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Hi everyone!


I have seen a few posts regarding Drive does not equal Energy.



I have read that a higher drive can make training easier as they are easily enticed by their drive. ( I may be misunderstanding what I read). I thought I remembered actually reading that a High Drive can be more difficult as well and worse around kids than a low drive.



How does drive affect going for a hike?



Is a low drive difficult to train but less likely to nip at kids running around?
 

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IMO most people looking for a great active companion are wanting a medium drive dog. Low drive is not what I would want to work with or even hang out with and super high drive is probably too pushy and too demanding for most pet homes. My dad got an adult female that is medium to medium high drive. She is very good, but sometimes the pushing to play can be a bit much. They do love her, though. If she had been much younger she might have been too much dog for him.
 

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Lower drive dog lets me take a nap, might even join me, while my higher drive dog drops things on me. Kind of like water boarding only with toys.
LOL great description!

My advice would be forget about you assessing a drive category and what you want..choose a reputable recommended breeder (post in "choosing a breeder" section would be good). Tell the breeder about your wants, your life, and your vision of your life with the dog. They will know how to most accurately place one of their puppies.
 

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Is a low drive difficult to train but less likely to nip at kids running around?
And just as a general FYI any GSD pup or Lab pup or whatever pup is likely to do this. It's a family convo of expectations and a plan on how to handle/redirect etc
 

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LOL great description!

My advice would be forget about you assessing a drive category and what you want..choose a reputable recommended breeder (post in "choosing a breeder" section would be good). Tell the breeder about your wants, your life, and your vision of your life with the dog. They will know how to most accurately place one of their puppies.
Exactly. Figure out what you from a gsd and find one that meets your expectations.
 

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Think of drive as an innate, genetic thing that a dog can't ever "turn off". A dog with high prey drive, for example, will always be excited by prey. And that can translate to balls or any small creature running and making noise, kids included! But that doesn't mean for one second that they can't be trained to differentiate!

High defensive drive is a completely different thing though, so "drivey" versus non "drivey" doesn't do it Justus.

IMHO any dog that is high energy but low drive is a poorly bred dog! You don't want that!

What, as others have mentioned, you really want is a medium drive dog, then set appropriate boundaries and train them! So many people don't for some reason like to tell a dog NO. When in fact, that's the best thing they could possibly do! And mean it when you do, without being angry or out of control!
 

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I wouldn't concern myself with drive, I would find a reputable breeder and be honest and open about what you expect from a dog and what you can and cannot provide.

My working dog was probably low drive but had off the charts protection drive, so it worked really well. My current dog has is lower drive but crazy hunt and prey drive and she is a happy mess most would not live with. My old man was high drive but super biddable so we made it work.
Drive needs to be balanced and measured with other traits.
 

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thresholds are also something that is important...drives are described from low to high, thresholds are as important for control as well. I want a high drive, medium to high threshold and a thinking dog. The main drives that are important to me, are pack, food, hunt and fight. Total package when balanced.
 

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Drive and energy seem to go together and I think it's hard to tell at 8 weeks what the dog will be. See what the parents are and roll the dice. I got a lot more than what I asked for and apparently at 8 weeks the breeder thought my pup was medium drive because she wasn't as interested in biting the stupid rubber chicken as exploring. She is very high drive and energy.
 

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I believe you also have to look at the resources that are available to you as well as far as training and extracurricular activities / sports that you might be interested in. Although I rescue my dogs, at the time I acquired my most recent dog I was getting ready to embark on a job that used primarily positive reinforcement and clicker training - which were new to me and i needed practice... during my search it was important that I find a dog that was highly food motivated and complimented that training style. That was one of my assessments when I met him.

You mentioned hiking... I hike quite a bit... but there is a difference in a 2-3 mile leashed hike in a park (which all of my GSD have been fine with regardless of energy and drive) vs 10-20 mile off leash hike with challenging terrain, lots of wildlife, etc.

To some, drive is drive.... and to say (or try to figure out) that you’d like a dog with high food drive, high play drive, moderate defense drive, low hunt drive and low prey drive because you like to hike... it’s much easier, as folks have suggested, to tell a breeder that you’re looking for a hiking partner and let them figure that out for you.
 

