Is your dog REALLY low drive or ... - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-28-2013, 12:20 PM Thread Starter
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Is your dog REALLY low drive or ...

Do you just not know WHAT drives them?

I had someone at our place not long ago with their dogs. They were excited to see what their one dog - lets call him Spot - would do with the lure course. They brought their other dog - lets call her Jane - just because they didn't want to leave her at home. The conversation started something like this ...
Me: So, are you going to run both dogs at once or one at a time?

Them: Oh, no - just Spot. Jane would NEVER run. She is the laziest dog I've ever owned. She doesn't like to do ANYTHING and I can't get her to listen or obey commands either. Spot is so easy to train - he would do anything for a treat.

Me: What else have you tried with Jane to get her motivated?

Them: If she doesn't want to work for FOOD what else could she possibly want to work for??

We asked another person to hold Jane's leash while we took Spot into the field. The owner was so busy watching Spot chase the lure they didn't realize the source of the screaming coming from the other side of the gate. I took a quick look then smiled and told the owner to turn around.

Jane was trying to go through/over the gate to get in the field!

After Spot was finished the owner brought Jane in ... barely!! The dog was pulling so hard the owner was almost pulled off her feet. Jane FLEW around the course and, at the end, was practically BEGGING for more.

I told the owner how to build a flirt pole and how to use it for training. I can't wait to hear how they are doing!!


It is up to US to find the right 'trigger' that turns on our dogs; that makes them WANT to listen and do what we say.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-28-2013, 12:43 PM
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I think my pup is more motivated for a tennis ball than treats. Sometimes in training I will bring a ball with me because it will keep her attention better than the treats will.

Athena -GSD- born 12/13/12
Luna -Shepherd Mix- born 3/20/99
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-28-2013, 12:59 PM
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Stark is not interested in food, toys or praise so much when working.

What DOES motivate him and is a new discovery this past summer is lure coursing. He has always had great prey drive (real, not toys or the like) but this summer we really got to see how great... lol. It was like it "woke him up". He can't do too much since he has an issue with his back leg, but I will run him every once in a while. It's good for his spirit.

He also enjoys tracking and has excelled at Barn Hunt.

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-28-2013, 01:06 PM
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I so agree with this! And btw so wish I loved closer so I could come practice on your field.

My dog has almost zero food drive so training in traditional positive reinforcement classes is well, a struggle... He's just not interested in the food unless I bring actual meat and even then sometimes it's hard to get him to focus. He is just not a foodie dog.

He's also picky with his toys, most toys he's kind of eh about but his flirt pole and the tug attached he goes absolutely CRAZY for and that's what I use to train him at home. I never get that intensity with food, ever. Now I'm just trying to figure out how to use that around distractions without dealing with the pole part of the flirt pole because the only way to get him in that mode is him seeing the pole or playing a game of chase with the flirt pole first.

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-28-2013, 01:12 PM
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I have tried that too, and if I detach the toy from the pole in any way (even if I put it on a leash or smaller string, etc.) it is of no interest to him. Which is why he doesn't train formally anymore in those venues. He has excellent "pet obedience" so that is my only concern with him outside of his nose work stuff.

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-28-2013, 01:33 PM
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THIS was great story and illustration!
Thank you Lauri for posting it!
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-28-2013, 01:38 PM
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I had this issue with Koda for a while when she was young. She stopped responding to treats and had no interest in toys. I finally figured out she is praise-driven! (:
Ash is easy, luckily. He's a hungry little monster all the time, so a good treat works wonders.


Great story!!! Really a good thread to point out to any new people who join the board and claim their dogs can't be trained. (:

Kymmey
Mom To~ Dakoda (b/t GSD), Acheron (black GSD)
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-28-2013, 02:04 PM
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Great story! And food for thought

Amy and the dogs,

Jack - male GSD b. 8/9/10
Lillian - female Weimaraner b. ~2005
RIP Mattie - female GSD 10/18/02 - 7/24/2013
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-28-2013, 02:10 PM
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Shasta is food motivated but that's it. She really is the LAZIEST dog. She runs when she wants to and that's rare these days. She'd rather chew on a bone. The dog doesn't even like walks longer than down to the mailbox! Dax on the other hand.... he loves food and his love of toys is becoming a good motivator. He screams to get into the truck, walks are "AMAZING!" and he is ready for anything it seems.

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-28-2013, 02:12 PM
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Great story! I find my GSD loves to work so that he can work some more...
"READY!" is just a cue for tune in to handler so we can do more..... "Sit" is always a fast square sit otherwise we cant move to the next behaviour.... etc
My Beardie X on the other hand doesn't move unless a food reward is coming at some point.
Assuming we know what motivates our dog just never works I find it takes months of experimenting to truly know what they love.
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