Fight drive/play drive - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-02-2017, 02:24 PM Thread Starter
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Fight drive/play drive

So my question for yall is: say you have 2 puppies under 6 months of age. They both play with an older dog, and we know shepherds like to play rough ?
Call them puppies A and B. If during rough play, puppy B reaches a stage of roughness and says hes had enough and quits the play, while puppy A continues to play as it gets rougher and rougher. In other words one puppy is more determined ( read; driven ) to hang in there and play rough than the other one. If the older dog escalates the play puppy A hangs in there and matches the older dogs intensity so to speak while puppy B decides its too rough and bows out.
So for puppy A, I would say he is more determined. My question is, is that determination linked more to play drive, or would it be indicative of a higher fight drive than puppy B?
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-02-2017, 02:31 PM
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"Fight drive also carries an experience factor. In other words a dog can be genetically predisposed to having fight drive but unless it gets training and experience fighting humans it will never develop fight drive.
This is the reason young dogs cannot have fight drive. People who claim their young dogs have fight drive are almost ALWAYS wrong. A young dog can have active prey drive or it can have an elevated level of defense but it cannot have true fight drive because it is not old enough to get the experience necessary to fight humans and feel comfortable in that fight.
In other words, dogs don't just wake up one morning and mature to a point where they automatically have fight drive.
It is a result of good genetic make up combined with good training to produce a confidence that the dog can win in every encounter every time.
When people say that they have a one year old dog has a ton of fight drive they are always wrong. It is impossible for a one year old dog with fight drive because its not old enough to have the experience to have fight drive. The fact is a 1 year old dog is not even old enough or even mature enough to have a fully developed defense drive. Without mature defense a dog can not have fight drive.
When an owner thinks he sees fight drive in a young dog what they are usually seeing is a dog that has very intense active prey drive."


Excerpt from Leerburg Dog Training | Fight Drive in Dogs


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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-02-2017, 02:37 PM Thread Starter
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Superg, thank you for your response. Let me reframe my question.
Lets leave humans out of the equation.
Since most all predatory animals play fight when young, as preparation for fighting as adults, would you say that puppy A has more " potential" to stay in the fight as an adult than the pups who bows out sooner? Or is the determination to stay and hang in there during rough play tied more to play drive even when fully mature?
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-02-2017, 03:07 PM
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I don't agree with Frawley (the author of the above quote). IMO and in my experience, fight drive (not fighting drive which is developed) is genetic, an innate drive in some dogs. It can be seen in fairly young animal if one knows what they are looking for. They are not defensive dogs or prey crazy dogs. They are animals that relish in the fight for the fight.

Whether or not your puppy has fight drive is really hard to tell when in a game with another dog. He may just love the game and be harder in temperament than his littermate.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-02-2017, 03:11 PM
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@SuperG can't you tell about young dogs fight drive or at least an early presence of during decoy work. The willingness to engage anyone without reservation. Fighting for the tug, sleeve, wedge, etc... Depending on where your at with your dog. I see some dogs who will bite and if the decoy doesn't release the dog will release. Then other dogs when given a bite will fight, pull, thrash around trying to possess whatever they have. Wouldn't the latter be indicative of a presence of fight drive. I am new to this stuff myself so I may be mistaken but it seems that the willingness to fight for something young would carry over to adulthood. Not that I believe all of these dogs are gonna grow to be vicious attack dogs.

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-02-2017, 03:20 PM Thread Starter
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I always assumed that fight drive was mostly genetic, albiet we know a dog can learn to like to fight. Most of our dogs were really rough as youngsters and those dogs as adults seemed to really like to fight with other dogs. Really fight. As in, go through the woods to the neighbor's and fight with their dogs. Hence the assumption.
Not talking here about being a good fighter, or even enjoying the fight, but once engaged being determined not to give up the fight easily. It would seem like a pup that doesnt give up the rough play fight easily, wouldnt give up the real fight easily as an adult.
Really trying to evaluate here my pups possible potential as an adult to ward off predators such as raccoons and coyotes loose dogs etc. The kind of animals that fight back if cornered. Of coarse a bullet is prefered option here, but things happen......
And also being that our previous dogs liked the fight we've never really questioned this before
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-02-2017, 03:43 PM
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@cdwoodcox Fight for something is not necessarily the same as a love of the fight. The dogs I have known relish in the fight itself and not to possess an object. They want to dominate, over power and control their opponent.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-02-2017, 03:56 PM Thread Starter
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I can totally see how a dog that loves its master may fight to protect him or his property, even if he doesnt love the fight itself.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-02-2017, 04:05 PM Thread Starter
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I could be wrong, but when i see even a puppy that just seems to love the rough play fighting, and just wont quit when it gets rough, keeps on coming when others have quit, it makes me think wow that dog has some fight in him. Not aggression, and not necessarily fight drive, but spirit and heart at least. Which to me really seems like would translate as an adult to having alot of fight in them. Heart and spirit again.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-02-2017, 04:11 PM
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Could this just be a dominance thing? The pup that doesn't want to play anymore is saying uncle.
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