The release - always a challenge ?

In protection work dogs have to keep hold of a suspect by biting him. To keep the injury as small as possible, the dog handler needs to be able to stop the bite at any time. But this often leads to problems.
Possible reasons are:
1. Dogs associate the command with disappointment and therefore with negative punishment.
2. Concerning the release most trainers train a certain procedure. But people react differently to being bitten by a dog.
3. Dogs are trained that movement is an important trigger to bite. Most suspects move themselves to get away due to pain. To solve this problem positive punishment is often used, for example choking dogs out of suspects. This can lead to serious problems. A research showed that strangling dogs can cause serious brain damage. In addition dogs can associate the context with fear. This can lead to either flight behavior or redirected aggression.
This presentation focuses on a structured training approach and introduces a training aid that has proven it's value. In a recent study we could proof that the aid achieves both animal welfare and efficiency. First results will be introduced.

Authors: Dr. Esther Schalke, Hans Ebbers