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I have a dog with low prey drive. Low food drive, low lots of drives. She's interested in people and other dogs and has a decent amount of energy. If she gets bored she'll get destructive. But it's pretty hard to work with her. She loses interest or gets distracted very easy so it's a lot of work to keep her engaged. I taught her commands but it's not as nice to work with her as say my other dog who has insane ball drive decent food motivation. I'm not quite sure on prey drive and such. If she could she would chased but I've made that a no-go so now she watches or points. And out of the two she is a lot more fun to work with. Considerably higher drives as compared to the little to no drive dog. That said the low drive dog would make an excellent family dog/hiking companion on temperament but she's from a not great breeder and if she didn't have the desire to be with people she'd be awful. I personally would avoid low drive dogs unless you also want a low energy couch potato breed that isn't a GSD. Not a GSD but the lab I was fostering would've been awful if he had low drive with everything else staying the same.

I also agree with others though it depends on what drives. I agree in Fodder that you'll want lower prey drive. Dogs going after wildlife is one of the biggest issues you can have when hiking. Depending on where you are and what wildlife you have.
 

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As an avid hiker, on popular trails, I would suggest a moderate to higher energy level with moderate to low overall drives. With the higher drive dogs, you have to be "on", as you can't train for every situation and higher drive dogs come with responsibility. A lower drive dog makes for a more relaxing hiking experience.

A lower drive dog may be a little harder to engage and train, but they need a lot less training. They aren't going to need to be trained, or trained as much, to leave wildlife alone or to not invade somebody's picnic or to not interrupt somebody's ball game. On the other hand, if safety is a factor, such as hiking remote areas, one will most likely find a higher drive dog more useful.

Do be careful to listen to whatever breeder you choose. Make sure that you understand what they are telling you. I recently spoke with somebody who was unhappy with their GSD puppy. They sought a lower drive, lower energy dog and that is exactly what they got. Problem is that was not exactly what they expected or thought they were getting. Make sure you know what low drive, high drive, low energy, high energy, low thresholds, etc., looks like. You just might get what you asked for and it might not be what you wanted.
 

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For hiking, especially in more difficult terrain you'll want a dog that is environmentally sound and has a bit of social-ness about them. Aloof of is fine, just not reactive. I rarely encounter people on hikes so when we do I want it to be uneventful. My dog can alert, however reactivity would be unacceptable. Trails can have boulder fields, river crossings through rough water or over the water on dead fall, you want a dog that can moto on through without missing a beat, same goes for guns, storms, and city traffic, all should be a non issue.
 

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Dogs can be high drive and have an "off switch" allowing them to settle in the house and their owners can take a nap. High drive doesn't have to be off the wall, crazy and not being able to settle down. I have two dogs that I would describe as very "high drive." When we are out, working, playing, tracking, doing bite work or detection work the drives are always high. when I come home they have no issue settling down and relaxing.

High drive dogs are easy for me to train because I know how to manipulate the dog's drives and take advantage of the drive. I enjoy working dogs "in drive." Even with my high drive dogs, I spend time building and shaping drives. "Capping" or impulse control is a big part of training, especially when working with high drive dogs. I would much prefer to work with a high drive dog than a low drive dog.
 

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I consider Deja high drive but only when I am working with her. In the house or on a walk down town she is nice and calm but alert. The moment I ask her something, doesn't matter how or in which language, she goes into gear. Her drive and off button are in good balance. She is perfect for me. Given, she is now 5 years old but even in her adolescence I never regretted getting her. For decades I have made the mistake of thinking that high drive would exclude a pet home. I was so wrong and have missed out on many years of having a WL GSD!
If you want low drive, get a show Golden retriever. The WL Goldens will drive you nuts.
 

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DO NOT get a show golden retriever because you think it will be low drive. Just like in show GSDs, drives vary. If you want a low drive dog, find a breeder that produces low/medium drive dogs and tell them exactly what you want. I have no idea why people on this forum seem to think golden retrievers are easy puppies, low drive, low energy, etc. It just isn’t true in a well bred dog, field or show.
 

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DO NOT get a show golden retriever because you think it will be low drive. Just like in show GSDs, drives vary. If you want a low drive dog, find a breeder that produces low/medium drive dogs and tell them exactly what you want. I have no idea why people on this forum seem to think golden retrievers are easy puppies, low drive, low energy, etc. It just isn’t true in a well bred dog, field or show.
Agreed! i just saw a local news blurb yesterday of a woman's golden retriever taking on a guy who was robbing her and doing some damage. Same can also be said of showline gsds. People often suggest them to those who are considering the breed as if they would be guaranteed an easier dog and that is not always the case.
 

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DO NOT get a show golden retriever because you think it will be low drive. Just like in show GSDs, drives vary. If you want a low drive dog, find a breeder that produces low/medium drive dogs and tell them exactly what you want. I have no idea why people on this forum seem to think golden retrievers are easy puppies, low drive, low energy, etc. It just isn’t true in a well bred dog, field or show.
Good to know. My opinion was based on my observations over the years.
 
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