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So, I took Jack, my panhandle Texas rescue for a training evaluation with a respected trainer near Houston today.

I focused on listening more than I spoke about my dog. Nonetheless, my evaluations were confirmed.

I have a sweet, fearful dog with lower than average food drive and a low prey drive.

We will train, but it will be basic. This dog will never get titled. Well, never say never, but it's a long shot.

His conformation is lacking. Lol, I always knew he was a beautiful, but kinda wonky looking dog. His stance makes him look overweight. That, and the trainer didn't say it, but I think he lacks muscle definition.

So, this is my rescue dog. And for a rescue I didn't intend to keep, but fell in love with, I am pleased overall... Yet discontent.

Just saying... I love this dog. This is my heart dog. I am going to work him as hard as I possibly can. And I will post our results...

If you are shopping for a puppy, this type of dog is Not what you want to bring home. Temperament is just too sketchy. Intelligence idk. Drive is low, which makes training Very difficult.

If you are considering a GSD pup, please spend some significant time here in the forums, and elsewhere, researching before you purchase :)

If you are a rescuer, rehabilitator, like me, keep up the good work!!


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I should have. I didn't know. I'm sharing now :)

And I don't regret taking this dog into foster. And I don't regret my foster failure. I am heartily attached to this dog, as he is to me.

I'm sharing what I have learned from the experience.


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Discussion Starter #4
you're discontent. maybe you should have followed
your own advise.
I wouldn't have had this advice to give, before I made the decision to own This dog. I'm not speaking to experienced owners/handlers. I'm speaking to those considering the breed.


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You described my Knucklehead except for the food drive... he loves his treats, whatever they may be at the time, and will do pretty much anything for them. He is VERY easy to train, but still has that fear/unsure side of him that we struggle with everyday.

I have said many times that I should have listened to my head instead of my heart when I got him (at just under 5 weeks old... yeah, no brainier, there huh?), but do I regret it? No. I wouldn't give him up for the world. He has his quirks, many things we have to do and not do because of how he is but it's something that we've just learned to love about him. He has come a LONG way in the year & a half that we've had him, much more than I ever thought he would so he just might keep going with impressing us.

But if I ever get another GSD puppy, it will be from a breeder that I do research on. No more backyard breeder, no more friend/family had a litter of puppies and I have to have one. If anything, I will rescue one that needs as much patience as Knuckles has needed.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
You described my Knucklehead except for the food drive... he loves his treats, whatever they may be at the time, and will do pretty much anything for them. He is VERY easy to train, but still has that fear/unsure side of him that we struggle with everyday.

I have said many times that I should have listened to my head instead of my heart when I got him (at just under 5 weeks old... yeah, no brainier, there huh?), but do I regret it? No. I wouldn't give him up for the world. He has his quirks, many things we have to do and not do because of how he is but it's something that we've just learned to love about him. He has come a LONG way in the year & a half that we've had him, much more than I ever thought he would so he just might keep going with impressing us.

But if I ever get another GSD puppy, it will be from a breeder that I do research on. No more backyard breeder, no more friend/family had a litter of puppies and I have to have one. If anything, I will rescue one that needs as much patience as Knuckles has needed.
This is Exactly what I hoped to hear. We love the dogs we have, but people need to know what level of commitment they are making :)


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Don't count your guy out based on who he is relatively soon after rescue. He may surprise you with what he can accomplish in a year or two from now. He may not be Schutzhund material, or whatever other titles you were hoping for, but he might very well get to a place mentally where he could rally, or do some fun things. Give him a chance, at his own pace -- and make it all about building up his self-esteem. If you do that, he might surprise you!

When my dear old Simon came into rescue (10 years ago...), he was afraid of his own shadow. He would try to make himself invisible so that no dog or person would notice him. He cringed constantly and screamed in fear when approached by strange dogs.

After a few years, he was a different dog -- happy go lucky, friendly, sociable, gregarious, and funny, with people and dogs. He became a dog who is ecstatic to go to playcare or dog parks, and who greets ever person he meets like a new friend. He's not going to win any prizes for intelligence or drive or conformation, but he's awesome, gentle, and kind. I wouldn't trade a single minute of the past ten years with my heart-dog for a "better bred" dog.

