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I have a GSD puppy that I am training in SAR. Many SAR dogs I've worked with have little to no obedience training or impulse control. By doing obedience, will I reduce the dog's drive? I want to retain or even increase her drive but I don't want a monster dog either. Is it worth it to train her in obedience and impulse control? Are there certain commands you wouldn't teach your working dog (such as drop it/wait/no pulling on leash/ etc)?
 

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I don't know about the latter but you can increase your dog's drive for prey and food, thus increasing the value of your rewards and therefore the motivation for your dog to perform behaviours. You can decrease drive and motivation by using too much compulsion.

I'm no expert but given what I've read recently, I feel as though free shaping might be a good way to have your dog learn behaviours as this is a method self discovery and it enhances learning ability.
 

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Hi! I am a conservation detection dog handler and this has been a constant topic of discussion with the different companies I have worked for. With C-K9s we want the dog's obedience to be to the odor when working, not the handler but the handler plays a huge role in this too, as we are the ones often delivering the reward and guiding the navigation strategically. If a dog is too "obedient" they may rely too much on the handler and not enough on their own nose and investigative nature and could lose confidence.

In my experience it has been more about controlling specific behaviors I want vs. those I don't want and modifying the training based on that. This may vary depending on when they are at work or when they are at rest. An emergency down-stay might be important in SAR if you are working the dog, off leash, and a predator approaches. You don't want the dog to chase the animal but it may be their instinct. A down-stay would be awesome and easy to train.

I have found that the dog's drive is not inhibited by training when targeting specific behaviors.
 

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I have a GSD puppy that I am training in SAR. Many SAR dogs I've worked with have little to no obedience training or impulse control. By doing obedience, will I reduce the dog's drive? I want to retain or even increase her drive but I don't want a monster dog either. Is it worth it to train her in obedience and impulse control? Are there certain commands you wouldn't teach your working dog (such as drop it/wait/no pulling on leash/ etc)?
Historically, the reason that people have not done obedience with Detection dogs or SAR dogs was because it killed drive. Because of trainers that used the old school yank and crank drive diminishing style of training. Those old school trainers would tell you that you do not do obedience with detection, tracking or SAR dogs. With that said, obedience done properly can be a benefit to any dog. It builds drive and teaches impulse control, which we call "capping." You can not work a dog in any discipline with out "impulse control" or capping.

Actually, you want to build drive constantly in everything you do with your dog. You want to create a "monster dog" as you call it. But, a highly driven, controllable and easy to handle dog. A dog can be off the charts with drove, a real "monster" and be very easy to handle and a pleasure to work. I have 4 at my house now. Two retired Police K9's, one dog actively in training and my female GSD. All our easy to handle and work with, and have a joy for work and high drive.

You must appreciate a dog's drive and have the patience to handle it. If a dog jumps on you because he is being a dog, enjoy it. Never get mad at a dog for displaying drive, being happy, jumping, bouncing and being a maniac. That is a blessing if you want to work a dog. Never get mad or frustrated with a dog for being a dog, being excited, happy to see you or having out of control energy. Use that gift of energy to train your dog.

Why can Dual Purpose Patrol / Narcotics Handlers teach their dog obedience and impulse control? No Patrol Dog handler would work a dog with out obedience. It is silly to think that a detection dog, tracking dog, SAR or therapy dog shouldn't be obedience trained. You absolutely must have control over a dog that is being used for SAR.

Do your obedience motivationally, develop a strong bond with your dog and absolutely teach your dog impulse control. You and your dog will be much better off for it. Any trainer that says obedience training will diminish drive or not for SAR dogs is a lacking trainer.
 
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Historically, the reason that people have not done obedience with Detection dogs or SAR dogs was because it killed drive. Because of trainers that used the old school yank and crank drive diminishing style of training. Those old school trainers would tell you that you do not do obedience with detection, tracking or SAR dogs. With that said, obedience done properly can be a benefit to any dog. It builds drive and teaches impulse control, which we call "capping." You can not work a dog in any discipline with out "impulse control" or capping.

Actually, you want to build drive constantly in everything you do with your dog. You want to create a "monster dog" as you call it. But, a highly driven, controllable and easy to handle dog. A dog can be off the charts with drove, a real "monster" and be very easy to handle and a pleasure to work. I have 4 at my house now. Two retired Police K9's, one dog actively in training and my female GSD. All our easy to handle and work with, and have a joy for work and high drive.

You must appreciate a dog's drive and have the patience to handle it. If a dog jumps on you because he is being a dog, enjoy it. Never get mad at a dog for displaying drive, being happy, jumping, bouncing and being a maniac. That is a blessing if you want to work a dog. Never get mad or frustrated with a dog for being a dog, being excited, happy to see you or having out of control energy. Use that gift of energy to train your dog.

Why can Dual Purpose Patrol / Narcotics Handlers teach their dog obedience and impulse control? No Patrol Dog handler would work a dog with out obedience. It is silly to think that a detection dog, tracking dog, SAR or therapy dog shouldn't be obedience trained. You absolutely must have control over a dog that is being used for SAR.

Do your obedience motivationally, develop a strong bond with your dog and absolutely teach your dog impulse control. You and your dog will be much better off for it. Any trainer that says obedience training will diminish drive or not for SAR dogs is a lacking trainer.
Thank you so much. I think I misunderstood a bit what my trainer had said.
 
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