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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
well, i am having this discussion in a couple of other places right now so i thought i would bring it over here too.

the discussion is...

with the "working dog" in mind, do genetics play a big part in how well the dog is going to do in the trial ring? OR is it more important to choose the pup with the correct temperament and nurture that temperament? to create an animal that will excell in the sport ring, any sport ring, which is more important?

come on lisa, i KNOW you are in for this one!!
 

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I would have to say that it would be more important to raise the pup with the Right temperment from the beginning although its allways better to get a dog if possible from working breeders & lines as you are atleast guareenteed a higher success rate of working pups & if this was not the case most large constabularies around the world would not be importing working lines from around the world... but like i said if you were going to work ANY dog first it would have to have a temp test & from there you can go on, I cant see to many trainers take a nice dog from working lines but when it fails the temp test still carry on with this dog just because of the lines bred into it? That dog would go straight to a foster home & become a pet dog.

You will allways get a higher success rate from breeding good working dogs but thats more the case because they have gone through temp test & passed with flying colours then if everything goes right & you breed the right dogs hopefully the pups they had would mostly come out with that same stable temp, thats why we all try to keep to certain lines & breeders but theres allways the exception hence why we do sometimes go to rescue centres to find the odd dog....

Good question...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
"although its allways better to get a dog if possible from working breeders & lines as you are atleast guareenteed a higher success rate of working pups"

can i ask why you feel this way? do you feel that a dog/ bitch can "pass down" their working ability?
 

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do you feel that a dog/ bitch can "pass down" their working ability?
Not pass down there working ability as such more the case of them passing on the stable temp & character as you will still have to go through all the training etc with them so its as much down to you as the dog.... Yes they may pass down a good stable working temp or good structure etc & good bites but lets say for instance we have a working pair dam & sire lets say they have ten pups, seven for arguments sake may come out good working quality while the other three pet quality now the same test but from pet quality parents we may only have one or two if lucky working quality pups if any just because if working dogs we are looking for so much more...

I would much rather go to a working dog breeder & a dog with proven sires & dams but take for instance my dog "harley" he did not come from any Working lines etc although he father does do some protection work, i did a standard temp test to see if he had what i was looking for in a pup & he did so i got him but like i said i would much rather go to the working breeder with working proven dogs as you should atleast get a higher chance of finding what ones looking for & genetics to play some part in this...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
hmm, well if form meets function then as long as the parents are sound of structure and you CHOOSE the pup with the right temperament then you, as long as you don't screw it up, will have a working dog. structure is geneticly passed down, "good bites" are not something that can be passed down. is temperament passed down? hmm, another interesting question. is is passed from mother to offspring or is it developed after the pup is born by the environment the pup is raised in? working people go to working breeders when looking for pups. it only stands to reason that more working offspring will come from these breeders but does that mean that they are passing along a "working gene" i don't think so. jmo

can i ask who you got harley from, at what age and just when you started your training? you say his father was not a "working" dog but did pp work. i will assume (silly me :wink: ) that his father had structure, no? but by all acounts puppy takes little or nothing away from pops and most comes from mom , xx-xy you know how that works, so technically it doesn't matter what dad did if there is a so called "working gene" to be passed down.
 

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You have made some good points along with raising some good questions...

In regards to genetics vs environment well yes the environment can progress or ruin a good working pup for instance i think it is between the 8th & 13th week of birth pups that have any bad experiences can later have problems with the same experience. ie a pups sitting there by a cupboard & a pot drops down on him when you open the door now every time after this you open the door he will react to it & in the future this could cause problems....

I allways like to see both parents & dont bother to much whats on there pedigree its more the case "show me what your dogs can do now not what the relatives can do" If i see a good stable dam & sire i am more than happy to get the pup just like harleys case

I got harley here in the UK his sire is R'mondos Buzz, his a nice male good temp although abit on the heavy side a very nice dog & his dam is Spirit of black ice a nice compact imported little bitch, I did not originally plan on working him but i would take him to work with me literally from the day we got him & he would copy the older dogs & he was so smart i just started doing some easy training work with him & he just kept progressing so it was more a case of him pushing & me not wanting to stop & now we are here, his a very smart boy although afew large male aggression issues are getting the better of him at the moment!!!! I did not do any defence work with him until he was a year old although i did do some very minor bite work with him before a year old & he just loved it so i just kept going & waited to see signs of major stress & have yet to see any so just kept pushing along...