Part of our bond is the journey we went through together bringing him out of the fearful place he was in mentally when he was rescued. When he was freshly rescued, I made everything we did about building up his self-confidence. His first obedience class to was transformative to his self-esteem. The final required exercises in a ring, evaluated by an experienced OB competition judge, plus a 3-minute down stay while they threw toys around and walked dogs right next to the dogs being tested, and a 2-min. sit stay under the same conditions. I was positive we were going to fail, as Simon had little focus, and I mostly wanted him there to mend his psyche--the skills were secondary. I almost didn't go to the final exam for that reason. My husband talked me into going....and Simon passed -- and did so well. I felt very ashamed of myself for not believing in this dog.

Simon was more tuned into me than I gave him credit for, as I was the person who had made his world make sense and made him safe. What I hadn't appreciated until that moment was he would have walked on water for me out of gratitude. He had come so far since we rescued him just a few months earlier. He was no longer that pitiful dog who was rescued.

Give your dog some credit for his journey so far. Realize you are at the very start of the rest of the journey together. Rehabilitate the fear by building self-esteem in the dog, and see where you can go together over the next few years. He might surprise you.
 

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Curious why you called this post "pet breeders?" I missed the backstory about your dog.

I think it's great you are so dedicated to him. If titling is what would fulfill you, do you have the opportunity to get a second dog?

I'm also curious, as you seem to understand rescue better than I do, what would you expect out of a rescue dog straight from the shelter?

I love my Gypsy. She is very sweet and smart. But almost NO drive and the clumsiest shepherd you will ever meet. She fell into a river today. :( So probably no agility titles in our future. I want to take her to a trainer like you did and find a task she can at least sort of excel at.


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Don't count your guy out based on who he is relatively soon after rescue. He may surprise you with what he can accomplish in a year or two from now. He may not be Schutzhund material, or whatever other titles you were hoping for, but he might very well get to a place mentally where he could rally, or do some fun things. Give him a chance, at his own pace -- and make it all about building up his self-esteem. If you do that, he might surprise you!

When my dear old Simon came into rescue (10 years ago...), he was afraid of his own shadow. He would try to make himself invisible so that no dog or person would notice him. He cringed constantly and screamed in fear when approached by strange dogs.

After a few years, he was a different dog -- happy go lucky, friendly, sociable, gregarious, and funny, with people and dogs. He became a dog who is ecstatic to go to playcare or dog parks, and who greets ever person he meets like a new friend. He's not going to win any prizes for intelligence or drive or conformation, but he's awesome, gentle, and kind. I wouldn't trade a single minute of the past ten years with my heart-dog for a "better bred" dog.

Part of our bond is the journey we went through together bringing him out of the fearful place he was in mentally when he was rescued. When he was freshly rescued, I made everything we did about building up his self-confidence. His first obedience class to was transformative to his self-esteem. The final required exercises in a ring, evaluated by an experienced OB competition judge, plus a 3-minute down stay while they threw toys around and walked dogs right next to the dogs being tested, and a 2-min. sit stay under the same conditions. I was positive we were going to fail, as Simon had little focus, and I mostly wanted him there to mend his psyche--the skills were secondary. I almost didn't go to the final exam for that reason. My husband talked me into going....and Simon passed -- and did so well. I felt very ashamed of myself for not believing in this dog.

Simon was more tuned into me than I gave him credit for, as I was the person who had made his world make sense and made him safe. What I hadn't appreciated until that moment was he would have walked on water for me out of gratitude. He had come so far since we rescued him just a few months earlier. He was no longer that pitiful dog who was rescued.

Give your dog some credit for his journey so far. Realize you are at the very start of the rest of the journey together. Rehabilitate the fear by building self-esteem in the dog, and see where you can go together over the next few years. He might surprise you.
Thank you So much. This is an inspirational story, and I appreciate it to no end!!

You have put an awful lot of time and finance into your dog, no doubt?

