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                          Guard of an Object Exercise - Part  I ã By Brigita Brinac


I have decided to write a sequence of articles pertaining to the training of the ‘Guard of an Object' exercise.  Before we go further, the reader must be aware that this is a very broad and perplexing topic; and there are diverse methods of training, which may be applied to produce the desired end result.  It is imperative that one understands that these articles are the writer's opinion and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of other individuals involved in the sport.  With this in mind, I hope you enjoy reading the articles...

To begin with, one must understand that every dog is an entity and the training has to be modified to suit the individual temperament and ability of the specific dog in question.  On average this exercise, to be completely understood; may take anywhere from 1 to 2 years to train; keeping in mind that numerous variables determine the timeframe.  People shudder at the thought of training the guard of an object.  Yet, this exercise is quite elementary in contrast to the Search and Bark.  People have a tendency to make it harder than it is. 

For the sake of comparison, let's briefly take a look at the fundamental components necessary to execute a successful Search & Bark:

The dog must have an understanding of:                   

**Searching in different directions and finding the Decoy within a specified period of time;

**Entering the blind without biting; Upon finding the Decoy, the dog must bark and maintain that position (of no biting), until the Decoy escapes firing a gun two consecutive times;

**Then the dog must ‘out' upon the handler's command and remain ‘clean' while the handler approaches the Decoy to take the gun;

**Then the dog must escort ‘cleanly' the Decoy to a specified area, during which time, the Decoy's speed and direction vary; along with more escapes on the escort;


      **Once at the specified area, the dog must stop the escort and immediately hold his guard on the Decoy, while the handler returns the gun to the table and then reaches the dog and Decoy; at which point the Handler gives the command to heel and the dog accompanies him...

The unwavering attention, focus, and energy, that a dog must possess for the duration of this exercise is indefinable! 

Now let's briefly examine the Guard of an Object:

**The dog is taken to a specified area and commanded to ‘guard' the object; the handler leaves the dog and conceals himself behind a specified blind.

**Decoy approaches and attempts to steal the object 3 times and the dog must wait until the Decoy is in proximity before biting him; The main objective being that the dog must maintain focus of the exercise and not enter into ‘fight mode'.

**Upon releasing the Decoy (2-3 sec bite), the dog must return to the object; After the 3 attempts, the handler returns, and commands the dog to accompany him/her to the next exercise.

As you can distinguish, there are several more intricate mechanisms to the Search & Bark than to the Guard of an Object.  I'm finding that people lack the understanding for this particular exercise.  This is not a ‘fighting' or ‘aggressive’ exercise.  It is a psychological game between the Decoy and the dog.  All other bite exercises in Frenchring are prey oriented (a major and usually initial component). The guard of an object is the distinct exercise, which is typically executed without necessarily having to initiate the dog’s prey drive.  Nonetheless, to successfully train this exercise; one must have a training Decoy, who is capable of ‘reading', or ‘studying’ a dog, and as a result, executes his attempts to steal the object with variance and ingenuity!     

This has been an introduction to the training of the ‘Guard of an Object’ exercise.  In the next article, I will deal with the first phase of introducing the article guard to your puppy.