Staying in drive - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 40 (permalink) Old 06-20-2010, 07:21 PM Thread Starter
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Staying in drive

A little help needed please. Sorry for the length.

I have had Kahn since just before he was 4 months old. We attended a couple training sessions with the club I belong to, but during the last month or so I have not been able to attend very much do to family problems and my other pups medical issues.

Yesterday I attended a group training day and Kahn was excited to be out training again. He tracked fantastic! Due to the heat we decided to skip doing the OB and just go through some bitework. Well the trainer starts teasing him with the tug on a rope and he was pulling like crazy to get it. He brought the tug up and started to swing it and gave him a chance to grab and he missed the first shot, but didnt let the second even a chance to go by. Kahn held and I brought him around and the trainer then tugged and Kahn pulled like crazy to get it away. I brought him around again and Kahn decided to drop the tug. The trainer grabbed it again and swung it around and Kahn nailed it. I brought him around and he just dropped it again. The trainer picked it up and Kahn just starred at him. The trainer had to get a little more active and moved around a bit and that got Kahn going again for a min and he let Kahn win the tug he walked a few feet and dropped it. The trainers like what the ****. He grabbed it and swung it again and when Kahn grabbed it had me take him off the field. He said that his "want" died out. He suggested that when we play/practice some that as soon as he drops the tug for the first time to take it away and stop.

Wel I had to work all night last night so I slept most of today. I did take him outside to do a little playing and practice what our trainer suggested. I teased him with the tug on the ground to get him started and he gets mouthfulls of dirt trying to attack the tug. So I brought it up and after 2 shots at grabbing it I let him win it. He played fine for a couple min and then just dropped it. I took it away gave him a min and tried again and he only held it for a short time and dropped it again and I couldnt really seem to get him excited again so I stopped.

I have kept my session short no longer than 5 minutes to try to keep him interested but he is seeming to drop out of drive really fast. I am wondering if anyone else has any expierence or ideas on how to get him more interested and keeping his drive up longer. It has been suggested to crate him more so that when he come out he had more pent up energy so that when he is more focused and realizes that when he comes out its to be with me and play. I have tried this some and it worked some, but my fiance lets him out and lets him run all over the place and play with our other pup all evening and then takes them to bed with her. So I am not sure if that is hurting the process. Is there anything else I could do to help? If that is my best idea I will build a small kennel in my basement and ony work/play with him myself.

Dogs:
Akira-7-8 y/o Mutt
Munchkin-N/A y/o Sh-it-zu
Reno-2yr old GSD GOOFBALL
Persephone-16 month old GSD TERROR
Orcan-waiting for me at the bridge
Cats:
Mitzie- 1 y/o spoiled brat
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post #2 of 40 (permalink) Old 06-20-2010, 07:51 PM
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...but my fiance lets him out and lets him run all over the place and play with our other pup all evening and then takes them to bed with her...
How old is this dog?

He might just be tired from the extra play, or he might have figured out that if he drops the toy the chase begins again. What does he do when you go to pick up the toy again? Does he come back after it?

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post #3 of 40 (permalink) Old 06-20-2010, 08:05 PM
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You have two pups the same age, that is a challenge.

At my club, the helper prefers that we do no bitework(ragwork)with pups on our own as the confidence, deep bite may be reduced or the timing off if people don't know what they're doing.
Do you reprimand him if he has something he isn't supposed to? So he is in the habit of dropping the item/outing out of habit? I've seen this at the club, when the owner comes near, the pup spits the pillow/rag because the owner has chased them around to release a shoe, kids stuffed animal, whatever...pup associates it over time and outs so they don't get in trouble.

You can still play tug or use a flirtpole, though.
Tug is fun and builds confidence, let the pup win every time and end it before the pup is checking out, mix up some commands and reward with the tug. Use the same toys/tugs for training only, and they become more high value.
Did you use a flirt pole when your pup was younger?
I don't believe in isolating a pup by kenneling to increase drive. Either they have it or they don't... But you have two pups the same age, so interaction should be limited with them playing together if you want more focus.

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post #4 of 40 (permalink) Old 06-20-2010, 08:45 PM
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Well I had to work all night last night so I slept most of today. I did take him outside to do a little playing and practice what our trainer suggested. I teased him with the tug on the ground to get him started and he gets mouthfulls of dirt trying to attack the tug. So I brought it up and after 2 shots at grabbing it I let him win it. He played fine for a couple min and then just dropped it. I took it away gave him a min and tried again and he only held it for a short time and dropped it again and I couldn't really seem to get him excited again so I stopped.
I haven't had this problem with Bison, but Moose had little to no prey drive (not saying this is the case with Kahn, just for clarification). I never trained for SchH with him, but even playing I found it critical to keep the toy in motion and my voice short and clipped and super happy.