I along with yourselve by the sound of believe in the dam giving the dominant genes but harley has got alot more of his temp from his father which i see in him now but i do agree that the bitch will allways give the more dominant genes although i dont really believe in the "working gene" just a "temp gene" which is what working owners are looking for....


P.S sorry attitude sometimes i am trying to say something & can really not get it out so forgive all the examples just my way of explaining myself lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
i have the same problems with trying to get out what i mean, i think i get what you are saying. i tend to disagree with the idea of a "temperament gene" idea . i think the belief that a pups get more "temperament gene" from mom comes from the simple fact that the pup spend , usually, the first 7-8 weeks of it's life with mom and as such gets a influx of moms temperment issues, good or bad. if mom is a basket case then the pups will end up absorbing some of those issues, once removed from mom and placed in a stable environment a stable pup will recover. nothing is received from dad simply because dad ain't there. it would be extremely interesting to see some testing done on that theory.
crucial times in a pups life- 21-28 days and that carries thru to the most crucial 4 to 12 weeks. a pup can be destroyed if not properly socialized in these time periods. whether or not mom/dad have temperamental issues or not a pup that has been retarded at these stages of it's life IS going to have problems. you have obviously had harley from a young age and it sounds as if his worldly exposure was pretty enriched.
so we are back at nature- nurture hmmmmm, such an interesting topic :-k
 

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IMO temperament and genetics go hand in hand.

I don't believe so much in a working ability gene so to speak but I believe if the genetics are there that a said puppy has a much better chance at having the drives and nerve to be able to work. The problem I see with obtaining a puppy based solely on the temperament it exhibits as a pup (rather than looking for a puppy from proven working lines) is that puppies in a litter change so much. The driviest most confident looking pup at 8 weeks may not be the driviest and most confident at 1 or 2 yrs. The same can be said of a litter from proven working lines, BUT at least you know in that case that the genetics are there so you are incresing your odds of getting a good dog . There are lots of dogs out there without any proven working blood in their peds but yet they could still turn out to be fantastic workers, but I guess it depends on how much of a chance a person is willing to take. Personally, since I enjoy the working aspect and want a dog with good nerve , courage, and balance of drives the proven working blood is a better choice for me.

"good bites" are not something that can be passed down
Actually, there are alot of people who would dispute this.....(maybe a good topic for one of the working boards ;) )I have heard MANY people say that a good, full bite is genetic. It's kinda funny because there is this GSD at my old club that comes to mind. This dog is an overly defensive, bag of nerves (just like his mother) BUT, this dog always has a FULL, HARD BITE. Problem is, the slightest bit of pressure from the helper and the dog is gone, so the full bite he has is useless. Although him and his mother are POS they both bite full because (like many people say...specifically GSD and mal people) the genetics are there for the full bite despite the fact the dog is lacking nerve and courage. Not sure how much sense that makes...lol.

