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Hello,

I am a Ph.D. student of genetics and my thesis has sizable section on dogs, special GSDs. I was wondering if anyone has come across this type of scenario and what was their experience. Your insight will be highly appreciated.

Assuming both the parents of a puppy are Schutzhund Level 3 titled. How the puppy will fare as Service dog or Personal Protection dog? I know training and how puppy is brought up plays important role but defensive drive is genetic and inherited.

What has been your experience?

Cheers

Muzio
 

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As a scientist myself methinks it's not very scientific to base a thesis on peoples' opinion on the internet related to defense/civil drive and potential behavior.....
 

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First, you can get both a Personal Protection Dog and a Service dog in the same litter. Different drive levels exist within the same litter. My Tag (SchH prospect) has a brother that is doing well training for SD work from a very solid line of SchH dogs. It is important for Service dogs to have drive and they also need to have really solid nerves and temperament- a SD shouldn't be a total lump. But Tag's nerves are closer to the surface. He activates more quickly to a stimulus. His brother is much more slow to activate.

The amount of Defense drive really has little to do with the success of the dog in it's future role. It's really more a question of thresholds. 2 dogs might have the same level of drive- but one activated much more quickly than the other. This article is a nice summation of drives and thresholds and how they are different.
Elements of Temperament
 

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Discussion Starter #5
My work is extension of what Stephen A. Mackenzie, Elizabeth A. B. Oltenacu and Eldin Leighton has done in the field of Behavior Genetics. There is great amount of research on prey drive & it's relation to genetics but there is hardly any for defensive drive(some may call it "working under pressure" or "temperament") and this was one of the scenarios I could think of based on my limited and theoretical knowledge hence I wanted to validate my hypothesis with people who have actual experience with GSDs before going "gung ho" on this topic.

I hope it clarifies my question.


Cheer

Muzio

Muzio


http://www.springerlink.com/content/?Author=Eldin+Leighton
 

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There can be a humongous level of variation and balance of drives in any number of SchHIII parents, and no guarantee that any of it will be passed on to the offsprings. A dog can title SchHIII being trained and worked in prey drive only, never taping into the defense drive - so a title alone is in no way an indication of strong defense drive, if any at all. It really comes down to knowing the individual dog, seeing it in training and in different situations, and understanding what one is seeing.

Read JKlatsky's post again - high defense drive does not preclude a GSD from being a service dog, the key is high thresh-hold. How the puppy will fare in either a service or PP role had more to do with the puppy than what titles the parents have achieved. Indeed a litter from the same SchHIII parents may well have pups that are more suitable for service work: very balanced, calm, clear-headed, high thresh-hold, low suspicion, but high defense in that the dog will not hesitate to stay and fight if it feels threatened, as opposed to low-defense, where it chooses to to run away.

This pup may well have a sibling that would be more suited for PP, having the same attributes as the other puppy, but lower-threshold, being quicker to see a threat and react.

How they will fare in either role will depend on the skill and experience of the breeder to evaluate their pups at an early age and place them accordingly into environments best suited to their strengths. This is an ability that comes from being around dogs a lot, and having hands on experience with raising puppies and training them and titling them into adulthood, seeing first-hand how the puppy turns out, more so than the title of the parents, which is not inherited (well, as far as I know :) ).
 

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There can be a humongous level of variation and balance of drives in any number of SchHIII parents, and no guarantee that any of it will be passed on to the offsprings. A dog can title SchHIII being trained and worked in prey drive only, never taping into the defense drive - so a title alone is in no way an indication of strong defense drive, if any at all. It really comes down to knowing the individual dog, seeing it in training and in different situations, and understanding what one is seeing.

Read JKlatsky's post again - high defense drive does not preclude a GSD from being a service dog, the key is high thresh-hold. How the puppy will fare in either a service or PP role had more to do with the puppy than what titles the parents have achieved. Indeed a litter from the same SchHIII parents may well have pups that are more suitable for service work: very balanced, calm, clear-headed, high thresh-hold, low suspicion, but high defense in that the dog will not hesitate to stay and fight if it feels threatened, as opposed to low-defense, where it chooses to to run away.