I am not sure if this is what you meant, but it sounds like you are agitating then letting the tug go and expecting him to play with it. If the toy isn't isn't moving, it isn't fun. If you aren't doing so already, I would suggest that after you let him win, you immediately re-engage with him. Don't give him a chance to get bored. If you notice that he is lagging after three interactions, stop after two. Always leave him wanting more.

The other thing you can do is use your voice. It doesn't really matter what you are saying, it is how you say it. Though I personally find that the words that I say help me with the inflection. Things like "Oh do want to get this? You can't get it? Nice try, too slow... What a good tug. You are so strong." Think about your puppy's voice when he is excited about something and try to match that intensity. In a seminar that I attended, the instructor who trains K-9s said that he tells the officers, "If you don't sound like a school girl, you aren't doing it right.
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post #5 of 40 (permalink) Old 06-20-2010, 09:17 PM
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This was a good thread about building drive for objects. It's LONG but it has a lot of good information I think. You need to be exciting, the tug needs to be exciting, more exciting than other things. While you might not crate, you need to take away the toys, and maybe the other dog so that the most enjoyable play happens with YOU.

https://www.germanshepherds.com/forum...all-drive.html

While I do not necessarily believe that you have to constantly crate/kennel a dog to bring out drive...I do think that they need to learn to "turn on" and "turn off". And I think that this is what the crate can help you to achieve. When I let my dogs out of the crate...We work. Immediately, even if it's only one or two behaviors. When they first come out of the crate they are excited and up and have more energy. Then once they have worked I free them, put up their toys, and then they can come inside and chill out in the house. What I want them to learn is that when I let them out, we work. This ties into a lot of the behaviors I expect from them at the fied. When my dog comes out of the crate at training he needs to be "On". Once they start to understand the games that we play I can ease up on the routine because what I am trying to create is a habit of behavior. If you are planning on training on say a Saturday morning, you crate Friday night and until training on Saturday? Maybe if you know you want to work with your dog when you get home form work, you ask for the dog to be crated a couple hours before you get home. I know I work with my dogs first thing in the morning when we all get up before breakfast, and then again when I get home from work, and the puppy gets extra right before bed.

I understand why people do not like isolating a dog to create false drive, however, I also think it works to an extent. When Argos was in for mouth surgery, he had a number of stitches throughout his gums. He wasn't allowed to have anything hard including toys. He had to be kenneled whenever I couldn't directly supervise him because he would pick up anything in the house to chew on, and he also was restricted to leash walks because if he was loose in the field where we ran our dogs he would grab sticks and we simply couldn't take the chance of him messing up the healing in his mouth. This dog was never really food driven, but I have to say from all the confinement he was so EAGER to do ANYTHING that I taught him all kinds of new behaviors with hot dogs, which surprised me. Also, even once he was able to work for toys again, his food drive remained higher than it was prior to the surgery. I think what happened is that I was able to "teach" him food drive and create a connection in his brain between being excited to work and the food.

So I do think to a certain extent that having a dog with some drive and not allowing them to put it anywhere else except into the work can help them to learn to channel their behaviors. However I also think that if you have a dog with a lower level of drive...you're not really going to be able to get a "drivey" dog from crating.

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post #6 of 40 (permalink) Old 06-20-2010, 09:18 PM
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Quote:
his "want" died out


Don't you just hate it when that happens? lol. I love these explanations people come up with. Most dogs will change as they mature and what was exciting for a puppy is boring to a young adult. So, maybe he still wants it but the helper work is just not exciting or challenging enough for the dog anymore. This is a common occurrence in the playful world of protection training called SchH. Almost every club is playing too much with young pups and young dogs. There has to be a balance of the drives to bring out the dog's desire to fight and and to possess the sleeve or tug and most dogs are worked too young, so, it is not possible to achieve that balance.

I don't ever ask people to work their dog at home unless I want them to just tease the dog and not give bites. That works much better than just giving the dog the bite over and over. Also, the dog has to be at the right drive level BEFORE the bite is offered in order to hold the sleeve or tug afterwards. What the dog does with the sleeve after it is slipped is an indicator of the helper's work. If he just drops it, the work is usually boring or else they are dropping it to go back after the helper. Doesn't sound like that is the case here, it sounds like the work is boring. I don't think it is anything to worry about but I would for sure not be handing the pup something to tug all the time and I would ask the helper to work more at a distance and get the dog higher in drive before he gives him a bite and not to give him bites all the time. If he is under a year old, I might not work him at all. I would let him watch and bark and carry on and never give him a bite. Believe me, that works but the mentality in SchH nowadays is too much about playing and "rewarding" with "grips". Makes it boring because the dog is always getting the bite and usually after not doing enough to get it . They have to be completely in drive and at the right level of drive before they get to bite and again, they should not always be getting the bite, even when the drive is high.