Now back to the original topic. IMO with the right work a "decent" dog can go on to get titled and be a decent working dog. However, personally, I want a more than "decent" dog and I think that is where the good genetics come into play. I don't want a dog that needs to be exposed to everything and anything and conditioned so to speak in order to blossom. I want a dog that brings it all to the table on its own and I believe those dogs are out there. A dog not easily ruined by poor training, a dog that can go anywhere and still think it's the cats ass (and can do this without an excessive amount of socilaization). I beleive this is especially important for people contemplating breeding. Knowing what a dog brings to the table naturally, rather than what it turns out to be due to conditioning. That is one reason why now, beyond 4 or 5 months of age, I do not believe in taking a dog out specifically to socialize. If you do this then how can a person truly know what a dog brings to the table all on its own without any help? I am not saying to hide the dog but if I have spare time I would rather spend it training and working towards those titles rather than having to drag my dog to Petsmart or wherever so it can be "socialized". Taking a dog to a different club to train should equate to the same thing IMO. I did major socializing with Rosco as a young dog and now I regret it because I will never know if he brings his confidence to the table naturally or of if he was "helped" by all the socialization I gave him. Luckily he won't be bred so its not really an issue. I have seen first hand dogs that are not socialized AT ALL (just as young pups....say under 4/5 months and its done at the club usually after training when we are all sititing around having a beer). The only other "socializing" would be when brought out to a new club and the "mingling" is minimal. These dogs are never brought out to public places so to speak other than shows or trials. These dog remain in kennels unless they are being worked. These dogs have no confidence issues whatsover. So if socializing and upbringing is so important why can certain dogs turn out great without it? IMO its because thats how they are hardwired, they have the "genetics" that make them naturally, confident dogs and those are the dogs people should concentrate on breeding if they truly want to breed better dogs. I think often (but not always) when people blame enviornment or lack of socialization for a dogs issues that they are often making excues for weak temperamented dogs.
If a person enjoys doing alot of socialization with their dogs, in order to bring out the best in a dog, that's ok but I think if the said person is contemplating breeding, I think you would be cheating yourselves, as well as the breed a bit, because like I said, I would rather know what a dog brings naturally. If you go overboard with the socialization/conditioning, its hard to know what that dog is actually made of. IMO, going to different fields to work, or watch a trial, showing your dog, going to a park or mall to do OB is more than enough socialization and should tell you all you need to know about a dog. If a person needs to do more than that (especially with an adult dog) in order for it to gain confidence I think the dog has issues. Lack of confidence in a pup I can overlook but not an older dog.

So, I guess I lean more towards "nature" but I do believe environment plays a role, just not as big of a role as most other people tend to believe.

Did my post make any sense Attitude?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
none what-so -ever lis! aahahahaha, just kidding :mrgreen:
"he driviest most confident looking pup at 8 weeks may not be the driviest and most confident at 1 or 2 yrs" is this proper socialization from 4-12 weeks that causes this?

when i speak of "socialization" i don't mean dragging your dog to pet smart ect. wast o time in my opinion. so obviously i have not gotten my meaning across here.

give you a couple of points to ponder

dog 1
dog was bred from two dogs (obviously) mom who never did a damn think cept have puppies, never off the breeders property
and dad, who altho was pretty, couldn't work. no confidence, no socialization.
would you buy one of these puppies and do you think they wud work?

dog 2

dad was a simple breeder, never show didn't work. mom was put down at the age of 4 cause she was a lunatic and couldn't be trusted around people or animals, never shown, never worked.
wud you buy one of these puppies? wud they work?

dog 3
well, little different. pop could work, altho only in the loosest sense of the word. he was an extremely health dog and "worked" into old age. mom, did nuthin really but have puppies but she was sound and lived to a ripe old age.
wud these puppies work, wud you consider one?


if it is genetics/nature that plays the all important roll and NOT nurture then you have to say none of these dogs should work, right? because geneticly they are not pre-disposed to
 

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good bites" are not something that can be passed down
I allways have believed that they can be passed down this is something i have allways grown up believing from just an old fairy tale my father tells but have allways thought of it to be the truth...

If you do this then how can a person truly know what a dog brings to the table all on its own without any help?
My worry is how can you truly know what a dog will do in certain situations without testing this ( some could call this conditioning ) i call it more testing the boundaries & seeing what your dogs Pros & Cons are...

I would rather know what a dog brings naturally
Now again how can we find this out with atleast putting them in certain situations to see there reaction???
 

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attitude said:
none what-so -ever lis! aahahahaha, just kidding :mrgreen:
"he driviest most confident looking pup at 8 weeks may not be the driviest and most confident at 1 or 2 yrs" is this proper socialization from 4-12 weeks that causes this?


