I’ve Created a Monster!
Thanks Flickr.com for the photo
I talk a lot about eye contact and focus and building prey drive in order to better your dog training.
This is all true! Eye contact and focus is the foundation and building block of my training and building drive for toys and play is how I teach my dogs to ignore everything else around them.
I become the focal point.
I am the FUN in their lives. I teach them that I control everything fun in their existence.
But, it has been a little while since I have had a wild puppy.
My pup is 7 months old and he already has extreme drive.
His father is an extreme working dog who earned a perfect score in his KNPV PH 1 (which is actually pretty impressive) if you are curious you can google the KNPV PH 1 routine to see what all his father had to do.
So he is genetically bred to have this extreme high drive and work ability.
Ironically, before this puppy became mine, he had pretty low drive at 8 weeks. My friend, who bred the litter was happy he was not going to be a working dog because he was a pretty laid back puppy.
Fast forward a couple of months, the puppy got panosteitis for more on that click here and the person that purchased him originally didn’t want to put up with his growing pains.
My friend knew I would be a good “momma” and be patient while he worked through his pain, but he also knew I wanted a good working dog.
Ironically that laid back puppy is now the puppy that will bite me in the butt and sail through the air at my face when we are outside together because he wants to play.
And, in between dealing with his battles with pano I have spent some time building that drive so that I will have that flashy working dog I want in a few months.
But I Want a Real Puppy Too
And, to help with his recovery and his pain management he is at the point that I can exercise him more regularly.
So I have started to walk him the 5 miles to the lake to build his muscles and his resistance and once we are there, he has a little swim (also great for the muscles).
But, he wants to fly at me and bite me.
I Created the Flying Biting Monster
I have created this flying biting monster by building his drive, I KNOW that! For more on building drive click here.
I’m not ashamed… I’m just a little irritated.
I can see the final product in my mind; with the beautiful eye contact and the control for the toy and the game… the problem is that we aren’t there yet because he is just a little baby. Add to that the fact that he hasn’t been able to be a normal puppy and he is even bigger with less control than I normally have by this age (he’s really kind of wild).
So what do you do when you want to have this fun drive for the toy, but you aren’t ready for the control yet and you have a flying, biting, leaping monster?
You bring his toy!
Instead of letting my little guy bite, eat and tug at his leash… I bring a toy and stuff it in his mouth.
A toy has kind of become his pacifier, and when he has it in his mouth he will happily carry it from place to place and he has less need to want to bite me.
High drive dogs from extreme working lines like German Shepherds, Malinois, Dutch Shepherds, some of the Bully Breeds and even Retrievers can have this propensity.
A toy in his mouth can bring you much needed relief.
Does he drop his toy?
Sure he does! He needs to pant and he gets distracted and I slyly pick it up and put it in my pocket.
And, I bring it out when he is stressed or over excited.
And, if he is going to drop it and come right back at me then I will hold on to it for a little bit and tug on it to make it more exciting.
This will help to get me through the puppy stage and on to the adult, well behaved dog stage!
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.