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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-25-2014, 04:07 PM Thread Starter
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Prey drive development in Dobermans???

I have an 11 month old male Doberman from working lines. He is from Von Bayern (del pais baviera) kennels in Germany. I have been very pleased with him. He is not afraid of anything and was showing dominant characteristics from a very early age. He seems to bite very seriously (to inflict injury) when biting on the sleeve and leg sleeve. He takes his bite work very seriously. The only thing I am a little concerned about is his prey drive with a tug. Sometimes he is very interested in playing with the tug but other times he doesn't seem to be interested. It confuses me. On the other hand he is really crazy about biting a sleeve and will go through anything to get to it. Both of his parents and many of his ancestors have the körung. My question is at what age do Dobermans prey drive for playing tug or with a ball really kick in. I would like to know because I want him to be really into tugging so I can use it for an obedience reward. I'm thinking that it will develop later on but I would just like to know peoples opinions with their experience. Thanks a lot in advance
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-25-2014, 05:19 PM
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There aren't too many IPO people who post here with any regularity. Are you a member of the Working Dog Forum? Working Dog Forum -- Discussion of Working Dogs, Training & Breeding People there could probably be more able help you out with this.


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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-25-2014, 07:04 PM
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Every dog is different. Personally, I like to see a strong desire to bite and chase at a young age. I believe this "prey" behavior has a very high genetic component and it will demonstrate itself in a very young dog, even as young as five weeks. I personally wouldn't waste time raising a dog that didn't show this kind of drive in puppyhood, but I do know of many instances where dogs have developed nicely. However, I do not have kennels and will not keep my dogs in crates all day so I can not raise several pups at once and do some of the things other people do.

It is hard to say what is going on from a post on the internet, but if the dog is playing with the decoy but will not play with you, than there is something wrong with your relationship with the dog. Really your training director should be the one advising you.

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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-29-2014, 09:44 PM
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I don't do Sch but I can tell you in the one Dobe of mine who had tug drive it was there the day I brought her home. She's from show/performance lines. She came to me tugging and fetching. I do believe you can encourage and work/build it also, which is what I have to do with my other breed (Vizslas)

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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-29-2014, 10:25 PM
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How do you play tug with him? Can you share a video? That could help assess what is going wrong. I have a young pup(15 weeks) that I play tug with for 5 minutes at a time then the tug goes up. I tease her a lot and she is only allowed bites when she shows good drive and works for it. I never end with a bite, she is always left with her drive kicked up and wanting more. Drive building depends on the dog's genetics and the handler's experience. A dog that is only half into playing the game is not fully engaged with you. Some dogs take a lot more work in that department than others.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-30-2014, 05:07 PM
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I am guessing at his age they are still working him in prey on the bit work. If they are I am guessing that they are just more fun then you are with a tug. I can think of a few things that could help but I would talk to your club because some of the stuff may mess other stuff up.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-01-2014, 01:17 AM Thread Starter
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I am guessing at his age they are still working him in prey on the bit work. If they are I am guessing that they are just more fun then you are with a tug. I can think of a few things that could help but I would talk to your club because some of the stuff may mess other stuff up.
My club here in Germany think he is tugging ok but still I am not satisfied.
My boy just seems to like the more serious stuff. He loves to bite me rather than the tug. If I tease him with it and make him miss he gets wound up and bites me. I hold his neck with my hands when he does this and make him sit down. I give him strong corrections for this kind of behavior and as soon as I let go he starts again. He can take any correction and basically laughs it off. If I squeezed any harder around his neck I'm scared I could do damage! He does play tug and stays focused on it when I play well but the difference between his bitework and tug with me is astonishing. I have leg sleeves and arm sleeves. When my girlfriend is handling him and I am the decoy he goes absolutely mental. He even tries to bite her to get to me and the way he bites me in the work is so serious I haven't seen this in a doberman his age. The first time he saw a Sleeve at 8 months he went crazy and started crying for a bite. I've watched the michael ellis dvd's on tugging and in my opinion I do it perfectly I just think it's one of those natural things that tugging for him is not so fun because he doesn't get the sensation of biting the body. I will keep working at it and hopefully as he matures his tug work gets better so I can use it as an obedience reward after I've got him completely 100% engaged with me in all different situations.
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-01-2014, 01:27 AM Thread Starter
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How do you play tug with him? Can you share a video? That could help assess what is going wrong. I have a young pup(15 weeks) that I play tug with for 5 minutes at a time then the tug goes up. I tease her a lot and she is only allowed bites when she shows good drive and works for it. I never end with a bite, she is always left with her drive kicked up and wanting more. Drive building depends on the dog's genetics and the handler's experience. A dog that is only half into playing the game is not fully engaged with you. Some dogs take a lot more work in that department than others.
Thanks for this information. I don't know if you've seen this or not but in Michael Ellis' tug DVD he says to end the session, just "out" the dog and then tell him the games over. What do you mean exactly when you say that you never end a session with a bite. How exactly do you end the session. Thanks in advance for the advice
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-01-2014, 01:31 AM Thread Starter
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Every dog is different. Personally, I like to see a strong desire to bite and chase at a young age. I believe this "prey" behavior has a very high genetic component and it will demonstrate itself in a very young dog, even as young as five weeks. I personally wouldn't waste time raising a dog that didn't show this kind of drive in puppyhood, but I do know of many instances where dogs have developed nicely. However, I do not have kennels and will not keep my dogs in crates all day so I can not raise several pups at once and do some of the things other people do.

