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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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.
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This is sort of our thought. He is excited to see the bumpers come out, and he loves to retrieve them. It is more when we are asking for higher level work. It's when we are trying to do specific drills, or using hand signals. It's sort of like as soon as it leaves the basics he gets worried, or loses the ambition.

We've been doing two or three commanded exercises and then throwing in a few just for fun retrieves. Even doing that you can see a definite change in the energy level between commanded and fun. He will do all of them, but I want to get that excitement back.

It's not fun to train a dog that isn't having fun doing it. For us it's not about perfection, but he had so much promise it feels like we are doing him a disservice to not figure this out.
 

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This is sort of our thought. He is excited to see the bumpers come out, and he loves to retrieve them. It is more when we are asking for higher level work. It's when we are trying to do specific drills, or using hand signals. It's sort of like as soon as it leaves the basics he gets worried, or loses the ambition.

We've been doing two or three commanded exercises and then throwing in a few just for fun retrieves. Even doing that you can see a definite change in the energy level between commanded and fun. He will do all of them, but I want to get that excitement back.

It's not fun to train a dog that isn't having fun doing it. For us it's not about perfection, but he had so much promise it feels like we are doing him a disservice to not figure this out.
I hear you. Definitely want the dog to enjoy training and especially this type of training. This is interactive training that is supposed to be want he wants to do instinctually.

The other thought I had was maybe he's still feeling the injury when he's really pushing it. Not affecting him but like some steps he feels a twinge that reminds him of what happened.

I personally would just let him work up to it. Just do all the fun stuff, change the venue, change the object. If he's showing you he's happy playing and going his speed I would do that for a bit. It's also possible that with the issue he has that going that hard, maybe he feels that's something isn't right and he wants to turn it down a bit. But the fact he turn it in and off with the level of train makes me think it's mental for him. Like an athlete coming back from an ACL surgery. It takes them a while to feel right and trust it again.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
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.
Thank you Robin. Sent her a message.
 

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DblTrbl



I want to thank you for bringing up this issue. Yesterday while training I examined my own cues and have found instances where I have poisoned a cue. Working on it now.

It's always somewhat heartening to hear others facing similar challenges. I made a big mistake with Shala about 18 months ago (pressure at an inappropriate time) and it shattered her confidence on blinds (she would no longer go). I have been working on rebuilding that confidence ever since (we train mostly very part-time, just once a week or so, except in summer months, so it's been slow).



DblTrblGolden2 - I agree it's either related to the pain, or it might be a confidence issue, too. Shala is exactly the same - super enthusiastic, loves bumpers, loves ducks, and is great at basic stuff. When it starts getting more difficult and I am asking more of her, she also, as you put it, "gets worried" - which I describe as loses confidence. It's funny - once she GOES on a blind, she whistle sits perfectly and takes casts quite well. I just need to get her confidently going again 100% of the time (we're at about 75% on land, and hoping it carries to water when it gets warm enough to be back in). Hope you're able to figure it out.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Yesterday we had a unique opportunity so we took advantage of it. There were a couple of people traveling through our area to get to an upcoming field trial. They kept their dogs overnight at our trainers house. We took Moe out for a few of them to watch. My trainer ran Moe through a couple of drills and at first things went well. He then saw exactly what we've been running into at home, Moe just sort of loses interest. Moe definitely knows exactly what he is suppose to do. He did it perfectly twice. On the third send he completely refused for the trainer. He went out and then laid down next to the retrieve. This was with no pressure.

He completely refused anything that a trainer that has never worked with him asked of him.

They then had us run him. He again did things for two to three tries. On the next run he ran out to the retrieve he should have made and then zoomed by everyone, making a wide circle through the field, and laid by our truck, never bringing the retrieve back.

We tried several different things. We looked at some video of him working before the injury, and we all came to the same conclusion, Moe associates getting hurt with working. He could also be being manipulative, but it's still for a reason. He doesn't want to do it.

