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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 10 month old female GSD who is a little on the independent side. Let me describe some of her drives and characteristics.

Prey Drive and Play drive
Zesta loves the chase. She loves the chase of the ball, stick, tug or rag. She has plenty of prey drive for the sport but probably not enough for drug work. These drives seem to continue to increase with age. If we play she will carry the prey object around forever. She seems to be very possessive but no grawling. If she gets a prey object she wants it and will not share. If you play with Zesta you must keep a long line or she will take off with the prey object and have her own agenda.

Food Drive
It is just crazy. She will eat anything and has great focus for food. She screams for food time. Her tracking is very nice and slow with food. She does not need any more food drive. If you give her a raw hide she will take off and make sure that you can not get it from her. Very possessive of the food also.

Nerves
Nerves seem to be very solid. She does not spook easily and tends to be very confident all the time. Loud noises are no problem for her. I have had here around streets, cars, crazy noises, slick floors, jump up on boxes at the pet store, jump on the table at the vet and no issues. I can take her to a new schutzhund field and she has not problem with protection work or having a little fun. She is always moving forward and confident.

Socialization with other dogs
I socialized her when she was young but she never interacts with other dogs or my male dog. I do not want her doggy because that is terrible for training in my opinion.

Dog Aggression
No dog aggression at all.

New People and children
She always likes to meet new people, no issues.

Protection Work
She barks excellent in protection. She usually works on the pole and I support her from beside or behind. She locks into prey on the rag, bite pillow or sleeve. She has a very calm grip and no mouthing. She fights the helper nicely for the prey object. She will carry the prey object around until I tell her to out. We taught the out at a very young age at our club. If you start as puppies it makes it easy. It becomes instinct to out when we give the command.
Once the prey item is on the ground in front she will guard it from the helper. She gives nice barks and will even watch the man. If you give her a little threat she will raise the level higher and bite even harder the next time. She is out to win. This is a very young age and we must be careful and always make her feel powerful. She needs work on the pursuit with better targeting but this should come with age.
One day we had her on the field and did a little pursuit and she was off leash. She took off with the sleeve and we had a hard time catching her.

Focus
Very good for the ball or food

Obedience
Very little has been done here. I have done all obedience with food and praise. I have used very little pressure other than a pull on the leash here and there.

Corrections and hardness
I have given some good corrections to her but she does recover very quickly. Very seldom will the ears go down and if they do they are back up immediately. One day I had her in the garage and took her collar off. I told her to get in her kennel. She gave me that look and I could tell she was not going in the kennel easily. I told her again and then she took off but she had to go through me to get away. I grabbed her and made her sit. I then pulled her flank and said get in your kennel. She then bit at my hand but not very hard. She let me know she did not like it. I did it again and she finally went in the kennel. We have had several situations like above. I always win but she will try you so often.

What is your opinions of Zesta from the characteristics? What can I do to make her more dependent on me? Have you every had a dog like this? Comments and concerns are welcome. Zesta seems to try my nerves all the time. She is much different than my male. This was suppose to be a dog for my wife but I am not so sure now. I feel my wife will need a firm hand with Zesta.
 

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She sounds like a nice dog. I have found over the years that a dogs personality, is a dogs personality. I would just work on getting really good obedience on her. This should help you a little bit. What you are describing is a dog that doesn't have much "pack" drive as they call it.

The one thing that can help in training is that everything comes from you. OB for bites is a good exersize for this.

You are working her on a pole, and I don't know how far along you are, but you could at least incorporate this type of training before each session, until you get far enough along to start doing this all the time. In other words, she has to heel correctly onto the field, and all the way to your tie-out spot. Then, after she does that really well, you ask her to to do all that, and maybe a down. Then a recall ect, ect. Once she figures out that you control when she gets a bite, things should get a bit better for you.



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may i suggest that instead of flanking her (this will always, IME, get you a bite) to get her to "kennel", you have a high-value treat, throw it in the kennel along w/the "kennel" command. you want her HAPPY to kennel up, not thinking she's gonna have a fight.
 

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Generally a dog is what a dog is as far as independence, however there are a few things that may help a little, depending on the dog.

The basic concept is for NOTHING of any value to her comes from anywhere but you. Hand feed her. Your hand to her mouth, no food from anywhere else. Same goes for toys, none in her crate or loose in the house.

If she has more food drive than toy drive, trade her toys for food. Most dogs pick this up using two toys. They prefer the moving one and will relinquish the "dead" one in their mouth for the animated one in your hand. Just keep her on a long line, give her a toy and let her trot around with it. Have a favorite treat in hand, tell her to bring and pull her to you. Show her the treat and tell her out, giving her the treat as soon as she does.

Foremost, build trust. This is the ONLY problem with teaching an early out.
I have not seen you or her so obviously I don't know, but most owners inadvertently teach the dog that when they go to their owner they will have to let go and it creates trust issues. Keep her on a long line and let her carry the toy, pulling her in to you frequently. Stroke her gently and unconfrontationally and then just let her walk away. Do this over and over and over again, outing her only maybe one in ten times. When you do out her, give her a treat or another toy. All of this will teach her that even if she has to give up her object, shes still getting something rewarding.

Hopefully some of that may help :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
may i suggest that instead of flanking her (this will always, IME, get you a bite) to get her to "kennel", you have a high-value treat, throw it in the kennel along w/the "kennel" command. you want her HAPPY to kennel up, not thinking she's gonna have a fight.
It was more of a test to see how she would respond. I was testing. I generally throw a piece of food in the kennel and she runs for it.
 

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When did independence become a bad thing?

If I have a pet, I want them depending on me. A working dog must be independent. If they rely on you too much, then they lose focus on what is in front of them. Through obedience you can have a reliable working relationship. But, to create a dog dependent on you will cause a panicky dog. Those kind of dogs do what I call "Ask questions". They turn to find you and ask if everything is ok, if they can come back, if they can bite, if they can play. You are in essence inhibiting their drive.

Probably why you are not seeing what you would hope to for Drug work levels of prey and hunt drive. She may very well have enough and then some drive to do the work, just needs to be developed properly.

Again I would be careful what you wish for. I like the dog you describe, not want.

Bryan
 

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Hi Daniel..

I'm afraid I don't have enough experience with working dogs to really give you a decent opinion.

My current working line bitch is just over 3 months old, and i've my own problems that i'm working through. Sometimes blindly, sometimes with knowledge...

What I would say is that I thought your post was extremely well written and thorough and is a fantastic template for a trainer to work from in giving you advice.

You've obviously conditioned the dog well and given the animal a good foundation in life.

Well done mate. I hope things work out how you want them.

Best of luck

Gary
 
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