I am prepared to do the same :) just want people to understand the commitment the success stories entail ;)


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I just got a male GSD at the shelter. Besides the fact that he hasn't had any obedience training, I see potential. He is very confident and has a high drive...I thought my first GSD was high drive, but his is higher. It might be more work getting a dog from the shelter, but I'm very happy and content with my choice. He will be a challenge, but I intend to meet that challenge.
 

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I wonder what the difference is between high drive and low drive?

I've always thought bubbles was high because she is so energetic. then when I ask people on this site they say she is a pet line.

I don't want to high jack the thread . just a simple explanation of the difference between high and low drive dogs will help.
 

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Life with dogs is a journey.....you learn lots along the way. You can learn so much more with a difficult dog than an easy dog to train. You may not get an IPO1 title, but you will learn more by what the dog lacks as you try to fill in and build the training to accomplish your goals.... if you get hooked on the sport, and do get a more suitable prospect for training, you will have a headstart on training.

Some people get dogs because they love the competition, others train and trial because they love their dogs.

Lee
 

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I wonder what the difference is between high drive and low drive?

I've always thought bubbles was high because she is so energetic. then when I ask people on this site they say she is a pet line.

I don't want to high jack the thread . just a simple explanation of the difference between high and low drive dogs will help.

Definition of High Drive Dog...
Stamina – a high level of physical energy with plenty of endurance
Mentally active – the dog need not be a genius, but will quickly learn new things when trained using positive training methods
Human oriented – a good sports dog should seek human interaction and typically prefers it over interaction with other dogs
Motivated – while many sports train with motivational toys, a dog that is highly food motivated can also be a good sports prospect
Focus – when on-task, a good sports dog that knows his or her "job" will remain focused on the task at hand, even in the presence of distractions

I'm not sure how to define a low drive dog, except maybe the opposite of what is above. I don't have any experience with low drive, I imagine that it can be kind of relaxing:D
 

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Definition of High Drive Dog...
Stamina – a high level of physical energy with plenty of endurance
Mentally active – the dog need not be a genius, but will quickly learn new things when trained using positive training methods
Human oriented – a good sports dog should seek human interaction and typically prefers it over interaction with other dogs
Motivated – while many sports train with motivational toys, a dog that is highly food motivated can also be a good sports prospect
Focus – when on-task, a good sports dog that knows his or her "job" will remain focused on the task at hand, even in the presence of distractions

I'm not sure how to define a low drive dog, except maybe the opposite of what is above. I don't have any experience with low drive, I imagine that it can be kind of relaxing:D
oh man I think I want the original posters dog so I can take a nap. they can take bubbles to go get titled while we sleep. :p
 

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oh man I think I want the original posters dog so I can take a nap. they can take bubbles to go get titled while we sleep. :p
I feel that. I have been trying to keep my pup tired (tired = well behaved, right?) except that it tires me out too!

I applaud all you rescue guys. I couldn't do it right now as Fleury's my first dog and I wanted to know a little more on what I was getting myself into. All your dogs are lucky to have people with your patience and commitment though!
 

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High drive and high energy are not the same thing. Drive= Desire and resilience to work and accomplish a task even through frustration, pain, fatigue, corrections and failures. Both the reward (food or toy) and the activity of the task its self are motivators (drive satisfaction).
 

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I have a sweet, fearful dog with lower than average food drive and a low prey drive.

We will train, but it will be basic. This dog will never get titled. Well, never say never, but it's a long shot.
Let me add to the "never say never" chorus. It may be "never" in Schutzhund if your dog doesn't want to confront a helper, or "never" in agility if your dog has physical limitations, or even "never" in competitive obedience if your dog is too fearful to tolerate being approached by a stranger -- all of which is true for my poor scaredybutt Pongu -- but there are still things you can do to build up your dog's confidence and improve your own skills as a trainer.

This is what Pongu looked like when I got him as a 16-week-old pound puppy who was paralyzed by fear. I could not walk him down the block without him bolting five times at blowing leaves or approaching strangers. When I took him to the groomer's to get his nails clipped, he was so panicked that he blew bloody diarrhea everywhere. Once there were roofers working on our building, and Pongu got so scared by the noises that he jumped into my bath and sat shaking behind me in eight inches of soapy water until the Roof Monster went away. It was bad.



