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post #1 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 10:15 AM Thread Starter
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Lost Drive - Hunt Training

I'm hoping someone here can offer some advice. Moe was in field training and was doing great. We trained him from day 1 and then at 6 months sent him to our trainer. Our trainer has done 4 dogs for us previously, and is very well respected. Moe was showing signs of truly being great. We were going to send him South over the winter to continue training with another trainer because he was doing so well. We have never even considered doing this before, as all of our dogs are Hunt Trained, but he was showing the trainer enough potential he felt he was the dog to put in field trials.

About 1 1/2 months into training Moe developed a limp. Long story short after weeks of testing and finally CT Scans with 3D renderings done we figured out he had genetic malformation of the sesamoid bones in both feet. His elbows were also questioned, but we have since been told by the Ortho Specialist he thinks they are fine. We will x-ray him at 2 years old to double check, but he's been cleared to return to full activity and competition. We made the decision that we would Hunt Train only and forget the field trials. He was off for a solid 4 months, but we were following a strict rehab program.

We've had Moe back running for about a month. He just seems to have lost his drive. He loved it before. He still runs like a jet plane to play, but when doing bumper drills he sort of runs out and then prances back. He will do more if you make it all play, but the minute you get serious he kicks it down a gear. He was set to go back to the trainer and be finished May 1st. We aren't sure what to do. If we make it all fun he knows exactly what to do, but in all honesty my 8 year old (who is having major health issues) is twice as fast, and twice as motivated. Our 8 year old actually has a fit the entire time we are working with Moe because he is jealous. He wants to go!!! Moe acts like he can't wait while watching the other dog, but when it's his turn all that enthusiasm just sort of fizzles.

Last night instead of us just running him we had our son come over and take him out. Our son is a pretty good handler. He said the minute Moe senses pressure he shuts down. We called our trainer this morning and we are going to take him there next week for a day just to let him evaluate. He said sometimes they get lazy, and sometimes he can get them to snap back out of it.

We train our dogs because that's what they love to do and that's what we do with them. We are both fine if he is just going to be a pet, but I've never seen a dog that loved something so much change. He still loves a simple retrieve, he loves a water retrieve, but when you get to pile work or wagon wheel he sort of just slows down. I don't want to feel like we are making him do it. He still has the most natural prey drive of any dog we've ever owned.

Any suggestions???
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post #2 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 10:37 AM
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Sorry to hear you have had some issues. Before I venture a guess I would like to ask you what do you think caused this problem i.e. lost drive?
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post #3 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 10:50 AM Thread Starter
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Sorry to hear you have had some issues. Before I venture a guess I would like to ask you what do you think caused this problem i.e. lost drive?
We honestly can't figure it out. We've wondered if because he had to have been sore the last day he was worked, or longer, is it that he's afraid somehow?? When he started to limp he was with our trainer. Our trainer called us and we met him at the vet. Our vet uses the same trainer for his field dogs so all of us have a pretty close relationship. We then crate rested him for well over a month while going through multiple tests and specialists. He is not afraid to run though. He chases live birds like a jet!!

We've wondered if he's bored because he's basically stuck where his training stopped, but we really don't know. We have slowly gotten him back into everything, but he's doing it at the same pace we started at. In water I see the same excitement, he loves a straight thrown retrieve, but anything else he acts like he's doing because he has to.

We've also wondered if it's because he's been babied and just doesn't think he has to do anything that isn't fun. Where I get stuck is that he loved this before. I've never had a dog with so much love for it just stop liking it.

To be clear nothing has been done to try and force it.
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post #4 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 11:11 AM
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poor Moe- poor you. I know how high those dreams were for him...

Maybe it is just a function of his break from work. I dk- start him on his pilework in the yard w some play between?
Anney would be the one here to ask.. k9design.
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post #5 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 11:16 AM
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Ok, my take on this. His previous behavior was outstanding. Now he is capable of working but at times not with the same energy.

Possibilities: 1) Pressure was applied at an inappropriate time, he ran slow because he hurt (before it was known he had a health problem) so he was subjected to collar pressure 2) He is now OK until he starts to hurt 3) Great at play but not work---Cues in the field have turned into poisoned cues. Not uncommon in all aspects of dog training where a dog associates unpleasant things with a cue.


Solution: Reteach the behavior but add a new cue. This may not be a popular point of view however if you are interested I can send you a link on this.
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post #6 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 11:50 AM Thread Starter
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Ok, my take on this. His previous behavior was outstanding. Now he is capable of working but at times not with the same energy.

Possibilities: 1) Pressure was applied at an inappropriate time, he ran slow because he hurt (before it was known he had a health problem) so he was subjected to collar pressure 2) He is now OK until he starts to hurt 3) Great at play but not work---Cues in the field have turned into poisoned cues. Not uncommon in all aspects of dog training where a dog associates unpleasant things with a cue.


Solution: Reteach the behavior but add a new cue. This may not be a popular point of view however if you are interested I can send you a link on this.
You are saying everything we keep going back and forth about here at home. I would appreciate the link. I would rather try things here with us. I just want to see that spark come back. He knows everything he is supposed to do, but seems hesitant. We are training exactly what he was doing when we found the health problem so the poisoned cues make sense.

Last night after we stopped trying to do any training I gave him a 30 minute break and then took him out. We just had a play session. I'm pretty sure there is no pain.

We've even thought about a complete change. Maybe dock diving, or obedience, he's to smart to not do anything. It's just hard because this is what we know.
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post #7 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 12:38 PM
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Dogs and cats can get things like food aversions. Like when puppies and kittens eat kibble early on and jams a tooth down which is painful, they don't not want to eat anymore, they down want that food anymore. They associate the pain with that food, not eating in general.

My thought is that maybe Moe got hurt doing the training, so he's associating the pain and injury to the training methods. This is why once you bare down on the seriousness he comes down a notch.

I would ask if it's during certain drills, certain items, like he's on it when a ball is involved but not when it's a bumper, if the bumper is what is being used all the time for training.

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post #8 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 12:49 PM
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post #9 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 12:55 PM
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Have you done a full tick panel recently to make sure he does not have an active infection? I have seen behavioral changes in my dogs when they are infected. Tick diseases can make them hurt all over and be so very tired. But when something is fun or exciting they forget about it.
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post #10 of 34 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019, 01:03 PM Thread Starter
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Have you done a full tick panel recently to make sure he does not have an active infection? I have seen behavioral changes in my dogs when they are infected. Tick diseases can make them hurt all over and be so very tired. But when something is fun or exciting they forget about it.
It's not a health issue. Thank you for the idea though.
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