How important is prey drive in schutzhund protection? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 36 (permalink) Old 06-13-2012, 09:24 PM Thread Starter
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How important is prey drive in schutzhund protection?

The protection instinct is different from prey drive I'm assuming. Does a high prey drive dog make a good schutzhund dog or does it even matter?
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post #2 of 36 (permalink) Old 06-13-2012, 09:30 PM
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Yes, prey drive is very important but there needs to be balance.
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post #3 of 36 (permalink) Old 06-13-2012, 09:35 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Liesje View Post
Yes, prey drive is very important but there needs to be balance.
Balance between other drives, or balance in the sense that the dog must be calm & under control?
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post #4 of 36 (permalink) Old 06-13-2012, 09:42 PM
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Balance in drives. I don't know if "calm" is the best word but the dog shouldn't be out of its mind either.
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post #5 of 36 (permalink) Old 06-13-2012, 09:52 PM
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I like a dog with a bit of higher prey drive as they are easier to work in the other phases(ball drive and hunt drive go hand in hand with prey) so obedience and tracking make it much easier for a dog to do when the prey drive is there. Many dogs that are higher in prey are also a bit lower in the thresholds, so will react easily.
My dog has prey drive but it isn't huge. He is also a bit higher in threshold, yet activates very easily on the protection field.
In his protection work, he works in defense/ aggression and lives for the fight, not for the helper dancing or running around.

A dog can get locked in prey and that makes it harder for the helper to bring out the defensiveness. Balancing it, but waiting for when the dog is ready is very important. You can't get the defense going when the dog is still immature in the brain, and you don't want to keep building up an already high prey dog when doing protection. I think that is the main reason some wait to start protection/defense....let them mature some before even doing any protection work. Shape the grips, and wait some.

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post #6 of 36 (permalink) Old 06-14-2012, 08:36 AM
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Those nice full calm grips come from prey and also the dog's desire to control the helper (which also comes from fight/aggression). The power and crushing grips come from aggression/fight as does the strong barking in the H&B and the guarding after the outs. There must be balance.

Jane, there are dogs with poor ball drive that have high hunt drive so both are not rooted the same way with prey drive. I have owned dogs with poor ball drive that have tremendous hunt drive. I have also owned dogs with extreme ball drive that had little real prey drive (a rabbit could run under their nose and they would just watch it) and not the greatest hunt drive.

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post #7 of 36 (permalink) Old 06-14-2012, 09:19 AM
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Coke has insane prey drive for actual prey but he won't ever play with me with toys of any kind. He has no interest in toys (other than shredding stuffies and occasionally tossing a tennis ball himself...he also has a very "soft" retriever mouth) but he is obsessed with actual prey. If he even thinks he sees a rabbit 50 feet away he will constantly check the same spot for several weeks. When we are on a walk he's always the first to spot a squirrel or rabbit. My GSDs might lock up or lunge if it darts away and is pretty close but otherwise they aren't obsessed with prey or I just say "no" and they leave it whereas Coke pulls and whimpers and locks in on it until he's finally convinced it's gone (which might take a block). He's caught prey animals before and the GSDs have not.
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post #8 of 36 (permalink) Old 06-14-2012, 09:27 AM
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post #9 of 36 (permalink) Old 06-14-2012, 09:36 AM
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I disagree, and maybe I am misunderstanding what you mean, with your saying that a dog in active aggression (or fight) doesn't learn as easily. IMO the ability to learn and to listen is rooted elsewhere.

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post #10 of 36 (permalink) Old 06-14-2012, 09:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lhczth View Post
I disagree, and maybe I am misunderstanding what you mean, with your saying that a dog in active aggression (or fight) doesn't learn as easily. IMO the ability to learn and to listen is rooted elsewhere.
Doesn't learn as easily as purely in prey drive, or in food drive. The addition of the stress from the elements of defensive drive cloud the dog's mind a bit. Think how difficult it would be to *teach* running blinds (or doing kung-fu) when the helper is being very aggressive from the hot blind with posture and whip or whatever (or when you're thrown directly into a fight). Sure you can get it taught there, but its infinitely easier to teach it in prey drive, separated from the protection piece, and then put them together (or learn Kung-fu first in a studio under no stress). Any form of stress retards learning.

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