I'm not sure you can change a dogs day to day personality, but I certainly believe you can mold proper behaviors and expectations during training and testing atmospheres. I thinks it's important to note that these high drive dogs HAVE to have an outlet. You have to train for balance, and develop expectations of when its time to go, and when it's time to "not go"
I have a 16 month old that can get pretty darn high,but can turn it off in an instant, and stare a hole through you waiting on the next command. If you can harness this drive, and get the dog to engage you, then you got a dog that is a blast to train!
Bill Hillmann has some excellent material about developing that contrast between hot and cold.
Check out this video. It deals with steadiness, but he talks about how to develop the on and off.
OK... Follow up question. This is a great place to get a variety of opinions. Name some sires (or blood lines) that would qualify as "Pro-only" FC and/or AFC. That is to say, are there superbly trained dogs that would likely never be able to be tolerated in a civilized family situation? A "full time truck dog" if you will?
Wow, misconception city here. Dogs are situational. I have a high drive, semi-wild field trial dog and a very calm steady-Eddie field trial dog, both dogs are equally calm in the house or duck blind. If you ever watched Don Berard's great Ritz, you would have seen fire and brimstone on line at a field trial, yet Ritz at home was a quiet, relaxed, sleep on the bed dog. I can't turn my amped up fire breather into a calm dog, but starting as a pup and continuing through his whole life in training, I can enforce good line manners.
Seriously ? No such type of animal...not even a good urban legend...Do you really think in your heart of hearts that dogs come with a "warning label" saying not to be handled or trained by an amateur...Speculating or naming sires like that not only is a disservice to the dog itself but to all the connections involved
Originally Posted by 1tulip
I agree with Bon; even some fire breathers have the potential to throw calm dogs. Look at the HT game there are a ton of FC sired dogs that aren't fire breathers, and are trained and handled by amateurs.
I believe it all begins with training and discipline. How you train and discipline your dog to different situations. If the dog is a house dog his whole life with proper training he has the potential to have the on/off switch. If he's not trained how to live in the house i.e. settling down on a bed during dinner. He could drive a family crazy by running amuck
The last 3 responses are very correct in their own circumstances, I have a lab that is as high drive as I think I will ever own, I knew what I was getting into and I am happy I did, he lives in the house, he was NUTS on the line when we first started marking, if you shot a gun - GOOD LUCK - but if you follow Lardy then you probably know the phrase "you own what you condone" - if he broke he never got a bird if he creeped then he had to reheel before he would be sent or he wouldn't get the bird.
A lot of guys say "those field trial dogs are nuts and always jump up on you" - wrong it is conditioning puppies want to be near your face so they jump up and try to get near your face - squat down and get your face near them and they don't jump and then later in life they don't jump!!!
keep up standards and let your dogs be a part of your family and they will be good... if you lead them.
Interesting thread. My cocker has unreal drive (a predominantly red pedigree) which has made training and hunting a wonderful experience. However I struggle with him in the house. He is well mannered and of course obedient due to all the training but while I wouldn't say he is hyperactive, he certainly cannot sit still. He is constantly pacing with something in his mouth. He doesn't jump up or anything because he knows the rules but the constant pacing can drive you bonkers. No amount of physical and mental stimulation will calm him down to the point where he will just lay down on the floor so after training or hunting I always put him in his crate to give his brain an opportunity to shut down for a bit. I sure hope it improves with age but I doubt it. He's a dream to train and hunt with but hunting season is only 3 months out of the year lol.
Instead of using the word calm the word patience is correct term. Teaching a dog to be calm until released is teachable. If you are looking for a high drive dog to be a lap dog good luck. To answer the question about a high drive dog in the boat duck hunting, No problem with a trained dog. Sit means sit and call their name to be released and the dog explodes for the retrieve.
I have a fire-breather.... right now he's sleeping at my feet as I type. Been there all day. Perfect house dog.... almost totally submissive in the house. If I look at him crossways, he almost cowers wondering "what the heck did I do wrong now....??"
Hunting he is the perfect gentleman in the blind.. but always attentive and watching for birds. I've gotten lazy... I don't watch like I used to because 99 time out of 100 Deuce will alert me to birds coming in. He has made more retrieves of birds that we would have never bagged without a dog than I can count. He doesn't give up... relentlessly searches on a hunt and will chase a bird forever. I've been warned that I need to watch him because on a hot day he would probably fall over dead from heat stroke before he would ever give up.
At a hunt test, he is full throttle. If the only place I saw him was at a test I would think he is impossible in a hunting blind or in the house. But, he's a GMHRCH.. 1000 point NAHRA dog and in any venue 1000 points says something. At a test he's like punching the throttle on a Ferrari.... oh what a thrill!
Someone already said it.. dogs are situational, just like us! I'm amped up and nervous at hunt tests too... calm and relaxed at home... and hunting.. well, hunting is hunting.
My next dog, I don't want it any other way. Give me a firebreather!