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.

  • I am doing the agitation. I have K-9 handlers and a couple of former handlers doing the walk bys. The handler (female) is handling the dog. Very good handler I might add. Follows instructions well. asks a lot of questions and has really improved on her obedience.

    Tuesday is the big day as I will confront him in a ski mask, concealed wrap under the trench coat, pistol. If I am satisfied with Havocs performance at this time I will begin scenario work with him. Remember he had bite work and a little bit of PPD training although poor prior to my evaluating him, so I didn't follow the method completely as described this time.


    He is really going to be a fine PPD. The handler lives only a few moments from me so I will be able to do weekly training with her. I am also going to teach her to quarry as well so I can use her as a quarry for training Palermos tracking.

  • Please report back how this goes, Phil. I'm really interested to hear about it. Judging by what you said, I'd be surprised if the dog doesn't nail it.

  • Havoc and his handler are doing great! He is biting strangers now in the concealed wrap hard and with no hesitation. I am giving one more bite on a stranger and then we will finally start scenario work.

    Their obedience is simply awesome now, a complete 180 from when I first took on this project. He is neutral to gunfire remaining under the handlers control at all times. I have given him one bite under gunfire with 2 rounds while coming in and 4 rounds while engaging the quarry, did well! Despite the six rounds he outed off the bad guy on the first command.

    Once scenario work is going well I will on occasion use the muzzle to teach him to fight with the quarry wearing no equipment. I really do not want to use a suit or sleeve any time soon until I feel 100% comfortable he will engage the quarry civilaly.

    It has been fun so far!

  • Scenario work is going great! We did an assault on handler from a vehicle. Havoc exited the vehicle thru drivers window and chased me down as I shoved his handler and grabbed her purse. After he returned to her I had her come forward and pick up her purse at which time I shoved her again. A big mistake! Havoc bit the concealed sleeve so hard he gave me a puncture. I had to raise my free arm to have her out him! I then quickly ran away out of sight.

    Next week we are doing a home invasion attempt in ski mask and concealed wrap. After that the following week I am going to attempt to kidnap her youngest son while he is playing in the front yard. I have people who are going to come on her property acting suspicious with no equipment having at times escorting them off the property with Havoc by her side as well.

    Once these scenarios are completed and I am satisfied, we are going onto the suit where I will begin teaching him it is ok to bite anywhere on the body while fighting. He does not like the muzzle despite every trick I have tried so far,so I continue to do a lot of civil work on him while on the stake out chain.

    I am really enjoying training this team, If you can think of more scenarios to work please enlighten me.

  • Just like a building search which I'm sure you're familiar with, a home search will take the dog a long way towards working in the house. Have the handler leave the house empty for an hour. Decoy breaks in and hides in a closet, leaving signs of entry through open door or window. Upon returning handler alerts the dog outside the house, hopefully after the dog notices the signs of a break in, gives the search command and encourages the dog to search. Let the dog search for a while, if he doesn't find the decoy the decoy can make some noise. When dog finds decoy encourage him to show aggression, then put on leash and have the decoy step out and agitate civilly. Decoy can run away without a bite, creating big frustration for the next time. You will see a rise in intensity.