''Can I touch your dog?'' Interacting with a PPD

  • Ive wanted to write this post for a while now but with the holydays and some personal stuff going on, well, lets just say this is an overdue post :)

    When asked about a good PPD, some of the words that will pop to our minds are: Bold, brave, fearless, big, fast, intimidating, etc. One word that usually doesnt show up is ''friendly''

    Ive seen more than a few ''PPDs'' trained in such way that no human, friend or foe, can be near them without the dog getting ready to ''work''. Most of the time the handler will proudly brag about the intensity of his dog, claiming how great his PPD is. When asked how he or she handles the dog while having visits at home, the universal response is ''segregation''.

    Locking or hidding the dog misses the whole purpose of a PPD by miles. Am aware that such dogs have their uses as ''Sentry Guard Dogs'' but thats a whole diferent job. Claiming that your dog is the sh*t because he is unaproachable is just dumb IMO but I digress...

    How much interaccion should you allow between your dog and another person?

    This is a question I've heard many times, and the answer is always the same: It depends on your lifestyle.
    If you are a social person who has at least 1 visit per week and lives in a heavily populated area, an ''unaproachable'' PPD is not the right dog for you. If you live in a cabin in the woods and seldomly gets to interact with another human being, well then have at it =)

    Here some basic points I like to work with my dogs:

    1.- Kids, this is a must for me, the dog should be at least neutral to small children
    2.- Basic interacction with strangers, Shaking hands, exchanging words, even some laughs should be well tolerated by the PPD
    3.- Dog agression shouldnt be allowed to escalate above some barking (if that)
    4.- Car manners, strangers aproaching the car or as passengers should be observed but never reacting without provocation.
    5.- While the dog should not allow a stranger to ''handle'' him, I do believe in teaching the dog that light petting isnt reason for a bite. Answering mi own title: Yes you can touch my dog, just be gentle ;)

    ''A dog who hast to be locked when other people is arround, will not be arround to help you when you need him the most''

    I think am quoting Koehler but am not sure :)

  • This is an excellent topic Sergio.

    I would agree with your points on acceptability however there are 1 million different scenarios that could go wrong even if the rules are followed.

    There are some points that aren't mentioned in your post so I will add to this thread:

    The behaviour of guests and friends is critical and the onwers responsibility to educate people and also make a judgement call based on knowing his/her guests.

    My number one and one A rules are 1) no eye contact and 2) no faces within two feet of the dogs face. If I have people coming to my home that I know cannot handle the rules I put the dog up. Not because he is a fear biter or a sentry dog but because he is just plainly a very strong working dog and the rules above apply to all such animals. I value his weight in gold and do not want to see an avoidable event because I knew that I put him and a guest in a scenario that would end up badly for everyone.

    This pretty much eliminates small children from handling or fondling the dog. A strong dog SHOULD be tolerant of children but it also depends on the child. The best attitude children should have around a working dog is admiration and respect not an interest to treat him like Toby the neighbourhood lab. My 3 year old daughter is a perfect example of this. She enjoys the dogs company but does see him as a pest that is more in her way than an object she wants to pet-She has pet him literally less than 5 times in her life and it didnt last for more than 10 seconds.

    The dog should also know how to behave around children and guests as to not push himself physically on them in an effort to show rank as that behaviour can quickly turn into a bite. When the dog is out amongst guests I always have an eye on him as to correct any behaviour that could lead to problems so that the dog can learn. Once the same guests have been around a few times he gets his boundaries and acts appropriately. And we all have to remember that sometimes there are people a dog just doesnt like-we all know those people and those situations and rather than trying to tame the beast it's best to just put the dog away or find a new friend:)

    The fundamental item in a dog/guest relationship is RESPECT. The guest must respect the dogs boundaries, his nature, and the dog must respect above all his masters wishes of him.

  • It's a little hard for me to remember back to dogs I owned previously, so I'll stick to what I have now. Both my males Wulf and Polo are strong dogs, and both are very stable in public, you can see a video here Guardian Rottweilers Wulf | Rottweiler Puppies Miami

    Apart from agitation on my property behind a fence, neither has had meaningful training/experiences to recognize situations where they should be suspicious. But I know the potential is there and it will just take work. Once this work is done correctly I see no reason why it would adversely affect their stability in public. As such I always prefer a dog that's stable to begin with and requires a little training/life experiences, to the dog that's naturally sharp and/or suspicious. You can make a dog with higher thresholds recognize threat, but you can't mellow out a sharp/suspicious dog.

