Hi all, I'm a complete newbie. I have tons of experience training retrievers, but this game is new to me. I've found lots of conflicting information out there. I've got a few broad questions that hopefully I can get sorted out. My puppy won't be in my possession until mid March, so I'm not in a bind or anything. Just trying to absorb as much as I can so I can develop a game plan. Feel free to keep answers breif and concise, your time is valuable!
I'm familiar and comfortable with marker training. I've seen its beauty in many retriever puppies.
This dog will be a Malinois puppy purchased from Ruidoso Malinois in NM. My main goal is to have a well behaved / highly obedient dog that can go with me anywhere, and protect me / my property if the need arises. I love dog sports, so this will be just as much as an activity for me as it is for my dog. I live in Nicaragua, and I'll have access to a warm body for a decoy, when the time is right, but he'll have zero experience in decoymanship <-- submitted to Webster's.
Please keep in mind that I know lots of these questions won't apply until far into the future. I'm just trying to get clarification so it all makes sense as I'm reading.
1. E-collar pressure: When, how, and why is it used? Direct or indirect pressure? Do PD trainers "collar condition" just like retriever trainers? What is the average age range that the collar is introduced?
2. What are some MAJOR bullet points which differentiate sport dogs and protection dogs? I understand things like decoy and bite sleeve recognition are huge factors, but what are some do's and dont's in the training regimen of each?
3. Would a dog trained in personal protection be any more (or less) likely to bite someone at an inappropriate time, as compared to a sport dog. Assuming equal quantity and quality of training on each. The last thing I want is an "accidental bite".
4. I'm fortunate in that I have tons of time to play with and train my pup. I've always started basic obedience and marker training the day after puppy arrives. Usually I transition to formal obedience (pinch collar with light pressure if necessary) around 4-8 months of age, depending on maturity level. I've gotten a wide range of input on this topic, ranging from "the same as You've always done it" to, "don't teach the sit command until 10 months of age (or older)" What do you guys do? My gut tells me to teach the basics at a young age, and plan on formal obedience starting at an older age (as compared to retrievers).
5. I have a male and a female lab currently. Both are fixed. The Mal breeder recommends I take a male since there's a higher likelihood of the two females "getting into it". I don't let my puppies interact with my grown dogs unsupervised until at least 10 months of age. Sometimes up to a year. My female is very submissive, yet confident. She gives appropriate warning signs to dogs who get in her face (inappropriately), and usually goes avoidant. She will occasionally snap if the approaching dog persists, but has never connected. I was wanting a Mal female, mainly because they're a bit smaller, but the breeder has almost insisted that I get a male. Any thoughts?
6. Do protection dogs ever see a bite sleeve? Or should it always be concealed?
7. About what age do you guys let your dogs start biting (sleeves, legs, decoys, etc). What is used to indicate that he's "ready to bite"
Any book recommendations would be greatly appreciated.
I have a ton more questions, but I'm sure you're sick of reading by now.
Thanks for your time, standing by.