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POWER Biting

POWER BITING

Power biting is a combination of training techniques which has

been systematically designed to enhance the overall gripping

behavior of the dog, while drastically reducing the risk of injury

to the dog as well as the decoy. These techniques can be applied

to Police service dogs, any of the biting sports, as well as

personal protection aggression training. Additional benefits

include but are not limited to the following: Enhanced grip

depth & pressure, eliminates transfer bites, handler &

environmental neutralization, enhanced speed of entry,

cardiovascular conditioning, reflex response to pressure and

improved targeting.


By utilizing the dog’s opposition reflex, ignited by heavy grade

bungee lines in conjunction with the decoy facing the dog and

driving backwards, we create an activation to drive deeper and

fuller into the bite. Through a rhythmic series of releasing and

reengaging tension of the bungee by the decoy, the dog’s

impulse becomes to drive forward. As this exercise progresses

through many repetitions, muscle memory will be instilled. Once

we have an anticipatory behavior, this will give the handler and

the decoy the opportunity to implement cues which trigger your

dogs’ conditioned response to bite deeper and fuller. This will

also trigger the dog to initiate a fight during chaotic settings

created by pressure from the decoy and the environment. For

example, methodically and non-intrusively being touched by a

stick, foot, hand, or any other environmental stressor can be

introduced just prior to the anticipated behavior of the dog

driving deeper into the bite. Over time, with consistency, what we

once knew as “pressure” will become an activation of drive

in your dog. As this technique advances, we gradually increase

the intensity of the decoy’s opposition and environmental

stressors. The utmost caution is given to each dog’s specific

needs and genetic capabilities to ensure positive learning occurs

with every session.


Decreasing Handler conflict: If you experience your dog trying

to avoid you, or other people around him as he’s being

approached while he’s engaged with the decoy or the

defendant, there is conflict between you and him. Whether it’s

obvious body postures, releasing his bite and repositioning to

avoid contact with you, shifting his line of sight from the

opposition or losing overall focus during any biting or barking

phases, this is problematic for several reasons. In the real

world, from a safety standpoint, re-biting allows the opportunity

for escape, the possibility of body fluid transfer from the

suspect to you during redirected aggression, as well as creating

an overall look of the dog being out of control and misbehaving

to a Judge and Jury. In the sport world these reactions of the

dog will result in the loss of crucial points. From behavioral

perspective, if your dog is in conflict with you, every area of

your training and results will be compromised. Your dog must be

neutralized to your presence. More importantly, he must feel

increased confidence, enhancing his fighting instinct

independently and while in close quarter combat with you.

Power biting reverses the psychology of your relationship with

your K-9 partner, developing a synergistic, team oriented theme

to violent encounters during criminal apprehension, as well as

guarding phases in sport work.


Implementing Power Biting into your training

program:

This technique is set up as a frontal bite, at a distance. We

utilize long, heavy grade bungee lines specifically designed for

aggression work in Dog training. The bungee is equipped with

heavy clasps on both ends. One for securing the dog and the

other allows the bungee to be affixed to permanent objects.

Using a bungee which has a gradual progression of tension is

ideal. This builds speed, desire and strength during the pursuit

prior to entry. This gradual progression is the most important

key in greatly reducing the risk of injury during impact. With the

bungee properly stretched and measured prior to being used, we

can calculate the exact point where the bite will take place,

resulting in zero impact. Over the last few years I have seen an

alarming number of dogs having neck, spinal, nerve and rear end

injuries, ending careers prematurely. It’s my personal opinion

this is being caused by far too many running hits, courage tests,

face attacks, flee and escape bites without the use of

restraining devices to absorb the dogs energy. The best decoys

on the planet can’t completely eliminate the force and violence

of impact generated by the dog. Superior genetics are producing

incredibly strong animals. Nutrition, supplementation,

cardiovascular conditioning and the progression of modern dog

training is putting our Canine athletes on another level of

performance. We must take steps to decrease the risk of injury.

I can tell you from my personal experience of catching dogs for

20 years, the bungee greatly reduces the risk of injury to the helper,

especially the long term wear and tear associated with

our craft.


