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Kaiser2012 06-25-2012 05:11 PM

"lazy" puppy and schutzhund
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Hey all! First I want to say THANK YOU to everyone on this forum for all the amazing information and advice, both given directly to me, and that which I have perused over the last few months. You guys really are awesome.

Secondly, to get myself back on topic, I wanted to talk to the protection gurus here about Kaiser's personality. I am brand spanking new to the idea of schutzhund so I am still learning. A lot! I have yet to find a club (waiting on a return email from one) but Kaiser is still young anyway so there isn't necessarily a huge rush (He is only 5 months old). We are working with a couple who are former schutzhund competitors/GSD breeders and doing some obedience and tracking foundation work. We did a little (and by "little", I mean...a LITTLE) drive work, but we stopped when Kaiser started teething. The female trainer said that once he was finished and there was no concern about a tooth getting ripped out during training that we could pick it up again.

A few comments have been made, over the last month or so, about both me and Kaiser. Me first: It was made clear that to train a truly competitive dog, I would need to remove all toys (even if they are in no way similar to what is used during training), separate Kaiser from Dakota, and follow a pretty strict training regimen. This was from the male trainer. Basically, I would have to separate my heart from everything else. I explained to both trainers that Kaiser was a pet first, and a sport dog second and that while I am VERY competitive and hold high expectations for him, that I would understand if he was better suited for another sport. Yes, my feelings would be hurt, but I noted that if I really wanted a high drive dog then I would find a kennel to fulfill that requirement, and I would put in the time to find the *best* club, regardless of distance/total cost/etc. Now saying THAT, the female trainer did compliment me on my competitive nature and willingness to learn. (whew, at least I'm doing SOMETHING right!)

Now, for Kaiser: It was noted a few times that Kaiser is a "lazy" puppy. While he has been confident/self-assured, curious, sociable, and a fast learner from day one, he has a definite "off" switch and when he gets tired, he shuts down. He LOVES drive work, but its not his end all be all. In other words, his tail gets to wagging, he wants that tug, he prances around when he "wins", but he is far from baserko about it. I'm assuming this is where the lazy comments stemmed from. He will give chase, he will try to bite, but he can sometimes be a little slow to react and doesn't always put his heart and soul into it. I know he enjoys it though (the wagging tail, the proud prancing). A comment was made during our last obedience session, after I mentioned Falon's Kastle and the various sports he is learning (I really am impressed with that dog!), that it might be good for me to pursue some of them (reading between the lines: Kaiser isn't cut out for bitework).

I'm not giving up yet. My goal is to get at least a BH and to see how he does over the following months with tracking. We will obviously do more drive work too, and my hopes are that he will mature and develop a love for the sport.

So, my questions:

-Is there anything I can do to make this more exciting for Kaiser?

-Can a lazy puppy mature into a more "drivey" adult?

-What traits should I be looking for in Kaiser, to determine whether or not he will make the cut, so to speak, in schutzhund?

-What can *I* do, as the handler, to develop a stronger bond with Kaiser (he is separated from Dakota during training, but not otherwise, and he very obviously is attached to her...though he is my velcro/shadow dog)

-Any non-compulsion training books to read that might help me? (I think I understand compulsion's place in the sport, but its not for me)

-Any other questions/suggestions/comments?

Thank you!!! :)

Liesje 06-25-2012 05:24 PM

How old is he now? My Pan was a "sleeper". I was told I was getting the Schutzhund prospect from his litter, but for the first 6 months he had little to no interest in tugging, biting, chasing, retrieving, or even barking. He was bold and confident, very relaxed, never ever shy, but very mellow considering what I asked for. If you've seen videos of 8 week old puppies chasing rags and getting lifted off their feet while biting...yeah that was NOT Pan! At about 7-8 months his drive woke up and now if anything we have to keep him toned down! At 22 months, he's still quite immature. He's not behind training-wise (he has his BH and could do his SchH1 obedience any day, probably protection with a few weeks of learning the routine, tracking we are behind but that's my fault) but he still acts very happy-go-lucky, doesn't take much seriously, knows no enemies, that sort of thing. He acts like a goobery six month old puppy.

My dogs live together and are free in the house and yard all the time when I'm home. We have toys scattered on every floor in the house and yard, often the same toys I use as rewards for training. A good dog is a good dog regardless of how you want to raise him.

Kaiser2012 06-25-2012 05:32 PM

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He is 5 months and some change. 21 weeks, 3 days...but who is counting ;) Puppy-Pan sounds a lot like Kaiser! I swear this boy would sleep the day away, with a few bouts of playing thrown in. His parents were ball-crazy, but he...well...isn't. And he is DEFINITELY not the powerful 8 week old prospect in those videos you mention ;) He does enjoy playing, and chasing, and exploring, and generally being active...IF there is something to get excited about. But otherwise...I'm not sure where the "high" in "high drive" is, lol.

GatorDog 06-25-2012 05:33 PM

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A lot of the Schutzhund stuff develops with age. While Aiden isn't really the 'drivey-est' dog, he loves protection work. A good Schutzhund club will be able to lead you in the right direction with developing prey drive in the bitework. Do you have a flirt pole? That always really brings out the prey drive in Aiden. We didn't really start working in protection until he was about 7 or 8 months old. I didn't get him with the intentions of doing Schutzhund, and even after starting I didn't really have high expectations. At 7 months, Aiden was mildly interested in protection work. Now at almost 3, you wouldn't think it was the same dog. He is in no way a fantastic Schutzhund dog, but we have a good time out there. Don't sell your pup so short just yet! Aiden sleeps all day long in the house and still managed to get an IPO1 title.

Like Lies said, my dogs also live together and have tons of toys and bones around the house. I wouldn't consider your dog as a dud for bitework quite yet. He's still super young and you have yet to be evaluated by a working club.

Kaiser2012 06-25-2012 05:42 PM

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I have a cat flirt Haven't made one for a dog yet, but he goes BONKERS for the cat toy!

robk 06-25-2012 06:50 PM

I would let him grow up some more and reevaluate him again after a year of age. Some dogs mature slower. Let him be a puppy.

GatorDog 06-25-2012 06:54 PM

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Aid would chase the tug when he first started, but he was in no way crazy about it. He peed on the floor his first time out there! He was just not focused and kinda lolly-gagging around. Neither one of us knew what to do, lol. Once we got the right guidance, we started seeing real progress. Again, nothing spectacular, but it is what it is. He is a great dog to learn with.

This is from his first time out, at about 7 months.
Aiden vom HausDaka - Protection 2/25/2010 - YouTube

And this is a recent video during some trial preparation.
Aiden vom HausDaka - Protection 5/12/12 - YouTube

Elaine 06-25-2012 07:10 PM

Ignore the advice about no toys and no playing with your other dogs: it's rubbish. I do keep the training toys for training only, but they have others for home use. I also keep my dogs together all the time. This only becomes an issue for people that toss the dogs in the yard together and then don't do anything with them so they only really bond to each other and not the handler.

Kaiser2012 06-25-2012 07:16 PM

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great! thank you so much for your encouraging words! :)

Dooney's Mom 06-25-2012 07:23 PM

We see plenty of "sleeper" pups in our classses. One we were sure was going to be a "dud" and now it is awesome to watch her work. I didn't start Dooney in it until after she was a year old. I agree with the others- let your dog be a puppy, try a few different trainers until you find the fit, and work on your obedience- the bitework will come in time :)

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