It is hard to say what is going on from a post on the internet, but if the dog is playing with the decoy but will not play with you, than there is something wrong with your relationship with the dog. Really your training director should be the one advising you.

Thanks for this information. The relationship between us doesn't seem to be the problem because he loves to bite me in bitework when I'm the decoy. I can even add lots of equipment stressors like what they use in mondioring and nothing bothers him. I can pick him up whilst biting me and hit him with a stick, he doesn't matter he just loves to bite. We go for long walks everyday and he loves chasing me in the park and playing with just about anything I have (although he prefers to bite me on the ass haha) and he tugs but not with 100% which is what I want to aim for. Thanks for the feedback
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-01-2014, 02:29 AM
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Sam - makes me think I should get my pup into schutzhund. He absolutely loves to bite, and cannot help himself. I don't mind it. We are working on training. He'll go into agility. But he is a natural biter.
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-01-2014, 02:35 AM
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My club here in Germany think he is tugging ok but still I am not satisfied.
My boy just seems to like the more serious stuff. He loves to bite me rather than the tug. If I tease him with it and make him miss he gets wound up and bites me. I hold his neck with my hands when he does this and make him sit down. I give him strong corrections for this kind of behavior and as soon as I let go he starts again. He can take any correction and basically laughs it off. If I squeezed any harder around his neck I'm scared I could do damage! He does play tug and stays focused on it when I play well but the difference between his bitework and tug with me is astonishing. I have leg sleeves and arm sleeves. When my girlfriend is handling him and I am the decoy he goes absolutely mental. He even tries to bite her to get to me and the way he bites me in the work is so serious I haven't seen this in a doberman his age. The first time he saw a Sleeve at 8 months he went crazy and started crying for a bite. I've watched the michael ellis dvd's on tugging and in my opinion I do it perfectly I just think it's one of those natural things that tugging for him is not so fun because he doesn't get the sensation of biting the body. I will keep working at it and hopefully as he matures his tug work gets better so I can use it as an obedience reward after I've got him completely 100% engaged with me in all different situations.
You are probably doing too much for him, and feeding him the tug. You want a dog who is active in regards to barking. If you are trying to stimulate the dog via movement of the tug you are going to get diminishing returns. You want to do the reverse which is have the dogs barking stimulate the movement of the tug.

