all know there's two different factors that scienest have agreed on that affect the outcome of a living thing.  Nature vs. Nurture.  Let's look at a rather uncommon breed, the Belgian Malinios.  The malinios is much like your German Shephered, but they tend to be more intense by nature, more wolfish than our well known shepherd.  My husband has owned two Malinios since I've known him.  One bit me, sending me to the ER and later went on to military work, the other bounces around like a Labrador with our children. 

Now by nature both dogs love to work.  Meaning they'd rather be out doing obedience or chasing prey than sitting inside next to you on the couch.  Both dogs are cautious around strangers, always keeping one eye on them, and both were extremely loyal to their main owner.  These are common traits of this breed.  Something you will find in 99.9% of Belgian Malinois no matter who bred them or where they are from.  Just like the howl of a Beagle, these things are innate.

So if they are so alike, why did one scar me and not the other?  This would be your nurture side, or in the dog world, Imprinting.  The one who bit me was imprinted for intense work, the other to be a family dog.  The family pet was trained while a two year old was tugging on his tail, and with neighbors riding by on bikes.  Every aspect of their young lives formed what kind of dog they would become, even though at birth they were almost exactly alike.

This isn't to say that breeding doesn't affect a dog's outcome.  It can to a certain extent.  Two dogs with really good noses, who love to use them, usually produce pups with that same trait.  But you could take  two pups from that litter and train one to use his nose, while discouraging the other from using his nose as much.  By the time you were done you wouldn't know they came from the same parents.  In fact during school I met a man who had my German shepherd's brother from the exact same litter.  I had focused my shepherd's training on Schutzhund, and he had done no training with his.  My shepherd was confident and had high drives (wants) for balls and tugs.  His was very shy and very lazy, never wanting a ball at all.  The parent of our pups were both Schutzhund competitors, the father being a National's Champion.  Imprinting.

This is why you could very well have a pit bull around a new born baby without worry, and have a poodle attack it's elderly owner.  It's all in the way a dog was raised and trained.  Now of course I have to mention that you still need and have to do your research on a breed before you bring home a new pup.  If you go back to the Malinois breed and study about them, you'll find that they are not for a novice dog owner.  The chances of an inexperienced dog owner turning out a malinois that acts more like a lab is rare.  They are a challenging breed, quick to out smart their owner, and would never fare well in a sedate lifestyle.  An improper environment for this breed could and probably lead to am unwanted bite down the road.  But to say that all Belgian malinois are aggressive would be untrue.  Just remember it's nature and nurture that makes the dog.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Pet Safe Weed Control

Want to zap out pesty weeds without risking the health of your pets? Try mixing 1 part vinegar, 1 part water, and one part dish soap in a spray bottle. Toss in some table salt, shake until mixed well... then spray away. If you have a pet who would even try to lick the soap mixture, use straight vinegar. Use caution where you spray though... this will kill any plant.

Feel free to share any other pet safe tips you might have!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Q & A... What's on Your Mind?

Do you have a dog related question that you've been wanting answered? Have you been wanting professional advice on a simple dog matter without scheduling an appointment or paying a fee? Now is your chance to ask us your questions. To have your questions read by one of our professional trainers leave a comment on this post, or email us at emily(at)gatewayk9training(dot)com. Now of course not all questions can be answered via a blog. Questions requiring a novel for a response, detailed how-to training steps or hands-on with your pet cannot be answered in this manner. If you would like to be notified as to when your question and answers will be posted please leave your email along with your question.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Back to School Event

Back to school time can be hard on your pets. Save the frustration now and book your August and September freshen-up lessons now before the issues begin! Buy 2 private lessons and get your third lesson free. Call us now to schedule your lessons or visit us at www.gatewayk9training.com
--sale prices not valid for aggression issues or for prior contracts offer expires on September 20, 2010. --

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Heat is On

Here in Missouri, we've already been graced by triple digit heat, and us humans aren't the only ones who can feel the heat. Please don't forget your pets! Give them plenty of cool, fresh water (don't forget moderation, bloat is also deadly this time of year), and allow them plenty of time in the air condition too. If it's too hot out for you, chances are it's too hot for your pet!