some thoughts on inherited/genetic character vs. environmental trained - Page 1

Pedigree Database


by Rik on 14 April 2020 - 13:04

and please understand that my experience comes from AM/Can/SL and later German S/L so it no way approaches those here with LE/Mil, top w/l experience.

good character in an Am/Can S/L was pretty much a dog that did not run behind the handler when the judge approached.

when I started S/L (1984) weak character was pretty well accepted, (if the dog had a very wide open front) with pro handlers able to mask/ cover it. just had to pay up.

the accepted wisdom from the "experts (and every breeder of these shit dogs would point to) take the dog to wal mart/TSC
and ask strangers to give them treats. pat them on the head. if they weren't cured, it was your fault, not the breeder.

( kind of like all HD/ED today is your fault not the breeder).

it got to the point I said fu#K this, purged my dogs of all weak shit. after this the few litters I bred, pretty much never left my 2 acres before 4-6 months. they did get lots of interaction with my family, but I never again had to cringe watching my dog dodge a judge. even the first trip out to puppy matches. if they did not hold up, they were gone.

sure, dogs/pups need different exposures, but if you have to take it to "extra" levels, it's just cover up for weak breeding.


by Hired Dog on 14 April 2020 - 13:04

As I have said earlier in a different post Rik, I expose/socialize, to see what is there genetically, not to build or instill something that is not there.
This affords me to experience first hand what I am dealing with, if the dog or the puppy has what I want to continue on with it.
For me, it has always been and will always be, genetics first, foremost and environment second.


by yogidog on 14 April 2020 - 13:04

Genetics is the start of a grate pup. But environmental and social skills need to be added. A dog must understand how the world works must understand and learn to read human behaviour. Just because someone is be loud doesn't make them a threat. Just because someone is quite does not make the friends. Body language is an other reason why social and environmental skills are necessary. How many dogs with the best of pedigree get turned down by the police because they won't climb ans fire escape or won't walk across a mesh floor or won't walk on a travelltor. There are many reasons why genetic won't do it on its own. Strong genetic will help the dog get through stuff quicker. Imo without environmental and social soundness you will only get to see a percentage of the greatness the dog has to offer. never get to experience 100 percent genetically grateness that the whole package can offer. With social and environmental soundness


by Sunsilver on 15 April 2020 - 01:04

...the accepted wisdom from the "experts (and every breeder of these shit dogs would point to) take the dog to wal mart/TSC
and ask strangers to give them treats. pat them on the head. if they weren't cured, it was your fault, not the breeder.

Yup, been there, done that! Most expensive pup I ever bought, wound up rehoming here as a pet due to her crap temperament. Breeder blamed me for not socializing the dog when I was living in northern Ontario, and it was -30 outside, and no dog clubs/classes available during the winter!

Difference between a genetically sound dog and this dog - I have an ASL/German showline cross, from good lines on both the American and German side. She had not been exposed to children, and was nervous of them when I brought her home at 12 weeks. I took her to a local park, which was next to a school yard, and invited the kids over to give her treats and pet her. After doing this a couple of times, she totally lost her fear of children.

The dog with the genetically poor temperament would not even accept treats from children, or even from adults she didn't know. She remained this way, despite being exposed to kids (and adults) until I rehomed her at the age of 2. Her new owner commented on how she'd get very anxious and run and hide even seeing children play outside the window of her new home.

The funny thing was her temperament was fine when I brought her home, and for the first few months I had her. I had her out in the bush in the fall, and someone fired several shots from their rifle. She looked up at the first shot, then went back to chewing a twig. I walked her past a backhoe digging a trench on the main street, at very close range, and she never turned a hair. She also greeted babies in strollers and wanted to kiss them! The fear only became evident after we'd had to be inside most of the winter due to the cold weather and very deep snow. And, of course, I blamed myself because the breeder was telling me it was MY FAULT for not finding a way of socializing her during the winter.

It took me several years to realize it wasn't my fault, but was due to genetics. There was a very good reason that everyone on the breeder's web site was complaining about 'my dog is afraid of...[fill in the blank with just about anything you can think of] '

by Centurian on 15 April 2020 - 08:04

In all apsects of the living being there always was , is, and will be the interaction of genetics and environment. The environment will not , cannot change the gentics, but the environment can affect and effect how those genetics are exressed or not expressed.

