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Thread: Genetics of Fear.... "Experts", please chime in: Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
12-23-2012 11:30 PM
Kath & Clan Sorry if I end up double posting, dial up seems to be objecting to all of the holiday web traffic! Cassie is an anxiety basket case which presents as fear aggression toward people. I do not believe that she was abused by her previous owners or anyone else. Temperament/mental stability is a genetic issue , just as seen in humans and one of the big reasons that the forum members are so anti byb. Anti-anxiety meds helps her tremendously with being able to settle and to learn. She has passed her CGC twice exept for allowing a stranger to touch her/groom her. I take her with me and introduce and expose her to as much as I can that I feel that I can manage for her safety and for other people's.

Kathie
12-18-2012 11:15 PM
RocketDog Oh, I totally agree!! I also think she DOES have a routine in place, even if it's not one that is obedience-oriented. I think every single dog benefits from training. I think some people are more naturally gifted than others also. FWIW, none of us were paying any attention to the dog at all when she peed a couple of times. We were all saying Hi and hanging coats up, etc. In fact, the second pee, she had gone up the half flight of stairs and no one was even near her.

I think she is an extremely smart and trainable dog and could benefit much from a class(es).
12-18-2012 11:07 PM
Magwart I don't think your friend knows what this dog is capable of in terms of its recovery. His genetics might be bad, yes -- but he might be capable of way more than he's presently displaying. I wouldn't want the "bad genetics" label to be an easy out for a person who hasn't at least tried training and confidence-boosting exercises.

"Once abused, always fearful" is a bunch of hooey. Many dogs are resilient in different ways. Some respond brilliantly to an opportunity to build up self-confidence and solid routines but languish without them.

Submissive peeing is easy to manage with GSDs -- I have no idea whether Dalmatians communicate as clearly, but my guess is that they likely do: GSD ear position telegraphs the submissiveness before they pee (the ears are down and back). Once you figure out how to read the ears, when they are in "I'm going to pee" position, ignore the dog! Period. Don't look at it. Don't talk to it. Calmly walk to the back yard and let it follow. Then tell it to go potty. When it does, cheerfully praise the dog for doing the right thing in the right place, and the ears will pop back up and all will be well as the confidence will have returned. Rinse and repeat. Over time, the piddling sometimes becomes less and less when managed this way (at least, that's what happened with my rescue who was a piddler--and we almost never had to clean it up in the house once we learned to read her ears).

As for the rest: I have never yet met a shy, fearful, or shut down rescue that didn't benefit to some degree from a good, basic obedience course. Here's why: their world becomes predictable. They understand what you want them to do, and they're happy to no longer be confused. People suddenly start making sense to them, as you'll be talking the same language. They start to feel good about themselves for always knowing the right thing to do. I've seen several of them go through a transformation in their whole bearing and expression over the course of a good class -- like they're coming alive and finding their self-confidence for the first time. It's a magical thing to see happening in a rescued dog's face and bearing. There is sometimes one special moment, often around week 3-4 in a course, when the head comes up, the shoulders square, the eyes illuminate, and they physically shake off the fearful shadow that had been trailing them. They look at the handler with an expression that says "I'm loving this. This is who I really am!" That's when the spectacular dog in them finally comes out, and the trauma and drama of the past gets left behind. It's almost like the training gives them space to find their true selves.

Maybe this dog has bad genetics. Maybe he's capable of a whole lot more. It's got to be worth trying at least, right?
12-18-2012 07:49 PM
RocketDog Agreed!!
12-18-2012 03:41 PM
onyx'girl Look at how many dogs in shelters/rescue have been abused or neglected....and they are absolutely normal and loyal to whoever....that is genetics at its finest.
12-18-2012 03:09 PM
RocketDog
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liesje View Post
I guess I would ask your friend....what does she want? What is her goal for the dog? If she wants the dog to act differently than she does now, then she will have to be willing to make some changes in how the dog is managed. If she's not willing to do that, then I don't know what else to say. Your original post made me think that your friend thinks she can change the dog's behaviors and reactions (if they are not genetic) but if she is not doing any training, NILIF, reading your books, etc then I don't get how she expects the dog to change? If she does not agree that the dog might just be shy and soft genetically, then why is she not proving her theory by changing her dog into a more confident dog? You can't on one hand blame a dog's weakness on how it was originally raised and then on the other hand not agree that if it is not genetics at play the dog cannot be trained and socialized to be a more confident dog....see what I'm saying? It just sounds like an excuse, blaming the dog's past but being unwilling to help shape the dog's future.... You know how *I* feel about the role of genetics but like I said originally, there's usually a lot of "room" on a dog's genetic spectrum for the owner to train and socialize what behavior they want and the things that cannot be changed can at least be managed so that the impact on the dog is minimal (ie, not having the dog in a situation where it feels overwhelmed and pees several times, for starters).
I'm not sure how she acts bothers my friend. Personally, I think I would at least try to manage the submissive peeing, but she is used to cleaning that up, and that's her prerogative.