ACLIMATING THE DOG TO THE BUNGEE

Dogs must learn to manage the resistance offered by the bungee

without excessive strain or creating a negative experience. To

ensure this, we hook into the dogs harness and walk him out to

the fullest extent of the bungee. By placing our hand on the top

strap of the harness, we restrict the bungee from recoiling,

maintaining the dogs position. The most affective technique is

to conduct a placement bite on the decoy. Once the fullest bite

is obtained, the handler releases the harness and allows the dog

to experience the full resistance of the bungee. The handler

takes a position of about 4-5 feet behind the dog with their

hands around the bungee but not with any pressure. They are

there to receive the dog should they release the grip

prematurely, stopping a violent whiplash effect. Once it is

determined the dog is effectively managing the bungee, we

begin to move him further and further away from the decoy,

allowing him to stretch the bungee with his own drive and

effort. Handlers will soon observe an increase in power and

dedication to the pursuit of the decoy.

PRONOUNCED GRIPPING BEHAVIOR The true goal of “Power Biting”

is increased depth, pressure and

fighting response while biting. As the dog is engaged on the bite,

with the bungee resistance maximized, the decoy stops fighting,

acts passively and decreases the resistance by moving towards

the dog and handler. The moment the bungee slacks, the

handler places their hand on the top strap or handle of the

harness and gently pushes the dog towards the sleeve or suit.

The intense opposition reflex felt from the bungee creates much

stronger grip pressure. The slight and quick release of the

tension, coupled with the forward push towards the biting

surface by the handler ignites the dog to bite fuller and deeper.

Immediately after the dog has increased his grip pressure and

depth, the decoy rewards this effort with cues the dog has

impressed him, injured him and caused more fight in which the

dog is always victorious. At the same time, the decoy

reactivates the tension of the bungee to maintain the grip. This

exercise is repeated many, many times until we have an

anticipated behavior of pronounced gripping. Once this is

obtained, through a learning design, we now have the luxury to

“name” this behavior, implement cues and triggers provoked by

the handler, the decoy and the environment. Once you’ve

employed this technique repetitiously, you will observe your dog

begin to drive deeper into the bite as you approach, before you

can even place your hands on him. Instead of the dog perceiving

you as the person who always removes him from the bite, he

will feel as though you assist him in the fight. Conflict is

eliminated and fighting instincts are increased.


CREATING TRIGGERS FOR POWER BITING A command is a conditioned

response to a known cue.

Therefore; your first cue is your voice. For example: just prior

to the anticipated behavior of power biting occurring we

introduce our bite command. Through muscle memory of the

dog and great timing the by the decoy, the desired response

occurs. Through repetition, the dog is conditioned to respond

with the best grip his genetics allows upon your command. Next

we add a “Tactile” command (a new signal) just prior to our

verbal command. This can be a padded stick held by the

handler. The padded stick can be introduced to the dog with a

very slight, single tap along the dog’s side just prior to the

command to bite, simultaneously with the power biting

technique. Again, through repetition this tactile signal will be a

conditioned response for maximized gripping behavior. The

intensity of the tactile signal can be increased over time which

will desensitize the dog to physical discomfort provided by a

violent suspect actively resisting arrest, or opposition from

competition decoy. The Ecollar can also be introduced as

another tactile signal for the dog to bite fuller. If a dog has been

introduced to the Ecollar the proper way in which he perceives

stim as positive through a low level Nick-Reward system, this

technique is very effective. The dog must not have conflict or

“baggage” with the Ecollar and understand how to shut the

collar off through learned behavior. The Ecollar is to be placed

on top of his neck, with the probes down. This position naturally

pushes the dog forward. The page or vibrate button is pushed

just prior to the anticipated behavior of the bite driving deeper

into the biting surface. Again, through good timing, coordination

and repetition this electronic signal will provoke the aforementioned


increased bite depth and pressure. As you can

imagine, having the luxury of increasing your K-9 partner’s

gripping behavior at a great distance is worth its weight in gold!

In closing, I hope you find this article informative and a valuable

addition to your training “tool box”. As with any written text

discussing a physical training technique, certain parts may be

open to interpretation or may be unclear. This is without a

doubt a technique that is much easier demonstrated on the

field, rather than it being explained by written words. It is a

technique that I utilize on a daily basis with my client dogs,

sport and patrol dogs. I’d enjoy the opportunity to share it with

you in person.

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