Shutting down - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-15-2011, 11:12 PM Thread Starter
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Shutting down

Stark has just been shutting down lately when doing obedience work. I went a full two months of really not doing a whole lot of anything with him. I worked on his reactivity (or whatever you want to call it) and just had fun with him.

Recently we have been working on cleaning things up a bit and we were about ready to try for our BH. For the past two weeks or so he has totally shut down.

NO focus, heeling is a joke and when I correct him (prong or leash pop) he totally ignores me and goes staring off into 'la la land' with his ears back.

I took that as a sign that maybe he was just bored or frustrated and started doing retrieves because he LOVES it. He has a bounce in his step and you can tell he finds that more enjoyable.

Tonight while out working on heel (for like maybe 2-5 mins) and working on fronts/heir it was like he didn't even know what I asked of him and this is the dog who LOVES to flip finish and usually enjoys (and is very good at - it's his "flashy" part of obedience) this aspect of our training but tonight he was not even close.

Any suggestions? Questions to help you, help me? I am beyond frustrated at this point because we have worked so very hard to get to the point we were at/are and I feel like I just want to pull Stark out of schutzhund and just allow him to be my hiking buddy and companion.

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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-16-2011, 01:11 AM
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What does your trainer or training buddy think the cause is?

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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-16-2011, 08:03 AM
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Frank started doing the same thing about the time he turned a year old in April, it was like he had no interest in heeling with me and was bored out of his mind. Like you said the popping/collar corrections didint' work with Frank either.
I started doing something with Frank I swore I would never do, and that's spit treats at him, I used string cheese, because I could hold it in my mouth for an extended amount of time and talk without gagging, my aim is not the greatest but it did turn his attention back to my face and his training really improved, now everytime my mouth opens he looks at me with attention, and is ready to go. I've weaned the spitting treats at him back down, but he's still paying attention.

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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-16-2011, 08:10 AM
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Sounds like Stark has lost interest for whatever reason, I bet he would more than be happy to just be that hiking buddy and companion.

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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-16-2011, 08:18 AM
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Obedience does get boring! Focused heeling is real fun, right?
Sometimes it is better to do the less is more thing, and get the enthusiasm built back up.
Changing up the toy reward or food may help but being a 'team' with the dog, you have to be more exciting(sometimes hard to do!) I am going thru the same thing right now with Karlo...unless I have a cuzball in my hand. I've been spitting treats too, cooked chicken and steak last night. Ick!
Even the cheese will lose its value after awhile.

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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-16-2011, 12:21 PM
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Do you think he's shutting down because of the corrections?

The one time I had a dog shut down totally like that, it was because of a pain issue that I didn't know of--he had broken his dewclaw joint in the car on the way to training. I couldn't figure out why he was totally shut down and ended up putting him back in the car. Later on, found the injury.

Any chance Stark was hurting or overheated?

Will he play ball with you when he shuts down like this or do other things he enjoys? Will he do some motivation-only obedience training then?

Christine

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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-16-2011, 12:24 PM
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I am going through the EXACT same thing. Texas has lost all focus on me and she will turn a year this month on the 21st. We have a trial this weekend, and I know we are just going to fail, not even qualify. If a dog or person walks into the room or area we are at, she completely loses focus and I no longer exist. I feel as if we took some HUGE steps backwards. I am hoping this is just a phase. I just wish it had occured after our trial.

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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-16-2011, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by RogueRed26 View Post
I am going through the EXACT same thing. Texas has lost all focus on me and she will turn a year this month on the 21st. We have a trial this weekend, and I know we are just going to fail, not even qualify. If a dog or person walks into the room or area we are at, she completely loses focus and I no longer exist. I feel as if we took some HUGE steps backwards. I am hoping this is just a phase. I just wish it had occured after our trial.
Don't push her too hard. A dog that isn't even a year old, shouldn't be entered into a trial.

Wait until the dog matured a little more, at least until the dog is 15 months old. Make it fun, make it a game, work on engagement instead on focused heeling. Once the dog is engaged with you, the heeling comes from itself.
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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-16-2011, 03:00 PM
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After 2 years of enjoying herself in the obedience ring, Echo began shutting down during training for what seemed no reason. I tried different treats, games, breaks, etc to no avail. She would do what I asked, but only because I asked, and certainly not with any enthusiasm. 6 months later she came up lame, and after a series of radiographs we discovered she had HD. My guilt over asking her to go over jumps when she was so obviously trying to tell me it hurt was astronomical (although at the time she never winced, yelped, whined, or limped). She is now retired from competition because everything at her level requires her to jump, although I may start her in Trieball soon. Take your boy for a full physical; hopefully the vet will discover nothing physical and you can work on his mind set. Trust me, you will never forgive yourself if you find out much later that there is a physical problem that was just never considered or treated.

-LeeAnn
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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 06-16-2011, 03:23 PM
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Hummm, Elisabeth didn't you say on Judges Topic that you always have the feeling that there is something not right? Maybe that is what it is. Maybe he is telling you that he's hurting, just like Echos dog did.
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