Dog Park Theory/Question. (moved from chat to General Puppy)
Most of you know I just got my new little pup :-D. I have been exposing him to everything and anything I can, and it's been great. Knowing that he's being trained in a sport, and all the things I am doing to encourage drives, confidence, etc..It's made me realize how unbelievably impressionable these guys are, I mean he is constantly learning. It takes one exposure, for him to become completely neutral to something...first time he saw a cart, watched it inquisitively, sniffed it, looked at me, and then went about his day, not looking at it again. Same with work equipment, motorcycles, bikes, tents, everything. You just see his little brain working when he checks it out, decides it's nothing interesting, and then ignores it at any encounter in the future.
It made me start thinking about dog parks, and how he would be affected if I took him to one and let a pack of dogs rush up on him and try and chase him....what would he learn? What perceptions would develop? What problems would develop, especially if I repeated this over and over...following the "let them figure it out" or "he needs to get over it" rule that SO many people are advised to do, even by some vets and trainers. I believe, regardless of his genetics, that environment would create huge issues with him, and if done enough possibly irreversible dog aggression. Even though he exhibits ZERO dog aggression right now.
How many problems, fear aggression, dog aggression, resource guarding, are created by this environment? How many dogs would have never had those issues if they hadn't been put in those situations? It just makes me wonder if so many of the issues we claim to see SO much in shelter dogs, pet dogs we encounter out and about, etc...aren't genetic at all (like we are so quick to jump on), but are created because of this new idea that seems to be spreading in our culture, that all dogs must play together, get along, and "get over" anything uncomfortable via flooding them with it (continually sticking hand in food bowl to "desensitize" the dog, is what comes to mind along with the dog parks...another myth encouraged by many many people). Obviously a lot of them do have poor genetics, I just wonder how many have perfectly fine genetics, just crappy environments and experiences. Thoughts?
"An excess of size is an unserviceable feature for breeding, his powers of endurance, his speed and the smartness of his movements suffer in all circumstances. Giants are never nimble."-Creator of GSD
Last edited by DaniFani; 12-18-2013 at 02:16 AM.