The easiest way for each type to develop to their full potential is by using their strengths to overcome their weaknesses.
Traditional training methods have taught most bitework trainers that training in prey is easy but training in defense is scary for all young dogs. Making prey the preferred way to start young or inexperienced dogs. This thinking is based on the belief that prey work involves less stress. Less stress in the beginning is better for the dog and increases its chances for success.
This method also teaches that less stress in the beginning is better but splits from the traditional thinking about what creates stress. The trainers teaching this method understand that the least stressful way to train a dog is in line with his natural way of reacting.
Each type has its own way of reacting to a stimulus that comes natural to them. Understanding this natural reaction and using it to cause them to make the choices we want them to make in future training is the key to this program.
Think about a defensive type dog being approached by the typical prey trainer. He sees a stranger in front of him making fast, odd moves from side-to-side. These moves have no value to him. They seem to make him uneasy and unsure about what to do. The prey trainer sees this unsureness and does everything in his power to convince the dog that he is not a threat and just wants to play a little tug-of-war.
This is the most stressful thing most commonly done to defensive type dogs. Trying to convince a naturally defensive type dog with instincts that tell him you are a threat—that you are not—will usually result in him becoming unsure. His instincts are telling him that you are bad and he shouldn’t trust you. Your actions are telling him that you are good and that he should trust you. This conflict of information makes the dog unsure about what to do, causing him stress. This stress makes him react in a less that confident way. It is much less stressful for the dog in this situation if you act in a manner that validates his natural thinking. If he thinks you are bad, be bad. If he thinks you are a threat, be a threat. By acting in the way that the dog’s instincts are telling him you should be acting, you create sureness that allows the dog to react in his most confident way. Defensive dogs love to chase bad guys away.
The PronouncedK9 training program shows you how to use this information to make defensive dogs do all the same things that good prey dogs do:
Be active in drive without stimulation; Bite full and calm and pursue with speed.
Each type can be taught all of these things. Defensive dogs can do the sport, and play dogs can do civil street work.