• J. Pope

2019 PSA Decoy Camp.

Updated: Dec 22, 2019

Passion and motivation is what gets most people going, but its discipline that keeps you on the course.

Volunteers are what drives our sports froward. It doesn't matter what sport you are passionate about. Without them were would we be? What would you and your dog be doing right now? Decoy's play a huge role within this volunteer group. Without a doubt one of the most important roles in bite sports. Without anyone working your dog, you are pretty much sitting on your hands.

We had the opportunity to spend a weekend at Top Dog PSA Club in Conway, AR. They were hosting a PSA Decoy Camp.

Individuals from all over the country, with different backgrounds, mindsets, and training styles gathered to try to become Certified PSA Decoys. 18 made their way to the center of the country, but only 6 were able to leave as certified decoys.

After witnessing what exactly goes into a decoy camp, this title was not easily obtained.

Everyone here has to earn their spot on the field. There are no handouts. You can either do the work effectively, or not. There is nothing more humbling when you are on the ground with a dog on a bite.

Camp Format

Some calisthenics to start the day off. But it didn't take long for the instructor to command the

candidates to start suiting up to drag some tires. Each candidate had to tie a line around their arm which was attached to a tire. This simulated the weight of a dog. After the arm bite / tire drag, they switched over to the legs. Once everyone seemed warmed up, full suits was required, but still dragging tires. From here the future decoys learned how to safely return to their feet while a dog was on a bite. Not an easy task that's for sure.

The exercises quickly ran into each other. The instructor threw in a few 5-point drills. For example: carry tire to first cone, push sled across to the second cone, pickup and carry tire to third cone, drop tire, pickup another carry to forth cone, side shuffle to the fifth cone after picking up a clatter stick, turning around at the last cone while picking up a bag and tossing it as the dog comes in for a bite.

A lot of the physical aspect is designed to make the decoy tired and simulate a trial, where they will become exhausted. They need to be able to perform safe and consistent catches every time.

Carjacking exercise was fun to watch. The bottle is full with rocks or marbles in order to be loud and distracting. The dogs are to have full grips on the sleeve while the decoy is fighting and screaming. This exercise is extremely stressful for a dog. Any lesser dogs would come off the bite and retreat into the vehicle.

The weekend finished up with building up the length of send outs with bites along with the PDC and PSA Level 1 Courage Test. These last exercises were heavily scrutinized by the instructors. They have to ensure that the candidates they certify will not endanger themselves or the dogs on the field. #k9trainer

Decoys are expected to catch the last dog of the trial just like the 1st dog at the beginning of the trial.

Decoying in any sport is dangerous work, not for just the people suiting up, but for the dogs as well. Decoys have to know the correct way to catch and work dogs to ensure no one is hurt. Great decoys are worth their weight in gold. I can't tell you how many times I've walked off the field because I did not have the confidence in the decoys ability. If you are lucky enough to have a dedicated decoy, you had better take care of them. I hear they run on beer.

2019 Certified PSA Decoys

Derek Crouse, Malik Whitfield, Thad Mitchell, Thomas Loveless, Lucas Lesofski, Nathaniel Bonilla

Of the 12 candidates that did not become certified over the weekend. They will go back to their respective clubs and practice. We have no doubt when the next camp is scheduled, they will be there ready to put in the work, to earn their spot on the field. #psak9 #psadecoy #k9decoy

Protection Sport Association

The Mission of the Protection Sports Association (PSA) is to provide an outlet for civilian competition in canine obedience and controlled protection, and to recognize achievement with titles and prizes, and promote competition with club trials and championship tournaments.

To learn more about PSA, click on their logo.


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