Am I expecting too much from my 7 month old GSD? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-18-2013, 04:30 AM Thread Starter
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Am I expecting too much from my 7 month old GSD?

Help please! 15 years ago I competed in obedience with a Belgian Terveuren, she was a very driven dog with a strong play drive and did very well in obedience.
The dog that followed was a dalmatian, who was a great dog, but remained a loyal pet. We added a doberman to the mix three years ago, he's daft as a brush, clumsy boisterous and a great family dog, sadly we lost the dal just over a year ago.
Earlier this year we took on a GSD bitch, she is now 7 months old and after sailing through her basic puppy obedience I thought I'd try my hand at obedience again.
Norah is a very laid back girl, she loves her liver and will work for it, she is good at all the basic commands, but when it comes to heelwork and recall she is not what I would call "driven" she obeys, but in the recall she ambles over to me with no urgency and in the heelwork she spends as much time with her nose to the ground as concentrating on me.
She has a low play drive, although she gets very animated when our cats come into the house which gives me hope that I can somehow tap into that enthusiasm!
She spends a lot of the day playing with the dobe and I wonder if she is just plain tired in the evening.
Anyway, if anyone is still reading, what I'd like to know is, am I expecting too much at a young age? Should I restrict the amount of time she is with the dobe? Has anyone else had a dog that has not developed a drive until a bit later, is it a GSD thing?
I would really appreciate some words of advice as it is a bit disheartening!
Thanks
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-18-2013, 07:53 AM
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I would be spending some more 'alone' time with her doing FUN things, it sounds like the dobe may be alot more 'fun' than you (no insult intended), obedience can be boring for some dogs, thus the lack of enthusiasm.

She is also young, so that could be a contributing factor. I have found if I see a lack of enthusiasm in especially a recall, I turn around and run the other way! I find my gsd's just don't like being ignored either So ignoring them for a bit, always perks their interest..

Obedience has to be "FUN" for the dog, espec if you have one that doesn't find it fun
Amping up your own enthusiasm, lots of "YES YES YES", when they are doing something right,,and I think more alone time with your gsd and throwing obed into FUN activities might help

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-18-2013, 11:26 AM
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Obviously dogs have different personalities and different drives and motivations. She may just not be built for that style of training, or maybe you need to find other ways to motivate her. Try to focus on bonding with her and letting her be a puppy opposed to adding stress on her by intensifying her training

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-18-2013, 11:42 AM
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I agree with being more fun. When we practice recall, we'll hide and have him come find us. A simple game of hide and seek but he thinks its more 'fun' and now, his recall is pretty darn good. Not foul prof (running rabbits have a certain appeal) but out and about, he'll come when called. Especially at that age, our trainer recommends making everything a game to keep the focus on you. In addition to training, what do you do for 'fun'? Lots of training can be done on a walk/hike, playing in the yard, tug, etc.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-18-2013, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Charlie W View Post
Should I restrict the amount of time she is with the dobe? Has anyone else had a dog that has not developed a drive until a bit later, is it a GSD thing?
Yes and yes.

I find that dogs who spend a lot of time and energy playing with other dogs, tend to be less enthusiastic about interacting with humans. The bond is not as strong and they may become less biddable and more nonchalant about what YOU want. So yes, restrict her doggie playtime. In fact, I would suggest you separate her from the Dobe entirely so that she can focus on YOU. She will have more energy to spend with YOU and hopefully she will learn that YOU are the giver of all good things, not the other dog. NILIF may be helpful.

And yes, a lot of GSD pups are "sleepers"--they may show less drive as youngsters, and it takes some time for their drives to develop, but usually by 7 months you will start to see it coming forward. By limiting her time with the Dobe, you can work on developing drive for the ball, tug, food, whatever, and for working with YOU.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-18-2013, 12:35 PM
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She should be fine in obedience but you might not get the best enthusiasm out of her ever. The truth is there are just dogs that aren't as driven...and comparing her to a Belgian isn't fair.

The fact that she's laid back at this age is a bit of a worry...she can still come out and figure it out, but who knows. At 7 months of age my only issue was focus on the task at hand, my pup wanted to do everything and anything all at one time. Didn't really understand heeling yet and didn't have good recall because he'd get distracted easily. Two years later I'm entering AKC Open with him. You might get a great obedience dog out of her, she just won't be as driven and energetic as your Belgian was.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-18-2013, 03:12 PM Thread Starter
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Lots of useful comments, good stuff about fun, and just letting her be a pup, I guess it's a real change around for me because the Belgian the Dal and the Dobe were / are all VERY high energy dogs. Little Noah is just a completely different personality and breed (my first GSD). The idea of actually having to "wind the dog up" is quite alien as I have spent 20 years with dogs that don't need encouraging to be bouncy!
Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to reply, I think I was getting a bit disheartened when actually I have a sweet, very obedient (for her age) dog, and the problem is not that she isn't understanding it, but that I'm not understanding her!
I will put into practice the suggestions here and see how we go, I guess I'll also stop worrying about it and see how she develops as she matures, she's a beautiful little soul and I'll adore her whatever her calling in our life turns out to be!
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Last edited by Charlie W; 04-18-2013 at 03:13 PM. Reason: typo
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-19-2013, 01:36 AM Thread Starter
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Ok, so I kept her crated this afternoon and when I got home from work I took her into the paddock and ran around with her, she went NUTS! A couple of times I got the toy I'd hiddden out and threw it and she went after it straight away. I did her wait, stay and heel excersises just once each and left it at that..She responded so well to everything..The problem was me all along!!!!
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