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Thread: Actually doing something with your WL dog Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
02-12-2014 06:38 PM
Charlie W
Quote:
Originally posted by David Winners: I think that we need to understand that our definition of work, and that of the dog, are often 2 different things. Being engaged with the handler, and challenged mentally and physically doing anything, is work to the dog.


Summs it up perfectly!
02-11-2014 09:32 PM
boomer11 not sure why drivey would be intimidating? imo the real difference between a show line and a working line is that working lines are great at training. they are intense and focused and WANT that next command. you dont have to put much effort, if any, into motivating them. inside the house i find my working line to be just like any other dog. he'll nap all day if i'm napping all day (has happened plenty of times).

i think if a beginner gets a high drive + high energy dog then yeah that could be trouble. i think a beginner with any high energy dog (no matter work or show line) is a bad combination.
02-11-2014 08:55 PM
Cassidy's Mom
Quote:
Originally Posted by hunterisgreat View Post
What are you implying? A dog that has no off switch is bad for work, and bad for homes. Its just bad for all parties.
What do you mean? I'm not implying anything, and I agree that no off switch would be a very bad thing! There's a Terv in my flyball club like that, she's a wild and crazy thing and apparently she's like that all the time. Fortunately, her owner is the Director of Behavior and Training at the Humane Society where our club practices, so she's in good, experienced hands. She'd be a disaster for most other people, which is why the breeder sent her to Dawn, who she knew could handle her.

My point was more towards the OP being a "drop dead novice", as she said. The idea of a drivey working line dog can be intimidating if you've never had one before and aren't sure you're up to the task. I've been there, so I can relate to that. I had similar concerns. But no matter how drivey a dog is on the training field, that doesn't mean they can't settle down and chill around the house, just the way you describe your male.
02-11-2014 06:25 PM
David Winners I think that we need to understand that our definition of work, and that of the dog, are often 2 different things. Being engaged with the handler, and challenged mentally and physically doing anything, is work to the dog.

This can be running daily errands if the handler is creative. Every time the dog looks to you, you interact. The dog is part of a team and goes through life interacting with the handler, not just along for the ride.

Working for meals, doing OB and tricks or having to find little piles of food in the house or yard is great. I use a treadmill to keep their cardio up if I can't run with them. We go to the park and do agility on the playground equipment. We play hide and seek in the woods. Around the house, there are lots of activities that they take part in. We make them part of every facet of life that our imaginations allow. This seems to be very rewarding for the dogs.
02-11-2014 05:49 PM
Carriesue
Actually doing something with your WL dog

My dog is a SL/WL cross so I don't know if you'd think your post would apply to me or not but I don't think this applies to just working lines... He is very drivey and has LOTS of energy but he has a very good off switch and is easy to live with(most of the time, he's in his adolescents stage ATM). I have chronic pain problems so there are times where he is in the house more and does fine, granted I will do a lot of training and mental exercises with him during this time which helps loads. I got him to be a pet but we ended up getting into sports and now participate in herding, agility, lure coursing and anything else we can find, barn hunts, etc... All the IPO clubs are too far away from me and I didn't want to spend the money when everything was so much closer... My next GSD will be a full WL though so we may try it then. Right now we're on a break from sports just because one of my pets is very sick and is racking up thousands of dollars in vet bills so we are doing a lot of hiking and outdoor stuff, and also just playing around with teaching different silly tricks and tightening up things he already knows. I'm not saying he's as high drive and intense as a full WL, he definitely isn't but he still LOVES to work but he also loves being with me up in the mountains just exploring nature... He also goes camping with us and on vacations, he pretty much is my constant companion and I don't think he'd have it any other way. He excels in herding and I know that if he had a more experienced handler he'd be able to go far in HGH style herding and sometimes I feel guilty that he probably won't accomplish things he could with someone else but I highly doubt he's ever given any thought to it or cares!


