Natural Focus - Genetic? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-08-2009, 11:26 AM Thread Starter
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Natural Focus - Genetic?

Is Natural Focus a genetic thing?

Aslan has this amazing natural focus, I've never taught him the watch comand because as soon as I sit him in the fuss position or here position, he immediately looks up at me and maintains the focus. I love it! Even when we are just walking most of the time he is looking right at me.

I have been bringing him to work and a co-worker of mine came out to play with him. She was amazed at how he would focus on her eyes and said it was actually intimidating to her.

I think his natural focus will make training a lot easier.

Carolina Johnson

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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-08-2009, 11:38 AM
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Re: Natural Focus - Genetic?

I think part of it is. Maybe not the focus itself, but the willingness to work with their human part is and you can see it even in pups who are like always asking "What can I do? What can I do for you?"

Diabla's lines are known for their focus, which reinforce the idea of the genetic factor.

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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-08-2009, 11:58 AM
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Re: Natural Focus - Genetic?

I have seen dogs with natural focus. Most of the time it is due to a fantastic bond between the dog and its handler and good training.

Lisa Clark

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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-08-2009, 12:02 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Natural Focus - Genetic?

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Originally Posted By: lhczthI have seen dogs with natural focus. Most of the time it is due to a fantastic bond between the dog and its handler and good training.
As a new handler, I made lots of mistakes with Gala I don't want to make them again with Aslan, but I'm sure there will be new ones unfortunately. I believe Aslan and I have a good bond and hope with Dennis' help and with what I've already learned the training will be great!

Carolina Johnson

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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-08-2009, 12:09 PM
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Re: Natural Focus - Genetic?

IMO, it is genetic. I work every litter I have here with the clicker before they go home and while I can't really remember a litter that didn't show great apptitude for that training, there are some lines I have come to expect that exceptionally strong focus you seem to be are talking about. There are some lines that are a bit more intense than others is what I am trying to say, but I have only seen this ability in pups with better genetics.
The ability to focus, IMO, is related to drive, ( of course), but also nerves. Years ago, I offered clicker training to dogs from different breeds and different lines of GSDs. There were only a very few pups who had the apptitude and were capable of focusing like what I was accustomed to. There were other GSDs from different types of bloodlines and mostly, they were too distuirbed by their environment to be able to focus on their owners.


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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-08-2009, 12:40 PM
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Re: Natural Focus - Genetic?

I think it's genetic, or at least a born with personality trait- the ability to maintain attention.

I remember puppy testing Cade at 6 weeks using Flinks puppy test, and one of the tests had to do with making attraction with the toy, and then lifting it up above their head, where they could see it but not get it...and I remember he just burned holes in that toy with his eyes, and then after some time he got frustrated and started barking, but never lost his focus on the object. Other puppies would eventually lose interest...

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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-08-2009, 02:40 PM
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Re: Natural Focus - Genetic?

Halo has VERY strong focus, and I think a lot of it is genetic. I use a clicker a lot with new puppies, working on marking and rewarding the auto-watch, but before I had even done much of that with her she would naturally sit and look at me all the time, to the point where I asked her breeder if she had taught her to do that and she said no!

Sometimes that focus is on something interesting in the environment rather than me, but when she's working with me, she's WITH me in a very intense way - I can definitely see her working drives.

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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-08-2009, 03:06 PM
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Re: Natural Focus - Genetic?

I think part of it may be confidence, which is genetic. When I see puppies that are nervy, lack confidence, unsound...they are trying to hide, showing avoidance, or too affected by other things going on. Often they are treating their owners more like an object to crouch behind than a training partner or someone who brings the fun. The confident, sound puppy is not nervous about all these things, and might alert to something or someone but pop right back into focus.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-08-2009, 04:20 PM
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Re: Natural Focus - Genetic?

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Quote:There are some lines that are a bit more intense than others is what I am trying to say, but I have only seen this ability in pups with better genetics.
I agree with the it's genetic too.. And really like this statement by Anne..

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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-08-2009, 04:35 PM
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Re: Natural Focus - Genetic?

I feel it's genetic too. I've had way too many puppies who would offer this behavior on their own, out of the blue, starting as early as 5-6 weeks old. At that age there is no strong bond with any particular human developed yet, and these are pups who have had absolutely no training or reinforcement for the behavior. They just do it naturally. Seems to me it can't be anything but genetics. That it tends to run strongly in families amongst parents/offspring, siblings, half siblings, etc... lends further evidence to the genetic component.

I also think that in terms of genetics that it goes beyond just a confident pup who is willing to look someone in the eye and who can tune out environmental distractions. While I've never seen this sort of focus in a pup who didn't also have those traits, I've seen sound, confident, non-distractable pups who didn't also have that sort of focus. At least not naturally, right out of the box. They certainly could be taught.


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