Prey Drive – Step 1
The Helper is quite tall and lowers himself a little to be less intimidating to the puppy. It all starts with a ball being on a long rope to allow for the distance between the Helper and the puppy. The puppy activates the prey by barking and gets a bite. The session is one minute and the puppy leave as a winner.
In the second part, the prey is behind the Helper. The puppy barked and got rewarded. You can see that the Helper supports the Handler by holding the lead attached to the tug while she and the puppy are moving in a large circle.
If you notice – not every time when the Helper marks – the puppy gets a bite. Frequently, the marker is made for good behavior that is reinforced by more play.
At the end of the session, the Helper runs away.
Prey Drive – Step 2
The Helper is much more intimidating in this video. The puppy is made to run towards the stationary prey on the ground only to have it be pulled away. He has to work harder and harder. After a few misses, he gets a bite. The puppy is quite resilient and handles it well.
After cradling, the Helper comes back and continues to play without an OUT.
The puppy gets growly and the Handler comes back to calm the puppy. The Helper tugs on the pillow to help with a grip and to keep puppy focused.
Towards the end of the session, the prey’s movement slows down to help slightly lower the drive. Another puppy is a winner!
Prey Drive – Step 3
The Helper is activated by the Handler saying “Helper.” We begin with fast-moving prey.
The dog works hard to get a bite and they even do a mini-version of a Short Escape and Re-Attack. As before, the Helper supports the Handler and the puppy while they are running around him in a big circle. He occasionally tugs, making it easier for the puppy not to chew or thrash around.
The puppy even begins countering. The session is fast-paced and has a lot of intensity. The prey is definitely harder to get.
Prey Drive – 1st Time
A completely different example of a dog that is interested in prey but is completely silent. He is trying very hard to figure out how to get it to move. He gets reinforced for the effort. Some breeds have different tendencies. Once the Boxer gets the prey, he wants to shake it and kill it. Tobias applies gentle pressure on the lead making it more difficult to shake. When the dog stops shaking even for a second – Tobias marks and gives the lead a slack allowing the dog to have a mini-win.
Prey Aggression – Basco
Very frequently the prey is between the legs of the Helper and he is swooshing the whip, when the dog reacts at him and not his legs – the Helper marks and walks away. Towards the end of the session, the prey is to the side and the dog has to maintain focus on the Helper. The dog responds with a lot of power.
Please note that the more intense the dog is the longer Tobias cradles him. He randomly gently pulls on the tug to help the dog maintain the grip.
Improving Defense Aggression – Malinois
This is a very friendly, open-minded dog that needs more aggression. He is very strong in prey drive and is very posessive.
At the first sight of the dog reacting to the Helper, the behavior is marked, the Helper walked away and the dog is released to the tug.
When Tobias steps in, he turns up the heat and intimidates the dog. The dog does not quite take it seriously. Tobias comes from the side and makes contact (pinches), the instance the dog swings to look back – marked and reinforced – 03:58 sec.
When the dog is locked in prey so strongly – it is hard for him to take his eyes off the tug. Tobias pinches him again.
06:04 sec – the dog is finally forced to face Tobias to make him go away. The dog averts from the tug.
Eventually, he is able to do 4-5 barks at Tobias without looking back at the tug.
The dog is 13-months. Tobias’s recommendation is to let the dog mature longer before introducing more aggression. If aggression is introduced too early – it might cause internal conflict and chewing.
Try to find the balance for each specific dog between prey and aggression drives. A dog with not enough aggression but a lot of prey might bite correctly but might not bark with power. A dog with a lot of aggression but not enough prey drive might bark well but not bite properly.
Prey Aggression – 12 Months – Zack
The same concept as we saw before. The dog is very young therefore spurts of aggression are very short and rest breaks (cradling) are long. We do not want to overwhelm the dog. Tobias does tug on the rope attached to the tug while the dog being cradled to help the dog with the grip and focus.
Zack does an awesome job focusing on Tobias and gets reinforced after some powerful barks. Great job for a young dog especially living in the same household with the Helper.