German Shepherd Dog > Schutzhunds obsession with extreme prey drive. (89 replies)
by Slamdunc on 07 September 2011 - 22:26
Equipment fixation can very well be a training problem. A high prey drive can still focus on the man and disregard the equipment if trained properly.
by VKGSDs on 07 September 2011 - 22:32
|True but I believe some dogs would never go this way, just not how their minds work and I prefer those dogs. In general I do not seek "extreme" anything in my dogs, whether that's prey drive or size or rear angulation.... The dog should not have to be out of his mind to do the work correctly with confidence and power.|
by GSDPACK on 07 September 2011 - 22:59
If you talk dogs as Pure line this and pure line that.. you are missing the point of breeding dogs. Pure line my ass at this point because it os one big gulash.....
All this talk....
I do Schutz and I am not obsessed with "extreme" anything. I like thinking dog, that has a nice off swith (in my experience trained in) and can be lived with. I cant stand hyperactive nutcases and I have hard time working with dogs that obsess over their toys to the point of no brains.
However we all like different things and I am not going to argue that very high prey dog is not good.....for somebody who likes those. So who cares, get what you like and let others get what they like.
by darylehret on 07 September 2011 - 23:38
|Equipment fixation? That's different. "Out of his mind" or unable to focus in drive (prey OR defense)? Different as well. Potential* byproducts of a behavior should not describe THE behavior. "Extreme" prey drive to me means a dog will expend it's utmost efforts to capture a moving object with efficient haste. Sometimes that means with a lower regard for personal safety, because of a narrower single minded focus (leaps from dangerous height, runs in path of traffic). Conversely, that could be executed with scattered and uncontained excitement, or "out of mind" as you suggested. But those are not the definitions of prey drive. Just adjectives for the verb, they are potential* (and opposing examples) of descriptive qualities for prey drive's expression. Somewhere in the middle of the two might be the ideal, where is the dog his best attuned to the handler's control.|
by darylehret on 07 September 2011 - 23:42
|Sorry, my phone won't do paragraphs. Again, hyperactive and toy-obsessive is NOT prey drive.|
by vomeisenhaus on 07 September 2011 - 23:43
|In real service work both prey & defence drives are useless if dog does not have good "fight drive". The willingness to bring the fight to the adversary & stay in the fight when it gets ugly.|
by VKGSDs on 08 September 2011 - 00:44
|Pack, I totally agree. Daryl, based on your definitions of "extreme" prey drive, I still do not like it in the extreme form. I don't want a dog that would jump off a cliff or into molten lava or run into traffic for the prey (or the toy or the helper). You're right I've mentioned potential byproducts of the extreme behavior but I guess I've yet to see one of these "extreme" prey drive dogs that IMO were not what I consider borderline neurotic and not using their ability to think and discern clearly because of the narrow prey focus. All the high prey drive dogs I know are also a lower threshold and have less ability to turn off and to settle. Yes they are two different things but at least in what I've seen they often go hand in hand. I think part of the problem is people's obsession with this extreme drive and labeling dogs that to me are not so extreme but are really correct. Is extreme correct? Not to me. Besides, like every ad on here supposedly has dogs with extreme drives so it's kind of lost on me...|
by darylehret on 08 September 2011 - 02:15
|I didn't say extreme prey drive would mean jumping off a cliff, that's narrow minded focus (in prey). A dog could have narrow minded (or scatterbrained) focus defense as well. "Extreme" is the amount of drive (purposeful effort), rather than the context in which it is expressed. "Extreme" defense (purposeful effort), would then sound a bit like "fight drive", a measure of the dog's resolve to oppose. Unless of course, the dog is running with "extreme" speed to avoid the situation. Ha ha. Just saying that, prey drive alone says nothing about the dog's clear headedness, nerves, or thresholds. Those are a different and equally important matter.|
by Keith Grossman on 08 September 2011 - 02:16
|"A dog constantly pushed into defense is going to be a little insecure and expect every fight or challenge to be a "dangerous" situation. I would think the OP doesn't understand the application of prey and defense in training a dog and what prey brings in an actual confrontation. A good PPD should see a person charging, running, yelling, screaming, threatening directly at the dog or handler as "prey." When you understand this concept you begin to understand the need for prey and how to properly train a PPD. A purely defensive dog is just not going to hold up as well under serious stress and pressure as a well balanced properly trained dog will."|
Thank you. This could and should have been the end of this conversation.
by VKGSDs on 08 September 2011 - 02:33
|What would stop a dog with extreme prey drive from chasing his prey off a cliff? What does extreme prey drive without "narrow minded focus" look like? I'm not trying to be argumentative, as I said I've never paid much attention to extremes so I'm just trying to have a clear picture of what this actually looks like....|
by darylehret on 08 September 2011 - 03:53
|An example without focus, wild and unclear could include a dog that would seize a bite on the first nearest moving object, termed "displacement aggression." Such as the handler or innocent bystander. A dog like that can improve with training, but remain a bit of a risk when performing under duress.|
by Slamdunc on 08 September 2011 - 04:54
You are missing the point of equipment fixation. It is prey drive, the prey is the sleeve. Please do not confuse this point. It is very important to recognize the different motivations in the dog and temperament. If you worked enough dogs you would surely see a dog that barks at the dropped sleeve regardless the pressure the helper puts on the dog. For some dogs it is a comfort zone and a secure item to bite. For some dogs it may be avoidance of the strong pressure from the helper. For other dogs it is the object of the game and their is no aggression to the decoy. The dog will go through fire and any other stress or pressure to get the sleeve. That is equipment fixation and is commonly seen with high prey drive dogs. My Yoschy granddaughter out of very old, excellent working lines is so confident and prey driven that a helper can not unsettle her. An excellent sport dog always scoring in the high 90's in trials, can be worked anywhere, anytime, by anyone. Her bites will always be full. She is so darn confident that absolutely no one is a threat. I have had decoys put some real pressure on her and she will focus on the sleeve. A great sport dog that I trust with anyone in any situation. There is not a mean bone in that dogs body. High drive, excellent tracker and excellent bite work for sport. A lot of that was training, it was exactly what I wanted from a pup.