This pup may well have a sibling that would be more suited for PP, having the same attributes as the other puppy, but lower-threshold, being quicker to see a threat and react.

How they will fare in either role will depend on the skill and experience of the breeder to evaluate their pups at an early age and place them accordingly into environments best suited to their strengths. This is an ability that comes from being around dogs a lot, and having hands on experience with raising puppies and training them and titling them into adulthood, seeing first-hand how the puppy turns out, more so than the title of the parents, which is not inherited (well, as far as I know :) ).
That's what I was trying to say :) Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you for the detailed explanation.

My apologies for ambiguity as English is not my first language. Let me try one more time.

In the recent years, the sports of Schutzhund has become very structured & though it is excellent test of dog's prey drive, it hardly tests dog's temperament or defensive drive in real life dangerous situations. What I am trying to find out that if the bloodline of a dog has been in sports for 5-6 generations, does dogs lose their defensive temperament i.e. temperament genes?

The only way I see it is by taking the puppy of titled parents & training him in Personal Protection/Police or Military work however I cannot conclusively decide based on single sample so I wanted to get the firsthand opinion from you guys who spent years in this field so if some of you have done this, it will give me some idea though not scientific, it will at least help me understand if I am chasing the ghosts. :)

Please let me know if this is still not clear. I will have my professor draft it for me in English.

Thanks again all of you for your help.


Cheers

Muzio
 

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What I am trying to find out that if the bloodline of a dog has been in sports for 5-6 generations, does dogs lose their defensive temperament i.e. temperament genes?
The only way I see it is by taking the puppy of titled parents & training him in Personal Protection/Police or Military
Short answer: you are on the right track. If all you had to go by is a pedigree of unknown dogs all with SchHIII to their name several generations back - you are right. It does not neccessarily mean that the puppy you see will have high defense drive, and training it in PP or civil defense work will give you that answer.

However it is not the stylized Schutzhund training and trials in and of itself that will have caused the loss of defense drive, but rather the choices of the breeders and their breeding goals. Some breeders only title their dogs in SchH so that they can say that they have SchH titled dogs as breeding dogs - whether the dogs have or have not defense drive is of little import to them.

Some breeders focus on breeding high-scoring performance dogs, and indeed, a preference of high prey drive for flashier performance in obedience and high prey in the protection phase will be selected for at the expense of defense drive. These are dogs that end up "all prey, no defense" in a few generations.

Then there are breeders who focus on maintaining the balance of drives to breed dogs that can actually perform the role of a police, military or personal protection, and use Schutzhund as it was intended to be used, to test the dogs under duress and threat, and select the strongest dogs to carry forward the attributes that are part of the GSD temperament and standard.

So it would be more correct to say that defense drive CAN be lost when 5-6 generations are bred with a preference of prey drive over defense, and one way to find out if it is still in a line is to test the puppies through training. However, not all pups will inherit equally the same balance of drives, and one puppy low in defense does not necessarily means that defense drive is lost, nor would one puppy high in defense indicate that defense drive is still found reliably in that line - pup could be just a fluke.

However, I don't know how many puppies from how many litters from how many lines over how many years would need to be tested and which percentage would need to show defense drive in order to come to any type of scientific conclusion.

And your question in your last post is a very different question from your first post, so I'm still confused somewhat as to what you are looking for.
 

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IF you're serious pm Cliff & Ann (Vandal). Pay very close attention to all that they tell you. They are (IMO) among the most honest, forthright, deeply experienced & UNBIASED sources of info available. They're also completely unafraid to 'think outside the box' & hold unpopular opinions.
 

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Very true to the above! With years of breeding experience and amazing knowledge of lines, Anne and Cliff can give you in-depth info about how drives and genetics mesh that few others on this board can!
 

