Drive vs. Energy vs. Neurotic - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 55 (permalink) Old 05-24-2013, 09:52 AM Thread Starter
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Drive vs. Energy vs. Neurotic

It's seems that in almost every thread people talk about there "high drive" dog. I have a really hard time believing that every GSD on this forum is high drive. That is just statistically not possible especially given the different lines these come from. That makes me think that we don't truly have an understanding of drive. Or what it means to have a "high drive" dog. I truly think people confuse energy (which our breed should have lots of), drive, and a dog that is just neurotic. Maybe have a screw that's not tightened all the way. So I was hoping we could discuss some of this.

1) How can you tell the difference between drive, energy and neurotic?
2) What is "drive"?
I lost my train of thought so hopefully this will get us started.
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post #2 of 55 (permalink) Old 05-24-2013, 10:23 AM
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I truly think people confuse energy (which our breed should have lots of), drive, and a dog that is just neurotic
I agree with that^^.

I also think drive/energy/neurotic can mean different things to people.

In Masi, for me, I see high 'play drive', med to low prey drive, alot of energy, (can go all day and keep on going) but not "neurotic" to the point of obsession..

I'm sure others can put it into words better than I

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post #3 of 55 (permalink) Old 05-24-2013, 10:38 AM
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I have seen dogs with high ball drive that will go until they drop.
Is that neurotic or drive?
My dog goes until she's panting(but not heavily) and her tongue is hanging only a little.
I consider that low/medium drive and SMART.
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post #4 of 55 (permalink) Old 05-24-2013, 10:47 AM
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All those things are very subjective...

They depend on the person's experience, amount of dogs seen, and mostly the extremes that they have witnessed.

For a while I thought my dog was high drive...I train at a mostly ASL AKC GSDCA club. So of course my working line boy had more drive than many of the dogs he trained with. I then went to a Schutzhund trial and saw some dogs work...most were very balanced with no over the top drive per my observations. I then realized my boy was probably somewhere in the middle when it came to drive and was probably hindered by the fact that I never properly developed his drive (didn't know what drive was at the time).

I've also seen some over the top drive dogs...one that comes to mind had absolutely ZERO focus though. Absolutely no food drive or praise drive. The owner couldn't get the dog to do anything. Ended up giving her back to the breeder as she just wasn't cut out to deal with a dog like that.

Its funny though, just yesterday I was reading through some puppy threads and had to chuckle when people write "X has absolutely wonderful temperament for being our first dog." It's like...how do you know what good temperament is when this is just your first dog?

It all comes down to subjectivity based on experience.
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post #5 of 55 (permalink) Old 05-24-2013, 10:48 AM
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I suppose I look at drive from a human perspective as the compulsion to do something. So a dog with high ball drive like Delgado will go bonkers and do just about anything for the ball, while a dog with low ball drive may refuse to fetch as it's just not interesting to them. The higher the drive, the higher the compulsion to complete the task.

Energy is self-explanatory, how much exercise and stimulation does the dog need before it runs out and needs to rest.

Neurotic dogs cannot "turn off" because their brains are wired to GO GO GO until they literally drop from exhaustion. They need that off switch taught and management done just like a human with OCD

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post #6 of 55 (permalink) Old 05-24-2013, 10:55 AM
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A dog who "can't settle down" and whose drive level appears inappropriate for what the current situation calls for, I would call "neurotic".

Drive is not just the ability and the will to do. To me, "drive" is balance. It's a dog who has nerve and will, but is balanced enough to adjust it to what the situation needs. The "on/off" switch that people often talk about. Those are the dogs who don't waste energy unnecessarily.

A jittery dog who is bouncing all over the house even after a day's work (whatever that work may be), who obviously WANT to lay down and rest but for whatever reason just can't seem to... I would call neurotic at the worst, and unbalanced at the very best.

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post #7 of 55 (permalink) Old 05-24-2013, 10:58 AM
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my thoughts:
Drive is a behavior that is 'driven' by a motivator - there can be many types of motivators hence different types of drives. A dog tries to fulfill a drive by doing behaviors until the motivator is no longer motivating; replaced by another motivator or need (need to poo for example); or dog is simply too tired.

Energy is just the magnitude or duration of a dog's physical behavior. So it can be behavior driven by a motivator or it can simply be behavior due to hyperactivity or other causes. For example, a hyperactive child touching everything which is based on a real need for children to explore the world but can be too much for the adults around, or too much for the child to learn which contradicts the initial natural purpose of the behavior.

Neurotic behavior can be behavior without purpose or a real need, or even counterproductive or harmful. For example, dog chasing its tail.

The terms can be related such as a high drive dog having lots of energy to fulfill its drives; or a neurotic dog having lots of energy to be neurotic. Or unrelated such as a dog neurotically chasing its tail can also have a high drive to retrieve a ball, or not.

So a dog with lots of energy to engage in neurotic behaviors is the most undesirable. The level of energy a dog has is good or bad depending on the outcomes or situations or its owner. The level and types of drives a dog has is good or bad again depending on the situation and the owner. So a dog may be perceived as too 'high drive' or have too much energy by one person, and can be perceived as low drive or low energy by another person depending on the person's expectations and experiences.

Last edited by Ocean; 05-24-2013 at 11:02 AM.
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post #8 of 55 (permalink) Old 05-24-2013, 11:02 AM
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Which "drive" are we discussing? It seems most mainly consider prey/ball drive and forget to discuss anything else.

I think having a "goal" might differentiate drive v. neurosis. Chasing a tail has no real goal.... Going through a pile of brush to get a ball has an end-goal.

And low, moderate, high...... this is where getting out and training comes in handy. If you only have your dogs, or your clubs dogs to compare then I would venture your ability to accurately judge/label is skewed.

--Ocean, I think we were on the same track there.
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post #9 of 55 (permalink) Old 05-24-2013, 11:17 AM
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In the world according to Nancy;

Drive is what will assist you in training a dog. If the dog likes treats use treats. Toys use toys. Etc. High drive is a dog that will do ANYTHING for what modivates it. Will focus on the lure instead of anything else.

Low and Medium drive is measured on the dog's ability to focus on the lure with distractions.

Energy (to me) equals stamina.

Neuotic is a dog that has little to no impulse control.

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post #10 of 55 (permalink) Old 05-24-2013, 11:17 AM
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see I knew someone could say it better than I thanks ocean, my thoughts were rather yours, but expressing it with words was much better accomplished by you

I don't think I've had my coffee yet to be functional

Diane
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Last edited by JakodaCD OA; 05-24-2013 at 11:18 AM. Reason: added
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