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Hey @canyx I totally get what you're saying in your last post. Hearing a description of a dog based based nervy or high prey drive or whatever is a very generalized thing, and I'm seeing it means different things to different people. I think german shepherd enthusiasts have sort of got a lingo all to their own in a way. I'm a gsd enthusiast, but dont do dog sports, and I'm an outdoors person who tends to avoid places with people in my spare time. Usually just me and the dog, and the wife sometimes for adventures. So, almost the only place I interact with other knowledgeable dog people is online, and this is a recent thing for me. Getting to interact in these discussions really helps me to expand my knowledge base! When I hear someone talk drives, I generally get a very broad picture of a dog, but yeah nothing specific without further details.

I think the other thing to remember here is that drive is relative, what is a high drive dog to me, may be only medium to 3gsd4ipo. Or lower.
It is kind of funny how many people I run into who say they have protective dogs, when the dog is actually scared to death and just putting on the big show. I've had some luck explaining to a few people the general concept behind fight or flight, I do use drive just a sort of generalized way to express it.
I do think that if more people had a general understanding of drive as what motivates their dog to act the way they do, and even a shallow understanding of types of " drives " it may serve as a good starting point to deeper understanding.
Like @canyx said, telling me a dog has high prey drive just tells me the dog likes to chase.....but then I my mind jumps to more specific questions.
I think that maybe in sports like IPO and certain other training venues, things are broken down to such minutiae, it probably really helps within that specific venue to have drives pinned down as much as possible. Seems like that sport engages facets of a dogs temperament that most others dont? I've certainly heard people say that such and such dog crumbled when we pushed him from prey into defense. That type of talk I can understand, but its just a generalization for me since I dont take part in the actual activity, but I am able to glean a general understanding from those descriptors.

So.....I gather that I am wrong to think of threshold as being the point at which drive kicks in?
 

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Drive is separate from threshold but it can be there inside of threshold.
For instance:
A dog naturally has quite a lot of genetic defense drive. This is not necessarily fear (which is more part of fear than drive). You go on a walk. This dog is young. On your walk someone or something comes after you. Your puppy is (at first) scared (because he is a baby). In the scrape the follows, your puppy gets damaged (somehow). Maybe you do too. This happens again. Maybe first time was a robber. Maybe next time it is a loose dog. Now the puppy is growing up. He is naturally (genetically) defensive. At 14 months old he sees anything approaching you and he goes to his defense drive and then, as it gets closer, he loses it and goes over threshold....

A dog naturally has High Prey drive.
From day 1 this dog is in chase mode. You introduce a ball in play. The dog becomes obsessed with that ball. The dog will do anything for the ball. You keep using the ball as a reward. You try to teach the dog to heel. However, by this time the dog KNOWS you have a BALL. Instead of heeling attentively, the dog heels wrapping around you, focused on your face obsessively and is actually foaming at the mouth in anticipating the ball. Brain is totally off.. because you have rewarded this behavior "thinking" it is heeling. You go do your Bh (basic temperament test) and fail because your dog is not exhibiting good obedience (even tho he never leaves your side) or good temperament. He is exhibiting an over theshold behavior that is NOT either good obedience or good temperament.

The place I learned all this minutiae was both in training and watching other dogs be trained. It all started with Donn's site (K9's for Cops Only) which really explained drives in detail including videos of Cape Hunting dogs and Dogs in Patrol training. Donn was all about Police working dogs. In fact, I do not think he ever did Schutzhund (now IPO). I MISS that site. It is gone since Donn passed away. I read it all.. referenced it frequently and always came away with more knowledge.

An interesting thing he mentioned doing as it relates to pack drive. He said, "Before stepping on the protection field, put your dog in a Platz. Get down on one knee next to your dog and get his focus and pet him. THEN go on the field." I have done this. It brings the dog into you as a team member.

THIS discussion that I started IS general and for that I AM sorry because the topic is so applicable to dogs. All dogs. Shelter dogs to pet dogs to working dogs.

IPO does engage facets of a dog that other sports do not. However, almost to a person, the highly successful handlers in most of those sports DO understand those facets and the minutiae and it is that understanding the helps them attain to that level.
 
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