Loss of Drive on the Field - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-06-2016, 02:32 PM Thread Starter
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Loss of Drive on the Field

Hi everyone,
I have a 10 mo. old German Shepherd pup from workinglines. Hes super drivey at home withfood and the ball, but anytime were on the training field or even out at a localquiet park, he shuts down - he loses any and all interest in me, food, treats,balls, tugs, etc. Getting him to do eventhe most basic commands like sit or watch me is like a chore, no matter howpeppy/exciting I am or what yummy treats I use. The environment consumes 100% of his attention(even if its the same park/field weve been to 100 times before). Hes been well socialized from day 1 by hisbreeder and myself of course. So Ithought it might have just been a phase, but I havent seen anyimprovement. I have tons of saved Youtubeclips and DVDs on tugging, engagement training, etc. I even decided to take a break from SchHbecause were not getting anywhere with it. Ive seen other young puppies on the field that are solely focused on their owner, so I cant even blame it on his age.

So needless to say I am getting slightly discouraged at thispoint. I ended up a crazy, insane dog inthe house that is calm as anything on the training field. Hes ass-backwards LOL! Anyone else go through this with their dogsor have any suggestions?

-Logan: Black WLGSD puppy
-Gus-Gus: Pomeranian
-Loki: Congo African Grey Parrot
-Tula: Pitty mix
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post #2 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-06-2016, 02:44 PM
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I'd just shut him down at home instead. No toys, playing, training. I'd crate him a little more for a couple of weeks or so, then take him to the park crated in the car and give him a chance to play with you. If he still doesn't, put him back in the crate, for a few minutes then give him another chance. Don't demand any firm obedience or anything, just a good effort playing with you.
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post #3 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-06-2016, 07:11 PM
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Is he distracted by the environment so doesn't want to play/work or overwhelmed by the environment so is unable to play/work?
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post #4 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-06-2016, 07:16 PM
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"The environment consumes 100% of his attention(even if its the same park/field weve been to 100 times before):="

what is he like in different environments (non-home) when you are just there and not in a training mode?

is he visually distracted or is he sound sensitive , does he look for confrontation that he has to avoid , which may include human or dog social encounters that pose no threat or aggression?

what are his lines (pedigree)

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post #5 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-07-2016, 04:48 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the responses so far.

So, he no longer has access to toys/balls around the house, and hasn’t for quite some time, but I’d really prefer not to crate him any more than I already do.

And I believe he is just distractedby the environment. His nose generally goes straight to the ground the whole time we’re out & about. His hackles may go up a bit when we 1st get to a place if it is crowded, but he settles after the first few minutes. And if/when we do pass people walking other dogs and kids screaming on the playground – he’s un-phased it (no hackles,growling or barking), still just nose to the ground.

I’m frustrated because it’s I know it’s me vs. the environment, and I don’t exist outside of the house and backyard. When I call him or run away from him in agame, more than the time I have to bribe him. He has some days when he will be more focused, but most of the time it’s almost more work than its worth. I enjoy traveling and hiking with my dogs, so I certainly don’t expect him to be 100% focused on me the entire time, but if I say his name or tell him to sit, I’d like a better response from him, if that makes sense.

-Logan: Black WLGSD puppy
-Gus-Gus: Pomeranian
-Loki: Congo African Grey Parrot
-Tula: Pitty mix
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post #6 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-07-2016, 05:05 PM Thread Starter
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Im wondering if/when we go for walks, if I should:
let him sniff awhile, get it out of his system,then try to engage; OR
try engagement 1st then continue onwith our walk.

-Logan: Black WLGSD puppy
-Gus-Gus: Pomeranian
-Loki: Congo African Grey Parrot
-Tula: Pitty mix
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post #7 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-07-2016, 06:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K9raqs View Post
Im wondering if/when we go for walks, if I should:
let him sniff awhile, get it out of his system,then try to engage; OR
try engagement 1st then continue onwith our walk.
Engagement 1st IMO. I have a 9 month old that gets overstimulated by her environment i.e. Others playing with any type of ball or bite work. I just have to keep working with her in those environments and slowly she is becoming more focused on me and not so crazy nuts. High drive pup. Not sure if that's the same problem you have? Steve made a good suggestion about focusing on you with playing tug or whatever. I'm doing a lot of that and she's becoming more focused on me.
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post #8 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-07-2016, 08:22 PM
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Sniffing the ground can be a form of avoidance where he is telling you he is not comfortable with the environment. The hackles are also an indication of his not being comfortable. I would try to engage him on the walks like you mentioned above. Do a little, then free him up to sniff, do a little, then free him up. See if you can extend the duration of his engagement.

You might avoid the busy park for awhile until you can get the engagement just on your walks.

Lisa Clark

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post #9 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-07-2016, 10:04 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by lhczth View Post
You might avoid the busy park for awhile until you can get the engagement just on your walks.

Yes! Good call! I'll take a few steps back.

-Logan: Black WLGSD puppy
-Gus-Gus: Pomeranian
-Loki: Congo African Grey Parrot
-Tula: Pitty mix
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post #10 of 34 (permalink) Old 06-07-2016, 11:00 PM
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I have a dog that is much the same. He would rather track/hunt than engage with me. Especially in new places with different scents. It is not avoidance at all, but his need to scent. I track him before we do obedience and it is still over the top. Food drive is high, so I can engage him with food, but then he'll try to find what may have been dropped. I don't want to bang on him for it, and get frustrated which will not help at all.
Tug, ball, fetch is not valuable on the training field, I can tug at home but it isn't really high value for him to win, or does he push me for more.
My other older dog is so unlike this one that I am digging into that toolbox with little success.
I will get there, but won't expect miracles.
I know I do give this dog more freedom than I should, but my personal life has taken over for the time being(stepmom is in hospice, taking care of the family/support is my focus at this time) so training is not the big priority now. I hope and pray I can get us engaged and tug/fightdrive for that tug kicks in.

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Last edited by onyx'girl; 06-07-2016 at 11:02 PM.
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