Is Fighting Drive Necessary ? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 68 (permalink) Old 11-23-2009, 01:22 PM Thread Starter
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Is Fighting Drive Necessary ?

This was translated from part of an article written in 1978. The author was discussing Breed Surveys in Germany. Who the author is might surprise some people but it is interesting that these comments were made over 30 years ago. Some people who do SchH now have no idea there was ever points awarded for fight drive .
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Quote: Soundness of character in the dogs must be fundamental to us. It deals with the feeling of particular strength that the dog has and in the flight instinct of a sound dog, a flight instinct that is either only slightly developed or controlled by the brain i.e. kept in check. These dogs are not intimidated by the optical or acoustical stimuli of every day living. Their behavior toward their environment is friendly and trustful but they can display intrepidness e.g. when the assailant is in earnest. They demonstrate the ability to distinguish between apparent and actual danger. They are also aggressive when a clear threat presents itself. We call this desired sharpness as we wish to use the idea of sharpness conditionally.
These are the principles upon which the practical work of the SV is based. We have preserved over the AZG the inclusion of points for fighting drive in tests. The reason being that in judging it often turns out that the total points in SchH trials give hardly any conclusions as to the most important portion of the temperament test: fighting drive. This because a larger portion of the training exercises, ( e.g. searching the blinds, find and bark, the transport), present no great demands on fighting drive. A dog lacking in fighting drive often works here faultlessly. On the other hand, a hard, driving dog often looses points thru re-bites etc, and in the end result stands no better and often worse than a dog with little fighting drive and built up obedience. This was the reason for the inclusion of points for fighting drive. It should be a rule that a dog with otherwise similar scores in the overall rating yet lacking in fighting drive should place where he belongs, namely after the dog with fighting drive and the dog who sometimes performs without the same obedience.
This is because even the not quite sound dog is easier to train in obedience than the harder dog who is often very difficult to handle.
Here is the question and then I will tell you who the author is. Do we need dogs with fight drive nowadays? If we do, why? What purpose does it serve?
If we don't, why?
Do you think by removing the points for fighting drive we have brought about the demise of working temperament in the GSD?
Lastly, if this was the opinion of the leadership of the SV in 1978, why do you think they removed the point system for fighting drive and does anyone know what the excuse....er....reason that was given? I forgot.


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post #2 of 68 (permalink) Old 11-23-2009, 02:38 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Is Fighting Drive Necessary ?

Maybe I should ask a different question. Since the dogs with strong fight are also the dogs that are harder to handle, do they fit in with today's society?
Would YOU want to own a dog with the traits talked about above and if you did, why would you? What would your reason be in looking for a dog like that?


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post #3 of 68 (permalink) Old 11-23-2009, 02:41 PM
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Re: Is Fighting Drive Necessary ?

I think it is also knowing what fight drive, when you see it, and it not being something else.


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post #4 of 68 (permalink) Old 11-23-2009, 02:42 PM
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Re: Is Fighting Drive Necessary ?

Excellent article, and great discussion topic, Anne.

I would say I agree with the author, both about the importance of fighting drive as well as the fact that while much of the SchH routine does not test this, in the areas where the dog can show whether he has this or not, the dog who does ought to be rewarded over dogs who are equally, even slightly moreso, "correct" in their performance of the exercises but who do not exhibit fight.

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Originally Posted By: Vandal

Do we need dogs with fight drive nowadays? If we do, why? What purpose does it serve?
Yes, we do need dogs with fight drive. It is necessary for any real world application of protection. And the temperament traits that help compose "fight drive" and go hand in hand with it.. hardness, self confidence, a degree of dominance, assertiveness, intrepidness... are important personality traits to maintain across the board, not just in protection but it other areas where the dog may be called into service. These things also do not present a handicap in the family home of a truly qualified GSD owner, and can be beneficial there as well.

I think the term lends itself to misinterpretation, just as "aggression" does, and that contributes to people balking at it and not seeing it's value. People tend to think a dog with high fight drive is a canine axe murderer, and that is not the case. These dogs have such inner strength and confidence that they are far less likely to react inappropriately than the majority of the canine population, and if they do react they typically have a very sound reason for doing so, and will follow through and not back down.

Sadly, it is no longer a requirement for a dog to do well in SchH, and in many cases handicaps a dog on the SchH field when, as the author alludes to, these dogs can be harder to control and often don't exhibit the same precision in their execution of certain exercises (namely the secondary control work), and in modern SchH it seems more often than not the dog who lacks fight but performs perfect obedience in protection is awarded more points than the dog who takes protection seriously and shows strong fight, but while controlled isn't as precise and pretty in his obedience in protection.

SchH is not supposed to be the end goal. The idea wasn't to allow a means to evaluate breeding stock for SchH. The idea was to utilize SchH as a means to evaluate breeding stock as whether or not they are correct GSDs and suitable for working applications beyond the SchH field. The removal of fight drive from the equation is IMO the single, most significant contributor to the weakening of the value of SchH as a breed test for working dogs.


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Do you think by removing the points for fighting drive we have brought about the demise of working temperament in the GSD?
I don't think it brought about the demise of working temperament. Contributed to it perhaps, but I don't think it was solely responsible.

I view it more as a symptom of a greater disease than as the direct cause. Just look at the TSB rating system that replaced the point system and how it is abused with many dogs who should be rated sufficient at best, in some cases insufficient, recieving pronounced over and over and over again. With the way things have gone down hill, I've little faith that had the point sytem remained it would have retained any more integrity than the TSB rating system has. Dogs who barely hang on by one tooth, tucking their tails and shutting their eyes during drives, would be getting 10s just as they get pronounced now. I don't think the point system would have remained immune to this either, so we'd just have meaningless 9s and 10s instead of the meaningless pronounceds we have.

This is one of the many things I really like about the new AWDF titles. They have brought back the point system. But only time will tell if it retains integrity, with judges actually being able to tell the difference between what should be an 8 or a 9 or a 10 and awarding them accordingly instead of passing out 10s to everyone as many seem to do with pronounced TSB ratings.


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post #5 of 68 (permalink) Old 11-23-2009, 02:51 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Is Fighting Drive Necessary ?

Quote:
Quote:I think it is also knowing what fight drive, when you see it, and it not being something else.
The article I just posted in the other thread about prey work relates to this topic and also to your comment.
I forgot about how long these arguments have been going on. Certainly interesting, because now we can see the results.


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post #6 of 68 (permalink) Old 11-23-2009, 02:53 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Is Fighting Drive Necessary ?

Would anyone like to guess who the author is?


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post #7 of 68 (permalink) Old 11-23-2009, 03:44 PM
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Re: Is Fighting Drive Necessary ?

I'm going to take a wild stab,,,fred lanting?

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post #8 of 68 (permalink) Old 11-23-2009, 03:57 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Is Fighting Drive Necessary ?

Not a bad guess I suppose but the Fred is not German and never was in the leadership group of the SV.


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post #9 of 68 (permalink) Old 11-23-2009, 04:02 PM
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Re: Is Fighting Drive Necessary ?

Just because it would be head poundingly ironic (not to mention hypocritical) I'll guess one of the Martins.


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post #10 of 68 (permalink) Old 11-23-2009, 04:23 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Is Fighting Drive Necessary ?

Hermann


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