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DECOY WORK. for the Ringsports and Practical Work. Decoy work is a huge and almost overwhelmingly complicated subject. It takes years of experience to be an accomplished decoy capable of training a dog to, and working a dog at the highest levels of protection work.

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decoy work

for the Ringsports and Practical Work

Decoy work is a huge and almost overwhelmingly complicated subject.

It takes years of experience to be an accomplished decoy capable of training a dog to, and working a dog at the highest levels of protection work.

protection work is a team effort
Protection work is a TEAM effort!

Philosophy: Without the decoy, we have no protection sport or work. You can not underestimate the importance of good decoy work both to build and train the dog and also to insure the safety of the dog in competition and testing. Decoy work is mentally challenging and physically strenuous and sometimes dangerous and painful. Anytime you see a spectacular display of protection work by a dog, you can be sure there is a good training decoy in that training team. Unlike obedience, agility and so many other dogsports, the protection dog training team consists of more then just the dog and handler. You have a third member in the training team the decoy.

Every member of this team is equally important if you are to reach a high level of accomplishment.




It is important that this team have a good working relationship and excellent methods of communication.
  • If at all possible at least two members of the team should have a high level of competence. Meaning that if you have a young dog, the handler and decoy should have experience. A new decoy should be working with experienced handlers and dogs. And a new handler (and as often with a young dog) should be working with an experienced decoy and an experienced trainer or handler to make sure things go right.
  • A new handler, working with an inexperienced dog, on an inexperienced decoy, is a sure recipe for a disaster! PROCEED WITH EXTREAM CAUTION!!!
  • Or better yet…..DON’T DO IT! Seek the help of more experienced decoys or trainers. Even if this means waiting or traveling to train. The great French Ringsport Decoy, Trainer, and Judge, Jean Michel Moreau was fond of saying: “The easiest problem to solve is the one you never create!” That continues to be excellent advice.
so you want to be a decoy
So you want to be a decoy?

Before you get started know that throughout your career as a decoy you will, experience mental stress and physical pain. You will find yourself picking grass from your mouth, gasping for breath, trying to see through the sweat running in your eyes, staring up at the sky, limping off the field, rubbing sore muscles, and tending bite wounds.

protection training for puppies and new dogs
Protection training for Puppies and New dogs:

You can accomplish much with puppies and young dogs in protection training. But you MUST keep it positive and there is NO place for defense work with young dogs! I often make an analogy between protection training for young dogs and martial arts training for youngsters (human). First you teach technique, build the physical skills, the confidence, and the knowledge. Then with maturity and experience the training skills become combat skills and when the situation is “real” the well-prepared student will succeed. This is often in opposition to the popular school of protection dog training where much defense work is used. The analogy here would be to take your young child to the Dojo and the black belt kicks his butt while screaming at him to defend himself. Maybe your child survives but they will not be happy to repeat the experience. Your young protection student should NEVER experience fear or self doubt during the training process.

If your student is afraid, hurt, unsure, or not properly motivated during the initial training you will create problems that will last all through the dogs career.