I have been getting a lot of requests for this, so here is the patrol dog test, excerpted from Controlled Aggression. Detection test to follow…..
Controlled Aggression is available here:
The Patrol Test
The patrol test begins with evaluating the dog’s demeanor as he comes into the testing area. It is preferable to choose a neutral testing area that is unfamiliar to the dog. Try to avoid doing all the testing on the dog’s home field. Remember you are testing his nerves in addition to testing his drives. We are looking for his pack sociability (how he relates to his handler including the bond in evidence, or possibly any negative attributes like hand shyness) and his public sociability (how he relates to you and anyone else unknown to the dog in the testing area). Is the dog is social or neutral, or worse, decidedly unsocial. If the dog is very civil, and that is something you value highly, he should be alert to the people around him but confident. There is a difference between a sharp dog and a fear biter – the difference being confidence. Once you are happy with the dog’s public sociability the dog is ready to be tested.
The testing begins on the back tie. If it is a young dog in early adolescence, the dog can be held by the handler on leash. However, I prefer to see the dog work independently and as such I want the dog’s handler completely out of the picture.
We begin by testing the dog’s defensive instincts. From a hiding place, the decoy (dressed in street clothes, he may have a hidden sleeve on) comes out slowly and makes defensive contact with the dog by staring in his eyes and moving very slowly toward the dog, from a distance of about 30-50 feet. This is not training. We are evaluating how he deals with the stress of a confrontation with a stranger, without any hint that this will be fun or familiar. There should be no protection equipment in the testing area, and no warm up bites for the dog. No prey items at all should be in evidence.
The slow approach allows the dog
There should be an aggressive and confident response. Look at the body language of the dog. You will likely see a mix of signals. Maybe some hackles up, snarling (short mouth), ears up or flat, tail up, out or slightly tucked. A dog in defense is posturing to look scary. Once he looks scary you then continue to apply the pressure. It is critical that you do not reward this with prey (quick movements, side to side or in and out) in any way, but keep pressing.
A dog in a defensive mood can do three things: He can fight, flee, or displace. In reality he can show a mixture of behaviors, as the pressure builds, maybe first trying to be aggressive to bluff you into retreating, and then choose displacement. He might choose to flee, and run away hard into the back tie line. What we are looking for is a dog that meets threat with threat, and comes forward into the collar with confident aggression.
When you are close enough to step into the circle described by the back tie line, you can swing the hidden sleeve in for a bite or make a movement as if you are delivering a grip, and see if he bites the hidden sleeve or he clacks his jaws at your arm passing just out of his reach. You want him to turn that frustration and defensive energy into biting. Aggression must be met with more aggression, for this dog to be capable to fight in a street situation. Granted, there will be much more training to come to develop his drives, but we want a solid aggressive response to work with. We don’t want the dog to think about a way out of the confrontation. If you use the hidden sleeve, work him hard and see how he deals with the fight after the confrontation. Look for weakness in the grip, and other signs that show he is not fully committed. Use lots of vocalizing, and sound real. After a short fight, weaken your fighting, and see if he wants to thrash you and punish you. Look for his confidence to rise.
If you are satisfied with his defensive reactions, now change gears and do a prey drive test. Go to a visible sleeve, or bite suit depending on the dog’s level of development. Use a lot of movement, use a whip and stick to s
Once on the sleeve, look at the grip. We want a nice full grip. On one of your pass-by bites, intentionally deliver a half grip to the dog, and see if he will counter in when you offer him the opportunity. We want to be sure he is confident to press forward into the grip when the opportunity presents itself. Test him with the stick over his head, petting him with it, and give a few hits to the line on the back tie, finishing with a hit on the side while on the grip. Look for any changes in the grip with the pressure.
Further we are looking to see if the dog targets the sleeve well, coming in the middle and not to the hands or elbow. Coming low to the hand can signal a lack of commitment to the grip, by coming to an area on the sleeve that is farthest away from the body of the helper. Further, basic sleeve targeting is not something you want to have to teach a good green dog. Finally, check him with the bite suit as well. Make sure he will engage the suit. If he has never been on the suit, start by offering him a prey bite on the back of the arm, and then offer him the inside front shoulder. For some dogs, this will cause them to avoid the grip altogether. Look to see how his grip changes, if at all, when biting in the front. The bite suit itself adds a lot of defensive stress to a prey encounter by virtue of the fact that the dog must come into the helper’s body much more than an outside forearm bite on a sleeve. This will tell you a lot about the dog’s nerves in general, and if he will look later to avoid more stressful encounters. Remember that we are not asking to see perfect targeting in the front inside shoulder, just a willingness to take the grip there, and be in the grip confidently. We will add more pressure to these inside bites later in training, but the dog should at a minimum be willing to take the grip there with at least a ¾ grip.
Once the evaluation is concluded in prey and defense, and you have tested his desire to bite the sleeve, the hidden sleeve, and the bite suit, you can do some tests of his desire to come in for a grip under environmental distractions. You can go back to sleeve bites here if you wish, or if the dog is strong take him in a prey position on the bite suit. This would be the outside of the forearm or the triceps area in the back of the suit. Good environmental distractions can include: a clatter stick barrage, a jug with rocks in it, or a hula-hoop with caution tape streamers. These are all good choices due to their unfamiliarity. Further, be sure to test the dog on slick surfaces, preferably in a large building. Large buildings that are open, like warehouses, are a much different test than seeing if the dog will work on a slick floor in a small house or clubhouse. The openness of the warehouse can be disorienting, and the echoes can unnerve weaker dogs. Test him also in a tight space or a dark room if you can. Test the dog going up open stairs. Remember you are buying the dog. It is better to test thoroughly, than to have to come back and plead your case after you tested and bought the dog. The key question is this: will the dog’s drive carry him through any unfamiliarity.
