WE WILL GO ON YOUR WAY
The first success inspired me and, having improved my results in the early start, I decided to try my hand at training in protective guard duty, in those years also obligatory for a service dog. In contrast to general training, the guard-and-guard service required the help of assistants and a defendant. There was nothing to think to train the dog yourself. I signed up for the group and, under the guidance of an instructor, began to make a guard dog from a domestic dog.
As for the protection and guard (more precisely – the protection of things), Bianca, it turns out, and did not need special training, by nature having a developed protection instinct. At first glance, differing from the then-common Eastern European shepherd dogs in serenity and calmness, she, to everyone’s surprise, immediately showed herself as a fierce and unbending defender of the hostess and property owners. I remember the various reactions experienced, as it seemed to me, dog breeders. From mistrust and skepticism (it’s not malicious at all, there will be no protective dog from it) to warnings (what will happen to it later, you won’t cope with it!) Before and after the first classes on the development of anger.
Due to the inborn protective and protective qualities of the Rottweiler, we were listed among the best in the group. Somewhat I was afraid only for sampling things by smell. Not because we were worse than others, it’s just one of the most difficult and delicate skills, where everything depends on the dog and the test trainer cannot help her in any way. The test date was approaching and my nervousness grew. The instructor hoped for us, I really did not want to disappoint him and the tension in the classroom grew too. Bianca, extremely sensitive to my mood, began to get nervous and make mistakes. Here we (and I, and the instructor) made a mistake. Instead of letting the dog rest, we increased the pressure on it by sampling every day. Improvements, contrary to that, were not. The results did not match the effort and once, unable to withstand the nervous tension, I screamed at the dog and hit her. The dog refused to take a sample at all. This is not the skill where you can achieve (what a word!) Work by force. It’s like the horse you can bring to the water, but don’t make it drink until it wants it.
The problem was that in those years (and almost still today) the standards were compiled without taking into account the nature of a particular breed. German (East European) shepherd dogs were definitely dominating at the sites. Rottweiler in character, temperament and motor activity differs markedly from shepherd dogs, it differs in tempo and features of new learning. These dogs have a great memory, but memorization is slower. If the German shepherd learns quickly, then the Rottweiler needs a little more time to learn a new material. It does not fit into the memory immediately, but as if with a delay, but firmly, almost forever. For shepherd dogs, regular workouts are more suitable with a small gap between classes. A long break leads to forgetting what the dog learned in the previous lesson. Rottweiler is more suited to the alternation of frequent workouts with relatively long “holidays”, during which new material is placed in his memory and systematized. In practice, this is manifested in the fact that a few lessons of a dog at first glance do not improve their results, are marking time. But after a break of training for a few days there comes a sharp jump. The dog unexpectedly starts a new command for you, a new skill, which you tried in vain to teach her a few past lessons.
Then I didn’t know about it yet and acted as the instructor, who had experience only with shepherd dogs, advised me. I did not go to the test. It took a lot of months to bring the dog back to his interest in work, learn how to feel and rely on it. The thing is a long Rottweiler memory. Having remembered something, he remembers it practically to the end of his life. Does not need regular training in order to maintain performance at a good level. We later came across cases where a dog was not worked for several years, having received a diploma and having forgotten about it. And a few years later, when testing, these dogs showed generally solid results, making only minor mistakes. Therefore, the negative experience rooted in his memory is very firmly and very difficult to remove. Gradually, by trial and error, not once “stepping on a rake,” I developed a training method suitable for my Rottweiler. Based on positive motivation.
In principle, I did not invent anything new. The key was in the classic dog service textbooks and was called the “individual approach”. Even those old textbooks offered to choose the right methods of training, based on the individual characteristics of the dog. What is suitable for one dog may not be suitable for another. For one dog, you can apply a tougher impact; for the other, the lack of encouragement will be the punishment.