Nature vs nurture - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 50 (permalink) Old 11-09-2015, 12:05 AM Thread Starter
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Nature vs nurture

I want to have an honest discussion about the nature of dogs. Dozens of GSD's, well over a couple hundred dogs total, all sizes, breeds, ages and genders and they all ended up pretty much the same with their own personalities of course.

I have had no real issues with house training, or resource guarding. Very few fights. Only my Dane was destructive and difficult to crate train, but a sweeter natured dog I have never met.
Am I the luckiest person in the world? Or is there more to it then that?
I am horrible at training, I'm lazy and I sort of don't care. I seem to get to the stage were they aren't total ass hats and then I drop it. But in spite of that they all seem fine. I tend to have conversations with them, rather then barking commands at them. I have had multitudes of other critters around them and it's been mostly ok. I routinely take food and toys away, and in some cases have actually reached in and pulled stuff from their mouths, and I promote playing with their food. I manage some behaviors and stop others but all in all every dog that has been in my house is stable and well behaved. Fosters leave my house crate trained, house broken, knowing sit, stay, come, down and walking on a loose leash. They take food nicely and sit for their dinner. No dog issues or nasty behavior, like I said all in all no problems.
Except Shadow, but we can discuss her another time.

Do we actually create problems?
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post #2 of 50 (permalink) Old 11-09-2015, 06:29 AM
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What an interesting question

I definitely feel like most of Tchai's ''issues'' are directly due to my lack of abilities in training and guiding him. For example, Tchai's parents are dog and human neutral (huge factor that attracted me to that litter), as well as his grandparents, but I have a 14 month old who fixates on dogs and loses all concentration. Many of Tchai's siblings are now in SAR and border control/security/narcotics detection training programs, demonstrating their ability to focus under immense distraction. I believe that I over did it with socialisation when he was younger, among other things, and inadvertently trained him to highly value other dogs.

He's definitely getting better, but we work hard at it every day. I do believe that I failed him in that regard, and wasted some of the genetic advantages I had with him.

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post #3 of 50 (permalink) Old 11-09-2015, 06:35 AM
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I think it is a abit of both, nature and nurture. People do probably go over the top with nilif and 'training' and are encouraged to do so on the net as that is the main advice for newbies.

Discipline and manners would be more important to me.

IMO It is good to teach a dog there are consequences to there actions and when you say so they stop whatever they are doing.

Once they know that then they can be great pets with little effort.

I would agree that people create problems from simply not having enough experience or knowledge to deal with issues as they arise.

Once you know what your doing the dogs respond to you accordingly.

Everyone is different but i like training my dogs. I am not at any high level as a trainer but am simply interested in it as a hobby. I would see huge benifits for dogs with an owner who is able to train the basics and deal with issues with little stress.
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post #4 of 50 (permalink) Old 11-09-2015, 07:44 AM
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Very interesting question.

Part of it, I would think, would be expectations. For example, if I could wave a magic wand and make Newlie different, I would not do it, I love him just the way he is. But I can see that if he ended up with different people, he might not have fit the bill for them. If someone had wanted a hard dog, they would have been very disappointed
and it is possible that for others, he may have been too much dog. Either way, he could have ended up back in a shelter because he did not meet somebody's expectations.

T o go along with the original question, I will pose another thought. Newlie's trainer has commented to me before that "nice people usually end up with nice dogs." He has fostered and adopted some dogs with serious issues before himself, he is evidently known among other trainers in our area for being good with biters, so I guess in some cases, he means the end results. What do you think?
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post #5 of 50 (permalink) Old 11-09-2015, 08:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sabis mom View Post
I want to have an honest discussion about the nature of dogs. Dozens of GSD's, well over a couple hundred dogs total, all sizes, breeds, ages and genders and they all ended up pretty much the same with their own personalities of course.

I have had no real issues with house training, or resource guarding. Very few fights. Only my Dane was destructive and difficult to crate train, but a sweeter natured dog I have never met.
Am I the luckiest person in the world? Or is there more to it then that?
I am horrible at training, I'm lazy and I sort of don't care. I seem to get to the stage were they aren't total ass hats and then I drop it. But in spite of that they all seem fine. I tend to have conversations with them, rather then barking commands at them. I have had multitudes of other critters around them and it's been mostly ok. I routinely take food and toys away, and in some cases have actually reached in and pulled stuff from their mouths, and I promote playing with their food. I manage some behaviors and stop others but all in all every dog that has been in my house is stable and well behaved. Fosters leave my house crate trained, house broken, knowing sit, stay, come, down and walking on a loose leash. They take food nicely and sit for their dinner. No dog issues or nasty behavior, like I said all in all no problems.
Except Shadow, but we can discuss her another time.

