Very prey-driven GSP - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-29-2009, 01:09 PM Thread Starter
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Very prey-driven GSP

I am currently helping an older neighbor with their young, energetic GSP who needs a lot of training.

He used to be a hunting dog, that is obvious, but after the hunting season ended the lady's daughter found him wandering aimlessly and brought him to her rescue, then to her mom who had just lost her GWP.

This boy is very hard to handle for her, he is on the constant lookout for birds, and other small game and lunges unexpectedly according to her, I have yet to experience more than very enthusiastic prey drive. So far, when I've seen him really staring down a bird or other animal, I say his name or "Come on!" and turn abruptly around. It snaps him out of it quickly.

I do not want to up his drive any more, but would getting an prey-like toy to play with cause him to act even worse? I know he LOVE it, but I don't want to cause them any issues.

He also had a big problem with pulling, after a couple of walks together to get him used to me, I've been stopping dead for a few seconds, or turning around when he pulls. He caught on to this very quickly as well.

He is a real sweetheart, but honesty, I don't know how this lady has done it all this time. Now her husband is in rehab from having his hips replaced, and I would hate to see them have to rehome him because of his behavior, she has never said she would, but I can't imagine that if he keeps knocking them down they could take it.


Other than my toy question, if you have experience with ex hunting dogs and rehabbing them to behave in a civilized manner, do not hesitate to share some tips.


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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-29-2009, 01:20 PM
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Re: Very prey-driven GSP

Quote:
Quote: lunges unexpectedly according to her, I have yet to experience more than very enthusiastic prey drive.
no help, but it's quite likely that he does behave very differently with her - get her (& her husband) started on a strict NILIF program with this pup & that will really help with all aspects of his behavior.
You can train/re-train this pup all you like, but you really need to equally train the owners.
If they're interested & you're patient, amazing things can happen
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-29-2009, 05:15 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Very prey-driven GSP

I do plan on printing out a training sheet detailed with everything I've done.

This is him, BTW... I do not condone the choke chain, he had an easy-walk harness, but he has a growth on his chest that needs to be removed, a normal collar did not work with him.
I will see about getting her a mart. collar.




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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-29-2009, 06:43 PM
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Re: Very prey-driven GSP

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Originally Posted By: Alto
Quote:
Quote: lunges unexpectedly according to her, I have yet to experience more than very enthusiastic prey drive.
no help, but it's quite likely that he does behave very differently with her ...
That was my exact thought when I read that sentence too. She will need to be trained, as mentioned. And you might have to observe her a bit to see exactly what is going on.

ETA: I don't think the toy will make things work. At best it might give him an outlet.


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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-29-2009, 11:33 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Very prey-driven GSP

That is what I thought...

This lady has a hard time with him, when I see her walk, he is in the front pulling to whatever interests him. It's obvious who is in charge of their walks.


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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-30-2009, 12:14 AM
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Re: Very prey-driven GSP

And a lot of that starts with the relationship that they have in the house too.


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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-30-2009, 12:23 AM
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Re: Very prey-driven GSP

I'm assuming that appropriate measures have been taking to reunite this dog with it's original family?
I only ask because my neighbor went through a similar circumstance last year. He was hunting his young bitch when something startled her and she took off, oblivious to his commands. He was devastated and spent 3 nights camping out and looking for her. When he had to return home, he left his sleeping bag and sweater where he had last hunted her, in the hopes that she would find his scent. He drove back every other day to spend a few hours looking.(he had been hunting 2 hours away)
Happily, another group of hunters found her a week later, curled up and miserable on his sleeping bag.
It seems to me that if effort has been placed into training, then someone has to care. If my neighbors dog had been picked up by someone who wanted to keep her, then he would have never had known, and they would have been left with a sweet GSP who has a high hunting drive.

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-30-2009, 04:31 PM
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Re: Very prey-driven GSP

Aloha, find a way to WEAR that dog out before walks.
Seems to me it is much easier to train and compliant once the dog has all the built up daily "lets go, go go" energy out of their system.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-30-2009, 05:34 PM
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Re: Very prey-driven GSP

I don't condone chokes either, but by the pic you are using it wrong. If the dog is supposed to walk at your left, the ring needs to be the other way. The way the dog is using the choke it doesn't release after receiving a correction, that way the dog is unable to discern wright from wrong, as he keeps being corrected if he pulls and if he doesn't.

Choke has to be RELAXED, dog pulls, pop, never tension. With the ring at the left of the dog there is always some degree of tension there.

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-31-2009, 01:35 PM
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Re: Very prey-driven GSP

I don't know a GSP who doesn't have a high prey drive. They won't outgrow it and it won't go away. I have trained obedience using a prong collar and hunt using an e-collar. I train "leave it" when I want to stop the "point" on a small animal or songbird. My dogs are very strong and if I'm not using the prong or gentle leader harness they tend to take a few steps then pull on me. As a member of GSP rescue I know we will not place a "cat keen" GSP in a home with a cat because it will surely be killed. My guys have killed groundhogs, moles and even a wondering cat. I have 10 acres for them to run and play on and they are still plenty active everyday. They never seem to tire.

Keep in mind that GSP were bred to run in the fields and woods and find a "bird", point the bird until it's is flushed and shot, then retrieve the bird back to the hunter. Then do it all over again all day long.

I would suggest a good obedience training and PLENTY of exercise each day (not just a walk in the park), throwing a tennis ball for an hour or so, tugging, agility, dog park etc. Under the circumstances you describe for the woman and husband, I would say try to find the owner or contact rescue. The environment doesn't seem very good for the humans or GSP. He is a beautiful GSP.

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