Training High Drive Dogs

Discussion in 'Advanced Dog Training' started by myraellen, Feb 5, 2015.

  1. myraellen Well-Known Member

    First of all, my friend thought that she would discuss about something else than Lotta this time. She hasn't written here about her for a while but we can discuss also about her at some point. So, my friend is not asking for advice this time. My friend would like to ask/discuss about following things: She has heard that one could train high drive dogs with only positive methods. She has seen this video:

    Under it Kikopup writes:
    "There is a myth going around that is not founded in science, but is mere opinion, that high drive dogs need to be physically and psychologically intimidated in order to be trained. By using Progressive Reinforcement Training which involves no forms of physical or psychological intimidation, you can train high drive dogs the right level of arousal as well as reliable behaviors, and how to be friendly and calm around other dogs and people."

    She also writes:
    "A type of animal training exists that involves no forms of intimidation, confrontation, violence, reprimands, or domination."

    "Progressive Reinforcement Training essentially means teaching animals by rewarding desired behaviors and excluding the intentional use of physical or psychological intimidation."

    So, Kikopup is talking about GSDs and Malinoises etc. My friend knows that they are that kind of dogs but she thinks that there ought to be also other breeds in addition to them that are considered as "high drive dogs". We just created this thread about "high drive breeds": High drive breeds?

    What Kikopup is talking about is that many people think that one should train high drive dogs with harsh methods. My friend knows that those people think that if they train those kind of dogs with only positive methods it doesn't work and that they should "balance" them with other ways/methods.

    She also knows about this trainer:

    So, what do you others think about this? Do you know if it really is possible to train that kind of dogs with only positive methods? My friend means that one would train them so that s/he wouldn't use any kind of physical punishments with them. How would you be training those kind of dogs with or without a clicker if you were using only positive methods? My friend is now talking about basic obedience training.

    My friend thought that you could tell something about your dog's training. So, could you tell your personal experiences and give some examples? Could you for example link videos where you would be training high drive dogs with only positive methods?

    What would you do in the following situation: The dog would be very wild and s/he wouldn't listen/obey you and you couldn't get her/him calm down? My friend means that s/he would behave for example in these ways:

    S/he might behave with those ways also when no one would be playing with her/him. (The dog in that video doesn't seem to be a high drive dog) My friend knows that many people would restrain that kind of dog physically. Someone might even roll him/her over onto his/her back. So, what would you be doing here if you were using only positive methods?

  2. running_dog Honored Member

    Barnhill's border collie Tempest on this forum is a really good example of a high drive dog trained using positive methods.

    She absolutely scorches round the agility courses too and is beautifully under control, amazing to watch.
    MissyBC and southerngirl like this.
  3. running_dog Honored Member

    I just thought of this video as well... the first dog Anna works with

    You can see how Anna uses the dogs drive for tug and play and channels it into the dog doing what she wants her to do - whether that is something active like jumping or highly controlled heelwork. That is exactly what working with a high drive dog using positive training is about. You don't need to dominate a dog to make it do what you want, you channel their natural drive into them wanting to do what you want.
    southerngirl likes this.
  4. myraellen Well-Known Member

    My friend just saw both of those videos you had linked. She already knew that many breeds can be trained with only positive methods but what about the ones that the police for example uses? Are there any users here that would have that kind of breeds and who would train them with only positive methods?

    My friend also asked what would you do in the following situation:
  5. kassidybc Experienced Member

    I can't remember what the name of the book was, but I read a book once about how they train the warrior dogs for the Navy Seals, and they train them using only positive reinforcement. I have a border collie, who is pretty high drive, and I've taught her entirely using positive reinforcement.
    running_dog likes this.
  6. running_dog Honored Member

    If you are looking for guarding type breeds then the dog in the second video I posted is probably a pit bull cross.
    Jackienmutts, one of the members here has two GSD's trained using positive reinforcement. As well ordinary training (to a very advanced level), Makena had issues with dog aggression which Jackie has worked through using entirely positive techniques.
    Also you can look at the thread containing a trick list from Kali a GSD trained using positive reinforcement who was a member here for a short time (tragically poor Kali died just a few days ago). You can also see some of her tricks on video in the thread about solving the shape puzzle.

    If I wanted the dog to stop behaving like that then I would stop exciting it. The woman in the video is deliberately making the dog act that way by the way she stands (feet apart and slightly crouched) and the way she moves and the way she speaks (jump! Jump!).
    southerngirl likes this.
  7. patco444 New Member

    Nice video and really good methods for dog training! :)
  8. Caiti Experienced Member

    It is very possible to train a dog with only positive reinforcement. I like to refer to high-drive dogs as 'intense' to help their owners understand them better. The key thing here is understanding your high-drive dog as an individual and as a breed to understand what motivates them, and then using that to your advantage. For example, I once worked with a German Shepherd/Australian Shepherd mix who had been raised in a very loud, but small house with a family of small children. She was never properly socialized and received barely any stimulation, and was often reprimanded physically. As a result, she was very neurotic, and had developed plenty of destructive behaviors. The first time I met her, I could see how intense this dog was, she was high energy and wickedly smart, and loved to run, jump and play fetch. One of her owners was willing to do whatever it took to make this dog happy, so we started her on flyball training, using her high-drive and focus to our advantage - and she was incredible! She regularly competes in the sport and does very well, and has become a much better behaved dog now that her owners understand her. She was trained only with positive reinforcement.

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