Do we actually create problems?
We are pretty much on the same page. I read what you wrote and I would have wrote the same thing. Just the other day Apollo stole his leg quarter, he wasn't suppise to do that, I told him to drop it and he did but Midnite picked it up, Midnite is not great at dropping stuff, so I physically took the leg quarter out of his mouth without so much a peep. It goes back further for me, I've never had issues with really any dog. When I was younger I can't even count how many dogs I picked up off the street and brought into the police station. Lots of them found homes. A few wouldn't let anyone near them except me, if they had a problem the police brought me back there. That never went away, I still have no fear of dogs running and will pick them up. I have a serious connections with dogs in general. They bond to me quickly. I do t expect them to be perfect, I like a little challenge but at the end of the day I think they know and they all return that tenfold. I can't speak genetically because most of my dogs come from I don't know where and they are all treated the same. I also think that they could very well act differently in a different home. They just respond well to me. I let them run and play, they walk well on a leash, are a dream in the car and they do dog stuff. I don't take that away from them and in return they respect that and listen when needed.

Misty- Samoyed Mix, Tannor- Golden Retriever CGC
Robyn- GSD CGC, TC, Midnite-GSD CGC,TC, Brennan-Golden Retriever CGC, Batman-Husky/Greyhound , Apollo-GSD
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post #6 of 50 (permalink) Old 11-09-2015, 08:44 AM
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I think it is both but I think there are people who are very good about attuning to the individual dog and working at that dog's pace and with the unique way they are thinking and reacting. There are some videos on YouTube by Stony Dennis. He talks about his litter of malinois and goes through each 8 week old puppy and says, "Well this one is confident and I can do this with training and this one is hesitant so I do this and this one is very dominant so I do that." Each puppy is treated as an individual and he works to bring out the best. He has a fluid way about adjusting his expectations, his timing, and pace. I think some of you are probably very natural about that, don't even think about it, think like the individual dog and work with that. Others have preset expectations about what their dog SHOULD be and lack the intuition, talent and training to attune to the individual unique dog standing in front of them.

I worked very hard with a very natural trainer with my complicated Dutch. But my trainer just knows him and my dog responded very differently to him. I've worked hard and I think I am much better at reading the individual dog now. Our rescue GSD has an unknown early life of baggage. I'm learning to work within her unique way of understanding the world (very different from my confident Dutch) but for me it is work for others natural.

I think especially in our media driven world and especially with some breeds like the GSD, expectations on dogs are often too high too early and too rigid. We see that on this forum all the time.

Just my two cents.

Karin
Dutch Shepherd - Ptygo (Tee-Go) de las Flores
Rescue GSD - Freyja (Husband's Dog)
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post #7 of 50 (permalink) Old 11-09-2015, 10:10 AM
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I agree with DutchKarin.Some people are better "dog listeners" than others.If you are able to read each other and respect the dog's individuality,nature takes a back seat to nurture.

Terri

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Misty Husky Mix
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Devo Yorkie Mix at the bridge
Dakota Wht GSD at the bridge
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post #8 of 50 (permalink) Old 11-09-2015, 12:43 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the responses!

This question has always puzzled me. And honestly it baffles me when I read all these questions about simple stuff like house and crate training. I have never done 'cookie cutter' training. I treat the dogs as individuals, respect their individual needs and get it done.
I was the kid that had pet squirrels, foxes and birds, basically anything I could catch came home with me. I was the one that got put up on the 'hard case' horses. I never met an animal I didn't like, and they like me. My belief is that if you genuinely care they sense that and respond.
Specific to this breed, I hear horror stories about some of these pups and I just don't understand how I could be that lucky.
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post #9 of 50 (permalink) Old 11-09-2015, 12:59 PM
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I know what you mean Sabis Mom.People coming on here with brand new puppies clueless and freaking out.Makes me afraid for those poor dogs.

Terri

Samson Blk/Slvr GSD. RN
Misty Husky Mix
Z-Z Terrier/potato mix
Devo Yorkie Mix at the bridge
Dakota Wht GSD at the bridge
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post #10 of 50 (permalink) Old 11-09-2015, 01:41 PM
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Sometimes a post is just a snapshot of a day in the life of that person and their dog. Sometimes i have a bad day which generally means my dogs are having bad days. if I wrote a post yesterday about Charlie and her training you would have recommended I have an inanimate object as a pet. I am no trainer ,Im not sure how Daisy got house trained ,Lucky came trained and Charlie has it down pretty well.I just remember Dasiy suddenly just got it and it wasnt an issue same w/ recall and sit. She never liked the down command and stay.She knew stop though.. Charlie is my first dog who has a sightimpairment and training is more difficult. Its different and I find myself second guessing alot. Daisy was smart too smart somtimes. Lucky wanted to be with me so he behaved well. Chevy and Thunder just wanted to relax by the fire or around us on the couch or outside. They were seniors who just wanted quiet. No real training just enough to exist together. Charlie is a different ballgame all together then my others . I bond w/ my dogs and Iam the one they want to be with but I am no dog whisperer and yesterday I was the dogyeller.

Daisy 11/26/99-7/25/12
Miss Chevy Cruz - 1/25/2013-1/29/15
Thunder -1/25/13 -7/25/15
Lucky-GSD -Rescue -2/16/03 - 03-21-16
Charlie- GSD-Rescue - 7-4-12
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