The traits that once served our dogs now haunt them
Each day as I work with reactive and aggressive dogs, I see the direct link between dog breeds and specific issues. If aggression was formed by nurture alone then why do we dog trainers see so many of the same issues in breed groupings? It’s my opinion that many of the traits that were originally bred into these breeds are now causing them to develop serious behavioural issues and aggression issues.
Every year millions of dogs are euthanized around the world due to these genetic traits that are being overlooked by dog owners who think that love with fix everything. Jack Russell Terriers will make your life a living hell if you don’t give them proper exercise and training every day. Border Collies will act like demons on a leash if you don’t give them a job to do every day.
—Dog’s are entrepreneurs, and if you don’t give them a job, they will start a business that you will hate. —
Here is a shortlist of some of the breed categories as I see them and some of the traits that I see every day. If this post sounds like it’s overgeneralizing…. It is.
-Bulldogs: Containing livestock-
Social desire with people: High
Social desire with dogs: Moderate
Positive back in the day: A good, all-around dog used in livestock containment who could be trusted with family and close friends.
Negative today: Known for wanting to be in control and for controlling people, dogs, and animals. Stubborn much?
-Terriers: Hunting animals-
Social desire with people: High
Social desire with dogs: Moderate
Positive back in the day: They kept pest populations at bay and helped bring home the bacon.
Negative today: Known to have incredibly high pain thresholds due to their history killing other animals + Known for being visually stimulated and easily over-aroused. A pain in the ass to walk.
-Retrievers: Retrieving birds-
Social desire with people: Very high
Social desire with dogs: High
Positive back in the day: Had to work at times in groups of human hunters and groups of dogs + Had to honour other dogs’ turn to retrieve.
Negative today: Few and far between, but some struggle with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Some have separation anxiety as they were bred to be close to the hunting partner 24/7.
Herding genetics:
Social desire with people: Moderate/Sceptical
Social desire with dogs: Moderate
Positive back in the day: Great for increasing productivity on the farm with livestock + capable of working extremely long work days.
Negatives today: Far more energy than most owners can handle + many have OCD + very mouthy and snappy.
Northern genetics:
Social desire with people: High
Social desire with dogs: High
Positive back in the day: Great for pulling sleds.
Negatives today: Without proper training, they are terrible to leash walk. They are very social creatures and highly intelligent. They are escape artists and often suffer from separation anxiety due to their genetic propensity to be with people and other dogs 24/7. Also, very dramatic… not sure where that stems from!
Property guarding genetics:
Social desire with people: Moderate/Sceptical
Social desire with dogs: Low
Positive back in the day: Protection from thieves.
Negatives today: Hope you don’t like people coming to your home + many resource guard.
Livestock guardian genetics:
Social desire with people: Moderate/Sceptical
Social desire with dogs: Moderate
Positive back in the day: Kept intruders at bay and kept the flock safe.
Negatives today: Those guarding genetics need to go somewhere…. These dogs typically hate people coming to the house and many resource guard + their massive size is a big liability.
Toy Breeds: Alerting to an intruder.
Social desire with people: Low
Social desire with dogs: High
Positive back in the day: They would let the owners know when people were approaching by barking.
Negatives today: They often bark way too much for most people.
Do right by your dog by giving them what they need. A biologically appropriate job. With love and respect.
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