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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,
I have a 10 mo. old German Shepherd pup from workinglines. He’s super drivey at home withfood and the ball, but anytime we’re on the training field or even out at a localquiet park, he shuts down - he loses any and all interest in me, food, treats,balls, tugs, etc. Getting him to do eventhe most basic commands like “sit” or “watch me” is like a chore, no matter howpeppy/exciting I am or what yummy treats I use. The environment consumes 100% of his attention(even if it’s the same park/field we’ve been to 100 times before). He’s been well socialized from day 1 by hisbreeder and myself of course. So Ithought it might have just been a phase, but I haven’t seen anyimprovement. I have tons of saved Youtubeclips and DVDs on tugging, engagement training, etc. I even decided to take a break from SchHbecause we’re not getting anywhere with it. I’ve seen other young puppies on the field that are solely focused on their owner, so I can’t even blame it on his age.

So needless to say I am getting slightly discouraged at thispoint. I ended up a crazy, insane dog inthe house that is calm as anything on the training field. He’s ass-backwards – LOL! Anyone else go through this with their dogsor have any suggestions?
 

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I'd just shut him down at home instead. No toys, playing, training. I'd crate him a little more for a couple of weeks or so, then take him to the park crated in the car and give him a chance to play with you. If he still doesn't, put him back in the crate, for a few minutes then give him another chance. Don't demand any firm obedience or anything, just a good effort playing with you.
 

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Is he distracted by the environment so doesn't want to play/work or overwhelmed by the environment so is unable to play/work?
 

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"The environment consumes 100% of his attention(even if it’s the same park/field we’ve been to 100 times before):="

what is he like in different environments (non-home) when you are just there and not in a training mode?

is he visually distracted or is he sound sensitive , does he look for confrontation that he has to avoid , which may include human or dog social encounters that pose no threat or aggression?

what are his lines (pedigree)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the responses so far.

So, he no longer has access to toys/balls around the house, and hasn’t for quite some time, but I’d really prefer not to crate him any more than I already do.

And I believe he is just distractedby the environment. His nose generally goes straight to the ground the whole time we’re out & about. His hackles may go up a bit when we 1st get to a place if it is crowded, but he settles after the first few minutes. And if/when we do pass people walking other dogs and kids screaming on the playground – he’s un-phased it (no hackles,growling or barking), still just nose to the ground.

I’m frustrated because it’s I know it’s me vs. the environment, and I don’t exist outside of the house and backyard. When I call him or run away from him in agame, more than ½ the time I have to bribe him. He has some days when he will be more focused, but most of the time it’s almost more work than its worth. I enjoy traveling and hiking with my dogs, so I certainly don’t expect him to be 100% focused on me the entire time, but if I say his name or tell him to sit, I’d like a better response from him, if that makes sense.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I’m wondering if/when we go for walks, if I should:
· let him sniff awhile, get it out of his system,then try to engage; OR
· try engagement 1st then continue onwith our walk.
 

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I’m wondering if/when we go for walks, if I should:
· let him sniff awhile, get it out of his system,then try to engage; OR
· try engagement 1st then continue onwith our walk.
Engagement 1st IMO. I have a 9 month old that gets overstimulated by her environment i.e. Others playing with any type of ball or bite work. I just have to keep working with her in those environments and slowly she is becoming more focused on me and not so crazy nuts. High drive pup. Not sure if that's the same problem you have? Steve made a good suggestion about focusing on you with playing tug or whatever. I'm doing a lot of that and she's becoming more focused on me.
 

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Sniffing the ground can be a form of avoidance where he is telling you he is not comfortable with the environment. The hackles are also an indication of his not being comfortable. I would try to engage him on the walks like you mentioned above. Do a little, then free him up to sniff, do a little, then free him up. See if you can extend the duration of his engagement.

You might avoid the busy park for awhile until you can get the engagement just on your walks.
 

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I have a dog that is much the same. He would rather track/hunt than engage with me. Especially in new places with different scents. It is not avoidance at all, but his need to scent. I track him before we do obedience and it is still over the top. Food drive is high, so I can engage him with food, but then he'll try to find what may have been dropped. I don't want to bang on him for it, and get frustrated which will not help at all.
Tug, ball, fetch is not valuable on the training field, I can tug at home but it isn't really high value for him to win, or does he push me for more.
My other older dog is so unlike this one that I am digging into that toolbox with little success.
I will get there, but won't expect miracles.
I know I do give this dog more freedom than I should, but my personal life has taken over for the time being(stepmom is in hospice, taking care of the family/support is my focus at this time) so training is not the big priority now. I hope and pray I can get us engaged and tug/fightdrive for that tug kicks in.
 