There is also this idea now that you have to build and work grips. I'll just tell you, you don't need to build bites, if it is a good dog, they KNOW how to bite. I will just offer this little bit of advice . Anyone who wants to have a good dog in protection should wait until they are over a year old to start working the dog. If he is not interested then, wait a couple more months. It is MUCH faster to train the dog when you do it that way because the dog is starting to develop all the things he needs to work in protection and it is there for the helper to use, ( if they know how). I recently started a twenty two month old dog in protection. We have worked him 7 times and next session we will start the guarding and hold and bark. This dog will be trained really fast because he has all we need to work with. The bite is all there and he does it all in spite of the lack of play and puppy prep work that so many seem to think is necessary now. So many people are just ruining their dogs with this idea of playing with them in protection as pups. It creates problems that people spend the rest of the dog's life trying to fix.


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post #7 of 40 (permalink) Old 06-20-2010, 10:30 PM
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JKlatsky...very well said and thank you for that explanation! Gives me some insight for ways to create a good working relationship with my two as well!

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post #8 of 40 (permalink) Old 06-21-2010, 04:33 AM Thread Starter
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I appreciate all of the advice. Taking on 2 pups around the same age has been a challenge but so far so good. They both look to me to play which can be a hassel if they are both out at once. I may start to crate him at night when I am sleeping so that when I get up we can work. I usually go to the gym immediatly after I wake up and then work him some when I come home because he is super hyper at that time. I asked my fiance last week to start crating him when she went to bed so I could work him some when I came home. She thought I was an idiot because it was dark outside and she doesnt want to hear him screaming. (If he even THINKS your in the house and he is in the crate he screams his head off for awhile) That is starting to go away though.

I really believe his prey drive is there. I have watched him literally hit a wall while trying to catch our cat and I have seen him slam himself into the ground when trying to get the tug while playing with the tugs some. I have used the leash with my tug to tease. I have a dowel rod I was going to attach a rope and put a rag on the end to tease with some. He starts fantastic every time though, so he may be getting bored. I try to change the location up and throw in different distractions sometimes. He really seems to get "turned on" by the chase especially when I am running. So If he is getting bored what are other things I could do help with that? I also know he has a bite. I have 2 scars on my knee from where he got me while I was running and my fiance has some large bruises on her legs from him playing with her.

As far as the toys go he ONLY gets the tugs and balls when I take him out to play. I am going to have to buy him some new stuff for in the house because he ripped apart and destroyed their last toy the other day. I have been really trying to create a high value with those toys.

I have a friend who is the former head trainer for the VA State Police K9 units. He said they never got a dog to work that was under a year old. I explained to him what the trainers were doing with the pups and he said it could be good for them but they had never done that. I just dont want him to fall behind. I really wanted to try to get a Sch1 with him by the time he was 2. I will try the suggestions from here. Thanks to everyone so far.

Dogs:
Akira-7-8 y/o Mutt
Munchkin-N/A y/o Sh-it-zu
Reno-2yr old GSD GOOFBALL
Persephone-16 month old GSD TERROR
Orcan-waiting for me at the bridge
Cats:
Mitzie- 1 y/o spoiled brat
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post #9 of 40 (permalink) Old 06-21-2010, 07:57 AM
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I'll just tell you what we do at our club with pups. If the pups are on the rag, they get one bite and then they're done. None of the circle around stuff. A couple of misses, one bite, a short tug game with the helper and then the pup wins the rag and off to the car he goes. If he drops the rag on his way off the field, helper runs and grabs the rag and teases the pup with it as the pup is taken off the field. The whole thing takes about 10-20 seconds at the most. Sometimes if the pup has been acting un-enthused, then they may just bring the pup to the puppy circle, let him watch the other pups, tease him a little and then put him up.

It's like what Anne said - puppy does not need to bite two, three times a week from the time they are 6 months in order to "build" a good bite. A lot of it is genetic. A good pup - you can not let him bite anytime until he is 15 months old and his bite will still be better than a so so pup that has been biting 3 times a week since for 12 months.

P.S. Why do you want him to get a Sch1 by the time he is 2? Why the hurry?

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post #10 of 40 (permalink) Old 06-21-2010, 08:10 AM
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I just dont want him to fall behind. I really wanted to try to get a Sch1 with him by the time he was 2.[/quote]


Why the time frame for titleing? If you push for the 1 by age two you will probably fall behind. Our dogs are with us a long time...don't be in a hurry, work at the dogs pace and do it right. I've seen so many people (myself included) cause problems that remain as ghosts in your closet by trying to get it done too soon.

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