Just to ikkustrate the imoact of environment of genetics .. and I assume most tof the readers understand this : take a puppy away from it's littermates way to soon , thta puppy loses much of learning how to be a dog . yes , that is in absolute , right , because that puppy loses much of what it needs to learn in being a dog ! One factor , that pupy does not learn properly to read and to give dog signals. Environment / Learning play a critical role in the development of the dog in addition to genetics. It always was that way and always will be that way . Dogs are not computers or robots . But if we choose to think think they are , then let's consider that even comuters are made up of hardware [ gentics ] and instilled** software [ learning & environmental input ] and a process center [ thiughts feelings and emotions ].

socialization ... ojmanother thread this was a topic: so consider this : my first GS grew up in a city . So it learned to cope , to navigate what it had to , in the city . The dog learend how to cross a city street with cars going by 40 miles / hr. . 25 years later I had GSs in the rural coutry side , like the movie ' Deliverance ' . These Gs had nomidea what a Metropolitan city was about . Yheyb would have gotten killed if I ever walked them off leash in the Big City , even my best trained Gs , that is to much risk to let them walk off leash . They have no iudea about a car whizzing by at 40 - 50 mph coming towards them at a distance. My point : socialization nis not about making a dog this or that , but rather about giving the dog infromation such that it can function in life. That starts from the moment of birth . And all behavvior is the resut of Nanture and Nurture . Sometimes I feel that if we want to talk apples then talk apples but if we want to talk oranges , talk oranges , and it's better not to mix up and distort the two in converstation's better to talk in specifics.

When will some of you people understand that the GS is one of the most the best " all round dogs in the world ? When will you accept that the behavioral traits needed for one task in the GS are diametrically opposite for the traits needed in other tasks ? If you want a dog to being doing incendiary scent work you do not want a dog to be suspisous of every person it walks by . If you are doing search and rescue then it is not the same as a dog looking to seek out a felon and protect itself /officer if need be. Believe me , I have dealt with a number GS in different endeavors . But I am amazed that many people still are steadfast in their thinking : if the GS is not this or not that , then the GS does not rate. Now I am not talking about the difference of a sound GS vs an unsound GS- that is a different matter. The fact that the GS is a ' can do all ' breed with different traits/skills in it's lineages , that in and of itself makes the GS one of the best breeds to own in the whole world ! I get the impression , again 'impression' that if a GS cannot protect you , that dog is useless ... and that is nothing further from the truth - it is just not truthful . Just imagine tracking a lost person whereby when the dog finds that person it is compelled to think ' oh now I have to bite that person?'. Or if a dog is seeking explosives and comes upon a person thinks ' oh , a threat , I have to bite that person '.. in the meantime the dog gets blown up because he missed the bomb . Different GSs need different genetics for different avenues ! So yes socialization is very very important and don't just think 'only' in terms of genetics ! Socialization contributes to the dog and aids it in functioning in a real world. [ and lack of also affects it ].


by yogidog on 15 April 2020 - 08:04

Good post cent. That is what I was saying just not so indept 👍


by Hundmutter on 15 April 2020 - 12:04

So Yogi, is that why you were being so dismissive of 'pet dogs' while needling BE on Dawn's "questions" thred ???

You need to remember that even the most dedicated podium or protection dog has to have down time with its owner, very few GS are never pet-companion dogs in some sense. And they need to be liveable with. What Centurian says makes perfect sense; the demands placed on Assistance Dogs for instance can be very different from those required of a personal protection animal, even though there may still be a defensive / protective element required along the way. And neither dog can afford to be genetically lacking in courage or trainability or intelligence. And no dog, whatever its role in life, can be happy and successful if it genuinely cannot cope with everyday life going on around it.


by yogidog on 15 April 2020 - 14:04

Hund I wasn't neddling anyone. BE made a comment that I didn't agree with that is all. When I answered her she started to wine. That is about the end of it for me a different opinion . I'm leaving that there. Every dog imo needs to be clear of the demands made from it. Whether its a pet, protection dog, police dog, care assistant it does not matter they all have a role to play do you think a guide dog is not tested in every area that is possible. It's definitely not just handed with the hope he does not freeze crossing a bridge or climbing a stairs case no he is tested and tested again. without environmental and social skills you will only get a percentage of this great breed. You add social environment understanding of how the world works to super genetics tell me that will not be a 100 percent the dog you are looking for.

by Hired Dog on 15 April 2020 - 14:04

Yogi, is it possible that while I expose/socialize a dog to the real word, the dog will not see and hear all that there is?
Is it possible for a dog to live in a bubble while I try to socialize it? Of course not, so, while I am exposing and looking, the dog is absorbing and learning, yes?
Does that not achieve the same goals as what you are talking about? Semantics Yogi, thats all it is.


by yogidog on 15 April 2020 - 15:04

Hired yes that will do quite nicely for a pet dog. But a working dog maybe where you live a dog will hear a gunshot every time your on the street but not were I live. Every one knows a lot of dogs fail the prison police because the won't work fire escape. What about horses unless most dogs are introduced correctly you will have a problem the younger the better. Have you ever brought a dog to a helicopter what about a steel factory. You don't get them on the street. It all done through early environmental. I could add so many more things smoke bomb ect 


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