Re: Need tips for building drive & confidence
JohnnyB, if you are asking the question in conjunction with Schutzhund trainning, you should post in the Schutzhund section for some specific help in drive development.
To start with, it is fully possible to overdo obedience training in a young pup and squash the drives. I'm with you, stop all obedience training, and focus on having tons of fun! Encourage jumping on you, biting, tugging, chasing, and your pup ALWAYS wins! Make a big deal out of it!
Set your dog up for success! Don't put him in situations where you need voice commands to control him, because if he does not obey, well you have to re-inforce the command, and you are going backwards in developing confidence. All OB work should at this point be for treats treats treats!
To build drive, get a rag, rope, ball on a rope, and have him chase it as you whip it around. Let him catch it, he tugs, he wins! Keep these toys special and he only gets to play with them when you decide. They are not around for him to play with as he pleases, though you can have other toys of lower value laying around the house for him, but never the ones you use to build him up.
Keep the play sessions short, have him catch and win two, three times, then quit while he is still wanting more! Always build him up to a high level of excitement, then quit before his focus/energy starts to lag. Always keep him wanting more. The next time you bring out the speicial toy, he should be dancing in anticipation at playing the game.
Lots of off leash time. Run around with him, roll on the ground with him, develop his stamina and coordination. Take him to a LOT of places, challenge his mind with new environments, new situations, new surfaces to walk on. Always a lot of treats, lots of praise.
Some examples of things to try: Go to horse club, let him see horses close up, walk on grates, climb open stairs, explore playground forts and equipment.
But I really encourage you to post in the Schutzhund section (I believe you were asking about shutzhund in a previous post?), you will get a lot more good stuff.
Lucy, yes, you can shut down a dog and dampen their confidence if you ask too much too soo. OB work is hard problem solving work for them, and it is completely possible to fry their brain if asking too much too soon, and if using a lot of corrections and harshness, or even just a bored or disappointed tone of voice when training.
Like kids, you want to make it fun for them. Easy steps, lots of positive rewards and praise, and they associate all that "hard-work" with having fun.
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Keeta BH, OB1, TR1, AD
Rottweiler/Hairy Dog mix?? 2004-2015