Let dog carry toy on walks - increases toy possessiveness? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-10-2016, 02:36 PM Thread Starter
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Let dog carry toy on walks - increases toy possessiveness?

I wonder if it increases toy possessiveness for the dog if its allowed to carry a toy while doing our walks? The dog has earned the toy somehow from the beginning though and was not just given to it.

I have some slight problems with the dog letting go of the toy if we have been playing for a while or so. It isnt that bad, she will eventually give up the toy (sometime immediately), but it could be much better. I am doing some obedience at walks like heeling, downs etc. and also trying to pass other dogs without making any reaction to them and focusing on me. As an reward I use to toss the ball to her and perhaps tug some and usually let her have the toy for a while or for the whole walk.

I now wonder though if this is only increasing the possessiveness of toys and I should stop letting her have it that long? If it does, how can I end the reward-session in a good way so the meaning of "drop it" doesnt get a bad meaning for he (me putting it in my pocket)? I try to tell her to drop it, then let her chase it some without getting it and I put it in my pocket and she gets some treats. But she doesnt always seem that happy after that though, that it actually disappeared in my pocket.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-10-2016, 02:54 PM
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I would trade her a treat for the toy.You can practice at home trading toy for toy and toy for treat.I don't think it's a good idea to get her chasing and excited to capture the toy,but then put it away without letting her win the prize.It creates frustration and possessiveness.
She should feel she'll always be rewarded for giving up whatever she's possessing.

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-10-2016, 02:58 PM
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Actually no - letting her have the toy will help with possessiveness. Carrying the "prey" is all part of the prey drive, and frustrating the prey drive (like not allowing her to possess her catch) only increases the drive to possess the prey.

We do this with young dogs in bite training - they are allowed to carry the bite-pillow or sleeve as a reward. Constantly making them give it up can create conflict which will affect the "out" command at a later stage. Of course, when you give an out command, the dog should obey - but set up your dog for success by not asking for too much too soon, and setting yourself up as a provider of good things (providing the ball or tug to play and carry), and not setting yourself up as the "taker-away" of good things.

With time, as your dog becomes more secure in knowhing that the toy will not be taken away and cause frustration, she will more easily and willingly give up her toy for you.

Some working dogs also need to be working all the time, and to some carrying something is work. I often go for longer walks and let Gryffon choose a toy and bring it, and he'll carry it all the way. I think a normal walk is just too boring for him, having a job to do, like carrying something, helps occupy his brain and keeps him focused on a task.

Bonus is we have a ball or tug for interaction, so I'm having fun too.

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-10-2016, 03:23 PM
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I see dogs carrying toys on the street fairly frequently. So far haven't encountered any that showed possessiveness. Even ran into a handsome GSD (from a local breeder - Bullinger) recently that carried a chuckit ball. Very friendly dog.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-10-2016, 03:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Castlemaid View Post
I think a normal walk is just too boring for him, having a job to do, like carrying something, helps occupy his brain and keeps him focused on a task
I've heard something similar in regards to dog backpacks...that carrying something gives their brain a task to focus on and it helps distract them from stimuli that might normally cause them to be reactive, like another dog. Plus, I imagine the extra weight tires them out a bit sooner.

What do you think?
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-10-2016, 03:50 PM
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I've never used a dog back-pack, but I've seen a lot of posts here on this forum where people related exactly what you have heard. I think they would work great in giving a dog a sense of doing a job and keeping them focused.

Of course, I'm sure it depends on the dog, some would probably be just as spazzy as before, but a large number of people have shared some very positive experiences once they started making their dogs carry a backpack on their walks. I don't see any negatives with it, as long as one doesn't put too much weight in them. Most peopld say they get their dogs to carry their own water and treats. That sounds about right to me.

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-10-2016, 03:57 PM
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Often carrying a toy is helpful for dogs that are whiny, leaking drive. The oral outlet helps get out that energy. I make Onyx carry a ball all the time so she isn't biting at my other dogs. Now that Kacie is gone, she isn't so bad, but before Kacie knew never to go out with Onyx if Onyx wasn't carrying something in her mouth.

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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-11-2016, 03:26 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your answers. Good to know Im not screwing it up by letting her carry the toy, I will happily continue I agree though now that you say it, chasing the ball and not having it increases frustration, gonna stop that immediately when putting it away, even though she gets treats for it.

Anyone seen the Leerburg dvd "The Power of Playing Tug With Your Dog"? Can you figure this out for me?

I havent been worrying about she carrying the toy after play before, but I watched the DVD like a month ago and started worrying about it after that (when I let the dog have it an excessive longer time than this, whole walk). At one point in the DVD he says "Running with the dog can often make him more possessive", when the owner is running around with the dog letting it have the toy (like in beginning of schutzhund) after they have tugged. + Soon at another point when the handler holds his dog under his cheeks while dog it still holding the tug in its mouth (like in shutzhund), the commenter says "Taking the dog into your arms promotes the dog becoming possessive".

Made me worry, but still doesnt make sense when this is things we do in schutzhund, especially with pups/youngsters. Something I am missing here?
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-11-2016, 09:34 AM
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My youngster REALLY likes sticks, will go out of his way for a stick, I bring a toy for him to carry because I don't want him with a stick in his mouth. (I have had to pry a bit of stick stuck in his mouth, don't need that again) So having a toy works for me.

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-11-2016, 09:45 AM
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when I was a kid , we had a dog that loved to carry .
We taught her to use this trait for practical purposes.

Trips to the grocery , dog on a sit-stay outside , while I picked up odds and ends for my mum , that dog would have a little paper bag with something in it and she would
heel all the way home tail up and wagging ever so proud .
She would even carry home milk jugs holding them by the plastic handle .
She took her job seriously. Loved that dog !

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