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As RVA said, it is difficult to really understand what you want to ascertain. My formal training is more influenced by law enforcement dogs that Sch dogs though I have titled dogs in Sch before. I see the traits of defense being more necessary in the patrol/police dog than in the Sch dog of today. Of course Sch experts consider their perspective to be defining even though Sch has changed very much over years and the dogs likewise to accomodate the change. So I think there are some very good Sch people on this board who can help you with this thesis.:wub:
 

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In the recent years, the sports of Schutzhund has become very structured & though it is excellent test of dog's prey drive, it hardly tests dog's temperament or defensive drive in real life dangerous situations.
Please let me know if this is still not clear. I will have my professor draft it for me in English.
If you read the link that Jklatsky gave you, I think it does a good job of hitting on this. It's my understanding (new to the sport) that most dogs are trained in SchH in prey drive for some time-ie making it a fun game. However, when they reach maturity, the helper puts more pressure on the dog and acts more aggressive, thus bringing out the defense drives in the dog rather that "ohhh! this is a fun game of chase the sleeve!!!"

While there are a lot of breeders and trainers who think of SchH as a fun sport and never bring out the defense drives in their dogs (or maybe the dog never had them), there are also breeders and trainers who, once the dog is mentally mature enough to do so, work the dog in defense rather than the prey mindset.
 

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The problem with this whole concept is that one cannot extrapolate genetics based on SchH titles because there is no overwhelming standard when it comes to temperament or training. There is somewhat of a standard to achieving a title of course in the sense that the dog has to perform a certain set of exercises, but there is a huge variety of ways to accomplish that and drives to utilize in doing so.

Some SchH dogs work in prey and have nothing else. Some SchH dogs have defense, but are worked in prey due to the desire of their trainers. Some SchH dogs have active aggression (fight), but are worked in prey due to the desire of their trainers. Some SchH dogs have defense and are worked in it. Some have fight and are worked in it. Some have a combination of 2 or 3 of those and are worked in all. It comes down not only to the drives the dog possesses, but the choices made by the trainers regarding which ones to use for training, and the skill level of those trainers as not all are capable of working with all those drives and can only work dogs in limited ways.

Yes, in recent years SchH training has shifted more toward focusing on prey and sometimes using that almost exclusively. But that is absolutely not true of all dogs or all trainers. And even if a dog is worked in prey that doesn't mean it doesn't have the other drives, just that for whatever reason they are not being utilized in training.

The bottom line is that the presence of a SchH title can NOT be used to to determine what drive a dog has or doesn't have. The only way to know that is to know the dog and the training. I'm sorry, but to me the whole premise of this sort of research is fatally flawed because it is trying to draw conclusions that just can't be drawn.
 

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Hello,

I am a Ph.D. student of genetics and my thesis has sizable section on dogs, special GSDs. I was wondering if anyone has come across this type of scenario and what was their experience. Your insight will be highly appreciated.

Assuming both the parents of a puppy are Schutzhund Level 3 titled. How the puppy will fare as Service dog or Personal Protection dog? I know training and how puppy is brought up plays important role but defensive drive is genetic and inherited.

What has been your experience?

Cheers

Muzio
Muzio, we have quite a few Sch breeders on this site and you may want to PM them and work up a thesis with a bit of a different twist based on their backgrounds, experience and recommendations...
 

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To me,

SchH performance has evolved into more of a sport over the years. The vast majority of people couldn't really handle some of the big strong dogs from say 10 years ago. The influence of the show line people has also changed the overall GSD breeding plan.

I'm not even saying this is a bad thing, rather todays' GSD is different than that of the past. With that being said, the market for today's GSD is different than it was in the past as well. That is why you are seeing more non-GSD's in police, & other service work than before.

I do believe you can find well bred GSD's suitable for the work you described, but it takes a little more research these days.

Al Govednik
 
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