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02-11-2014 05:32 PM
shepherdmom
Quote:
Originally Posted by martemchik View Post
See...its not about an "off-switch" IMO. I don't think it matters how good of an off-switch a dog has. A dog that has drive...needs to do something. It can't just sit around for months. That's not really an off-switch. I look at an off-switch as something where I can get my dog working in drive, but then at home he's calm and collected and not just moving about at 100% 24/7.

The dogs need an outlet. You can't expect a dog, even with the greatest of "off-switch" to be able to lay around for weeks or months and not ever get out and expand the energy or use the drive in some way.

This also goes for all dogs IMO. Not just WL and not just GSD. It's more prevalent or necessary in WL IMO, but its not to say that getting a SL guarantees you that the dog will be happy laying around for months and never needs to do anything.
That is actually up to the dog. I had two brothers WL dogs. My kids did 4-H obedience with them. One wanted to do stuff and be active, chase the ball, go for a ride. etc... The other was a couch potato. No interest in leaving my property, learning new things. Was very happy to stay home and play hide and seek with the kids. He had plenty of opportunities to do things and always choose the coach potato way. He is a great kid and puppy babysitter. So patient with little hands and puppy teeth pulling on him but has no desire to be anywhere but with his people.
02-11-2014 05:22 PM
hunterisgreat
Quote:
Originally Posted by martemchik View Post
I don't doubt you...but you probably haven't tested what happens to him after a week or two without any real exercise.

I believe my boy has a great off-switch. He's calm at home and will do sport work. But when I lived in an apartment, and it rained for 3 or 4 days, or was just too ungodly cold for a few days in a row and all he got was to go out to do his business, I could definitely see that he needed to do something more by day 3. There was more asking to play, more drive in the small amount of obedience practice we were able to do inside. He wasn't destructive or anything, but I could see that he had more energy than usual.

Now that I have a back yard...no problems at all with that. He gets exercise no matter what the weather.
a year ago he was one 2-3 months strict rest due to a torn gracilis muscle... so actually yes. No change. Also consider I didn't start working him in earnest until he was nearly 4 years old
02-11-2014 05:18 PM
martemchik
Quote:
Originally Posted by hunterisgreat View Post
I say to you that my male dog is perfectly content to lounge about the house all day for as long as I'd allow him to, and yet, he has more than enough drive to do sport and real work, both prey and defensive drives.
I don't doubt you...but you probably haven't tested what happens to him after a week or two without any real exercise.

I believe my boy has a great off-switch. He's calm at home and will do sport work. But when I lived in an apartment, and it rained for 3 or 4 days, or was just too ungodly cold for a few days in a row and all he got was to go out to do his business, I could definitely see that he needed to do something more by day 3. There was more asking to play, more drive in the small amount of obedience practice we were able to do inside. He wasn't destructive or anything, but I could see that he had more energy than usual.

Now that I have a back yard...no problems at all with that. He gets exercise no matter what the weather.
02-11-2014 04:44 PM
Merciel It really sounds like you should be just fine. You're very honest about your intentions and possible limitations, you're working with a good breeder, I imagine you'll do fine.

That said: yes, both among sport acquaintances and in rescue, I do occasionally see people who got working-breed dogs with the intention of "doing something" with them, and then life intervened or it turned out their expectations weren't realistic, and they occasionally ended up returning or rehoming the dog. It is not an inevitable outcome. It really depends on the owner, the breeder, and the dog. Some can adjust, some can't.

But when they did end up rehoming the dog it was not because the owners couldn't do a specific sport or activity, but because their lifestyle was such that they really just didn't have time or energy to devote to a dog at all. In all but maybe two or three cases, the dog would have been just fine as an active companion, but the owners weren't doing ANYTHING -- they were crating the dog through the entire workday and then again at night, that kind of thing.
02-11-2014 04:37 PM
fredh When we got Jake from the Breeder 3 years ago when he was 4 months old I realized a life long dream. He comes from a long line of European Working Line GSDs. He is our Best Friend and Protector. When we got him we had no intention of competing or working him. What we got is the best Dog a person could ever hope for. And just because he is a Pet/Companion Dog doesn't make him any less of a Dog!
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