"The boys do it once a week and absolutely love it," said Appleyard, who made a full-time move to Rodney Parade from the WRU this summer after working with the Dragons on a part-time basis last season.
"There's a fear factor because they go flat out onto big crash mats and there are some major collisions.
"It's a mental thing. Nobody can hide and I want them to fear it. I want them to realise that the harder you hit, the easier it is.
"It should make our tackling more effective and make us more confident in it."
Appleyard has been studying the stats in the off-season and is determined to improve the Dragons defence record, which at times last season wasn't where he wanted it to be.
"What we look for is our completion of tackles and we would like that to be 90 per cent," he added.
"Our effectiveness - it not being a soak-up tackle, one that affects the ball carrier - we want to be at 70 per cent.
"Get those stats and you tend to have had a very good defensive day. Anything below and you will be leaking tries.
"We were not reaching those targets last year - completion was low 80s and effectiveness was 50s.
"We've started doing a blitz defence so that we are more aggressive with our line speed. It's higher risk but higher effectiveness and the boys have really bought into it."