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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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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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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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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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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.
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
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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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.
 

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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Dogyeller:D I like that.

I can say I have my moments, I remember having 21 dogs, 7 cats and a chicken in my house and someone was doing something bad and I walked in and yelled 'kennel'! In half a second there was not an animal in sight, lol. Some crates had 3 dogs, some had none, nobody was in their crate, but every dog was out of sight. I laugh now, at that time I was thinking about dog fur jackets. I don't even remember what they were doing, I think it was just a dumped plant and everyone playing with the dirt, or something similarly dumb.
Maybe it is as simple as that I have low expectations. I expect barking, whining, shedding, spilled drinks, muddy floors, ruined furniture and bruises so when they happen they aren't tragedies.
My Dane was deaf, so I can sympathize with training a special dog. Twenty years ago people didn't train deaf dogs they killed them so I had no support, no advice, no guidelines. She turned out fabulous, but I won't take any credit. She was just a great dog.
 

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More like realistic expectations?I'm curious as to what you would do to get your Dane's attention when you needed him to look at you.I read somewhere about a woman who used a laser pointer to communicate with her deaf dog.I had a sheltie who was deaf in his senior years so I would walk around in front of him to get his attention.If he was some distance away outside I would wave my arms around until he noticed,then talk to him with hand signals.I would have to figure out a more efficient way if I had a deaf dog for many years.
 

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Inside I tapped my foot on the floor, outside I used a flashing light or a small mirror. In spite of having figured out by 10 weeks old that if she turned her head she could ignore me, she went on to learn over 100 signs and signals, she was a certified therapy dog and she never met a stranger. She was the steadiest, sweetest, most intuitive dog I have ever met and to this day when I talk about my deaf Dane, I get the 'Oh! You were Freeways mom. ' response. She was well known and much loved.
 

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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.
Hahaha! Too funny!! We all have days like that...

I do think that there are people who have a gift with animals, a special affinity that allows them to understand and communicate in a way that's exceptional. Education and experience are just the icing on the cake.
 

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Most dogs breeds are purpose bred to exhibit specific behavioral qualities. This is one of the things that give us dog breeds. To believe that dogs are primarily how they are raised would denote that breed specific behaviors are of little to no consequence. If that were true, all dogs of all breeds would possess equal ability to hunt rabbits, to be police K9s, to point birds, etc.

Despite raising my dogs all the same, their genetics demand that I treat and train them differently. I think the most that people can do is enhance or suppress a dog's natural behaviors.
 

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Inside I tapped my foot on the floor, outside I used a flashing light or a small mirror. In spite of having figured out by 10 weeks old that if she turned her head she could ignore me, she went on to learn over 100 signs and signals, she was a certified therapy dog and she never met a stranger. She was the steadiest, sweetest, most intuitive dog I have ever met and to this day when I talk about my deaf Dane, I get the 'Oh! You were Freeways mom. ' response. She was well known and much loved.
That's really wonderful.Thanks for sharing that story.Freeway was so lucky to have you.
 

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Nature vs Nurture.

for me, nature comes first. Hence why I am only interested in working line genes. I want a pup that is environmentally sound, is capable of working. Has masses of prey drive and strong nerve. At 8 weeks when its selected, these attributes are evident. I get pups from working parents. To enhance the likelihood that a pup that can work - will be produced. But in a litter of 8 pups on average, not all will make the grade for me. Im a sucker for a pup, so have my trainer or breeder select the right pup for the job i have in mind for it.

Then from a great genes start point, i can layer nurture for its entire life span.

A few years ago, i took in a mastiff rescue. My first ever non working line dog. Such a bad match for my lifestyle, i knew he was never going to stay forever, but would be re-homed as a pet at some point.
Mastiff's are as thick as two short planks in comparison to working rotties and GSD's. This was nature. Pure nature.

Whilst his focus increased, and the bond developed, and obedience came, it was slow going. As the dogs nature, was not to seek company of humans, mastiff's have independent natures. Not pack driven. They attach to a person, rather than a family.

Nothing wrong with that dog. Just nature of me, does not match that type of dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Most dogs breeds are purpose bred to exhibit specific behavioral qualities. This is one of the things that give us dog breeds. To believe that dogs are primarily how they are raised would denote that breed specific behaviors are of little to no consequence. If that were true, all dogs of all breeds would possess equal ability to hunt rabbits, to be police K9s, to point birds, etc.

Despite raising my dogs all the same, their genetics demand that I treat and train them differently. I think the most that people can do is enhance or suppress a dog's natural behaviors.
I get what you are saying but then why are my GSD's different. I was thinking that most have been rescues and the lineage was not great, but Buds fairly well bred and with some differences in personality he is pretty much like the rest. I guess I tend to be a bit more rigid with Bud, he's more comfortable that way, but even at his worst he wasn't awful. I am just really curious where all these terrible puppies come from.

Sabi chewed up some plastic blocks as a pup.
I had one foster who chewed a couple of books and a sock.
Shadow had a thing about one specific lamp cord.
We called Bud the toy killer, but he never chewed anything else.
Gita chewed one shoe.
I had another foster pup that had some fixation with Kleenex.
This seems pretty minor, and the rest I don't recall chewing up anything.

I have had the odd crate issue but Shadow was the worst and she really wasn't bad.
I don't recall any serious house breaking problems, most of them got in in days.
Just GSDs I've gone through 7 litters, some with mom and some without, 5 or 6 singletons, at least 18 between 2 and 6 months, 7 or 8 between 6 months and a year and 11 between 1 and 2.
That's just the youngsters, and that's mostly rescues from questionable breeding and some really rotten places.
So am I really lucky?
 

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So am I really lucky?
By the sounds of it you have a lot of experience and so your not lucky but naturally attuned to your dogs needs and so they don't have issues.

How hard is it once you know what is an aceptable or not behavior from a pup/dog.

But if I threw you a un submissive,human aggressive pup with fear issues i wonder would you handle it so well. But maybe you've dealth with that kinda dog too.

Personally I see fear issues with aggression, as something which is not so easy to simply do nothing about and needs a management system in place.
 

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If you are working with rescue organizations I'm guessing they don't offer you dogs with serious fear/aggression issues in the first place?
 
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