Real Protection Training is not the same as Sport Training. The sporting world has given birth to a grave misconception, which has found its way into training dogs for law enforcement. It is called the Bark and Hold; we prefer to give it a more ominous yet accurate name, ‘Bark and Die!’ It is not the only one of its variety; there are others, however, this is one really unwise practice to bring to the street. You might ask how you will protect an unsuspecting passerby or a child from getting bitten without this training. Read on to find out how.
Programming vs. Training
An armed suspect’s body would be pumped full of adrenaline. A Protection dog trained with the Bark and Hold method will approach the suspect, sit down and bark to tell the officer to approach. It could end in both the officer and the dog getting shot and it has, in several cases! Hence, my name, Bark and Die seems apt. Since that dog is programmed and does not think to distinguish between an armed assailant and an unarmed one, it will do exactly as it was taught.
When we train a dog, through open communication, it can make conscious decisions. Some trainers might scoff at this idea and believe canines cannot function without programming. They use the sleeve, the ball and the towel tug to stop an intelligent creature from thinking and praise it for being goofy. Diminishing a dog’s desire to think has caused many of the problems that we see on the streets today.
Think like a Dog
Imagine chasing a suspect with your human partner. When your partner runs ahead to a corner where he/she is not visible to you, the suspect is pointing his/her weapon at you, waiting. Meanwhile your partner just keeps reminding you by yelling, “Here he/she is” continuously. How would you respond? By coming around the corner, in response to his/her yells! Do you see that there is a flaw in the communication lines?
We all want “sharp” and “driven” dogs but we overlook the problem in our training – the dog is never taught to solve a problem, if one arises. Instead of depending on a cue, the canine must team up with the handler. Down with Bark and Die, won’t you say?