Bitework for behavior requires quite a bit more than simply fighting a dog for control of an object. That kind of bitework will yield nothing but problems. Clear and consistent rules need to be in effect for this game.
There are only 3 rules, and as long as the rules are followed the game continues. Breaking the rules is cheating, and the game will slow down or stop for as long as the situation requires.
3 Rules of Bitework
- I ask you to bite.
- Release when I ask.
- Never, ever touch me!
I Ask You to Bite
It is very dangerous to have a dog that strikes at toys whenever they are available. I have been bitten, and have seen many other people bitten by their dogs when an unsolicited strike on a toy occurred.
Release When I Ask
Bitework really turns on our dog’s drive. Biting targets activates something primal in a, turning him on. We are asking them to bite hard and rip and tear.
When engaging a dog in Bitework, it is very important that the cue to release the target is always followed.
Never, Ever Touch Me
This is the most important rule of all. Dogs are simply not allowed to make mistakes when it comes to touching teeth to flesh. Disc dogs run discs down and snag them, five feet in the air, at 30 mph. Their mouths are precision tools. Dogs don’t really make mistakes with their teeth.
In disc dog freestyle, a dog does too much biting around the hands and body to be sloppy. The only reason for a dog missing toys or biting the handler’s flesh is carelessness on the dog’s part or permissiveness on the handler’s part. One usually follows the other.
Any time you are bitten while tugging, no matter how insignificant, quit the game immediately and abruptly and take a break.