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I didn't know where exactly to put this since its puppy related but I don't know if its really "basics" related. How do you go about building ball drive in a puppy? I'm possibly putting a deposit on one of two puppies today (one puppy is 5 weeks old on Sunday and the other is 4 weeks on Tuesday). I wanted to know how to go about it in case he lacks the drive I would like. Both puppies have the same father but different mothers and I'm going to discuss with the breeder which puppy would match what I'm look for better.
 

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Can you be more specific? Are you talking about ball drive as in using a ball as a reward during training, or just to enjoy retrieving a ball in play?
 

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Using it as a reward.. Sorry I wasn't more clear.. I didn't really know how to word it correctly. I definitely plan on talking to the breeder about it but just wanted more insight.
 

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Ball drive is part of prey drive. You definitely will want to discuss the drives (not just prey) that have been inherent in the lines your gsd is coming from with the breeder.

If you just restrict the thinking to ball, you may miss other opportunities and objects that you can utilize in your relationship and interaction with your dog-more than just training.

Where are those opportunities? That is part of the fun of learning /building your relationship with your dog. I have plenty of toys/balls for Lancer who has strong drives. While he plays/chases all of them, this is one of his favorites:



A simple rag tied to a piece of leather.
 

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Originally Posted By: Gunnarsmum I wanted to know how to go about it in case he lacks the drive I would like.
Get the pup that HAS to drives you want! If you get a pup that has NO desire to play with toys, you will probably end up with a dog that has no desire to play with toys no matter WHAT you do. In which case, obviously, you can't use toys for a reward.
 

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Originally Posted By: BlackGSD
Originally Posted By: Gunnarsmum I wanted to know how to go about it in case he lacks the drive I would like.
Get the pup that HAS to drives you want! If you get a pup that has NO desire to play with toys, you will probably end up with a dog that has no desire to play with toys no matter WHAT you do. In which case, obviously, you can't use toys for a reward.
I agree.

Drive is genetic. Drive can be somewhat molded through raising and training. We can encourage his drive and thus maximize the amount of the dog's inherent drive that he exhibits, or we can squash it and cause him to somewhat inhibit the expression of his drive drive. But nothing you can do can put drive into a dog if it isn't there genetically, or take drive out of a dog if it isn't there genetically.

If you want a dog with "high ball drive" make sure you are looking at a breeder of such dogs, who is using bloodlines and individual parents who possess this and are known to consistently produce it in their offspring. If the genetics are for low drive, you can't make it a high drive dog, and vice versa.
 

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Here's another:

http://www.thedogathlete.com/playing-with-prey-drive/

Also, I've had two GSDs in a row now that really couldn't have cared less about balls as wee babies. They were both male. One day it just clicked and then you couldn't separate them from balls. I remember Cassidy'sMom saying the same about her male Keefer. At the same time, I'm sure there are puppies that show great interest in balls and then for some reason or another grow up to not really care about them. That's the thing about puppies, you don't know what you'll end up with until they're all grown up. That's where the genetics mom and dad bring to the table come into play. You do your best to stack the deck in your favor. Beyond that it's up to essentially a genetic lottery and your ability to bring out whatever drive is present.

Good luck!
 

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i've never worried about drive in my dogs. i've never had a Shep that wouldn't play tug, retrieve balls or play hard. i'm amazed that people can measure drive in a puppy. i wonder in the way we play with them when they're young do we bring out the drive that's in them? let's say a dog doesn't have drive does that mean we can't teach them to act like they have drive? because a dog doesn't have drive does that mean we can't teach them to retrieve, play tug or herd or whatever? or is it easier to teach them when they have drive? what are you planning to do with your dog that it needs drive? as far as building ball drive i don't know. when it comes to my dog he always had toys available from day one. he had and has balls of different sizes. when he was young i would roll balls towards him and he would push them around. i didn't try to make him retrieve them because he was to young. i got him him when he was 9 weeks old and he had his toys from the begining. i didn't teach him to retrieve untill he knew come. i noticed from a young age that my dog would play with his toys by himself. i'm assuming that's drive. he also likes to herd our Grey Hound. i'm sure your dog will have all of the drive you want it to have. becarefull that it doesn't drive you crazy.
 

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doggiedad, I agree with Chris, I think you can only "teach a dog to act like they have drive" so far before genetics kick in one way or the other. Actually using a dog's ball drive in a sport like SchH is a little different than playing fetch. I have a young dog that would like to play fetch and chase balls all day, but at the same time he does not have very much drive as far as using those toys as motivation to work, work, work. If we are not actively playing with the toy, he has little drive to earn it, so to speak. Now I have seen some drivey dogs that would probably do heeling patterns for 2 hours straight with non-stop eye contact just for one toss of the ball. That kind of drive and intensity is either there or it's not.
 

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Originally Posted By: jesusicaAlso, I've had two GSDs in a row now that really couldn't have cared less about balls as wee babies. They were both male. One day it just clicked and then you couldn't separate them from balls. I remember Cassidy'sMom saying the same about her male Keefer.
Yep, Keefer was definitely a late bloomer as far as retrieving goes. Dena was chasing balls and bringing them back at 9 weeks old, but not my boy. NOW he goes crazy for balls, and not just tennis balls like Dena. He likes soccer balls and footballs and basketballs, and Jolly Balls, which she has no interest in.

At the park, if you've got a Chuck-it he's your new best friend, and he'll try to appropriate other dogs' frisbees. We had to buy him his own Flying Squirrel because he started showing too much interest in everyone else's. I had to take one away from him, march him back with my hand in his collar and hand it over to the owner and walk him away with me because he kept going back for it and wouldn't leave it alone. He'll chase anything that moves!
 

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Thanks jesusica for the new link! It was great and now part of my favorites to share.

While I absolutely agree there is a genetic component to the 'play' drives our dogs have (or do not). We CAN make it better for all our dogs.

I personally feel that many of us take our dog's natural seeming ability to play and either do not continue to build and increase the drive as our dogs grow, but (more importantly and this I really do see all the time) increase our dog's drive's and ability to play WITH US!

And the 'with us' is the key part FOR THE TRAINING. I have a friend who has dogs that shut down and are not drivy at all when he trains and recommended he try to add the toy to his regime. The guy flatly responded, his dogs do not tug. I dropped the subject for a bit (I was really cut off like I was an idiot
). Later I kind of brought up the subject again about all his dogs (he's breeder with quite a pack at the house) and asked if the dog's will play and tug with toys among themselves. Know what the answer was? YES.

So I'm sitting there being told by the guy 'my dogs won't tug' when the reality is 'my dogs won't tug WITH ME'. And that is a VASTLY different answer with different reasons behind it. Is he not fun? Does he not encourage play WITH him? Is he too serious and only an authority figure (who wants to play and have fun with a dictator?).

And 'ball' drive is NOT the same. It's easier for us, the dogs love it, they get exercise and all we have to do it throw the ball, but the REWARD and the PAYOFF doesn't involve us at all. So the bonding, fun, work ethic WITH us isn't fulfilled either.

But tugging (which IS work for us.....) DOES involve us. Does make us an intregal part of 'the game'. Does bring the dog into, close, and realizing that we are worth having in the game.
 
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