We are going to continue to "play" with him and see if we can get his courage back up, but we aren't going to force it. Our trainer doesn't want to force it, and he's successfully trained every dog we've ever taken to him. He said he's never had a dog get hurt, or suffer such a medical problem, during training and he just thinks it's to much. I'm reluctant to say Moe got hurt because we have 4 different ortho specialists that all agree his issue is congenital, but it surfaced while he was training. I think if he wasn't being trained we may not have found it so soon, but eventually we would have.

Although there is truly disappointment, we are all just happy Moe can run and be a very normal pet. There was a point that we were questioning quality of life for him. We have always bought our Golden's hoping to field train them, but knowing they may just be a pet. Moe will be a very happy and loved pet.

I'm trying to think if there is anything else we could do. One of the trainers there yesterday said he thinks agility is also to much pressure. He thinks we would get the same reaction. I also worry it may be to much on Moe physically. We still aren't sure about his elbows. One of the trainers recommended service work, but he's really high strung. I'm wondering about obedience, but some of what we teach is different then the classes I've looked into. He also is already trained....

Just wanted to update.
 

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Yesterday we had a unique opportunity so we took advantage of it. There were a couple of people traveling through our area to get to an upcoming field trial. They kept their dogs overnight at our trainers house. We took Moe out for a few of them to watch. My trainer ran Moe through a couple of drills and at first things went well. He then saw exactly what we've been running into at home, Moe just sort of loses interest. Moe definitely knows exactly what he is suppose to do. He did it perfectly twice. On the third send he completely refused for the trainer. He went out and then laid down next to the retrieve. This was with no pressure.

He completely refused anything that a trainer that has never worked with him asked of him.

They then had us run him. He again did things for two to three tries. On the next run he ran out to the retrieve he should have made and then zoomed by everyone, making a wide circle through the field, and laid by our truck, never bringing the retrieve back.

We tried several different things. We looked at some video of him working before the injury, and we all came to the same conclusion, Moe associates getting hurt with working. He could also be being manipulative, but it's still for a reason. He doesn't want to do it.

We are going to continue to "play" with him and see if we can get his courage back up, but we aren't going to force it. Our trainer doesn't want to force it, and he's successfully trained every dog we've ever taken to him. He said he's never had a dog get hurt, or suffer such a medical problem, during training and he just thinks it's to much. I'm reluctant to say Moe got hurt because we have 4 different ortho specialists that all agree his issue is congenital, but it surfaced while he was training. I think if he wasn't being trained we may not have found it so soon, but eventually we would have.

Although there is truly disappointment, we are all just happy Moe can run and be a very normal pet. There was a point that we were questioning quality of life for him. We have always bought our Golden's hoping to field train them, but knowing they may just be a pet. Moe will be a very happy and loved pet.

I'm trying to think if there is anything else we could do. One of the trainers there yesterday said he thinks agility is also to much pressure. He thinks we would get the same reaction. I also worry it may be to much on Moe physically. We still aren't sure about his elbows. One of the trainers recommended service work, but he's really high strung. I'm wondering about obedience, but some of what we teach is different then the classes I've looked into. He also is already trained....

Just wanted to update.
Thanks for the update. That was what I felt was the underlying issue. A mental block about getting hurry again for the same activity. He'll probably get over it with time and just doing it over and over again, but will take some time.

Good luck and hope he gets that drive back. Moe needs his mojo back!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Just wanted to give an update. After putting our heads together we are going to back up a bit in training and try to go forward using a different approach. We are going back to some of the basic obedience and teaching it over again using some different cues. We are also consulting with a different trainer. She thinks we can do this on our own, but is willing to help out if we get stuck. I think we have a very smart, but head strong 1 year old on our hands. The good news is he wants to please and picks things up really quickly. I also don't think extra obedience training can ever hurt.

I also went to a dock diving competition over the weekend. It looks like a fun time. We didn't take our dogs but they allowed people to try it out and I'm pretty sure both our guys would love it.
 
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