This is Pongu last month after he earned his ARCH and RL1X, placing in the ribbons on three out of four runs in a field dominated by sport-line purebreds with advanced obedience titles, and taking high combined score for his level.



It has been a LONG road getting there, I won't lie. We still struggle daily; Pongu crashed and burned at his Rally trial just yesterday due to excessive anxiety in the ring. I confess that sometimes I'm disappointed when I watch him struggle through his fear to hold a simple Stay, while everyone else's nice sane stable dogs are sailing through the course with no problems. And we still have lots and lots of room for improvement.

But if you accept your dog for who he is, and work to make him the best he can be despite those limitations, you may find yourself accomplishing more than you ever thought possible.

And you will develop the skills to do even more with your next dog. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Curious why you called this post "pet breeders?" I missed the backstory about your dog.

I think it's great you are so dedicated to him. If titling is what would fulfill you, do you have the opportunity to get a second dog?

I'm also curious, as you seem to understand rescue better than I do, what would you expect out of a rescue dog straight from the shelter?

I love my Gypsy. She is very sweet and smart. But almost NO drive and the clumsiest shepherd you will ever meet. She fell into a river today. :( So probably no agility titles in our future. I want to take her to a trainer like you did and find a task she can at least sort of excel at.


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The backstory is that the dog was one of hundreds seized by a county sheriff from a "pet" breeder. I took him in to foster during an ensuing court battle which the breeder eventually won. At that point I had cared for him and my senior for several months and couldn't bear to return them knowing the condition they were in when seized. So I ended up purchasing the dogs. Not particularly proud to support the breeder but that was a choice I made.

So, not a shelter dog. Came out of a longbarn at even months too afraid to stand up and walk around people.

He's been with me a little over a year and a half now and this is our second attempt at training. We have spent the interim building enough confidence in him that another person can even feed him take his leash etc. We have come a LONG way, and I am proud.

And I didn't get this dog with titles in mind. I personally am nowhere near ready for IPO training, and have a Lot to learn. There will be a pup in the future, though!! I'm sharing my learning process toward that goal :)


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Let me add to the "never say never" chorus. It may be "never" in Schutzhund if your dog doesn't want to confront a helper, or "never" in agility if your dog has physical limitations, or even "never" in competitive obedience if your dog is too fearful to tolerate being approached by a stranger -- all of which is true for my poor scaredybutt Pongu -- but there are still things you can do to build up your dog's confidence and improve your own skills as a trainer.

This is what Pongu looked like when I got him as a 16-week-old pound puppy who was paralyzed by fear. I could not walk him down the block without him bolting five times at blowing leaves or approaching strangers. When I took him to the groomer's to get his nails clipped, he was so panicked that he blew bloody diarrhea everywhere. Once there were roofers working on our building, and Pongu got so scared by the noises that he jumped into my bath and sat shaking behind me in eight inches of soapy water until the Roof Monster went away. It was bad.



This is Pongu last month after he earned his ARCH and RL1X, placing in the ribbons on three out of four runs in a field dominated by sport-line purebreds with advanced obedience titles, and taking high combined score for his level.



It has been a LONG road getting there, I won't lie. We still struggle daily; Pongu crashed and burned at his Rally trial just yesterday due to excessive anxiety in the ring. I confess that sometimes I'm disappointed when I watch him struggle through his fear to hold a simple Stay, while everyone else's nice sane stable dogs are sailing through the course with no problems. And we still have lots and lots of room for improvement.

But if you accept your dog for who he is, and work to make him the best he can be despite those limitations, you may find yourself accomplishing more than you ever thought possible.

And you will develop the skills to do even more with your next dog. :)
Love this!!! Thank you :)


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And I really need to clarify. The discontent is with myself. Not with the dog. It's that I find myself now wanting something different than what I have.

And I'm not saying I don't want this dog :) it's just I also want more...

I don't regret rescuing, but I do think its important that if you think you might expect more from your dogs in the future that they come from a responsible breeder you have thoroughly researched.


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