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To me, the "nerves" have two parts: 1) the threshold for when the dog becomes startled/anxious/stressed/whatever and, 2) how quickly the dog can recover.

I have one dog with a very *high* threshold, but once it is reached, the dog cannot recover and once that threshold is reached, that person/place/thing is like "tainted" to the dog. This dog is actually more "nervy" than another dog of mine who has a much lower threshold (might duck his head at the sound of a gunshot or firework, for example) but recovers instantly.
 
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