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?