So what types of toys are you using beside the ball. When I work with my guy and a toy for say ob it is usually a tug so I get him to play with me and interact with me and not look at others. I have had to work rally hard with this part for my male since he is so naturally suspicious. During a trial you can not use a tug or food but a few vocal praises of good dog. If your boy is more motivated to work with you then you can use that in training by playing with him as a reward.
I've tried various types of tugs - from ropes, to rubber pulls to canvas chew toys. I did some experimentation last night during training, and it appears that a light hearted wrestling match between he and I does the trick. Praise is always appreciated by him, but I'm wanting to give him something more - my reasoning is to get his level of excitement up *way high* You'll read later in this post as to why.
Something to remember is there are dogs that work tremendously well for praise and parise is a reward as are the pets and the kisses. Right now this may be what you have to use until he is better trained and is less distracted.
PERFECT! Thanks so much for this. I agree this seems to be working.
When a dog is hungry it eats. Natural Selection has guaranteed that all animals have food drive. If your dog has temperament traits that stop him from being able to eat, he does not have the temperament for schutzhund.
With all due respect, I completely disagree with this statement. A lack of food drive is not inherent to having a lack of temperment for schutzhund. Phury is a bit of a unique case in that he's a breeder "confiscate" due to terrible handling and training by someone that wasn't the breeder or myself. I'll spare the details of his story simply because I don't believe in slamming people in a public setting.
Additionally, Phury has EPI. This is a dog that will go one full week with out eating a single piece of food because of the pain and discomfort that the EPI causes him - when untreated.....(trust me, I know on this because this is how I found his EPI; clearly he's getting all the enzymes that he needs and eating is no longer an issue; however, he still does not have the food drive that other dogs do.)
I would focus less on WHAT reward he wants and focus more on YOU being the reward. Ideally the dog will feel happy and rewarded whether you have prime rib, dry kibble, a ball, or a stick as the reward.
Whatever you do, the reward should be doing/playing it with YOU.
Again, super advice! Wrestling seems to do the trick. Due to his previous training mishaps and issues - I really wanted to make this super fun and special for him....and I think that I've found it. Of course, on the field, we won't be able to do it - - but I'm sure that once he and I are done, we can have a great wrestle match once we get home