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This may be really dumb to ask but, are looking to title, or just doing something to play/work your dog? Of it is to title, I will bow out of any further comments (after this one) as it is out of my expertise.. But, if you are looking to do something fun with your dog and enjoy his talents, then my suggestion is to utilize his drive to sniff and explore.. Start doing trailing or tracking... You might find that once he has the opportunity to utilize his drives in the way he really appreciates, that he is more willing to engage in the areas you want... Just my thoughts
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I have a dog that is much the same. He would rather track/hunt than engage with me. Especially in new places with different scents. It is not avoidance at all, but his need to scent. I track him before we do obedience and it is still over the top. Food drive is high, so I can engage him with food, but then he'll try to find what may have been dropped. I don't want to bang on him for it, and get frustrated which will not help at all.
Tug, ball, fetch is not valuable on the training field, I can tug at home but it isn't really high value for him to win, or does he push me for more.
My other older dog is so unlike this one that I am digging into that toolbox with little success.
I will get there, but won't expect miracles.
I know I do give this dog more freedom than I should, but my personal life has taken over for the time being(stepmom is in hospice, taking care of the family/support is my focus at this time) so training is not the big priority now. I hope and pray I can get us engaged and tug/fightdrive for that tug kicks in.

Yes, this is exactly my issue! To the tee!!!!!!!!!!!

I originally got him in hopes to compete in SchH, but Search& Rescue is a definite Plan B (if I can’t get the drives out for SchH - Iknow they’re there, they just turn off outside of the yard for sniff time).

 

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I have a dog that is much the same. He would rather track/hunt than engage with me. Especially in new places with different scents. It is not avoidance at all, but his need to scent. I track him before we do obedience and it is still over the top. Food drive is high, so I can engage him with food, but then he'll try to find what may have been dropped. I don't want to bang on him for it, and get frustrated which will not help at all.
Tug, ball, fetch is not valuable on the training field, I can tug at home but it isn't really high value for him to win, or does he push me for more.
My other older dog is so unlike this one that I am digging into that toolbox with little success.
I will get there, but won't expect miracles.
I know I do give this dog more freedom than I should, but my personal life has taken over for the time being(stepmom is in hospice, taking care of the family/support is my focus at this time) so training is not the big priority now. I hope and pray I can get us engaged and tug/fightdrive for that tug kicks in.

Yes, this is exactly my issue! To the tee!!!!!!!!!!!

I originally got him in hopes to compete in SchH, but Search& Rescue is a definite Plan B (if I can?t get the drives out for SchH - Iknow they?re there, they just turn off outside of the yard for sniff time).
So I may be a tad sensitive to this, but SAR is not a "plan B" because can't do IPO. Your dog ignores you on the IPO field and you don't get a title. In SAR people die.

If the dogs drive is not strong enough to overcome either distractions on the field or the stress of just being on the field then he is not an appropriate SAR candidate.
 

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So what did your club training director have to say about all this? Were any seminars that might help you teach your dog engagement recommended? Deb Zappia is an excellent resource for this. Any training tips to keep your dog engaged? Games? Recommended time off from training?
 

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Well I personally think the dog might be suitable for SAR if it's drives are for the scent.. My girl probably wouldn't be good for IPO, but she is a solid certified trailer, as is my boy. .. They live for the trail (and soon to be certified HRD) However I truly agree that SAR cannot be a secondary plan.. The immense amount of work, time, money, training etc that is necessary for human and dog is not something to be taken lightly.. And as another poster mentioned, the stakes are enormously higher then title or no title.. Luke life and death high... So I agree wholeheartedly that it is not a light undertaking...
 

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So what did your club training director have to say about all this? Were any seminars that might help you teach your dog engagement recommended? Deb Zappia is an excellent resource for this. Any training tips to keep your dog engaged? Games? Recommended time off from training?
Did you see what Jax asked? I'm curious too, what someone who's seen your pup has to say. Another way of looking at what your describing is he's ignoring you. That makes it pretty tough to figure what he'd be suitable for work or sport wise.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
My club director says to work on engagement and prey/balldrive, which I have been trying to do. And it’s not that he “ignores” me necessarily – he just doesn’t want to engage in play or formal obedience (like he does at home) when there are new things to smell. I started reading up on SAR recently. I think channeling his scent drives towards something good, would be awesome for us. I understand it is quite a commitment, but Iam hoping to meet with a group soon to learn more about the whole process.
I have also registered for a Focus through Games class which starts in a few weeks, so fingers crossed that also helps us in the meantime.
 

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SAR and any of the scent detection disciplines require tenacity and focus in extremely stimulating environments -
and they require the dog to have the obedience to search for what YOU want him to work on , not his random , crittering , food litter , self explorations.
At the moment you don't have a dog that is connected to you, and nothing that will motivate him .

what is the pedigree?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
East German/Czech working lines. I'd say about 95% of his pedigree consists of SchH 3 titles.
 
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