when i speak of "socialization" i don't mean dragging your dog to pet smart ect. wast o time in my opinion. so obviously i have not gotten my meaning across here.
Ok, I just said Petsmart as an example off the top of my head...it could be anywhere really where you bring the dog for the specific reason of socializing and exposure to different situations (carnival,park when its busy,etc). I am not saying don't socialize what so ever, what I mean is that a person should not have to do excessive amounts of it in order for a dog to mature into a strong and confidient dog. Regarding the 4-12 week thing you mention, I have seen puppies taken from their mothers at 6 weeks of age, brought home, and socialized only minimally and at home during this time frame you mention, and turn out fine with no confidence issues (these are working dogs who were tested hard and given every opportunity to expose confidence issues). So I guess that I can not be made to believe that socializing a puppy heavily during this specific time frame would make or break a dog as I have seen otherwise. Obviously I am no expert, but this is what I have observed recently. Maybe just the weaker dogs would fall apart without it??? Just something to consider.

give you a couple points to ponder

dog1
dog was bred from two dogs (obviously) mom who never did a darn think cept have puppies, never off the breeders property
and dad, who altho was pretty, couldn't work. no confidence, no socialization.
would you buy one of these puppies and do you think they wud work?

dog 2

dad was a simple breeder, never show didn't work. mom was put down at the age of 4 cause she was a lunatic and couldn't be trusted around people or animals, never shown, never worked.
wud you buy one of these puppies? wud they work?

dog 3
well, little different. pop could work, altho only in the loosest sense of the word. he was an extremely health dog and "worked" into old age. mom, did nuthin really but have puppies but she was sound and lived to a ripe old age.
wud these puppies work, wud you consider one?


if it is genetics/nature that plays the all important roll and NOT nurture then you have to say none of these dogs should work, right? because geneticly they are not pre-disposed to
Well, since i am not a big gambler, can't say I would take a chance on any of the pretend litters you mention. Not saying you couldn't get a pup who could do the job, because perhaps it could throwback to some nice dog farther down in the ped. I may change my mind about this after I read some books on genetics but you quite often hear breeders discussing "throwbacks" and if its possible for a gentic health defect to crop up from a few generations back (which we KNOW does happen), and you can get physical attributes appear later on down the line I suppose temperament could work the same way?? The bottom line is risk factor. What kind of a chance does a person want to take that a pup won't work out? I prefer to stack the odds, hence I prefer finding a pup from proven working lines.
 

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My worry is how can you truly know what a dog will do in certain situations without testing this ( some could call this conditioning ) i call it more testing the boundaries & seeing what your dogs Pros & Cons are...
Like I said to Attitude, getting a dog out and about is ok but if you are contemplating breeding the dog then why go overboard with it? I mean if you take your dog to Petsmart for the first time and it totally freaks over the commotion and you bring the dog back there 20 times over the next few months and it finally starts feeling more confident there what have you done? You have condtioned the dog. By doing this you are just masking what the dog truly is because you are "Conditioning" it to handle the situation. If the dog was strong in temp to begin with, this would not be necessary. In fact a truly confident dog would walk into a busy Petsmart its first time with its head held high and tail cocked in the air, acting like it owned the place. If a dog is weak to begin with, the weakensses will most definitely be exposed in your training anyways, (if its done correctly of course) so there is no need to see how it will react in a million situations because that is what the training will do for you. Training should be the ultimate revealer of weakensses in a dogs character. Look at all the crap dogs being titled in SCH for example. People take a weak dog, and instead of washing it out, they keep working with it by condiioning it to handle the protection pattern. They work for yrs just to get the dog able to take a couple stick hits without being run off, they let the dog win over and over again even when the time frame says the dog should be able to handle a bit of defence work..they pick a trial on their home field with familiar decoys. Basically condition the crap out of a dog so it can title. Is this the type of dogs we should be breeding? If a person wants to spend the time confidnece building with their dogs that is fine, I have no problem with it, BUT a dog that requires confidence building thru heavy socialization, exposure, or conditioning, then it's not what I would consider a breed quality animal. JMO.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
"Well, since i am not a big gambler, can't say I would take a chance on any of the pretend litters you mention"
a but you see you did take a chance, these are not pretend litters and you know the three dogs from these three different litters.
one of them lives in your house and is , im my opinion, a damn fine working dog. even tho it was started a little late in life
one of these dogs is the most diversly titled animals in ontario and the last you know as well, atho he would not have been the "greatest" working dog, he did get the job done, and was also started way to late in life

i'm not talking "heavy" socialization but i am talking about stressing a pup, builds character/confidence.
i too believe in stacking the deck and won't repeat the mistakes i'v made in the past. but i still think health, structual soundness AND making the right choice from any given litter count more than any possible "temperamental genetics" passed down from mom and dad.
 