Equipment fixation is very common and the root of the problem can have many different reasons from training to genetics to nerves. High prey dogs often have this and it is exacerbated through a lot of sleeve training in prey. When I test potential Police K-9 prospects this is one thing that I test for. It will not necessarily rule a dog out, but I can get some good insight into the dog's training and make up from this. We may pass on a high prey, equipment fixated dog because we do not want to spend months correcting this issue if another equal dog is available that is more civil. I do like high high prey dogs for Police work but they must be balanced and have serious aggression.
by Gustav on 08 September 2011 - 11:53
Thank You for explaining this phenomena concisely enough for many to understand. Some people think there is no difference in sport and work "type" dogs. There is!!! Though there are many sport dogs that can convert....there are too many dogs that are exactly as you described for the reasons you describe, and they wash out of LE schools.
by VKGSDs on 08 September 2011 - 14:23
|Jim, thanks for explaining what I had in mind. Good to know I wasn't way off track. I am having a similar issue with my young dog, high prey drive and not easy for a helper to unsettle so the use of prey drive became too self-rewarding in his bitework thus I haven't worked him in a while and probably won't because that's just not the type of work that I personally want. I could let him work this way and likely he would be a very good sport dog, I'm told by people much better than myself that he is national level potential. I'm not trying to make high prey drive look bad, just saying that in my experience, all the dogs I know of with what I would consider to be extreme prey drive have had these issues of being neurotic for toys, being very equipment oriented. Maybe it issue is not just the high prey and low threshold but a lack of fight and aggression? I'm not sure, I'm rather new to this all. But I still don't see how a dog could be described as having "extreme" prey drive and NOT want to chase an object off a cliff or fixate on prey when being otherwise threatened or agitated. That is why I ask what extreme prey drive looks like without that fixation. And if the dog is not extreme and doesn't do those things, why is that bad to not be extreme prey drive?|
by darylehret on 08 September 2011 - 15:26
|I completely disagree that equipment fixation is part of prey drive. Sometimes seeing a helper in a sleeve or hearing a whip crack is enough to put a defensive dog on edge, because of the equipment. Barking at an immobile sleeve lying on the ground has zip to do with drive to pursue. What of the dog that will do an intense scramble for the flirt pole, will sprint after a rabbit, but has no interest in toys or objects that do not move? Capturing prey isn't about frantically barking at stationary objects. Different issue, IMO.|
by ziegenfarm on 08 September 2011 - 16:05
|i have always said and truly believe this:|
"there comes a point when drives take the wheel and intelligence takes the back seat." german shepherds have long been known for their intelligence, but no more. you never hear anyone talking about intelligence ---- its all about drives these days. what a pity. solid nerves and intelligence makes a good working dog with problem solving ability. he may not be as flashy on the schh field as a drivey dog, but he is useful 365 days a year.
by darylehret on 08 September 2011 - 16:39
|A dog with a high level of drive, in either prey or defense, need not lack a clear head, precise self control, or awareness of it's surroundings. Those are qualities that ensure the overall success of the performance, I agree. But some characteristics just conflict in the overall picture when combined, such as for example, high aggression / low threshold / low courage producing fear biting behavior. Behavior is sometimes difficult to quantify, but we must be careful of what we lump together, simply because we "tend" to witness them hand in hand.|
by OGBS on 08 September 2011 - 16:47
Why do you think that the two are at opposite ends?
Why do people think that a good schutzhund dog is incapable of performing in any other working venue? Or, thinking?
Why do you or others believe that a dog in drive is not thinking?
If you have a good dog I find it quite opposite.
I also find that if you are around good trainers and good dog people you will hear many of them talking about dogs thinking. The best complement someone has ever given one of my dogs is, "you can see her thinking".
A good dog in drive with all its senses heightened is a dog that is also thinking.
I think the problem for most people is that good dogs think too fast for the average or worse dog handler.
Slamdunc's dog is a great example of what a dog should be.
He excelled at schutzhund and as a working police k9.
The difference is that Jim and his dog have a venue for both.
How many GSD's get to be anything other than sport dog (any type of sport) and/or a pet?
I would bet that it is less than 1/10 of 1% of all the GSD's living.
by Gustav on 08 September 2011 - 17:36
|"Though there are many sport dogs that can convert to work"......how do we get things so twisted??????|
by OGBS on 08 September 2011 - 18:41
I don't know exactly the point you are making by repeating what you said, but, I will qoute more of what you wrote to make a point:
"Some people think there is no difference in sport and work "type" dogs. There is!!! Though there are many sport dogs that can convert....there are too many dogs that are exactly as you described for the reasons you describe, and they wash out of LE schools."
Do you think that these dogs that wash out at LE schools come from a sport background or end up in the sport dog world after washing out of LE schools?
These dogs also wash out as sport dogs (I guess you mean Schutzhund) and get sold as pets.
My guess is that these dogs washed out as sport dogs long before they went to be evaluated at the LE schools.