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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.