Genetics of Fear.... "Experts", please chime in: - Page 2 - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #11 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-17-2012, 04:50 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, I skimmed the links, and yes, they have some very good info, but I guess I'm looking more for things along the lines of Lies' post about her dog and it being genetically fearful. I too think many people assume a dog has been abused when it is just genetics.

Any more people? I've seen many really good threads/posts about this, and now when I want them I can't find them.

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post #12 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-17-2012, 04:59 PM
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If you want more anecdotal evidence....a friend of mine has a female GSD she purchased after the dog was a year old. The dog was born and raised a kennel dog (lived in an outdoor run). She had no training, no socialization, was filthy when she got her....the dog knew no one and nothing. But she's a great dog! She was social with her handler/pack and a confident dog from day one. Within a few weeks she was completely house trained and has always lived as an indoor pet with other dogs (and a few other random animals my friend has rehabilitated). She's now the top Ultimate Air Dog GSD, set a new record at her second competition. She also does Schutzhund, Rally, I think has her CGC. Just a really nice dog whether it's high level competition or "just" being a well behaved pet.

Coke (All-American 7/7/06)
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post #13 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-17-2012, 05:03 PM
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I will come back on later, hopefully with pictures and then some links about temperament - like Liesje said, dogs that are totally uncared for, not socialized and walk around like no big deal and the opposite. You can train and work and it becomes something that isn't as noticeable, and the dog is much happier though.


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post #14 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-17-2012, 05:15 PM
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Also I think the "abuse" card becomes like an excuse. I could say that Coke was "abused" because he has never liked people reaching over his head, and to this day will duck if you try to pet his head, but if people ask me if he was abused I just say I don't know, he doesn't like having his head touched like that. I don't want his past to limit his future. I do know he wasn't receiving the best of care but I can't say it was abuse or neglect without knowing the motivations (or lack thereof) of the previous owner, which I do not know. Instead I just say that the previous owners couldn't keep him, but we gave him a fresh start. He's done CGC (twice), agility classes, gone herding twice, tried dock diving (OK so he won't jump but he likes to be plopped in the pool and swim around!), goes in parades. On Friday he's wearing his Santa outfit and visiting a second grade classroom. Now I could say "oh I think he was abused" and let him get away with all his bad habits and coddle him at home but I have expectations for dogs that live in my house and I see it more as respect to expect the same from a dog with a muddy past. I *know* he can be an awesome dog despite his past, and he is.

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post #15 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-17-2012, 05:43 PM Thread Starter
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That brings up another part of this: As I mentioned, if she was abused, exactly how far can the dog recover? I mean, we all have heard of dog fighting dogs (bait) that have been rehabbed into pet homes showing no signs of abuse.

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post #16 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-17-2012, 07:34 PM
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Depends on the dog's genetics!

Coke (All-American 7/7/06)
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Indy (All-American 5/10/12)
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post #17 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-17-2012, 11:09 PM Thread Starter
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LOL Lies!

This is exactly my point.

So...Lies had awesome posts, but I know there must be more?? C'mon people! Think of the children! (er, well, dog....)

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post #18 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-17-2012, 11:26 PM
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I'm no expert, but this sentence has stood out to me in your opening post:
Quote:
My friend, who admits she hasn't done any training with her, thinks it's all because she was "abused" and a rescue
She needs to step up NILIF because a dog that may be genetically fearful or timid or whatever will benefit from knowing that they don't have to control every situation....their handler has the world under control so the weight will not be on the dog to feel the need to be 'on' all the time.
The owner should also get the dog in a training class so the dog can grow confidence(though it may be too much so a class that is geared for this type personality if possible) Confidence building is very hard to do with certain dogs, but should still be attempted. If it is found that the dog can't handle the stress of group class, maybe private lessons just to get the dog out of the home environment, but in another that is ok after a few visits...that will build the dogs confidence. Playing on agility equipment or doing some nosework along with fun obedience exercises.
Genetics can be managed, but the owner should understand that things are what they are with this dog, and learning how to manage the dogs limits is what matters most of all.

I found that out with Onyx. She is what she is, there is little I can do other than manage her, keep her happy and healthy in her world. No reason to take her out and try to change who she isn't because it just would be a constant battle. But Onyx feeds off aggression/fight so she is a different personality. Anytime there is excitement or possibly a fight to be had, she's all in. She would rather fight than flee...even though it is possibly fear based.

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Last edited by onyx'girl; 12-17-2012 at 11:28 PM.
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post #19 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-17-2012, 11:41 PM
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I am having trouble gathering my thoughts but have a response I emailed to myself to look at tomorrow!

But - like Coke, my Ava does not like the top of her head touch. When we were in a training class a lady tried to pet her and she pulled away and she asked me if Ava was abused - I started to say I didn't know but the trainer was like, "NO! She just doesn't like rude people who think they can pet the top of her head before she knows them."

What I do think that is important is that whether you are willing to admit that a dog can have genetic issues with their temperament - fear, anxiety, etc, or if it is a result of abuse, you can DO things about it and for the dog.

You can't change their past, or their underlying genetics, but you can train, shape and manage so that the dog - regardless of the why - has a better (good/great) quality of life.


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post #20 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-17-2012, 11:46 PM
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Very few dogs want a hand going over their head...especially the hand of a stranger. Too bad more people don't understand canine communication better! Sideways approach and under the chin or ear area is always appreciated more than a frontal "let me pet or pat your head".
This link may be of help for your friend to understand a bit better, and also Turid Rugaas's site about canine communication.
Elem. of Temperament
http://www.vanerp.net/ilse/GSDINFO/E...rament.htm#4.2. Life With a Weak Nerved Dog

Jane~
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