Starting up again after long break? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-08-2010, 07:53 AM Thread Starter
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Starting up again after long break?

Odin is 18 months old, he started at a local training club at 10 weeks doing bitework 1-2x a week up until he was about 7 months or so. We got to the point where he was on a sleeve, and the very last few sessions the decoy was going out across the field before I sent him. He did awesome and looked to have a lot of promise. He was confident, had a good bite, and really genuinely seemed to love going out and working. The club we were going to decided to stick with training their own dogs, so we stopped working.

So from November until May I didn't do any work with him. And then in May (I think) we had one session with a new club, as I had met somebody who worked their shepherds as well. It was 80+ degrees out, and it was a totally new environment with new dogs and people, and after two runs with the decoy Odin didn't seem as interested as I was used to seeing him. I wasn't too comfortable with the situation either, and i'm wondering if that may have had an effect on my dog as well. The decoy suggested that he didn't have drive or interest in working.

We haven't worked since that one session, and now i'm considering trying with a new trainer.

Is this a common thing with younger dogs, or could it be an indication that maybe this kind of training just isn't for him? At home he's just as crazy as ever when it comes to his tugs, I could also use some suggestion for things to do with him at home to help build drive.

I'm going to be calling a trainer later today and maybe seeing what they think of Odin, I guess i'm more or less looking for people's experiences when it comes to working a dog and then taking extended breaks between training and how quick it may take dogs to get back into the swing of things.

Kelli Black &
Bianka "Shade" v. Littlehaus (2/2/11)
Wodanaz "Odin" BH, CD, RE, TT, CGC, TDI, OFA H/E (2/13/09)

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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-08-2010, 08:03 AM
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It is not uncommon to take a young dog training in SchH and put them up for awhile. Typically what this means is that training continues in obedience and tracking, but protection work is postponed to allow the dog time to mature.

Taking a break from protection, and allowing the dog time to mature is usually due to balancce/drive issues. If the dog is working too much in a single drive (prey or defense), and is having difficulty making transitions, or if the defense threshold of the pup is too high or too low.....then putting the dog up for a while and allowing it to mature can be a reasonable answer.


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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-08-2010, 06:14 PM Thread Starter
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Oh! That's good to know, I wasn't sure if it was something that should have been continuously worked on or not. Thanks.

Kelli Black &
Bianka "Shade" v. Littlehaus (2/2/11)
Wodanaz "Odin" BH, CD, RE, TT, CGC, TDI, OFA H/E (2/13/09)

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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-08-2010, 09:18 PM
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Argos was laid up up for almost 5 months when he had some tooth issues. He came back stronger and a little crazier than he was before.

Tag has yet to do any protection at all, since I am waiting for him to be a little more mature but he shows interest in the field and what's going on.

How was the new helper working him? Generally after an extended break like that I would anticipate going back to puppy exercises to reestablish the foundation, and moving through them more quickly than you did the first time to get back to where you were. Maybe it was just a little too much to start with?

Heat can be a factor. A tired hot dog doesn't always have the energy to show it's best. Although if you think it was the new environment/people to my mind you have a different underlying problem. Eventually to train and title your dog will need to be able to work lots of different places and with anyone. You might need to work on his focus and play in other places before you go back to protection. Backtying your dog when playing or using a flirt pole can be done to help build drive- although again these will be things you want to do in different places than where he is comfortable.

The only other thing I can think that generally shows problems at that time is home life. Being the family pet, learning to not jump, play nice with the kids, be mellow and calm, can sometimes inhibit the drives.

Usually if they've got it though it will come back within a couple months.

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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 08-09-2010, 06:40 AM Thread Starter
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Actually now that you mention it, I think with this latest session we had started right up with the sleeve, it would have been better to start him back at a large tug and worked back up to sleeve.

I think the heat was the biggest factor, all the dogs were getting worn out too quickly, and I know for myself it was extremely uncomfortable as I think it was the first real hot day of the season. I've always tried to be really good about socializing Odin, I take him any place that he's allowed and he's always been great with adults/kids/dogs etc. After his first run that day I had to wet him down just to keep him cool.

I also had a room mate who at the time was a bit rough on him as far as yelling at him for everything, and after having a long talk things have eased up, i've been lucky that for the most part it's just him and I in the house lately and i've been seeing some big improvements.

I guess we'll keep at it and see how things turn out, thank you.

Kelli Black &
Bianka "Shade" v. Littlehaus (2/2/11)
Wodanaz "Odin" BH, CD, RE, TT, CGC, TDI, OFA H/E (2/13/09)

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