what is the difference in these 2 drives................ - Page 1

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by Rik on 03 May 2021 - 20:05

just asking for those who know.

dog # 1, (2 yo when I got her) loved to chase the ball, would do it as long as I would throw it, only wanted to possess it, wouldn't return and circled around out of reach. finally used 2 ball method to teach to return.

dog#2, got as a pup, probably spent 15 mins. before he learned that returning the ball got him another toss. he also loved swimming, I could take him to the lake, throw the ball as far as I wanted, he brought it straight back. as it was a very popular spot, folks would stop and crowd up watching him. he never noticed anything but the ball.

just something I always wondered about and if there is any significant info to be learned.

always curious,

by ValK on 03 May 2021 - 21:05

that's same drive in both.
difference are between dogs personalities.
i'm curious if you noticed difference in their intellect?
from your description to me it seems like second one should be more smarter and quicker to adapt to challenges.


by Rik on 03 May 2021 - 22:05

that's pretty interesting Valk, dog #2 was opening doors, both the knob and lever type, before he was 12 mo. old.

so, yes, I would guess he was very higher intellect. it also led to why I lost him, as he entered a room, while I was preparing dinner, knocked a poison off a table and consumed it.

never considered it that way.


by duke1965 on 04 May 2021 - 02:05

have to disagree with Valk, its different level of posession, its real important difference in selecting dogs for LE, it makes up for the difference in dogs to be willing to take the ball when it is not moving versus the willingness to pick it up only when moving(trigger) but loosing interest when having it, or object is "dead "

What people generally refer to as prey drive actually has multiple differences and levels inside of that drive

by GSCat on 04 May 2021 - 02:05

Hey, Rik - I tried the two-ball method with current dog when I was working with her on fetch and she decided to keep both. LOL
She couldn't pick up/hang on to 3, but she tried . . . hahahahahahaha


by Hundmutter on 04 May 2021 - 03:05

I have always used "2-ball" with all my own GSDs, its kind of a default position for me. There are definite differences between the ways individual dogs react to that, however;  how this translates as 'drive(s)' I don't feel qualified to explain, my background not being so much in working dogs.

My (first, ex-Showdog) was the only one I made the effort to turn into a 'competition dog' for obedience. She had very low retrieval instincts. I had to teach a 'forced' hold & retrieve to get her to work with a dumbell. She would run after and fetch a ball WHEN IN THE 'MOOD' but it never became an overarching passion for her. My next dog however [which I had from 18 months old] became ball-obsessed.  He would only give the first ball up when I threw the second. I'd assess both of these dogs as of 'average' canine intelligence, when it comes to what else they could do, or showed interest in. IE not the brightest GSDs I've known but by no means the most stupid ones.

In recent years when I started taking on 'oldies' from Rescue, my very elderly L/C bitch that I had for her last couple of years didn't play ball. She didn't run. Except when she got into chasing a neighbour's hens !

The current (middle-aged) male seems to be something of a mixture between the two inclinations Rik described:  he at first tried to hang onto first one, then two balls when I started throwing them for him. [No more than 2, as I use larger ball-on-ropes ! 3 have been tried ...]  Now he has learned to drop one before I throw the second. He will not drop ball #1 @ my feet, he always leaves it some way away, as if to say "I still want to be able to get to it first !"  I can sometimes nag him into bringing it nearer than on other occasions.  And so we proceed around the park ...at least it means I do more walking exercise collecting the balls  ;-)   ;-)  ;-)  He also likes playing 'tuggies' on the way indoors.  He will however give up a ball (or other object) out of his mouth without rancour when I want to take it away from him.

He is VERY keen to get outside and start playing Fetch, ignoring everything and anything/body in his desire to start running for the ball.  I love him but I think overall he is a bit 'dim' in relation to other GSDs - and other dogs generally - that I've handled. He is a white, make what you like of that.  :D  :D  :D

Hired Dog

by Hired Dog on 04 May 2021 - 04:05

Rik, in my opinion, the desire to chase, prey after a toy, play is genetic, its either there or its not and depending on your needs, its either good or bad.
In some dogs, like my current, it did not appear until he was around 5 months old. Of course it was there genetically, it just hadnt manifested yet.
Some dogs have more of that prey/play drive and some dogs, not that many, will deliver to hand, also I believe genetic. Can you teach that? Sure, but, its not the same as the dog who does it naturally.
My current dog will play and chase and hunt for his ball well enough to do great detection work, but, you can also tell, if you know what you are looking for, that it is not a dead serious toy obsession.

