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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 3yo Dobe that has an extremely high prey drive for one toy (frisbee) but not much else. He will play tug, etc. with other things but only with casual interest and after some level of coaxing. The difference in both grip/focus is like night and day between them.

I am looking for ideas/suggestions on transferring his great drive with one toy - to another toy that is less then joyous (such as a tug roll).

I'm debating two paths - the first being to eliminate all other toys except the one I want him to work with, the second being to start with the less interesting toy and then build up to finish with the toy he loves.

As of today I can usually bring him up with the frisbee then work him on the tug roll if he's not terribly motivated (but only after sleight of hand to remove the frisbee's from the field).

If anyone has a third suggestions or more insight into either one of the first two - it would be greatly appreciated!
 
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The frisbee seems to be obsession and measuring a dogs drive with a frisbee is decieving. Find a pro trainer who can make a proper evaluation for drive.
Von.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
If you could clarify define the difference between obsession for an object separate from prey drive.

My initial thought is that by obsess you simply mean the object and not the activity with the object is where the focus is.

In other words, to state that an animal is not obsessed with an object will still do the activity regardless of whether the object of choice is present. For example an obsessed dog will not bite unless a sleeve is present.

He had an eval from a local club who has experience working with a number of quirky dogs and odd breeds. Temperament tests (similar to the WAE) were performed in addition to work with a flirt pole, etc.

The prey drive tests didn't show much hope for any type of protection work, however as an experiment taking the frisbee and working that simply like a tug showed what he wanted - just with the wrong object. So this leaves us with trying to either transfer that interest over to tug rolls, etc - or switching to plastic sleeves. :biggrin55:

Henceforth my question - I was given advice and now want to cross reference said advice. I should note my term "casual interest" probably needed to be clarified. He will certainly play with the roll - it just takes a little more work/enthusiasm on my part to get him interested - once he does he performs very well, lots of countering, eyes focused up on me, etc. The duration is much shorter however. I usually let him win after a strong counter about 3-5 times and then his intensity starts to fade so I end the game.

FWIW this club doesn't solely focus on trying to title dogs/compete. They are simply there to have fun and work the animals in whatever capacity they are capable of. There are some serious competitors there for sure, but that's not the point of the meetup. In this particular case, I'm looking to develop more healthy outlets for a rather quirky animal.
 

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The frisbee seems to be obsession and measuring a dogs drive with a frisbee is decieving. Find a pro trainer who can make a proper evaluation for drive.
Von.
I have a 2 yr. old dobe with an obsession for reflections and a lazer light. He goes litterally nuts when light reflects onto the floor, wall or ceiling. He is the fastest dog on four legs when it comes to trying to catch a lazer light. But, he won't play with a tug (with any excitement) to save his soul. Sounds like a similar delemma
 
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They are simular, eliminate them. So balance can return, it's almost like crying wolf, can the frisbee,(plastic sleeve, very good) jimtc teach your dog to focus on you when the light is presented. I don't want to know how the light fixation started. Von.
 

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I think what Von is trying to say (and he can correct me if I am wrong) is that you can't say necessarily what a dogs drive is based on looking at something a dog is obsessed over - because it's an obsession. A dog with true high drive levels will take that drive and apply it to multiple things - you can have a sleeve, obedience, a tug, a ball, a wrestling session, etc. Drive in a dog is innate and comes from inside, it's regardless of the object its for the behavior itself.

An obsession is almost unhealthy - and that isn't necessarily (IMO) drive when you look at a dog. Especially if the other toys you want the dog to use, etc require coaxing and cajoling on your part.

I'm ignoring a basis of drive based on how well a dog plays with toys, I'm not making that argument here.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Thanks for the comments made above makes more sense and clarifies what I was thinking a little further. It sounds like if an animal has drive and you only focus on working that drive in one way - chances are that it will become an obsession.

With that in mind - I guess there are multiple obsessions with this animal (oddly enough laser lights, joggers, cyclists, cats, squirrels, birds, beavers, rabbits, golf carts, cars, motorcycles, speed walkers, etc)

I don't want to kill what I'm trying to build up with corrections so I generally let these go by simply working to remove the situations or redirect him. I also don't want an animal that has to be kenneled 24/7 when they are not being worked.

Since I don't know the past - I know that there have been some major corrections in some areas - but not in others. His enthusiasm for basic obedience is abit of a problem along with unnatural fears from what I guess were punishments in the past. I'm not sure if his aversion is based on lack of interest or fear of a correction. The trainer who eval'd him made a comment that it could be a little of both.

If I make something "fun" however he usually seems to enjoy (or beings to enjoy) the activity. When strangers try to play with him using an object that he isn't comfortable (obsessed?) with - that's usually when he will shut down. (Fear/Nervousness obviously counter Prey).