Test the dog to his limits of his age and training, without throwing the dog into any kind of avoidance. If you see him avoid something, immediately help him. This goes for any portion of the test. But remember, if you push him into avoidance, you are not going to buy him, and you should help the vendor give the dog a positive training session at a minimum. Otherwise you may not be welcome back for another buying opportunity.
Once all these phases of the test are complete, you can make your determination as to whether the dog is suitable for your training program. In every dog there will be strengths and weaknesses. What you want to determine is that the weaknesses are minor and the strengths abundant. Accept only weaknesses you know that you can work through. Keep in mind most nerve issues are genetic in nature, unless the dog is simply young and inexperienced. For example, suppose the dog is biting nicely, did a nice defensive test, and you raise the jug of rocks over his head, and he pops off then comes right back on. You try again, applying a de-conditioning technique and the dog shows only moderate concern over the jug the second
An Example: The Great Dog That Wasn’t
On one of my buying trips to Europe I was at a KNPV club in the south of
I then tapped the pipe around on some objects lying about the field and hid the pipe in a large metal drum lying on its side, just at the mouth of the drum. The dog hunted and hunted and found the pipe. It seemed as though my next detection candidate was here. Then I asked to toss the pipe inside the KNPV clubhouse. This structure was brick building about 20’ wide and maybe 30’ deep, and inside is an open area with a little club bar, a few tables and chairs, and a restroom in the back. The floors were made of polished tile, and were pretty slick. I walked ahead of the dog into the clubhouse, and the man with the dog walked up to the threshold and the dog stopped dead in his tracks at the doorway.
The dog refused to come over the threshold of the door into the building. The man tried at first to encourage the dog with his voice, and then I tried to draw his interest with the pipe he had been so energetically retrieving. The dog refused to take a step inside the room. The handler then pulled the dog on his flat collar to bring him inside, and now the dog started to scream as if he were being brought to slaughter! The man pulled him over the threshold, and the dog went flat on the ground, head down, and refused to move frightened to death of being inside.
I was dejected. But here is a good example of how testing the dog must be thorough. Outside he was a champion, but to try and move him inside changed the dog entirely. His drives would not overcome his fear of this unknown situation. I had to pass on the dog, but better I pass on the dog before I get him home and realize he wouldn’t work in a building.
I want to make a note here on man-orientation in green dogs. Over the years I have sold a lot of green dogs, and one of the complaints I here most often is that the dog is equipment oriented. In order to teach biting behavior, we use equipment. We have no choice. As a result, equipment orientation usually follows in high prey dogs. This is not a deficiency, but rather a by-product of the training progression in confident, high prey dogs. In a later chapter we will discuss how to eliminate this by-product before going on to teach the police dog his necessary skills. My advice is this: don’t pass on an otherwise good dog because he is equipment oriented.
Finally, you will have to make some conclusions for your training program. The ul
Conclusions of the Test:
- Presence & intensity of prey drive
- Presence & intensity of defense drive
- Relative intensity of prey & defense drives
- Nerves and how the dog reacts to and recovers from both environmental stress, and pressure from the decoy (courage test).
- Begin drive development in the drive that is relatively stronger.
If we identify the young dog’s dominant drive to be the defense drive, then we must first address the strength of that dog. Developing defense drive will be covered in chapter 4. I explained that in some dogs, where the defense drive dominates and there is a relatively weak prey response, trying to do prey training will only teach the dog to work at a low level of intensity in prey. If the dog is in the majority of dogs tested, and exhibits a stronger prey response, then we must begin the dog’s development in prey first. In many cases, young dogs do not have a defense drive that is developed enough to work with. If these dogs show prey to be their dominant drive, then we will want to address this strength in our early training, and bring in defense work as the dog matures and this drive begins to show itself.
 Displacement occurs when a dog chooses an incongruous behavior in the context of the threat against him, such as suddenly sniffing the ground, or jumping up on the handler. Some behaviorists call these behaviors calming signals. The dog is looking for a way to halt your aggressive behavior. If he chooses to meet your threat with displacement, he is looking for a way out.
 Younger dogs, who may not have developed their defense drive, or who are genetically very high threshold in defense drive, may need to be tested in an unfamiliar place, on slick floors, in a quiet area in the dark. Put the needed pressure into the situation if your threat is met with confident indifference.
 This is a peek into how he will channel from defense into prey. We want him to go into some prey behaviors when he thinks he is beating you up. Thrashing, countering, feet on you, and other signs of prey-like confidence are ideal.
 You can also use a sleeve for this. Some of the Belgian made sleeves can be turned around so that the triceps protection is in front of the biceps and you can offer a grip and work the dog in the front. If the grip stays strong and committed, the dog is a good prospect. Many dogs will drop back into a defensive mood when offered a bite in the front. This can be worked through, but I prefer a dog that can take a prey bite in the front and not be shaken by the frontal position.