Drive Decline with Age - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-16-2015, 02:18 AM Thread Starter
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Drive Decline with Age

I have a working line GSD that is now 9 years and 4 months old. I did a lot of research before getting her as an 8 week old puppy more than 9 years ago from one of the best WL breeders in America and she has been a credit to the GSD since then.

She always had excellent drives as much as you would expect from a 100% WL dog with 2 SchH 3 parents, siblings that worked in bomb and drug detection, siblings that were used as breeding dogs by top breeders, and siblings that were SchH titled. I never titled her though she showed excellent drives at 1.5 y.o. in early working dog training which I never followed through to completion.

Her level of drives never diminished from 8 weeks old to 9 years and 4 months until a week ago. For the last week, she has elegantly trotted in her retrieves as opposed to running at top speed as she always used to. Today, she shocked me by lying next to her toy after the sixth retrieve when she used to go 20x and still wanted more.

She looks and acts perfectly healthy. Has anyone with working line dogs seen a decline in drive when their dog reached 9 years plus?
Is this normal?

I have 2 working line males, one is 11+ y.o. and the other is 13 y.o. and their drive level is about the same. They just get tired a lot more quickly than before so its more a physical decline as opposed to a decline in drives. However, my female does not show any physical decline, she just seems to feel less driven than before.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-16-2015, 08:13 AM
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If it is so sudden I would be at the vets. She could be getting winded, could be in pain, could have something going on internally.

My 11 yo girl still has obvious intense drive. She can play as long, but the intensity is there. If she lost her intensity I would be worried.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-16-2015, 08:34 AM
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I'd say possibly a bad day, but if it continues I'd do a vet visit to rule out something physical


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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-16-2015, 08:37 AM
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I would say it is a decline in health.

I would have her x rayed to check for any growths or cancer.



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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-16-2015, 02:31 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the replies. Yes, I was worried that there might be a health issue. However, her appetite is good and is perfectly normal, her stools normal, coat and eyes normal, movement and behavior when not in drive all looked normal although emotionally perhaps a tad bit more affectionate than usual.

I was about to make a vet appointment yesterday although my wife thought she was just showing signs of aging but I was going to ask for blood work anyway. I didn't think of the x-ray so thanks carmspack for the suggestion.

However, today she is acting back to normal in terms of drives. I found a volleyball that had been hidden in the bushes for months and as soon as I took it out, her drives were back to the usual. Perhaps she had a bug? This is a dog that has literally been perfectly healthy for the last 9 years plus so I have never seen her with any physical ailment. or at least anything that ever remotely affected her drive or behavior. (As an aside to newer GSD owners, you do get your money's worth when you go to a good breeder in terms of cost savings on healthcare and lack of worry.)

I will closely keep my eye on her for any health issues and schedule a vet appointment if a decline in drive intensity returns. As you suggested, such changes could be the tip of the iceberg that may be waving a flag in terms of more serious health issues that are treated the earlier the better.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-16-2015, 05:00 PM
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She may have been feeling a bit off, but if it happens again I second the xray suggestion. Unfortunately stuff like hermangiosarcoma (and other problems) are common in gsds.
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