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Old 07-09-2008, 05:08 PM
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Default Training styles Lab vs GSD

I work part time at a Pet Food store during the summer and I get to over hear a lot of Dog discussions. I heard a couple of people talking about training certain breeds. The discussion mostly revolved around the differences in training styles used between Labs and GSDs.

I did not part take in the conversation as I have never owned either breed nor am I a professional trainer(plus I was stocking ). I had always thought, for training purposes they are very similar (strong play drive and very eager to please) I understand temperament and purpose wise they are different but I thought the approach you would take would be very similar.

Is there that big of a difference in training approaches between these two breeds? If so how?
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Old 07-09-2008, 05:10 PM
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Granted, I have an Aussie and not a GSD, so I'm missing a slight "sharpness" perhaps, but overall, the biggest differences seem to arise from how to keep their attention and convince them they really should be doing what I'm asking. Sawyer will do it because it makes me happy, Virgo will do it because it stands her a better chance of getting some food at some point.

Labs are kind of ADD in their training as well, it can be more difficult to get them settled.
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Old 07-09-2008, 05:11 PM
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I think it's more individual temperment and drive in a dog than it is breed specific
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Old 07-09-2008, 05:19 PM
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^^^^ I agree ! The breeding is so important ! When I see Goldens as being hyper , I absolutely cringe ! I NEVER had a hyper one ! Labs have become so popular and the number in the HS and Lab rescue shows the result . I really don't know where GSD stand . In any case , blame the breeder , not the breed !
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Old 07-09-2008, 06:19 PM
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In my personal (non-professional-trainer LOL) experience... Labs are Way more food motivated and than GSDs. But... that's just me...
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Old 07-09-2008, 10:40 PM
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I can see that Brattina. Gunnar is far more motivated for a ball or tug but in a way, he's too motivated, in that it takes away his focus from the task at hand. I've had good luck training him with treats too. It all depends on the situation. I don't have any experience with labs except for those I've seen in classes, and to me, they didn't train as easily as the GSD's did. The GSD seems to focus and is more willing to work for you, but I'm sure there are labs out there who are like that too.
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Old 07-09-2008, 11:02 PM
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IME, there really isn't a difference in how to train a GSD vs a lab.

There may be differences in personalities and such, but they both respond to the same training methods - food and toy driven, very eager.

About the only difference I can think of might be that you can do more repetition with a lab, but I'm not sure of that. And I'm not big on lots of repetition anyway.

I never had any trouble with motivating a GSD with food.
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Old 07-10-2008, 12:02 AM
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Just thought I would add my two cents. I read somewhere that wolfs have like 5 different drives. One is the herding drive, the chase drive, the bonding and pack drive and so on. I don't remember the book or else I would look them all up for you. I see where the GSD would have more of a herding pray and pack oriented drive. Where as the Lab would have a chase pray drive. I think the training methods should match the drives as much as possible and one should work with what comes natural to your specific breed. I'm no pro I just wanted to share what I read about different drives. Feel free to look up or criticize what I say.
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Old 07-10-2008, 09:18 AM
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The herding drive is based on prey drive. So is the retrieve. It's the desire to chase down prey, be it a ball, a sheep, whatever. It's controlling that drive that lets the dogs do their jobs. Chasing a sheep without catching and killing it for example.

The drives as I know are prey, defense, pack and food. Prey consists of chasing and killing. Defense consists of the fight or flight response, pack is desire to move up in the hierarchy, and food is, well, food.
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Old 07-10-2008, 11:50 AM
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Herding (GSDs) and retrieving (labs) are prey drive behaviors. Playing with a ball is play drive. Food drive stems from prey drive.

Most GSDs and labs have high prey and play drives, but not all. That's more of an individual dog issue than a breed specific issue. Finding what works best for the individual dog - food, balls, tugs, praise, etc.

Both breeds originated to perform jobs that involved working with their handler, and they typically are both eager to work for for their handler. There may be some differences in the underlying reasons for their drives, but the tools used to train them and the methods that work well with them work for both breeds.
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