Are you training at the Dobermann klub in Koln? There are a lot of good trainers in your area. I had the opportunity to train in Bonn as there is a great trainer there. At 9 months it is too early for "serious stuff". What you are likely seeing is frustrated prey drive, which can look serious. This is probably what you are not seeing in the tug work.
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-01-2014, 02:46 AM
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Your work also sounds kind of screwed up to me. Your dog sounds very confused and you are making him crazy and unclear. The missed bites creates the frustrated prey drive. Holding him by the neck creates conflict and fight drive. Unfortunately the fight drive is manifested in a fight between you and the dog. You doing the decoy work is also making things less clear for the dog. Like I said earlier what you are seeing at 9 months is not "serious stuff". The dog is too young except to be in prey drive or frustrated prey drive. It sound like at every turn you are creating incorrect drives for the given situation. tug work is not to create prey drive, it is to channel what prey drive they have as foundation work. Barking stimulates movement of the tug. The movement of the tug rewards the barking. The bite rewards good barking. You also teach carry,to reward the strike. Making the dog hold creates foundation for the out. The out is also taught here. All this work should create the proper foundation for the work to follow.

You need to get some good direction. Just because you are in Germany does not mean that your club members know what they are doing for proper foundation work with a tug. I have been to several clubs in your area and trained with a few people there. Including Bartram who is now at the club in Bonn. I have been to the Dobermann club in Koln a few times when I was there in 2008. I have also trained with Jogi Zank who is also in Koln.

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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-01-2014, 02:54 AM
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I am also concerned about your "corrections". I don't really see the point of correcting the dog because of your shitty work.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-01-2014, 11:35 AM
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Thanks for this information. I don't know if you've seen this or not but in Michael Ellis' tug DVD he says to end the session, just "out" the dog and then tell him the games over. What do you mean exactly when you say that you never end a session with a bite. How exactly do you end the session. Thanks in advance for the advice
If you are trying to build up drive and value for the tug then you need to leave the dog wanting more, not end with obedience. With a dog that already knows the game and has high drive, it's fine to out the dog and put the tug away. With a dog you are working on building up, you work short and very fun/intense sessions and leave the dog in drive and wanting more. Michael also mentions to out the dog and play again, out the dog and play again. In my situation, I have a 15 week old pup that doesn't know the out yet and I have been working on building her prey drive with the tug. I bring her out, frustrate her with the tug until her drive is where I want it, give her a bite, then frustrate her again, put the tug up and she goes back into the crate. I might give her a few bites during a session or just one.
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-01-2014, 07:35 PM Thread Starter
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Sam - makes me think I should get my pup into schutzhund. He absolutely loves to bite, and cannot help himself. I don't mind it. We are working on training. He'll go into agility. But he is a natural biter.
Yeah I say go for it. We all have a vision of what WE would like to do with our dogs but sometimes it's better to find out what they love to do most and take that route. If you saw my boy you would just think he is completely normal with no high drives until you see him absolutely click In bitework. Also he really loves using his nose and will do anything to find his toys that are hidden. It's nice to see the change in character when they are doing something they instinctively love. Brings a big smile to my face
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post #16 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-01-2014, 07:59 PM Thread Starter
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I am also concerned about your "corrections". I don't really see the point of correcting the dog because of your shitty work.
I didn't explain myself properly sorry. I only correct him by holding him close to the ground around his neck when he try's to bite me at home or try's jumping at home so he knows his place. He is a very thick nerved pup and needs this because he always continues. I will explain what I do in bitework with him alone and then I will explain what I do at the club. Mind you I base my training right now on the michael ellis training system with some added advice from manfred Lerner the breeder.