My only worry myself is, the two of us like to hike together and Sassy will try to bite Rocket if he's too close. He is very even-tempered and has responded extremely well, but it's stressful for me obviously to try to manage it, which means we possibly can't hike them together anymore.
12-18-2012 02:53 PM
Freestep
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liesje View Post
Also I think the "abuse" card becomes like an excuse.
If I had a nickel for every person who thinks their dog was "abused", I could retire. Many of my clients have "second-hand" dogs, and any show of fearful, nervous, submissive, or aggressive behavior is chalked up to "abuse", and therefore excused (or even coddled). Drives me crazy.
12-18-2012 10:40 AM
JeanKBBMMMAAN
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liesje View Post
I guess I would ask your friend....what does she want? What is her goal for the dog? If she wants the dog to act differently than she does now, then she will have to be willing to make some changes in how the dog is managed. If she's not willing to do that, then I don't know what else to say. Your original post made me think that your friend thinks she can change the dog's behaviors and reactions (if they are not genetic) but if she is not doing any training, NILIF, reading your books, etc then I don't get how she expects the dog to change? If she does not agree that the dog might just be shy and soft genetically, then why is she not proving her theory by changing her dog into a more confident dog? You can't on one hand blame a dog's weakness on how it was originally raised and then on the other hand not agree that if it is not genetics at play the dog cannot be trained and socialized to be a more confident dog....see what I'm saying? It just sounds like an excuse, blaming the dog's past but being unwilling to help shape the dog's future.... You know how *I* feel about the role of genetics but like I said originally, there's usually a lot of "room" on a dog's genetic spectrum for the owner to train and socialize what behavior they want and the things that cannot be changed can at least be managed so that the impact on the dog is minimal (ie, not having the dog in a situation where it feels overwhelmed and pees several times, for starters).
Yes - all of this! I realized I was struggling in responding because I am not sure what is the desired outcome here?

If she learns that dogs can be genetically fearful, will she then commit to good training and management for the dog? If so, will she go to a place like the Yahoo shy k9 group and read the archives?

If not, let's go with the abuse thing and get her hooked in to the Yahoo sky k9 group and read the archives? Because that is the thing - no matter the cause, what you do is what will either make the dog feel better or worse.
12-18-2012 10:02 AM
Liesje I guess I would ask your friend....what does she want? What is her goal for the dog? If she wants the dog to act differently than she does now, then she will have to be willing to make some changes in how the dog is managed. If she's not willing to do that, then I don't know what else to say. Your original post made me think that your friend thinks she can change the dog's behaviors and reactions (if they are not genetic) but if she is not doing any training, NILIF, reading your books, etc then I don't get how she expects the dog to change? If she does not agree that the dog might just be shy and soft genetically, then why is she not proving her theory by changing her dog into a more confident dog? You can't on one hand blame a dog's weakness on how it was originally raised and then on the other hand not agree that if it is not genetics at play the dog cannot be trained and socialized to be a more confident dog....see what I'm saying? It just sounds like an excuse, blaming the dog's past but being unwilling to help shape the dog's future.... You know how *I* feel about the role of genetics but like I said originally, there's usually a lot of "room" on a dog's genetic spectrum for the owner to train and socialize what behavior they want and the things that cannot be changed can at least be managed so that the impact on the dog is minimal (ie, not having the dog in a situation where it feels overwhelmed and pees several times, for starters).
12-18-2012 10:01 AM
Catu This may not help the OP, but within the context of this thread this article may interest to those who like a scientific approach. Here there is the heredability to many behavioral traits.

http://www.vetsuisse.unibe.ch/unibe/...enacht_ger.pdf
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