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Genes

Speak about coincidence i am on a english working dog forum & a similar subject came up today about genes & bloodlines & heres some info someone had copied & pasted....

O.k ...Now we have a VERY brief overview of breeding methods and what each is lets talk about GENES. The very thing those methods revolve around.
Think of all the characteristics of your dog as individual paired packets of information. The black nose, the red nose, the temperament, strong working drive, dog aggression, good angulations, strong front, laziness, weak underjaw, tendency to be fat, tremendous muscle tone, big head, too long tail, straight topline, short back, powerful reach and drive and essentially all other characteristics that make up or are missing from a specific “breed type” or “line type”. All these traits are determined by paired packets of information. In a simplistic form the sire of a dog provides one packet and the dam provides the second packet to create this pair.
Now lets look at some terms so we can go forward and understand genentics in its basics.
To help with the understanding I like the following symbolisms to put together a mental image. Take “your” perfect image of “your” perfect BT. Think of this perfect dog as the perfect BOOK (DOG = BOOK). This BOOK is a masterpiece of binding leather bound and hand stitched, the best edition of the book you have ever seen (Top 10 #1 dog of all time) and has all of your favorite fonts and pagination (type). The book is written in a particular language that is universal (genome), these books are divided into chapters (chromosomes), these chapters are made up of paragraphs (operons). The paragraphs are made up of sentences (genes), these sentences are formed by words (codons), and these words are created by single letters (Deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA). Thus, we see that DNA is the most fundamental unit of heredity.
NOW that we have language we can communicate in lets get some ground rules in how Genes work.
Genes occur in pairs in the dog. The dog has 39 chromosome pairs (total of 78 chromosomes). This is what is meant by diploid (diploid = double). There is another term of importance which is haploid (haploid = half) that describes the genome of the egg and sperm.
DNA is an amazing molecule (even to a geneticist) and its primary and most magical characteristic is that it has over billions of years developed the ability to replicate. In other words it is able to make exact copies of itself. This ability to make functional copies is the basis for heredity. It is not the parent’s genes which are passed on to the puppies but copies of the parental genes. Another thing I’d like to throw in here is that: It is not copies of all the parental genes it is only half of the parental genes that are passed to any given puppy .
The first stage of inheritance is the production of either the sperm or the egg. Do not view the sperm and the egg as perfect little genetic representations of each parent. Do not consider that when these two "sex" cells combine (one from rover and one from foxy) and that there is a blending to create "roxy". Combining a dog that lacks "x" with a dog with too much "x" will NOT likely produce a dog with perfect "x". Again this concept cannot be stressed too much or too often at the beginning of our learning: There is no melting together or blending of genetic traits. Most likely from such a cross you would get half the litter that has poor "x" and half the litter that has too much "x". This prediction is also simplistic but it serves to distinguish between blending and particulate inheritance. Particulate inheritance means that genetic information is transmitted from one generation to the next in discrete unchanging (not accounting for evolutionary and mutation events ) units ("genes"). .
The dogs themselves are diploid but both the egg and sperm are haploid meaning that they (unlike the actual dogs) only contain one of the two alleles encoded by the dog. This is what is known as segregation. Segregation is the next concept of importance. Segregation as a concept, is vital to understanding what goes on when you are doing outcrosses, family and line-breeding. We will delve more into segregation and random selection later. However, what we mean by segregation is that when the pregnant dog produces eggs, her chromosome pairs are segregated equally into haploid states in the eggs. Meaning The members of the gene pairs segregate (separate) equally into the gametes. The same is true for the male. His diploid genome is segregated equally into individual sperm which are haploid. A good example to use and one we will return to eventually is sex determinant. Thus the Gametic content states that each gamete (sperm or egg) carries only one member of each pair..
OK That is a VERY Brief over view and the entire amount of information can not be contain here.
MY nect post will be in RED Neck terms and what all this mean to doggers

lol & this is just the ending of one post lol Interesting read though
 

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attitude said:
"Well, since i am not a big gambler, can't say I would take a chance on any of the pretend litters you mention"
a but you see you did take a chance, these are not pretend litters and you know the three dogs from these three different litters.
one of them lives in your house and is , im my opinion, a darn fine working dog. even tho it was started a little late in life
one of these dogs is the most diversly titled animals in ontario and the last you know as well, atho he would not have been the "greatest" working dog, he did get the job done, and was also started way to late in life
LOL....I was wondering if you were referring to certain dogs...haha. All I can say is that I'm with you...I won't take any more unnecessary chances again.....eventually your luck will run out.