    What all that means is that either of my dogs will take pretty much anything from a stranger. If the stranger crosses the line I also know they will growl or mouth smack way before they ever bite. Also if aggression is needed they will probably be slow to react if at all, but for that to be fixed I just need some training which I wasn't able to do due to time constraints and lack of an experienced decoy.

    As far as the ego part of having my dog petted, I'm way over that. Both Polo and Wulf are overbearing, Polo much more so. They will readily come to be petted by a stranger, and the unsuspecting stranger will think they're dealing with a very friendly dog. In reality the dog just perceives the person as a play thing there for his entertainment. Without making any aggressive or dominant moves the dog very quickly become too pushy, and the person doesn't know how to get the dog off them. I've seen it a hundred times. This is the moment I anticipate and at that point I ask the person if they had enough of the dog and whether I should call him off. Most often their ego will get in the way and say no. Then it takes another couple of minutes before it's obvious they're in distress and don't know what to do so I call off the dog. After that they don't want to pet him any more. I prefer it this way %100 to having a sharp dog I constantly need to keep my eyes on.

    People who can't acquire a strong and stable dog and/or don't have the resources to get it trained, will naturally gravitate towards a sharper more suspicious dog. Sometimes it can do the job, most of the time the dog just plays the part, and most of the time that will be enough. As hard as it is to find good help, it's not surprising many people looking for protection end up with this kind of dog. It seems hard to believe with the amount of training supposedly required, that stable dogs are even produced for this purpose. But I think of training as "life experiences" and believe that in an environment UNLIKE cramped city life (where a dog experiences "no, no, no and no" more than anything else) a stable dog will experience enough situations that developed naturally, and with correct handling this will take him well on the way to being a useful protector. The "attack" command is just a release, letting the dog know it's allowed to express its drive. Let the dog unload on a tire and say "get it" do this a few times and the dog will have an idea that "get it" is a permission/encouragement to let it all out. If you're approached by a person acting aggressively, and the dog has the right temperament and drives, saying "get it" at that point will create the association with threat. All it takes is one time and dog will remember it always.

  • "can I touch your dog"

    Good practical question Sergio, and one that most or all of us will have encountered.

    Taking the question at face value and assuming we are talking about an every day Joe/child who are sober with no hidden agendas. :thumbsup2:

    If a PPD ain't capable of accepting the above, then there is something seriously amiss with the dogs suitability/temperament/training. (not a dog I would call a PPD)

    A well balanced and very well trained PPD will have been trained and proofed - multiple times to engage with teeth at the very least, to the following triggers:

    1, An overtly aggressive display by a third party.

    2, Passive attack - triggered purely by a verbal que from the handler.

    Even within the above two general scenarios, there can be additional stimulus which further encourage the dog to engage, ie a bite suit or sleeve. (both of which should be dumped pre proofing the final article)

    Without going of on a long training tangent - a reliable, well balanced and well trained PPD should NOT perceive Joe public wanting to clap them - a trigger.

    Indeed the opposite of this is true - your opening question should be part of a good PPD training programme.

    Here is a link to a vid which hints at your question.
    Sure it is artificial in as much as the dogs are in an obvious training environment, however they are allowing petting by a third party before queing on the handlers verbal command to an initially non aggressive, passive person who is wearing no sleeve/suit.


    Gee :)

    The post was edited 2 times, last by Gee ().

  • I re-read my post. Just in case it didn't seem relevant, the simple answer with my current two males is "yes you can pet him". I respect people who ask because many don't. Unless I don't like the looks of the person in which case I say no. And in the case they're already petting the dog before I noticed it, oh well.

  • Sergio - I meant to concur with you in my previous email - your five basic points are bang on.

    It's also worth mentioning, the correlation between protective capability, coupled with balance and control, adds many decimal points to the value of the dog.

    I guess there is a good comparison between a trained K9 guardian and a human body guard.

    If you are unfortunate enough to be rich and famous lol. (unfortunately I do not have that problem)
    The last thing you would want is a body guard who is a psychopathic caveman, who breaks the necks of your fans - just because they touch / rush at you to get your autograph.

    I am sure we agree, when training/owning a capable dog - balance and control are everything. :thumbsup2:


  • Hey guys, am glad we can all agree in the importance of a ''stable'' dog

    Believe it or not, this is the subject of heated debates at my local club and everytime it arises you can expect a huge fight between those who claim your dog should be social and those who believe no living thing outside its ''pack'' should interact with the PPD :crazy:

    Dan you killed me with the Mc Hammer song XD! Hehehe

  • BTW I was speaking about my preference for my lifestyle. There are situations that call for a dog that can't be approached by strangers. A stable dog can be made that way, but that would be a waste. It's better to take a dog that's naturally predisposed for this behavior.