On a typical day I take my dog to a new environment and have him chasing me and doing obedience exercises sit down stay stand come etc all with food (marker training)

I then ask him if he is ready to work and he will give me random sits downs he will bark etc to engage me and I mark it and then play tug with him. I make him sometimes miss the tug to stimulate his drive. When he bites I have found this out and also been told by manfred that I need to use my voice in a semi threatening manner and it's seeming to really work. I also have to play a little rough with him because he gets more interested even when it comes to returning the tug to me when I let it go. This is how manfreds bloodline seem to be. I was making the mistake of getting too excited and playing too long but in recent days I've stopped this and done 1-2 minute sessions and the improvements and engagement have been remarkable.

Some days I follow a puppy bitework routine that is for young adolescent dogs which is titled "puppy bitework 8 weeks to 18 months" by michael ellis. My girlfriend handles my dog on a leash and my dog will bark without me moving. I then stimulate him and give him some misses and reward him with a bite on a soft sleeve leg sleeve or just a tug/ bite pillow. We use many different items with different materials to make sure he isn't equipment bias. ALL of the bitework we do with him is in prey and of course I never put him into defensive drive thatS why I think it's ok if he bites me on a sleeve. We let him win the item and then he does a hold and carry in a circle back to me to start up the game again. Sometimes to balance between possession and man orientation, after he wins the equipment from a bite I will have him redirect his focus onto me with or without equipment on my body to get him engaged on me to do the next bite.
He has been showing such determination and really biting hard so we decided to make him down before leg bites and we introduced the "out" on sleeve leg sleeve bites also. My boy has had a solid out from tugging so no conflict was created here. He does get very mouthy sometimes and aggressive he will nip at parts of the body on the but he's learning and a firm no redirects his drive.

I know that you mention he should learn that barking creates movement but he naturally barks In bitework even when there is no movement. Did you mean he should also be barking to initiate movement when his playing tug with me 1 on 1 also?

Although I do bitework training at my local schutzhund close to where I live in Bergisch Gladbach I also do bitework at a mondioring club. I don't want to compete in schutzhund but I've been told by manfred to prepare him for the ZTP because these dogs are sort after in Germany for stud and I'm open to the fact that he gets to do bitework at more than one location which is good for him and he gets more than one decoy. There is no conflict in the training from club to club because both decoys there are doing the same training that I do at home with him with my girlfriend. Right now he is not doing tracking, jumps or anything like that, just simple engagement with obedience with me. After obtaining a ZTP I will prepare for mondioring 1.

Please tell me what you think about this training and thanks in advance

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post #17 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-03-2014, 02:23 AM
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It is very difficult to tell from your explanation. I can tell you that it takes a very long time to learn proper tug foundation work. I have trained for 15 hours a week or more for 10 years with a true master. I can tell you his methods are far beyond anything you can find on video. It is still difficult to follow. I see people under his mentoring take a long time to properly learn, even with proper coaching and constant evaluation. Trying to learn from video is unlikely to produce good results.

From what you have described you have a hell of a lot to learn. It sounds most like you have read a bunch of crap on the internet. Screw Mondioring. You are in Germany. It's Schutzhund country. Seek out the best Schutzhund trainers and learn from them while these guys are still around. The depth you will find if you seek it out is likely much, much more than you are likely to find in alternate/secondary sports. You sound kind of young. I see with some younger people, that they jump around here there and everywhere and never excel at a damn thing. If you are young and athletic and willing to learn, then you would probably be welcome at a good Schutzhund club. The best protection trainer I have seen in my time there (Koln area), was Bertram (winner of the 2013 Deutsch Meisterschaft) who is now in Bonn. There are the cream of the crop near Koln, in terms of IPO obedience trainers..Knut Fuchs, Jogi Zank.

I am not very familiar with Manfred's bloodlines in the past 8 to 10 years. I am familiar with the Bayern lines, but he mostly has used Western European show lines in recent years. I looked into a few of them but was told by people I trust that they are mostly club level dogs. That was my impression of some of the video's I was sent. However if they are thick nerved dogs, then it is likely they would be sought because the two biggest problems in the breed are nerve issues, and too close of inbreeding on true working lines Now nowhere to go, and health issues. So people are looking for out crosses. Manfreds dogs in recent years are not really from working lines, though of course he knows what he is doing, so maybe he saw something and decided to go a different direction and is not where he plans to get to.

