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It might be a day or so before I get back to this to read/reply, but I'm hoping people respond because I'm really curious on people's thoughts about this.

I have long been fascinated by the sport of schutzhund, and have often thought that it's something I might like to participate in someday (though this may be moot, as I don't seem to have a local schutzhund club and I don't think it's the sort of thing you can do at home on your own.) In looking at descriptions of working schutzhund dogs, I notice a lot of attention is paid to the strength and hardness of their bite in the protection round. Which makes sense, because I guess there's not much point in having a protection/working dog with a soft mouth.

On the other hand, I recently brought home a new puppy (yay!) and have been reading a lot by Ian Dunbar. He goes into quite a lot of detail about the importance of bite inhibition in a puppy. To quote, he says "Bite inhibition is of crucial importance, by far the most important quality of any dog, or any animal. Living with a dog who does not have reliable bite inhibition is unpleasant and dangerous. And bite inhibition must be acquired during puppyhood." (from 'Before and After Getting Your Puppy.' 2004, pp201)

It would seem then, that a dog with good bite inhibition would make a poor schutzhund prospect, no? And in that case, that a good schutzhund dog would make a poor family pet? Are bite inhibition and schutzhund ability mutually exclusive traits? Or can a dog be conditioned to distinguish between biting in day-to-day life and biting on the schutzhund field?

I'm looking more for philosophical opinions than advice, as neither of my dogs seem to have anything like a working dog temperament, but I'm really curious what other dog people have to say about this. Non-dog people either think 'Bite inhibition is for sissy dogs' or 'what kind of monster would teach their dog to bite!?' so intellectual ideas on the subject are hard to come by irl, lol.
 

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Bite inhibition is nothing more than the degree of control over one's biting strength...being able to discern the difference between brushing the skin and tearing through it, and the whole range in between, and being able to use one's jaws accordingly.

As such, in a way bite inhibition could be more aptly termed physical and mental bite control. The dog's ability to gauge bite pressure and apply appropriately is extremely important, whether in a pet who was pushed too far and snaps a warning without wanting to hurt anyone, or a K9 who needs to hold a perp without seriously injuring or killing him.

So no, good bite inhibition and Schutzhund training are, to my understanding, not mutually exclusive. I would even say that the prior is essential to safe practice of the later.

I hope that helps :)
 

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It would seem then, that a dog with good bite inhibition would make a poor schutzhund prospect, no? And in that case, that a good schutzhund dog would make a poor family pet? Are bite inhibition and schutzhund ability mutually exclusive traits? Or can a dog be conditioned to distinguish between biting in day-to-day life and biting on the schutzhund field?

No, not exactly. My GSD was a Personal Protection trained "sharp" dog. Very sharp, in fact. Aggression was always her first response as an adolescent. She always had excellent control over her bite inhibition, however. Better, I am ashamed to say, than some of my Beagles, who will nip or grab a hand out of excitement on occasion :eek: Kyra had bite inhibition from very early on. The same day we got her, she got caught up in her chain leash it somehow wrapped around her foot & squeezed the pad. She was 6 mos and already showing that sharp aggro reaction. When I got under the pad to pull out the chain, her first instinct was to bite out of pain, but she stopped herself mid way and I got a closed snout on my hand. Keep in mind, this was a bitch that no one in a sane mind would touch. She did a perfect bark & hold @ 7 months without any training (seriously) when a neighbor fixing his fence trespassed into my yard unbeknownst to me. She flew @ him, I told her "Out", which is a release command, so she circled him while making eye contact and barking/growling. Her protection training honed and *controlled* her aggressive behavior, and gave her an outlet for her protectiveness. Therefore, she was calmer in public after the training, because she knew no funny business unless I authorized it.

Honestly, she was a personal protection dream and would have excelled in Schutzhund had she been given the chance. She was out of a line of very sharp dogs that had gone on to SCH III. Yet, as I said, bite inhibition was excellent. She never laid a tooth on me, not even out of displaced aggression. As aggro as she was, she was one of the most reliable, safe dogs I have ever owned.


I'm looking more for philosophical opinions than advice, as neither of my dogs seem to have anything like a working dog temperament, but I'm really curious what other dog people have to say about this. Non-dog people either think 'Bite inhibition is for sissy dogs' or 'what kind of monster would teach their dog to bite!?' so intellectual ideas on the subject are hard to come by irl, lol.

Yeah, both those sentiments from non dog people are ridiculous. People who think someone who teaches schutzhund or PP work are monstere, likely are the same people who think their dogs are their little furry babies :rolleyes: The "sissy" comment about bite inhibition probably stemmed from a man who was ... ahem ... sitting on his brains, lol. My GSD was no sissy. I could walk SAFELY with her through the streets of the south Bronx, and people were in awe of her yet had a respectful type of fear. You did not screw with Kyra. She was the "real deal" in regards to PP work. It wasn't a game to her, rather a way of life.
 

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I just dabbled in Schutzhund (never titled a dog) to see what the sport was like but not to get into competition as 14 years bird-dog competition was enough for me. I was into personal protection. I never owned a dog that would not do a wide open muzzle attack and try to bludgeon you to death while doing it. I never sold a dog that bit the wrong person. All dogs had proper attitudes when in mixed company and none were worked with any bite inhibition programs when puppies. I have mentioned before (my opinion)that puppies can do no wrong and are treated accordingly. I get a young pup that goes through the bitey stage I just wore leather work gloves so no harm is done to me and the puppy is a free-spirit. I, by no means am saying this is correct for everybody and I'm sure not going to debate anything Ian Dunbar wrote etc. This was just my philosophical opinion on how my pups were handled and raised.
 

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From the peanut gallery......never been there/never done it; A couple of my friends on the police force tell me that of all the training a police dog goes through, the hardest thing to teach is the hard bite....with control/direction.
 

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Most schutzhund trainers don't want to discourage biting in general, so they do a LOT of redirecting. Puppies aren't scolded often (if at all) for jumping up either. Instead they're given an incompatible behavior or redirected again.
 
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