A good story

  • Had a female call me about protection training a month ago. She had her training done in Colorado just outside the army base there before her husband being assigned here in Alabama. I assessed the dog and although he showed the drive needed, his bite was weak and he did not alert to me on command wearing no equipment almost as if it was a friendly game. Further conversation revealed all work was done in a suit with most bites done chasing the trainer. I did some more work with the team to get an idea what I was going to do.


    I began by informing her I would begin agitating her dog utilizing no equipment but first I wanted obedience done prior to my arrival to the site and once again after the session was over as his obedience was horrible and she had been told by the trainer too much obedience would hurt his drive. I had her stake him out, stand behind him after making him sit and stay. I used the Koehler method to start his agitation training with no equipment but a stick. As soon as I appear she tells him to go on guard and he does the rest. Once I am out of sight, I have her calm him down, make him sit and wait for my next approach.


    Since I have started, his aggression has gone up like crazy! He lunges at the end of the chain with K-9s showing and a serious look to boot. I gave him a bite to see if his bite had improved. He bit so hard I screamed at her to get him off my arm instantly. He outed right away and as I ran out of sight he barked all the while. I am really proud of him. I am still getting a little closer until I can agitate, strike him with the switch, feed him the rag, and run out of sight. I also have her teaching him the out command using the two ball method and that is working fine as well. I do not see any problems with him outing off of the equipment in the future.


    This has by far the most fun I have had since retirement. It is a change from training Police Dogs which I have two in training starting January. Will keep the group updated on their progress.

  • This story made me smile, thanks.


    I understand you qualified the team for protection training checking the obedience first. Not sure why you implemented obedience (sit stay) during agitation so early in the game? If the dog didn't have good potential that could be confusing to him and could affect the drive you're trying to bring out. With a really good dog though it's not a problem, but then you're skipping forward about 2 weeks of Koehler training. In any case that's the kind of dog I prefer to work with so great! Snap a pic of him with your phone if possible.

  • Hey Phil, good story =) Good to know there are still some trainers working with Koehler. I'm not a big fan of doing OB the same day I do agitation, even less if it's right after the agitation session, keep in mind that Koehler OB is pretty demanding on the dog and it might be too much to cram both in one day. A video would be awesome if you get the chance :thumbup:

  • Obedience has not really affected his drive. I had to do something. She is really easy going with it. No real stress is put on the dog while performing it. I just insisted due to his attitude toward her when she was giving him commands. I only allow her 2 to 3 minutes prior to and after the session. I must have her in control if we are going to go further into training.


    Dan I had him stay and her give the command to go on guard as he initially would not alert on her first and sometimes up to third command. Since I started it he goes on command now the very first time, so hopefully I have cleared that hurdle. I think I will know for sure when we start scenario training.


    Will try to get a photo soon.

  • Graduated to the sack Thursday. After weeks of agitating then quickly retreating, we finally confronted each other. As I slowly creeped closer his bark got deeper and deeper. He was lunging hard as well. I cowered one last time, moved in, struck him with the switch across his front legs, fed him the sack which he snatched furiously' and then I headed back out of sight. You should have seen him shake and try to kill the sack!! I was very proud! Handler immediately released him from the stakeout chain walked slowly back to the vehicle removed the rag and placed him back in the vehicle. I wish you could have seen how his chest was sticking out! I was very satisfied with the session.


    I will confront him after a few more sessions eventually with a bite on the concealed sleeve. I have a couple of volunteers who will walk in front of the team a couple of times ensuring he is neutral before I approach and threaten the team. Can't wait to see how much his bite will have improved then.


    I have taken your suggestions. "NO" obedience before or after sessions, only on days we do not perform agitation training. I have the team performing obedience at Walmart and other places now. I have been hard on the obedience for obvious reasons but both have improved 100%


    I have used gunfire while he is performing obedience and the agility course as well, graduating to her firing the weapon while he stands beside her. Next we will graduate to a simulated gunfight once I have him on the concealed sleeve.

  • If the handlers and trainers who's program is based on prey drive would see the intensity the Koehler method produces in a good dog, it would set them on the right track. Glad for you Phil.

  • You are so right Dan! I did my last two police dogs using his method. They were not equipment fixated and always alerted on the first command to. I use a shortened version when I have a patrol dog class going as I don't have enough time with everything else that has to be taught.

  • I also fast forward when I see the dog is ready. I think Koehler structured this progam so as to give even a lesser prospect and/or an inexperience decoy the best chance to succeed. The truth is that some strong dogs just need a little stimulation to get really angry, they don't need their confidence increased or shown that they're "allowed" to bite. These dogs do benefit from suspicion building though.


    Another part that I regularly skip (though I have regrets about it) is having a neutral person walk through the training area. Mostly because I have trouble getting another person to come to the training session for just this little bit. I've seen no negative effects. But I believe that if Koehler included it in the program it must be important.

  • At first the dogs would bark or lunge at the passer by requiring a correction. Eventually they learned to only alert on the quarry who made any threats toward the handler and not any innocent bystander. It worked perfect with both my police dogs. You could approach and speak to me in any tone of voice as long as you did not make any physical threat toward me. One voice command and they would alert and bark at anyone I told them to.

  • I see. I've always left this for later as I felt I can do it at any time, it's just obedience. But it's possible that doing it at an early stage as per Koehler, in the long run will produce a deeper ingrained discrimination in the dog. Resulting in less false alerts that the handler would have to address, and a correct alert that could save the handler if he wasn't aware of a threat.

  • Good to know the training is going well Phil, Im a little confused about the agitation though. Who is doing the agitation and the handling? Who is doing the walks after the agitation? LOL I also left the neutral walker till the very end of the proofing phase xD I guess we all keep learning new tricks.