Interview with Lucillano Oliva

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Lucillano Oliva American Bulldog Breeder Interview



1) Q: What is the biggest challenge facing your yard?

A: Consistently breeding AB's with traits that make a Bulldog a Bulldog; courage, drive and stability (both physically and mentally).


2) Q: Name the two or three most influential dogs in your scheme.

A: I have four, Steve's Hammer, Smootch Kreugger, Predator, and Woody.


3) Q: What is D.O.G.S.? please share your experience/resume as a trainer with us.

A: D.O.G.S. stands for Dienstunde Of Greater Sacramento. Dienstunde meaning Service Dog. I have been fortunate enough to be around some great dog people that have touched me with knowledge about dogs and training of dogs. I, along with my partner, Gregg Tawney, are the Trainers for D.O.G.S. I am the Training Director for the Personal Protection Dogs and Gregg for the Police Service Dogs. I am a Certified Decoy (Bad Guy) for the NAPD (National Association of Protection Dogs), K9 Pro Sports, and the WSPCA (Western States Police Canine Association). I am one of two in the West Coast Certified as a Judge in the PSA (Protection Sport Association). I am a Judge and Decoy/Helper for the WABA. Dogs that I have Trained and Coached have taken top honors in NAPD, K9 ProSports, WSPCA, and PSA. They have received high scores in Ring and Schutzhund, as well.


4) Q: Does your experience training Sport, PP, and Service Dogs help you as a Breeder? Does the process of training OB and protection teach you as much about the dog as the formal testing done after the bulk of the training is done?

A: Absolutely, it helps to recognize the traits and characteristics necessary in a working dog. The training process teaches me more about the dog than the testing itself. In training, sometimes we have to hide some of the dogs weaknesses. I will give you a little story about a dog that I trained in the process of 3 years but became one of the top on the NAPD roster. I believe you have seen this dog yourself, Dave. He came to me with the intent to compete in NAPD. There were a few things on the dog that were slightly lacking. By the end of the dogs career, the dog received an NPL II, which there are only about 10 in existence, and a 2nd place at the Nationals.


5) Q: What are your thoughts on breeding programs (such as we find in the Fila community) that seek to produce a guard dog that requires no training and will attack anyone not in its immediate family? Is it a good idea to avoid training dogs that are intended for a protection application? Should American Bulldog breeders try to create a Fila type "natural guard dog?"

A: As a fancier, breeder, and trainer, I find that very disturbing. Liability has always been one of my biggest concerns. Dogs that bite without provocation is a huge liability threat. A child walks by and gets bit, we seem to hear this more and more. Guard dogs that are confined to your home or business, well that is their job, but should be well confined from the public. A Personal Protection Dog is a social animal and should only bite when commanded by its handler. Not even a quick movement should trigger the dog to bite. After all, we as humans are supposed to be the ones with "rational thought". This is achieved by training. I must mention, though, that a Schutzhund dog does have the decision to escalate or de-escalate in a given situation. In other words, in a Hold and Bark or Guard, if the Helper (Bad Guy) moves, the dog can bite. I'm not quite sure what you mean by this next question but here goes on how I interpret it. Many think that by training a dog for sport work, it will stay sport. In my experience, this isn't always so. What is "protection application?" Aren't dogs that train in sport taught to bite and bite well? This picture that the general public seems to have on protection dogs are usually their version, their own interpretation of it. A protection dog, or should I say, a dog that is trained in a protection application does not just bite anyone it comes in contact with, for example the mailman. That is usually a guard dog. First off, I must ask, have you actually seen a Fila as a "natural guard dog?" I dread the day when American Bulldog breeders create a Fila type "natural guard dog." I've always preferred a good natured, fun loving, and social dog that everyone can pet. Isn't this what attracted us to the AB in the first place? If they want to go with a "natural guard dog" go to the Fila.


6) Q: It has been suggested by Bulldog people that protection and obedience testing/training are not important to breeding protection dogs. The belief is that the dog fighting and game testing alone will produce superior protection dogs. Is animal-gameness the same as man-hardness? Does dog fighting test for the environmental stability needed to execute demanding real world protection tasks?

