GUARD DOG TEMPERAMENT: GDT/Defense of Handler: DHT
The test begins with the dog in a controlled position at the handler's side, The obedience portion will consist of the following in any order the judge elects: 5 to 10 pace heeling, left and right turns, sit and down (3-5 seconds) on command. On the Judge's signal Obedience exercise will begin and end with the recall (the leash must be loose at all times). The dog will have to stay in one spot in any position, on command; while the handler drops the leash and walks at least twenty paces away (3-5 second wait). The dog must then do a recall on command; the handler may take one step to grab the dog but not two. Next, the dog will have to meet the first of two friendly strangers and not show aggression, shyness or lacking in manners by jumping onto the strangers, but remain in a controlled position at all times. Ideally the first stranger will be an Irondog judge, assuming the dog does not know the judge. The handler will shake hands with the stranger and exchange brief words ending the conversation with a hand shake. We are looking for good natured dogs that are not shy, sharp or lacking in manners. It may display tail wagging pleasure or exhibit other body language to show that he is at ease in meeting this new person. The Irondog judge will then pick a second friendly stranger from the crowd that is physically dissimilar to the judge. The entire "Meeting a Friendly Stranger" test will be repeated a second time with this other person. The dog must meet the same criteria for both friendly strangers.
NOTE: A DHT competitor ALSO NEEDS to complete the Obedience portion.
Protection Phase: GDT - On a separate field from the Obedience (or a different place on the original field), in the open, the dog will be given one appraisal bite using either a sleeve or suit. The purpose of the appraisal bite is to avoid running dogs off the field, during the attack on handler bite that follows. The dog must take at least two moderate stick hits in the appraisal bite. The stick will be a standard padded baton or clatter stick. The dog must also face a noisy stick threat in the appraisal bite. If the judge feels the dog's appraisal bite was satisfactory, then it is eligible to do the next bite, which is an attack on handler out of a blind that fully conceals the decoy. The blind should ideally be an unexpected object like a blind, tree, car or outhouse. The dog must not see the decoy enter the blind. The dog and handler will move (at the Judge's signal) toward the blind. On judge's signal, the decoy will spring from behind the barrier, attack the approaching handler and drive the dog for roughly 3-5 seconds after the bite. The decoy will administer two moderate stick hits with either a padded stick, bamboo clatter stick, a plastic jug partially filled with rocks or a starter's pistol. The dog must engage the attacking decoy courageously and withstand the drive/stick hits. If the dog comes off the bite for any reason, other than lack of courage, the judge will instruct the decoy to continue driving and administering stick threats until it is obvious the dog can withstand the pressure courageously. After the drive, the decoy will lock up. The handler will then give an out command, without touching the dog from the original position where the dog was sent from, to engage with the decoy. The handler has three tries to out his dog (using any command). As soon as the dog disengages, the handler may pick the dog up and drag or heel him away (may also use a second command to call the dog). If the dog does not fully re-engage, between the time when he lets go of the decoy and is picked up, then he has outed successfully and passes the test. In the event the dog does not out on the first command, after three seconds the judge will notify the handler to go midway and try a second time. On the third try, the handler may go up to the dog but NOT touch the dog for a third and final try to out the dog.
NOTE: JUDGE will give the handler an evaluation based, on their opinion, after the appraisal bite, on whether he/she feels the dog should move on to the next phase. The next phase is an attack on handler out of a blind that fully conceals the decoy. The handler upon the judge's evaluation will make the final call on whether the dog will be allowed to move on to the next phase. Our goal is to NOT run dogs off the field, but great pressure is to be applied in the second attack on handler.
Protection Phase: DHT - On a separate field from the Obedience (or a different place on the original field) in the open, the dog will NOT receive a bite. The decoy will approach the team AGGRESSIVELY, using either a padded stick, clatter stick, or jug of rocks. Dog MUST show confidence and willingness to engage; lack of is unacceptable. The decoy will engage the handler head on and then again to the right or left (at the end of the exercise the decoy can give the dog a bite as a reward if instructed by the judge).
NOTE: Handler will POST-UP as decoy/attacker performs an attack, on the team, trying to hit them (padded stick, clatter stick, jug of rocks, etc.). The handler can opt to have the dog muzzled, as the attack will be in a civil manner.