Questions about Fight & Defense Drive & Genetics - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-06-2010, 12:03 AM Thread Starter
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Questions about Fight & Defense Drive & Genetics

I would like to discuss to what degree Fight and Defense drive can be trained into a dog regardless of his genetical predisposition.

I think my question goes to those competing in SCHI,II & III. Have you ever found yourself in a situation where your dogs genetics prevented you from going to the next stage, regardless of the amount of training you put in? Or is this something that is recognized at very early stages of the sport?

What big of a role does the dogs genetics really play in the SCH sport? Can any dog which has Fight, Prey & Defense drive be taken to the SCHIII level?
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-06-2010, 10:20 AM
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Re: Questions about Fight & Defense Drive & Genetics


Have you seen this sites:

http://www.siriusdog.com/article298.htm




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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-06-2010, 10:53 AM
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Re: Questions about Fight & Defense Drive & Genetics

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Quote:I would like to discuss to what degree Fight and Defense drive can be trained into a dog regardless of his genetical predisposition.
In my opinion, you cannot put those things into a dog with training but you can bring it "out" if it is in the dog. When to try to bring it out is the important part.

Quote:
Quote:Have you ever found yourself in a situation where your dogs genetics prevented you from going to the next stage, regardless of the amount of training you put in? Or is this something that is recognized at very early stages of the sport?
Many times it is obvious that a dog does not have what it takes and sometimes, there are dogs labeled that way that are in fact very genetically suited for SchH. It depends on who is looking at the dog. I have seen some really good dogs that someone else thought was not a good dog. If you only train a certain way and a dog doesn't fit into the way you train, yeah, that dog can look not so hot. If you know how to work dogs all kinds of ways, it is easier to really tell if the dog is a good one. Many people working in SchH only know how to tap into the prey instinct of the dog and if a dog does not want to work that way, yes, he can look like not a very good dog. Someone else can come along and work him differently and suddenly he is super dog. Don't see that often because there are not that many people who have that skill. However, the dog does have to have certain genetic traits to do well at SchH otherwise any breed could do it .
One of the biggest problems that I see constantly is people trying to bring out "defense" or fight in a young dog. It comes much later than most people think and when they try to get it out of dogs that are too young to handle it, ( or who have not developed it yet), they basically ruin the dog, mostly by over-powering him. That mistake sets them up for years of trying to fix the result of that.

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Quote: What big of a role does the dogs genetics really play in the SCH sport? Can any dog which has Fight, Prey & Defense drive be taken to the SCHIII level?
Genetics has a great deal to do with it. When you have a dog with all the right genetic stuff, in the right balance, SchH is easy. I was actually thinking the other day that people nowadays seem to have to work a bit too hard now to get their dogs titled and this is particularly true in protection training . It should not be that hard, the dogs should do protection naturally but I think a combination of the change in the dogs and the skills and methods of the helpers is contributing to this.

There are other genetic traits to consider besides the three you listed when you are titling a dog, and you also have to consider the skill of the trainers .


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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-06-2010, 12:23 PM
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Re: Questions about Fight & Defense Drive & Genetics

I don't have much to add, just wanted to share my anecdotal evidence since Flash is a dog that fits what Anne described. As a puppy, the club I was going to could not get one bit of "protection" out of him. They were nearing the point of telling me he just didn't have it. I quit going to that club and now he's only worked in protection when I can make it the long distance to a select few people. People from the original club have seen older Flash and they LOVED him because of how much power he shows in his work, asking me all kinds of questions about his pedigree and who has trained him. They didn't remember me or that they had pretty much written him off when he wasn't even 4 months old. I did not remind them of this due to my nonconfrontational nature, but I can only imagine how bad that crow would have tasted for them. That day only validated my decision to not go to that club anymore. I cannot begin to imagine the problems we would have in protection if I had continued to train with them. Just like Anne was saying, I would be working ten times harder for one tenth the results.

The German Shepherd's faults are faults of education not nature, for if someone worked with him he would be blissfully happy and most obedient of all dogs. - Max von Stephanitz
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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-06-2010, 12:41 PM
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Re: Questions about Fight & Defense Drive & Genetics

If you have made a concerted effort to find the genetics in the dog there are much higher chances of success. So many behaviors, drives and characteristics are genetic in dogs. I am always amazed how powerful the genetics can be. You can not "train" or "put into' dogs things that are not there. Working with a dog without the genetics... not so much fun for the dog or the person. I know plenty of GSDs without the genetics to do the activity.

That being said, in my experience, harder to find the right people than the dog.

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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-06-2010, 12:46 PM
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Re: Questions about Fight & Defense Drive & Genetics

Quote:
Quote:What big of a role does the dogs genetics really play in the SCH sport? Can any dog which has Fight, Prey & Defense drive be taken to the SCHIII level?
As Anne already pointed out; a lot. If genetics didn't matter, all dogs and all breeds would be easy to title in SchH.

No. There is far more needed in the dog than just fight, prey and defense. Nerves and physical soundness are two other things that come to mind. And, of course, a good handler and great helper.

Lisa Clark

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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-06-2010, 12:50 PM
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Re: Questions about Fight & Defense Drive & Genetics

Something I want to point out is that ALL dogs have defense in some form or another. It would be an extremely rare animal that would not defend itself if given no other options.

Fight, on the other hand, is not as common.

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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-06-2010, 01:36 PM
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Re: Questions about Fight & Defense Drive & Genetics

Quote:
Quote:That being said, in my experience, harder to find the right people than the dog.
...and it's not like you didn't look. I still chuckle over FB.

I used to think I wanted to complain about constantly training helpers but now I think there is no other way for me to do SchH and actually enjoy it. Trying to control the "impulses" of the ones who "know what they are doing" is just not possible or enjoyable.


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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-06-2010, 03:09 PM
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Re: Questions about Fight & Defense Drive & Genetics

Anne, very good answer to OP question in my opinion. We are a shake and bake society and many dogs are pushed to fast and early when it comes to fight/defense. More importantly, many trainers don't recognize the signs when the dog is starting to mature into these drives and able to build them confidently.JMO
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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 02-06-2010, 05:07 PM
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Re: Questions about Fight & Defense Drive & Genetics

This topic hits so frustratingly close to home! Those of us without a solid helper are just [screwed]. All the good helpers I know are 1000+ miles away, though many much closer than that like to think they are good helpers, to quote Anne "they know what they are doing". Too many times I've heard of Joe Blow great helper only to be let down when I saw them in action. Flash is at such a crucial stage in his training, he is really coming into his own right now and stupid helper work would be so detrimental. He is also my first dog so I don't have enough experience to teach a helper. Right now I'm very much at the stage where I can't always put my finger on something or explain why a dog is doing something but I just know it is or isn't right.

Personally, I've resorted to a helper that doesn't think you even need aggression in schh. But this helper is the safest helper for us because they aren't going to do something stupid with Flash's fight and defense and royally screw us for the rest of his schh career. Of course this means Flash doesn't look nearly as nice as he could but put him on one of the solid helpers I know and he's a different dog. Unfortunately he only sees those solid helpers 1-2 times per year, though for several days in a row. I have just accepted the fact that Flash will never reach his full potential in protection. It was hard to come to terms with that but it is what it is unless someone has some awesome idea or I happen to find a good helper within a reasonable day trip driving distance. I guess it could happen. Headed to regionals next weekend so maybe, just maybe, I'll see a dog and immediately think "WHO did the helper work on this dog?!?!"

The German Shepherd's faults are faults of education not nature, for if someone worked with him he would be blissfully happy and most obedient of all dogs. - Max von Stephanitz
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