Struggle with toy drive - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-14-2016, 08:59 PM Thread Starter
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Struggle with toy drive

I am struggling with my working line GSDs toy drive. His pedigree is full of SCH 3 titles and both os his parents are high drive SCH3 dogs.
Ever since he was a puppy he seems to lack intensity in his drive to chase the ball. But when he is in front of a decoy he is insanely intense and looks totally blood-drunk.

I am really stuck right now to find a solution. His engagement with me is absolutely pathetic when we go outside .. its as if he does not care about the ball anymore. I tried to be very animated and praised him a lot when he played but he seems to check out very quickly. On the other hand if there is somebody new that he meets he will play very intensely with them.

I have kept him under extremely strict obedience and manners in the house ..is it causing the lack of intensity and drive ? or is he just too young ? Please help me point out the potential reasons and solutions. I love my boy and I want him to enjoy the training with toys. I do not want to just push him into something he does not enjoy.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-14-2016, 09:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Jugisland View Post
I am struggling with my working line GSDs toy drive. His pedigree is full of SCH 3 titles and both os his parents are high drive SCH3 dogs.
Ever since he was a puppy he seems to lack intensity in his drive to chase the ball. But when he is in front of a decoy he is insanely intense and looks totally blood-drunk.

I am really stuck right now to find a solution. His engagement with me is absolutely pathetic when we go outside .. its as if he does not care about the ball anymore. I tried to be very animated and praised him a lot when he played but he seems to check out very quickly. On the other hand if there is somebody new that he meets he will play very intensely with them.

I have kept him under extremely strict obedience and manners in the house ..is it causing the lack of intensity and drive ? or is he just too young ? Please help me point out the potential reasons and solutions. I love my boy and I want him to enjoy the training with toys. I do not want to just push him into something he does not enjoy.
He may be a more defensive dog and not so high in prey?
I also wonder if the dog is inhibited due to you keeping him on such a tight rein. So he defers to you instead of engaging?

I have a dog that isn't so much into interacting with toys with me. Tug is only when competition is around. I use food for engagement at this time, food drive is very high. I did not put much on him as far as strict obedience or manners, he is a fairly free dog to be with my others and family. But I do know, he is a defensive dog when it comes to protection, with a high threshold. I hope his toy drive kicks in so I can work him with a ball or tug instead of him chewing me up for food.

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-14-2016, 09:32 PM Thread Starter
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He may be a more defensive dog and not so high in prey?
I also wonder if the dog is inhibited due to you keeping him on such a tight rein. So he defers to you instead of engaging?
I don't think the helper is working him in defense yet. Looking at how his tail wags nicely and how comfortable/confident he is while wanting to bite the sleeve I am pretty positive he is working in prey drive.

I am afraid that I have inhibited the dog by too much control on every minute of his day. It seems like an uphill journey now to make him lose and wanting to engage me instead of finding other sources to keep himself entertained.

I met my dog trainer to discuss the issue and he showed me how to play with my dog. I have been trying everything that he suggested but the dog just does not want to engage with me in play. I happened to across one of our club members on SCH field and my dog chased the ball like a bullet with him. Ughhh I am feeling extremely frustrated.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-14-2016, 10:07 PM
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you don't have a good bond with your dog then? Is he intimidated by you? The too much control needs to be put away and let the dog have a longer line....for now.
though, I am doing the opposite, and getting the same results, lol. But I know the reason why my dog isn't into tug/ball with me, I let him have more freedom than necessary as far as a sport dog goes. So we both need to switch up our programs and see how the dogs are in one month!

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-14-2016, 10:51 PM Thread Starter
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you don't have a good bond with your dog then? Is he intimidated by you? The too much control needs to be put away and let the dog have a longer line....for now.
He is very velcro ...he would rather stick to me all day. However I do think he finds me intimidating. When we r in the house I dont even have to say no if he is sniffing my socks or anything else .... As soon as I give him a stare he just stops in his tracks. For formal training I used 100% motivation with food but while micromanaging him in the house everything was compulsion. He is a toally different dog around my wife ...she is a sweetie and pampers him. He does not want to stop once she starts tossing the ball for him.

