Gathering insight on instinct
Well I have been reading a lot lately... one thing I am seeing over and over, is the natural ability for the dog to perform... Natural born tendencies, the job the dog "was made for"
Theory is that canines were initially domesticated, living off the trash and refuse of early man. Came to know man as the giver and taker of all things good and bad, naturally kept close to the good things, naturally want to protect the good things. Man accepted them, they served as a warning from dangerous wildlife or intruders as it were.
I take from this, that the initial trait sought after was defense, natural ability to guard. "Canis lupus" are said not to bark much, but Canis familiaris sure does. That explains the need to initially seek out the loud ones, and why dogs bark.
Theory is, later as agriculture is discovered, dog guards the farm in the same sense, protecting his territory. Along come the domestication of goats, sheep, bovine, camels... now on to the guarding the of flock, transferred the instinct from general property, to a specific area, the herd. Fast forward, the dog is now keeping the flocks in check as they graze, forms barriers and rounding up the runners.
This is what I want to know, how does the dog go from defending the flock, to herding the flock?
I figure that it learned by watching its master, master shows the dog, puppies watch the adult dogs do so, and time passes, and this trait grows into an instinct.
Well then what I would like to know, how many generations does a learned ability become a born tendency? in this case, a natural ability to herd? If you were to take a line of dogs that had only been trained to sniff out a certain scent, would this imprint in the litter at some point, for this line of dogs to always seek the scent?
Think about retrieving, even a poorly bred retriever may return an object without any training. It is in its blood. at some point, there must have been a dog that excelled in retrieving, this dog was the forefather of retrievers, but who knows how much lineage is behind it ...
Or another example, I think of dachshunds that naturally just want rabbits, only rabbits, not anything else, just rabbits... Without training! interesting to see these guys in action, ignoring squirrels and deer just chasing rabbits down in their holes, either grabbing them or flushing them out the other side for the hunter to take on his own.
just some food for thought.
I think your post shows how selective breeding played a large part leading to development of the different breeds for certain work.
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