Where are you- going? Can I- come?
|Barked: Tue Jul 19, '11 11:43am PST |
|OK, you asked about my dogs specifically, so now I'm going to get all long-winded on you. Fair warning.
During the six months when I was house/dogsitting Joey & Keiko for my parents, a bird got caught in the grill of my mother's car. I thought little of it (except that it was a bit sad) and left it parked in front of the house for the day. I wish I had a photo of what happened to that car in that time. I came home and the entire middle part of the front bumper had been ripped off. There were bits of it all over the carport. There were literal teeth marks penetrating the metal. Feathers, metal, plastic scattered everywhere. I've never seen anything like it. I'm thinking that's prey drive right there, not run-of-the-mill energy.
To get more specific, I'd say Joey is low energy, but obsessed with digging out any ground-dwelling creature. You can exercise him, you can give him stimulation, you can do whatever you want - he will still want to dig holes. He has torn out and exposed entire stretches of mole tunnels. Furthermore, those tooth marks on my mother's car match Joey's mouth. He doesn't seem to care much about prey he can see - it's the small, tasty-smelling, high-squeaking hidden critters that he must must must have.
Keiko is a dog that I would consider high drive/high energy but which I am fully aware would seem fair to middling to someone who deals with real high-drive dogs. I say this because of how quickly she learned to respond to "leave it" (which is by far the command she practices the most! ). That said, I'm pretty sure the only reason so many small wild critters still visit my parents' farm is because Keiko is so inept at actually catching them - because trust me, it's not for lack of effort. She is the dog who tore apart the side of the wooden doghouse to get at some mice. She ripped out chicken wire to get at some baby chicks. She's crazy smart, really high energy, and when those two things intersect with her strong desire to kill and then dissect small furry things, serious destruction is the usual result.
And Keiko LIVES for tug. Especially soft toys, especially if they have the low "duck-sounding" squeaker, especially if I make it act like a darting little animal. There's a reason that my nephews are taught, very specifically and over and over again, that if Keiko grabs hold of something they're holding, they are to let go of that object IMMEDIATELY. Fortunately someone in her past seems to have taught her that she's never to hold onto something a toddler is holding, either, so between the two of them there have been no child injuries. I, on the other hand, frequently come inside when visiting with bruised hands, arms, and legs (my own fault - I tend to dangle the toy right in front of myself and then whip it away, leading her to miss and clamp down on my leg). She lets go the second she realizes she's gotten me instead of the toy, but still. There's a lot of energy in that grip of hers.
...I do not know what it says about ME that I still enjoy playing with her so much, even when it looks like my hand has got a black eye and it won't close all the way.
Personally I think her enthusiasm about the tug is a good example of drive? Because it's not just that she really likes playing tug. It's that the longer you play tug with her (especially when you mimic prey behaviors with the toy), the more amped she gets. It's like this pressure that builds until she just goes way over the top. That is the point at which one is likely to get accidentally chomped. Everyone else in the family has the common sense to stop her before she loses her head; I like seeing her crazy-amped so much that I hardly ever do. She's still clear-headed enough and has enough bite inhibition not to seriously injure me, but you can see she's stopping at nothing to get that toy and she is LOVING the effort. And then once she's gotten the chance to "kill" it (by shaking it around) a couple of times, she's typically done. Or, no - if she can rip a hole in it and ritualistically scatter the stuffing all over the yard, that is when victory is declared and she can officially go about her business a satisfied dog. Then again, she's not SO driven that she can't handle the toy being taken away.
Lisa, the Cocker mix, had chase drive. If something ran from her, she would chase it until it stopped moving. Then she was done. It didn't matter what that thing was - cat, dog, horse, whatever - she would chase it. If it didn't run, though, she didn't care much about it. And she never tried to kill anything. It was all about getting it to run for as long as caninely possible. But boy, she had enthusiasm in spades. Training her was always hilarious - she was not the brightest bulb in the box, but boy did she want to make me happy. You could see it in her eyes. You'd give her a command and she'd just start happy-wiggling all over, whipping herself into a frenzy of excitement as we went along. I always imagined that her inner monologue went something like: "We're training! I'm so happy that we're training! Isn't this great?! We are the best team EVER!" Of course, in the midst of that the cue/command/lure was utterly lost. But at least the effort made her happy.
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