Looking for drive, I think I found it. - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 09-06-2014, 08:44 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Looking for drive, I think I found it.

I got Zeus from the breeder at 5 months. He came home with what seemed to be major depression. I kept making excuses and the breeder kept telling me he is just stressed and will be fine soon. He had no drive at all. Didn't care to eat, etc. One of the biggest reasons I went with this particular breeder was because her dogs were very prey driven, making it much easier to train in the future. I finally couldn't take it anymore, took Zeus to the vet about 2 weeks after getting him. GIARDIA. The very next day after starting the meds, COMPLETELY different dog. He just wants to eat, play, NOW THIS IS A 5 MONTH OLD GSD. Of course, the breeder won't take any responsibility, but that's a different story.

My last GSD had no drive at all. So Zeus' behavior is new to me. He didn't seem to care too too much about many toys. I ended up taking him to Ivan Balabanov for an evaluation since he is local. He pulled out the wand with the toy at the end and BAM. He went nuts. After realizing I just can't afford to work with Ivan right now, I ended up buying the wand myself. Zeus will go nuts for any toy I put on the end, and doesn't stop. I have to stop him from overheating. I THOUGHT I had his basic commands down. Nope. If I attempt these commands using the toy, he doesn't even realize I exist. Just stares and jumps for the toy.

I did purchase the Dogtra 1900 ncp but am too unfamiliar with it right now to incorporate it into training.

Any recommendations to get his interest on me, and then reward him with the toy? Or, is this just going to work best with the e collar?

I appreciate any help / advice. Constructive criticism is very welcomed. My last GSD, I took him to a trainer for a month and he was just returned to me trained. It was nice at first, but since I was not there, he took me less serious and it just ended up not being as enjoyable for me and him.
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Old 09-06-2014, 09:30 PM   #2 (permalink)
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What your pup is doing is "locking in prey", he is so high in drive, he can't think. The good news is that now you KNOW that your dog has prey drive, and loves to play, so you have all the basics there to start working with him. The trick is to find a toy you can use as a reward that isn't as high value as the flirt pole, but still fun enough that he will work for it. Try a small pocket tug, or a ball or kong on a rope, or some other toy that can be waved around and get him excited for it.

If he has food drive, you may need to teach the basics with food until he understands the commands before moving to a toy-reward system. I'm not sure what the e-collar is going to accomplish except give him mixed and confusing signals. I would work more on finding the reward system that works for him without overloading his prey drive.

Please don't put an ecollar on a 5 month old. Maybe you can't afford Ivan, but there could well be other trainers close by that are more affordable.

You should also watch the Michael Ellis videos on Youtube about developing engagement with a pup - lots of basic work and lots of fast rewards to establish basics with a young dog. The ecollar should have nothing to do with these basics.
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Old 09-07-2014, 11:33 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Castlemaid is right on with her thoughts link to what puppy stuff you CAN do to add that 'engagement' with you is --->Top Training Expectations for Puppies

I'd also consider buying the DVD Crate Games. This is NOT about 'crate training' but using the crate as a training aid for any dogs but ESPECIALLY to help with our drivey pups.

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Old 09-07-2014, 09:08 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I really appreciate the advice. The ecollar wasn't meant for him right now. I basically just purchased it for the future, as an emergency for his own well-being.

I did work more with him today. He is getting the idea to pay attention to my commands, and he gets the toy as the reward. I only focused on sit, down, and stay. (I really need to teach "out". Of no fault but my own, I got quite a few bites on the hand, full throttle when he was going for the toy and missed.) My last GSD had NO WHERE near the bite strength that Zeus has, or at least never showed it. It is incredible.

I will watch the videos you guys forwarded me, again, I really appreciate it.
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