i'm not talking "heavy" socialization but i am talking about stressing a pup, builds character/confidence.
Sure it builds confidence, just like my Petsmart example...BUT I would still rather take that dog who was the cocky little bastard from the get go...the one who will walk in the store so full of pee and vinegar you gotta knock the dog down rather than bring it up. Building up a dog is fine, but the less building up a dog needs the better (you know I am lazy...lol). I will put it like this..rather than stressing a dog out in order to build confidence...I would rather stress a dog to expose weaknesses and strengths (hopefully more strengths) and use that information to produce stronger dogs. Attitude, why do you think the serious working dog breeders (I mean the ones out there that actually work and title all thier stock to high levels prior to breeding) speak so highly of temperament and wash out so many dogs that aren't hard enough or bring enough to the table? I mean every forum I go to or every club I visit where you have people breeding serious working dogs all they seem to talk about is breeding dogs who are strong in temperament. Why do you think so many speak of the importance of this if it really doesn't matter? I mean with your theory, as long as the dog is healthy, stable, and structurally sound that it is good enough. If this is the case why are so many breeders (and I am not just talking one breed, I am talking about a few different breeds) washing out so many dogs because they think they can do better? I have seen people wash out dogs that were working better than than some dogs who have already been titled and bred. There's gotta be some reason behind this....I can't see people washing out dogs just for the fun of it. Are some people just more picky than others and is there a method for their madness? If a person is so particular about structure, health, and stability why not be just as particular with working ability? By breeding only the strongest temperamented dogs don't you think we can only make the breed better? Why have such high standards in terms of health and structure but lower the bar for over all working ability? I don't get it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
i actually already understand the genetics dude. the real question is... is working temperament genetic? kelly, long/hart and willis all discuss the heredibility of eye/bark/ nose in specific breeds but is working ability passed down or learned?
 

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Ok Attitude, if prey/defence/fight drive are instincts, rather than learned behaviours, how can working ablility not be "genetic"? Same with nerves, thresholds, and hardness, other characteristics that can't be "taught". After all, each one of this things are charactertics a dog is born with, right, and we both know a GOOD working dog requires a proper balance of all these things, so how can you get a good working dog if it is lacking these hardwired traits? For example, a dog isn't born knowing where to target the man, that is taught, but the actual biting isn't taught, that is something the dog must WANT to do. Or lets look at handler sensitvity, if a dog is like this there is nothing you can really do to make it not sensitive, thats just the way the dog is..., IMO its all these little things that constitute whether a dog has proper working temperament and all these things are out of our control so how could one say that working ability as a whole has no genetic component?
:-k
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
"Sure it builds confidence, just like my Petsmart example...BUT I would still rather take that dog who was the cocky little bastard from the get go...the one who will walk in the store so full of pee and vinegar you gotta knock the dog down rather than bring it up."

ok i thought this went without saying. of course you would choose the pup with the correct attitude/temperament in the first place. we ARE talking about selection for sport work

"speak so highly of temperament and wash out so many dogs that aren't hard enough or bring enough to the table?"

but , if these dogs are SELECTED for temerament AND it is suppose to be inherited then explain why the dogs are not getting better, just why ARE so many animals from tested lines still getting washed? you get more working animals from working breeders simply because ... working people go to working kennels to buy working dogs. law of averages say you have more working animals from working kennels then , doesn't it?

" if prey/defence/fight drive are instincts"

prey drive is instinct, without it you do not eat. but young still must be taught how
defence/fight, well, you loose you die. some animals are better at this instinct than others and STILL as young they hone these skills
 
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