Toy Drive and "Stand for Exam" - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-31-2018, 02:14 PM Thread Starter
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Toy Drive and "Stand for Exam"

Had a thought, that perhaps I could work on building extreme drive for one toy with my big boy, as a way to ease introductions to unknowns, and also for vet visits.

I'm curious about methods people use to really build up to an insane level of all-focused drive on just one favorite toy. For him, it will be a larger size ball.

This is real particular about the one toy- I want it to be the thing he goes crazy for, will tolerate "touching by stranger" for (stand for exam). In general, I build toy-prey drive in my working dogs for anything from pinecones to keys, but for him, I want it to be the one special "magic" toy that he really really wants. Not sure this strategy will get us where I want, but willing to try and see!


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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-31-2018, 02:42 PM
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Toy Drive and "Stand for Exam"

A flamingo can sit on Max’s back and he would not know if I had his glow in the dark chuck it ball. He has drive using other toys but his glow and the dark chuck it ball is special and also have to put away after play/training
https://www.amazon.com/Canine-Hardwa.../dp/B00280MUW6
Video of Max in second frame -hard to see but the bumper landed in the middle of piping clovers- max just cares about his chuck it bumper lol! Max super ready for some agility fun. He knows the ball comes out for play after we are done.

https://flic.kr/p/28iH4Tx

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-31-2018, 03:37 PM Thread Starter
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Jenny- was that just natural for him to work for that particular toy or did you build on it? If so, how? Just trying to find out if there are some tips/tricks I've missed and could try.

Just for reference, he's more of a possessive mentality than a prey-play one... so working with possession is helpful.


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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-31-2018, 03:55 PM
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Yes it was more natural. The more we trained/play and the more he matured his drive increased. He has a good food drive to but with distractions and such is where the ball came much more useful -is what I just happened to find out- not really what I did. I use to take him to the beach a lot and play ball there was always so much going around us so I think this to everything just meshed well. I did not necessarily set him up to have a favorite toy I just put balls away because he drives me nuts with them - he loves them disappearing behind the couch lol! Or right now if I’m lying on the couch he will jump on lay there and we will roll the ball back and forth to each other. It just only makes it more special when the ball comes out. When doing nose work at home I use the ball as a reward and he gets super amped up versus food treats which he does enjoy. The vet is one place I’m not sure how it will hold up though ha.


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Last edited by Jenny720; 07-31-2018 at 04:02 PM.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-31-2018, 04:04 PM Thread Starter
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That size chuck-it would be right up his alley. I'll pick up something like this, and see what I can do... I have about 6 weeks until his rabies shot is due, and I'd like to be able to have him stand and endure that without a production. He's super smart and really wants to please, but he super hates being handled by strangers.


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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-31-2018, 04:10 PM
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That's a really interesting idea.My last shepherd was a butthead at the vet's office.But he was obsessed with frisbees and would play with absolutely anybody that possessed one.Wish I'd have tried it.

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-31-2018, 04:11 PM
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Yes it’s a great size and max loves to squish it good to bite into and it does not damage teeth.


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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-31-2018, 07:23 PM
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Zoey is possessive and has a very healthy prey drive to go along with it. I use an Orbee Diamond plate ball, I think they are a bit over 3 inches and very pliable. We have an assortment of brands, but all of my dogs have preferred the Orbee for whatever reason.

She's has an obsession with holding onto and chewing her ball (sometimes sticks) and I used this to keep her from bothering my other dogs at times. Instead of causing problems she would walk around and chew it harder, lol

I did the typical daily short sessions of fetch and I quit before she wanted to. I also put the "special" ball away after the game, I would only let her keep it beyond the game occasionally. Now that she's older and mellowed a bit I let her have it more often.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-31-2018, 07:46 PM
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I was taught to build drive for a toy by letting my dog see me play with it. The toy must be put away out of sight. Then several times a day, take the toy out and play with it (just you, not the dog). You have to let the dog see how much fun you are having with the toy. Then put the toy away. If you do this consistently for about a week, when you finally allow your dog to play with you and the toy, your dog should think that it's the best toy in the world. Keep play session short, then put the toy away again. Only bring it out for short periods of play with your dog.

Although I've not had to build any drive with my current girl, she does have a special toy that we only use for her reward when she works (SAR). She developed a natural alert because she wants her toy so badly. After she locates her subject she comes back to me and barks. While most observers would believe that she is telling me how excited she is that she located her subject, I know that she is shouting at me to reward her for a successful find. Guess it's all in the interpretation

Good luck! Sounds like a great idea. I hope your strategy works for you!
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 07-31-2018, 08:02 PM
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I've done something similar. I think I would say maybe differing in that my dog does not have extreme drive for his ball but he has drive.

He does not care to be touched by strangers but that's not extreme either. He will gladly deliver a ball to a stranger and play with them. If they try to pet his head during this he will duck back slightly with a very meaningful look at the ball, then to their face. It is very clear to me that he is mildly annoyed that they want to delay the game of ball with this stupid head petting nonsense that he sees no point to.

Anyway. I taught the sit for exam first, and we are still working on stand for exam but he'll have it soon. I have done progressive stays with distraction with people approaching, close enough and focused on him as if to touch but not touching. When he had that we moved on to touching. First time I do it with his ball on rope for focus. I know they are scenery to him because what he really cares about is the ball. Then I immediately do a rep with no ball in front him and last rep the ball is across the room and I release him to it when I am done and happy with what he did.

Basically I have taught him that in the context of working obedience, being touched by strangers is an obedience exercise and after so many repetitions he understands that it's just this predictable touch and he is totally fine with it. They never grab his face or get in his face like stupid people petters try to do sometimes, they never do painful or invasive stuff like the vet sometimes, and it is just another distraction that he ignores while performing obedience. He glances at the judge when they approach but in his mind they are still scenery

I did do one training session with some strangers and after he had done a very nice exam, I released him to the ball and then allowed him to go to give his ball to the strangers who had done the exam. He is motivated to try and get strangers to play with him because he learned during some construction on our property that strangers don't follow mommy's stupid safety rules and wing balls at 100mph down hill and it's dangerous and fun you see. So being released to try and get these people to be his rule breaking ball slave was actually a big reward for him and it helps bridge the gap with strangers for him.

At this point he has been very consistent for a fairly long amount of time and I've recently competed him in a very new environment with a brand new male judge who did the exam and he was flawless. He gets more and more confident as we go but I continue to tell random people not to pet him because he just doesn't get anything from it and sometimes they make him uncomfortable. He does make friends quickly and easily with people he sees regularly in his life and becomes affectionate with them and then enjoys being touched by them so I feel like everything is fine and good.

I have never used the ball to deal with the vet. I think it might pollute the ball for him because he doesn't have THAT much drive. I have adopted a no nonsense you have no choice in this matter with him same as certain handling at home. He won't take food from strangers and has zero desire to be friendly, but he will go in with me and tolerate everything. He does not resist, evade or be nasty. He would rather get the heck out of there but he understands this is another thing, like ear cleaning, that I am going to make him do and I expect him to conduct himself a certain way and he has no choice. That's the important thing. if they try to make friends with him or get him to choose to cooperate, it's much worse. He isn't going to like it but he will behave, and anything wishy washy just makes it so much worse. Come in, get your hands on him, and get it over with and there will be no fuss. But don't try to get him to be your buddy. He isn't and won't be. It actually freaks him out when people in situations like this try to make nice with him. It's like he thinks it is a dirty trick because he knows they will stick the thermometer up his butt. He does not want them to try to be his friend LOL

His behavior at the vet has gotten much better and is consistent at this point so I think what I'm doing is the right thing for him
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