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Old 11-28-2012, 12:01 PM   #91 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hunterisgreat View Post
You must be careful, as I have found in the dog world as opposed to say, my work field, many of the standard words lack clear definition.. compounded with that they describe intangible things... and what is meant when a word is used changes anywhere from subtly to dramatically from person to person. This greatly hinders communication. The words I see people struggle to *clearly* align on a single meaning are: *nerve*, defensive drive, aggression, dominance.

So my point is what one person would call "weak nerves", one might call "natural suspicion", or "sharpness", or "civil aggression", or "social aggression", or "aloofness".

If I told you Jäger growls at any men who walk up to us, you could fairly conclude that he is fear aggressive and unconfident just as fairly as you could conclude that he is highly dominant with high suspicion and has high civil & social aggression. In either case I haven't given nearly enough information (and I don't believe I could give enough purely with the written word or even a video.. one must actually observe the dog) to make a fair assessment

Only you, through training and meticulous analysis of your dog, coupled with an honest ability to put egos down as much as is possible and say "am I really objectively and unbiasedly analyzing my dog", will be able to determine your dogs makeup. When you find yourself being able to predict his reactions to the world with a high degree of reliability then you probably are on target with the assessment. When you have many "I didn't think he'd do that", or "He's never done that before" moments, then its time to go back to the drawing board and see where you judged incorrectly.
Great post! I really like the way you talk about predictability and I think it is so true! I once owned a truly nervy border collie and I NEVER knew how he would react to a situation, despite many years of training and working with dogs.
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Old 11-28-2012, 12:02 PM   #92 (permalink)
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There have always been GSDs with social aggression and years ago, many more than there are now. It is a required component of fight drive but since so many now seem to lack the basic understanding of what a GSD is supposed to be, ( and some will argue there is no such thing as fight drive), there are topics like the one mentioned on the PDB, questioning why anyone would breed for it. The ignorance in that question is amazing.

Social aggression is not trained and it can be a case where SchH does not put it on display at all. Not the way most of the training is conducted now anyway. Of course, you have to have the nerves to go with this trait, as I have seen dogs who want to protect their person and property and are not accepting of strangers , yet lack the heart and nerve to really follow through when necessary. Mostly, those dogs are defending themselves.

Social aggression, most have not seen, even if they think they have. There is a CLEAR desire in the dog to protect his handler. It is quite obvious and is not "self defense". The property of the handler is also off limits but these dogs can and are VERY good with members of their own family. IMO, this is a part of all of it. The intense bond is part of the protectiveness. The ones I have and do own, are extremely affectionate with me, very good with children and would never dream of biting me.

Civil is maybe what Lee said and goes hand in hand with social aggression. These are dogs who will protect without the benefit of training. It is in their genetics and when the rest is there, have the heart and nerve to take on a man, not just a sleeve.
Most people, believe a dog must be trained to protect. That is just hog wash, although it may be a case soon where that will be required, since so many people do not seem to want, nor do they understand this part of a GSD. A GSD was always known as a dog who would protect. There were not people everywhere training SchH, so, that reputation did not just come from there.

Also, it is extremely important that these dogs do not end up with people who over-react to every little thing. Almost always, it is a case where they show protective tendencies early in their development and this is where living with the right handler becomes very important. They mature in ways that few understand now, since many bloodlines behave like puppies well into their second year. The SA pups I have raised, show protectiveness early and tend to "mellow out" with age. It is just about opposite of what most people are now experiencing with their GSDs.

In that regard, what Hunter just said absolutely applies. Everyone who has trained one dog suddenly becomes an "expert" and they toss out these definitions without experience or knowledge.
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Last edited by Vandal; 11-28-2012 at 12:06 PM.
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Old 11-28-2012, 12:13 PM   #93 (permalink)
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Thanks for the posts! I was seriously starting to doubt myself and general logic because of some of the posts on this forum. Havoc showed protectiveness and lots of territorial behaviour early. According to many that is ALWAYS a sign of an insecure dog, which is just not what he is. I was starting to get very confused, I know to take every opinion with a grain of salt but there is an overwhelming amount of people that insist what I have is an insecure dog.