I have a couple sessions scheduled with my dog trainer this week. I will give the pup a lot of freedom and let him be what he is for a month and check in with you !! thanks ...I am just concerned right now if i have caused an irreversible damage to my relationship with my pup
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-15-2016, 12:29 AM
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I had a client with a career changed guide dog. Same behavior; completely numb and no initiative because they are over-managed and trained to ignore life. You need to loosen up and start to be with your dog without expecting anything from him. Just hang out with hm in front of the TV (TV as distraction) and pet him mindlessly. Do not do this in training mode. Maybe watch your wife and imitate her. Replace collar, leash, even tags that can remind him of the before time. He is not a robot.
I think it is a good sign that he can open up to others. You just have to work on it to bring that out in him. Have fun with him; he is your GSD!!
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-15-2016, 01:33 AM Thread Starter
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I had a client with a career changed guide dog. Same behavior; completely numb and no initiative because they are over-managed and trained to ignore life. You need to loosen up and start to be with your dog without expecting anything from him. Just hang out with hm in front of the TV (TV as distraction) and pet him mindlessly. Do not do this in training mode. Maybe watch your wife and imitate her. Replace collar, leash, even tags that can remind him of the before time. He is not a robot.
I think it is a good sign that he can open up to others. You just have to work on it to bring that out in him. Have fun with him; he is your GSD!!
From your experience do u think it is pretty reversible ?
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-15-2016, 09:20 AM
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If he likes bitework you should be able to work with him. Is he food driven? If so you can use this as part of your engagement.

It does sound like you need to free him up. You might try back tying him and teasing the heck out of him to build drive for the toy and wanting to engage with you. Be exciting kicking the ball around or the tug, grabbing it, swinging it in front of him, throwing it, racing over to snatch it up, etc, but for the first few times I would not give him a bite. I would toss it a little ways (not super far) and while he is all excited, slowly pull him into the house as he tries to drag you to the toy. After a bit this should really build the frustration and then you can add in a few bites on the toy and some quick fight before, again, teasing and then slowing taking him into the house while he tries to drag you to the toy.

Do you just throw the ball or do you get in a good fight, tug game with him? Elena will chase a ball at home in play all day, will chase it while training, but it is very half hearted. She prefers tugging with me. Her main drive, though, in obedience is food and I used the ball as a jackpot in certain spots. Like your pup and Jane's she loves bitework. I probably could have built more drive for toys if I had done what I described above.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-15-2016, 10:44 AM
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Wonder if this is worth a try. I got a Pyrenean Shepherd once as an adult and she had no toy drive. I got a rabbit pelt and she loved it. I basically taught her to play and eventually transferred that to a small toy. Careful if you try this as I gave the pelt to my brother for the same reason and his Berner ate it.

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Rescue GSD - Freyja (Husband's Dog)
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-15-2016, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Jugisland View Post
From your experience do u think it is pretty reversible ?
I know you were not asking me, but I do have a rescue dog that was pretty shut down and I made it worse (just using treat training)--basically got to the point were he would run away from an offered treat -- so yes, you can reverse this.

Sounds like he has toy drive, but is intimidated by you. I'd let your wife or others play, he will still be building great associations with the toy--and you can watch and learn but stay out of the way.

Give him a holiday from you (as much) as you can, in terms of demands. But be there for him if he asks for you.

I have (and am) been there done that. Sonic plays tug with my (kinder, gentler, less demanding husband) but I need to use a "tug and treat" frisbee and keep things fun & short. But things are getting better. So I have and am taken my own advice.

Basically, I had to stop training him for a few weeks, and still need to not train if I'm not feeling "cheerfull", at least in regards to sport stuff.

Sometimes just us wanting something badly will put pressure on a dog.

Chill, have fun.

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