"Extreme" Drives -- Good or Bad? - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 11-30-2012, 07:17 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default "Extreme" Drives -- Good or Bad?

About a month ago, someone PM'ed me asking about Medo's breeder...but having forgot about the PM, I just got around to replying. One of the questions was if his drives were "extreme" or not. Now, I am the type of person that feels "extreme" anything is a negative trait. I want a dog with high drives, high motivation, a high desire to please...but any time you get into the category of what you would describe as "extreme" suddenly becomes a negative. Example: I don't want a dog to have such "extreme" ball drive that if there is one in the vicinity of the field their brain detaches and the dog is incapable of getting into a clear-headed working mode ...would apply to anything, not just a ball (and yes I've seen this in some form of another).

The person replied to me that they decided to go with a Malinois because they tended to be more "extreme" than GSD's. Obvious personal preference, but mayday alerts started going off in my head The first thing I think of...all the NICE (in my opinion) Malinois I've been around (American Working Mal IPO 3 Champion, N. American Ring 1 Champion, etc) are those that I would classify as "high" drive, but certainly not "extreme." The ones I consider to be "extreme" are those that make me completely cringe when I see them work because they seem completely out of control with little regard for applying any kind of rational throught process to anything they do. Most definitely not my cup of tea...

I just thought the PM would yield a very interesting conversation...not even so much about "extreme" Mals vs. GSD's, but even "extreme" drives for a GSD. How do you view the term "extreme?" Negatively like I do, or something desirable? Take the conversation where you want!

I will say I'm not sure if this individual (totally hypothesizing here!) THINKS they want an "extreme" dog because they have had dogs they have had to work their butt off to bring out drive and a lot of motivation to work? Or if they just want to put their sanity on the line
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Old 11-30-2012, 08:19 AM   #2 (permalink)
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To me "extreme" is very subjective, all depends on what you want to do with the dog, and the person handling the dogs experience.
I have one dog that to me is just high drive, but I love him, a friend of mine would call him "extreme", and in fact rehomed a dog she had that to me had the same drive, but she said it was too much for her.
So I don't see it as a negative unless the person owning and handling the dog is having issues.
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Old 11-30-2012, 08:32 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm not really talking about this from a subjective "one person's extreme is another person's low drive dog" point of view. I'm talking about the positive and negative connotations with breeding "extreme" dogs and if they have a place in any breed. Are extremes ever ideal?

We're going to to make an assumption when I say "extreme" I am talking about calling up someone like Michael Ellis and telling him you want the most "extreme" dog he currently has.
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Old 11-30-2012, 09:05 AM   #4 (permalink)
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In that case, I think there are places for those dogs when they do appear, but as a rule to breed for any type of "extreme" is not good.
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Old 11-30-2012, 09:18 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Extreme dogs can be very nice in the right hands. The exact same way a Ferrari can be brutally fast around a racetrack in skilled hands, but will punish those who lack skill. Extreme in only one aspect is more dangerous than extreme across the board. Going with the car example, consider the Ferrari and a Dodge Viper. The viper has the biggest engine they can cram in it. It has incredable power and torque to the point of being almost undrivable like driving on ice. So much so that turning performance, track times, etc are negatively effected. In a mal, I see this with prey. They prey is so so high but without balanced aggression, that the dog *cant* show aggression simply b/c the prey is "too loud". People often mistake this for confidence... Which isn't to say the dog is not confident, but just that we can't get that extremely high prey down low enough to even evaluate the nature od their aggression
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Old 11-30-2012, 09:18 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Most of what you'll get will be personal opinions I think. I feel that when you start breeding for something over-the-top and extreme, you begin to risk losing balance by compromising things in other areas. I think breeding, especially with the variety of lines in this breed, will always produce different dogs with different drives, thresholds, nerve, biddibility, etc, all of which can be used to balance out any dog you feel needs to produce less or more of something. To actually go out and breed for extreme anything, I suspect you'll start running into deficits that crop up in other areas. Maybe this is everyones problem with specialty breeders, such as those who breed strictly for sport. Sure they're show stoppers on the field but what about when you bring that animal home and ask it to live its life as a companion animal.

My dog is high drive, has good nerve, grips, downs at the articles, pays attention when i say Fuss, and generally does what I ask her to do. She doesn't chomp down on the sleeve like a monster, she doesn't track like a robot, and she doesn't sail through the air on the long bite... But she very versatile, and I know I can take her off the schutzhund field and into any holiday family function, downtown parade, or just hang with her at the house and not even think twice of "is this a good idea, will she be ok?". There's a lot of value in that for me.
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Old 11-30-2012, 09:19 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I think 'extreme' is subject to opinon. A person who raises a puppy with a relative high drive in a specific area (food, toy etc.) but has never handled a dog with a focused drive, might consider it 'extreme'.

A person who actively participates in something like flyball might not consider the dog's drive level as extreme.

To me, the drive in a dog could be measured in the handlers ability to switch the dog off and the time/training it takes to create the switch.
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Old 11-30-2012, 09:21 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abakerrr View Post
Most of what you'll get will be personal opinions I think. I feel that when you start breeding for something over-the-top and extreme, you begin to risk losing balance by compromising things in other areas. I think breeding, especially with the variety of lines in this breed, will always produce different dogs with different drives, thresholds, nerve, biddibility, etc, all of which can be used to balance out any dog you feel needs to produce less or more of something. To actually go out and breed for extreme anything, I suspect you'll start running into deficits that crop up in other areas. Maybe this is everyones problem with specialty breeders, such as those who breed strictly for sport. Sure they're show stoppers on the field but what about when you bring that animal home and ask it to live its life as a companion animal.

My dog is high drive, has good nerve, grips, downs at the articles, pays attention when i say Fuss, and generally does what I ask her to do. She doesn't chomp down on the sleeve like a monster, she doesn't track like a robot, and she doesn't sail through the air on the long bite... But she very versatile, and I know I can take her off the schutzhund field and into any holiday family function, downtown parade, or just hang with her at the house and not even think twice of "is this a good idea, will she be ok?". There's a lot of value in that for me.
A super nice IPO or PPD dog does not imply they are a time bomb to have in public. Hate it when people imply that
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Old 11-30-2012, 09:29 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hunterisgreat View Post
A super nice IPO or PPD dog does not imply they are a time bomb to have in public. Hate it when people imply that
Right, but a super nice IPO or PPD doesn't necessarily have to be 'extreme'.
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Old 11-30-2012, 09:41 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abakerrr View Post
Right, but a super nice IPO or PPD doesn't necessarily have to be 'extreme'.

More objectively:
A dog that chomps down on the sleeve like a monster, tracks like a robot, and sails through the air on the long bite does not imply they are a time bomb to have in public.
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