On the flip side I could describe Odin and everyone would say he has a perfect temperament and nerves but I KNOW that as nice of a dog as he is when the chips are down, the confidence isn't there. (Disclaimer, Odin is still the greatest dog in the world!)
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Old 11-28-2012, 12:48 PM   #94 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KristiM View Post
Now I remember it was you who had mentioned Belschick on another thread What you describe sounds very much like my dog, very, very intense (which personally I prefer a bit of a "lighter" dog esp in work) he does tend to make people uncomfortable with how intense he is. Also very, very dominant (not to me but everyone else.) I'm curious about where "nerves" come into play with a dog like this? I know lots of people seem to believe that a lot of the behaviors I talk about with Havoc are just weak nerves (obviously not being able to SEE the dog plays a huge role in assumptions) but are dogs like this naturally a bit on the nervy side? Or is it just dominance, and aggression?
IMO nerves would be a separate component as Anne, I believe, alludes to in her post. No, dogs with high social aggression are not naturally on the nervy side. I think dominance does play a part since the dogs I have owned were also very dominant. They also had very high fight drive (something else Anne talks about in her post).

Unlike Anne I haven't seen as many of these dogs or maybe I just didn't recognize them for what they were at the time. Of course a few dogs do stand out in my mind. Brawnson for one and another was a dog called Smudge von Brumbly.
http://www.pedigreedatabase.com/dog.html?id=736399 Both of these dogs were also very civil.

The dogs I have owned tended to be social when young, but on their terms. As they matured they became aloof. Not aloof like some people use the word. They didn't avoid people, they just didn't/don't care. I also had/have to watch them because they would/will push people to see if they can invoke a reaction. These dogs have also been civil and none were reactive/nervy.
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Old 11-28-2012, 01:08 PM   #95 (permalink)
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The dogs I have owned tended to be social when young, but on their terms. As they matured they became aloof. Not aloof like some people use the word. They didn't avoid people, they just didn't/don't care. I also had/have to watch them because they would/will push people to see if they can invoke a reaction. These dogs have also been civil and none were reactive/nervy.
This is what I am talking about with having to "manage" my dog. He WILL push people and I personally am not a huge fan of that. I understand that it is part of the breed and its really not a HUGE deal as I always watch my dogs with strangers because you just never know what someone might try to pull. But it makes ME a little uncomfortable to watch havoc push someone he doesn't know like that. I also think that if I made a big deal out of it or allowed havoc to walk all over everyone he met, like a lot of inexperienced people would, I would have some issues.
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Old 11-28-2012, 01:20 PM   #96 (permalink)
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Ok, one more question Are nerves and confidence very similar in their definitions?

(I know that people will have differing opinions but to me they seem to be very similar in definition?)
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Old 11-28-2012, 01:28 PM   #97 (permalink)
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There is a common misconception that when a dog shows any aggression or "defense" as many label it, the dog is in fear and protecting itself......

There are too many nuances to behavior to label aggression with one rubber stamp....

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Old 11-28-2012, 01:35 PM   #98 (permalink)
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I think "nerves" has such a negative connotation to most people.

But I sometimes use it just as a descriptive. A "thin nerved" dog is more like a Thoroughbred horse.... easily stimulated by a leaf blowing or a bag in the wind. Can be ridden with a very light hand and aids.

Too "thick" of nerves and you end up with an old plodding school horse that doesn't respond to anything. Kick the sides off of him and he barely moves.
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Old 11-28-2012, 01:48 PM   #99 (permalink)
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I think "nerves" has such a negative connotation to most people.

But I sometimes use it just as a descriptive. A "thin nerved" dog is more like a Thoroughbred horse.... easily stimulated by a leaf blowing or a bag in the wind. Can be ridden with a very light hand and aids.

Too "thick" of nerves and you end up with an old plodding school horse that doesn't respond to anything. Kick the sides off of him and he barely moves.
I thought that was more along the lines of low threshold vs high threshold? I always thought nerves had more to do with HOW the dogs reacts vs when he reacts. Or are thresholds and nerves more similar than nerves and confidence?
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Old 11-28-2012, 01:49 PM   #100 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KristiM View Post
I thought that was more along the lines of low threshold vs high threshold? I always thought nerves had more to do with HOW the dogs reacts vs when he reacts. Or are thresholds and nerves more similar than nerves and confidence?
I don't know.
I guess that is why it is better to describe what we see, rather than label behaviors.
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