A: Having been around game bred APBT for over 2 decades of my life, I would have to disagree. There are certain lines that are so man shy that they actually urinate themselves when a stranger pets them or even approached. This line has a long history of game dogs. I ask you, is this what you want in a protection dog? There has always been a place in my heart for a dog that can withstand anything before it and come out victorious, man or beast. The only way you can test a good protection dog is protection work, game dogs is game test, and hog dogs on hogs. That is like making sure a child can play baseball to be good in soccer!

In my opinion and experiences, animal-gameness, as you call it, does bear some similarities with man-hardness. I feel that both are courage. In my book they are defined the same, and that is to never quit. Isn't that the definition for courage. Pretty close in my book!


7) Q: What qualities do you look for in a Bulldog?

A: Well balanced in Prey drive and Fight drive, environmental stability, courage, and Genetically Sound. Oh and I almost forgot, good conformation helps too. LOL!


8) Q: How do you test for these qualities?

A: At the age of 8 weeks, I do an obedience and aptitude test. I have done this with my litters for the past 8 years, approximately, and have had great success on determining if the tests hold water. Along with this test, I have a courage test, which I will not go into detail. All my breeding stock are x-rayed, well, I prefer OFA.


9) Q: It is a common belief that Schutzhund produces a safer and more easily controlled dog than the sports based on Personal Protection and Police work, such as NAPD. Do you agree or disagree?

A: Let me just clarify one thing, Personal Protection Dogs (PPD's) are taught to bite only when they are told. I have seen people get some equipment and try to train theirs and others dogs. I see these same guys compete, thinking that their dog is the best only to be sadly mistaken and most will never be seen again. That is probably the reason there are so many misconceptions. Too many mistake PPD's as guard dogs, which are totally different. With that in mind, I disagree! Everyone has this preconceived notion that a Schutzhund dog is safer than a PPD, because it is a "sport" dog. Let's not forget that a "sport" dog is still taught to bite and bite well. A Schutzhund dog is given the decision to bite if the helper (decoy or Bad guy) moves in the hold and bark. A PPD can only bite when commanded by its handler.


10) Q: What does it take for a dog to succeed as a Police K9? There was a time (years ago) when service dogs weren't trained to out and had little control. How much control does D.O.G.S. put on a K9? Does control diminish After active duty if refresher training is not maintained?

A: First and foremost, it must possess courage, prey drive, fight drive, and environmental stability. In certain Departments, K9's are not required to have an "out." Well, actually in the state of California, they must have an out, according to P.O.S.T. (Peace Officers Standards Training) in order to certify. But according to certain Departmental Rules and Regulations, officers must handle their dog before the out. This insures the dog from being "dirty." This is what we call the Tactical Out or the Hard Out. This is done by holding the dog up by the collar and choking the dog off the bite.

With the Dept's that D.O.G.S. works with, we adhere closely with what is specified under P.O.S.T. We (D.O.G.S.) are strong proponents of the Electronic Collar. All PSD's (Police Service Dogs) that are trained by D.O.G.S. have and patrol with an E-Collar with the exception of one Dept who is new to our program but is now on order. With the E-Collar, PSD's are more dependable. With Dept's large or small, dependability means less lawsuits.

Control diminishes on any dog that is not maintained. That is why every Dept is allotted a certain amount of time and money per K9 Unit into training and maintenance.


11) Q: Are the basic qualities needed to make a great service dog different than the qualities needed for a great Personal Protection dog? Should Personal Protection dogs be trained in the same way as police dogs?

A: This is a good question and can get a bit tricky. The qualities are basically the same. Both have to possess a high degree of courage and environmental stability. A PSD does not have to be that social, because in a large Dept (around 8-14 K9 Units), not all are used for public relations. Some are strictly SWAT, for example.

Most PPD's are trained the same way as PSD's. I've trained my Bulldogs the same including the field searches and building searches. Maybe on my next dog I will cross-train in Narcotics.
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