Some thoughts on decoying

  • One of the first things I learned when I started working with dogs was to Decoy :) This is probably because back then Dog training was almost a form of obscure art and there were so few real handlers. So we needed all to chip in as decoy in order to fulfill that gap.

    Playing decoy seems to be like playing goalie in soccer, its an indispensable position but few people seem interested in filling it. This is more true now than ever before, most new handlers just want to be on the ''safe'' side of the leash :D

    I'd like to make a case for this noble activity by pointing out some key elements:

    1.- Great exercise, you wont believe the amount of energy one can spend running around with the full bitesuit on a hot summer day

    2.- While it has its dangers (I've had more live bites than I care to admit), with the proper training and equipment, REAL accidents are virtually impossible to happen.

    3.- It takes one to know another one; the only real way to correctly asses the work of your decoy is to have played decoy before. Otherwise, you'll have to rely 100% on the opinion of the decoy.

    4.- You can get more input if you know what exactly is the decoy doing and how the dog is reacting to it.

    Also you get some peace of mind knowing the dog is not being harmed (am a bit overprotective with my bay so this is just me probably :crazy:)

  • Well said Sergio.

    But then there are decoys and decoys. In the simplest way a decoy is just something for the dog to bite. But to be able to read many different kinds of dogs, and to know how to bring them to their full potential, is whole other game.

  • I agree, its very easy for a bad decoy to destroy weeks or even months of training. But on the other hand, decoying is more art than science and it requires lots of practice in order to get decent at it.

    The experience of the decoy should be inversely proportional to that of the dog that way the greener the dog, the more experienced the decoy.

    At advanced stages of training the decoy truly is just something for the dog to bite but at the beginning the pup usually requires a very precise handling with the pressure of the decoy