My last GSD was OBSESSED with the ball to the point that it made most, if not all malinois look non interested.
Like Duke said, there are sub-drives within the prey/play that make dogs act differently. I would not say one dog was more interested if the only difference was the delivery method, one to hand and the other not.
In comparison, my friend's female malinois is OBSESSED with the ball to the point of creating problems that affect many other aspects of her life. She will not deliver to hand, close enough sometimes to you, but, would rather take an E collar at full power than give it up. Two ball method does not work with her either and neither do prongs.
That kind of possession/obsession is useless to me as it has no way of being a reward that can be used over and over. When she sees the ball, her eyes glaze, NOTHING else exists outside of that ball, NOTHING, but, again, her desire to posses makes her useless for anything else once she has that toy.
In the end, I believe it comes down to which dog is more tractable and which is more interested in interacting with the handler.
As far as retrieving a dead ball or a live one, sure, the first one is more desirable, but, if the dog is not interested in giving it back and continue the play, what good is it?

Let me add here that none of the above matters if the dog does not want to interact with the handler with the toy. I dont care what kind of hunt drive or possesion drives the dog has, I dont care if it will die for that toy, if it has no interest in interacting with the handler by bringing it back so that it can be thrown or played with again, its useless. My current dog is a serious pain because he is dying to interact with me, genetically, with his toy, any toy any time. I am sitting here typing this right now and he is pushing a toy into me, constantly...always, as long as he has one. That is what makes a dog useful, its desire to interact with you. 



by GK1 on 04 May 2021 - 09:05

Same drive in my opinion. But expressed differently in individual dogs and to varying degrees - based on genetics, and some influence from training/learned behaviors. 2 ball, ball + frisbee, 2 x dogs/multiple balls, ground + water retrieves…all similar in principle. A dog which can be taught to swim comfortably in the pool, lake may not have the drive to launch from the dock, or plunge into surf…or catch a frisbee while airborne.

I’m not keen on allowing a dog mine to become ‘obsessed’ with any toy. The obsession is doing stuff with me, high energy or not.

by Klossbruhe on 04 May 2021 - 12:05

Valk is correct, they are both the same drive, prey drive. In both cases, the dog has worked hard to capture the prey item, in this case the ball. After capturing the prey item ball, the first dog will not give up its prize because it either does not understand or want to play the game again, but would rather kill and or eat the prey. The second dog, however, wants to play and understands that giving up the prey item will allow it to chase the prey item again.

The 2 prey item method, popularized by Gottfried Dildei among others, is based on the idea of exchange for like items. For example, if I say give me $100 you probably would not, but if I said I will give you two $50 bills for the $100 bill, you might, and I say MIGHT, do it. Generally speaking, as the dog gets the first prey item, the dog starts to return at which point the handler makes the second prey item come alive, this works better with tugs than balls but it can be done with both. The dog sees the handler shaking prey item number 2 and in its excitement to capture it, drops prey item number 1. This method works for most dogs who do not want to immediately or who do not at first understand that it gives them a chance to get another prey item, but not all. It is a great method for dovetailing into protection work in which the dog is given a bite after which a brief tug of war or fight follows for a few seconds and then the handler helper freezes, goes motionless. At this point some dogs will out automatically because the prey item is not moving and is not interesting. Other dogs need a command or to be placed in a sit to out. The second they out, the handler or helper immediately, and this is important, immediately offers the sleeve or tug for a bite and new fight. Hence the dog learns two things, motion means biting, lack of motion means release, and that releasing is not the end but the way to get another bite.

Some dogs, of course, will not come back after catching the ball, in which case then the handler must run away from the dog to stimulate his chase complex to come toward him. But once the dog returns or comes near, the handler must offer some item which is of higher value than the ball in its mouth. Again, this does not always work. When all else fails, then releasing the prey item cannot be a game but must become an obedience exercise and the dog must learn that there are consequences for disobedience.


by Hundmutter on 04 May 2021 - 12:05

On inheritance of traits, its perhaps interesting to note that my first bitch's sire used to be a dog who did what Hired describes his current dog as doing, he would constantly push a ball at you to get you to throw it / interact with him. Sadly something Vida did not get from him !


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