This why I figured him for sport/leisure dog at best. He's lacking some of the fearlessness charateristics except (oddly enough) when in defense. In these cases with aggressive stranger he stayed out front with the leash taught and gladly will chase.
 

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Thanks for the comments made above makes more sense and clarifies what I was thinking a little further. It sounds like if an animal has drive and you only focus on working that drive in one way - chances are that it will become an obsession.

With that in mind - I guess there are multiple obsessions with this animal (oddly enough laser lights, joggers, cyclists, cats, squirrels, birds, beavers, rabbits, golf carts, cars, motorcycles, speed walkers, etc)

I don't want to kill what I'm trying to build up with corrections so I generally let these go by simply working to remove the situations or redirect him. I also don't want an animal that has to be kenneled 24/7 when they are not being worked.

Since I don't know the past - I know that there have been some major corrections in some areas - but not in others. His enthusiasm for basic obedience is abit of a problem along with unnatural fears from what I guess were punishments in the past. I'm not sure if his aversion is based on lack of interest or fear of a correction. The trainer who eval'd him made a comment that it could be a little of both.

If I make something "fun" however he usually seems to enjoy (or beings to enjoy) the activity. When strangers try to play with him using an object that he isn't comfortable (obsessed?) with - that's usually when he will shut down. (Fear/Nervousness obviously counter Prey).

This why I figured him for sport/leisure dog at best. He's lacking some of the fearlessness charateristics except (oddly enough) when in defense. In these cases with aggressive stranger he stayed out front with the leash taught and gladly will chase.

Ryan, you never said how long you have had this dobe. It sounds like maybe you got him as a young adult and he came with some quirks. if that is the case, it is tough to try and figure out the whys and where the problems came from. But von is right, if you want to try and work on finding out if he has more ability than he is showing now - can the frisbee. He needs to focus on you and what you want him to do. Experiment with a few different types of items as reward, but he has to work and work correctly to get to them. You said you had him evaluated, if the folks are any good they should have given you some suggestions to work on and then re-evaluated the pup. Maybe you just need some good hands on advice. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Right - dropping all frisbee play and letting the only outlet be the new toy seems to be the consistent suggestion (and the one I got from the trainer as well) and as such the one I will go with.

Taking to thought the comments from Von it sounds like any *one* thing could be a bad thing as the animal could become obsessive. It sounds like the general plan should be - stay interested in this enough to stay interested in me - but if the focus starts to draw towards the thing then either introduce more new things or less of said thing? I suppose the best way to keep this from happening with an object is to make sure the animal is never left to his own devices with it.

I only acquired the animal about 6 months ago it was rather disruptive in the prior households. So yes - many of it's behaviors are mysteries that I am simply trying to either work out or around.

The evaluation was about 1 week ago, and I went ahead and showed him the progress with the tug roll one week later (which there was). The trainer then gave me some pointers on the play that I demonstrated with the new toy - and went from there.
 

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They are simular, eliminate them. So balance can return, it's almost like crying wolf, can the frisbee,(plastic sleeve, very good) jimtc teach your dog to focus on you when the light is presented. I don't want to know how the light fixation started. Von.
I first noticed it while sitting at my desk with the sunlight coming in the window. When I take off my reading glasses or light reflects off the crystal of my wristwatch, light reflections stream across the floor etc. He looks for them, bounces on them when they are on the floor etc. Sometimes I have to figure out what is causing the reflections. If I turn on a flashlight to look for his toys under the couch, he goes crazy in anticipation of the light. If I take him out in the yard at night with a flashlight he chases the beam. If I walk him outside and it is snowing, he chronically jumps and bites at the snow flakes. I don't know that I did anything unusual or intentional to stimulate these obsessions.

I have a ceiling fan with a 4 bulb light fixture. Sometimes a shadow on the floor will turn him on.
 

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This thread reminds me of a Dobe I saw at an Agility Show this weekend. There was this tennis ball the owners had that the dog was so fixated on. He literally never took his eyes off of it. The owners may as well have not had been there so long as the tennis ball was. I think this might have been a case of the obsession that Von spoke of.

How do obsessions such has these get started? Is the dog not exposed to other types of activities? The Labs my uncle and I used to train really liked retrieving ducks but they also retrieved whatever else we asked them. I don't know if they would have retrieved a tennis ball over a hen, but my guess is they wouldn't and we wouldn't have wanted them to either.
 

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I also use a tennis ball and he loves chasing & retrieving it and then try to chew the air out of it..loves destroying tennis balls.
When he brings the ball back he drops it on "leave it" command..
I wouldn't say he is obsessed with it cos after droping the ball his focus is on me, not the ball.
He also loves tugging on the bite pillow or his tugging rope (specially if i am pulling on the other end)
 
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