When I said I was concerned about your corrections, you seem to take some sort of pride in the fact that your dog shrugs off corrections. If you use a correction below a dogs threshold then that is the likely result. Also since you are a novice, you are likely giving inappropriate corrections for the wrong behavior. At worst this kicks a dog into avoidance, makes them unclear, or raises their threshold to the point where corrections are completely ineffective.

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post #18 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-03-2014, 05:35 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Rosamburg View Post
It is very difficult to tell from your explanation. I can tell you that it takes a very long time to learn proper tug foundation work. I have trained for 15 hours a week or more for 10 years with a true master. I can tell you his methods are far beyond anything you can find on video. It is still difficult to follow. I see people under his mentoring take a long time to properly learn, even with proper coaching and constant evaluation. Trying to learn from video is unlikely to produce good results.

From what you have described you have a hell of a lot to learn. It sounds most like you have read a bunch of crap on the internet. Screw Mondioring. You are in Germany. It's Schutzhund country. Seek out the best Schutzhund trainers and learn from them while these guys are still around. The depth you will find if you seek it out is likely much, much more than you are likely to find in alternate/secondary sports. You sound kind of young. I see with some younger people, that they jump around here there and everywhere and never excel at a damn thing. If you are young and athletic and willing to learn, then you would probably be welcome at a good Schutzhund club. The best protection trainer I have seen in my time there (Koln area), was Bertram (winner of the 2013 Deutsch Meisterschaft) who is now in Bonn. There are the cream of the crop near Koln, in terms of IPO obedience trainers..Knut Fuchs, Jogi Zank.

I am not very familiar with Manfred's bloodlines in the past 8 to 10 years. I am familiar with the Bayern lines, but he mostly has used Western European show lines in recent years. I looked into a few of them but was told by people I trust that they are mostly club level dogs. That was my impression of some of the video's I was sent. However if they are thick nerved dogs, then it is likely they would be sought because the two biggest problems in the breed are nerve issues, and too close of inbreeding on true working lines Now nowhere to go, and health issues. So people are looking for out crosses. Manfreds dogs in recent years are not really from working lines, though of course he knows what he is doing, so maybe he saw something and decided to go a different direction and is not where he plans to get to.

When I said I was concerned about your corrections, you seem to take some sort of pride in the fact that your dog shrugs off corrections. If you use a correction below a dogs threshold then that is the likely result. Also since you are a novice, you are likely giving inappropriate corrections for the wrong behavior. At worst this kicks a dog into avoidance, makes them unclear, or raises their threshold to the point where corrections are completely ineffective.
Thanks a lot for your help. Everything I described regarding my training was from the Michael Ellis training system. I know it's a lot better though to train with Doberman people who know the bloodlines that's why in the coming weeks I'm going to be visiting manfred and he will steer me in the right direction and chose an appropriate club for me to attend to. It's difficult because he is about 250km's away. With regards to his dogs, yes there are some notable show dogs in some of the past litters but if you look at the 6 dogs he has in this moment in time, none of them are show dogs. They have a little show some generations back which was for what you mentioned in stabilizing nerve, also adding conformation and health. 2 of his dogs are puppies and the other 4 all have a körung and YES 3 of those 4 are definitely show quality. This is why I'm so impressed and always speak highly of this kennel. Also if you look at the longevity in their dogs it's outstanding. There is no wonder why his dogs now are becoming so sought after because he planned for this along time ago when other people kept inbreeding the same dogs regardless if they had health issues or not! PS I like reading your posts, their aren't enough sport people on here
samgibson23 is offline  
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drives , prey drive , tug , working , working lines

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