Sorry I am so late to this thread guys. I am crazy busy finishing up work and getting ready to move several states away next week. I'm going to try my best to answer all the things that have been brought up so far, forgive me if I forget something or end up making multiple posts.
amazincc wrote:How does NOT socializing and exposing a puppy to all sorts of things and people make for a well-rounded dog in the future?
There are dogs who are not
socialized who are extremely stable dogs. My Dylan is an example: he lived the first year of his life on a chain, and finally ended up with me after being confiscated for the third time due to neglect. Dylan is the most stable dog I have ever owned, but he is more than that - he is bomb proof. Different environments, peoples, sounds, etc do not bother him. I am constantly amazed by what this dog is and my experience with him has played a big role in what I expect and want out of my future dogs.
Additionally, I know many dogs that were not raised or whelped with the socialization programs that Erin and Alyssa are talking about and these dogs are very stable animals. It's not because someone had to do anything special with them, it is in their genetic material.
airwalk wrote:what I think was meant (again I don't want to speak for Allison) is that when she is choosing a dog initially she wants to see the most base temperament.
I don't think she is saying don't socialize or desensitize, she just prefers to see them before that happens.
Correct. I am NOT saying not to socialize or desensitize a pup. But I want to see the pup before any of that stuff happens. I want to know what is represented in the dog's genes. If something does freak it out, does it recover? How quickly does it recover? Does it run and hide? Will it not bite a rag if you tie a bottle with pennies in it to it? Etc, etc. These are all tests that tell me a little bit of what to expect as that dog matures. Does it tell me exactly what I am going to end up with? No, but I think it stacks the chips in my favor.
I do actually socialize my dogs guys. I don't just throw them in dark kennels and never take them anywhere but the training field.
I just do it differently than your average pet home.
plebayo wrote:How does exposing a dog to different things make their reaction any different if the dog is not exposed to things? I mean, a puppy who truly lacks confidence, like their personality is insecure - sure if you expose them to things you help gain their confidence, however if the dog isn't confident by nature they will still approach things in a cautious way. By socializing them you help them cope with their fears, but the dog is still an insecure dog.
EXACTLY. Just because you expose a pup to these stimuli repeatedly in no way ensures that the weaknesses in that dog will not resurface in the future. Weakness will display itself under increasing pressure. So why would I want to see a pup react to something it has been around for weeks? It doesn't tell me anything about the dog.
pitbullmamaliz wrote:I guess my question for you, Allison, is what age are you seeing these pups? If you're seeing them exposed to things for the first time around 4 weeks, that's a lot different than waiting until a pup is 8 weeks.
I saw and selected Cairo at almost 7 weeks of age. I did not see Gator's puppy evaluation and he was selected for me by the breeder.
sismorphine wrote:Though with older dogs we can desensitize them and can train through behavioral issues so that they don't LOOK like they have a problem, I don't believe that socializing a pup to humans/dogs/environment etc as a youngster is going to mask anything, instead it is going to become part of their final temperament.
It shouldn't have to become
part of their temperament, it should just be there already genetically.
mnp13 wrote:Ok, the other argument here would be that the ones that aren't afraid have "better genetics" but frankly I don't agree. When you start them off not being afraid, you're not going to get default fear behaviors later on. However, if you don't bother to get them used to loud noises (to continue the example) and end up with a dog with noise fears, then you train to fix it, often you end up with the default behavior (fear) when the dog is under stress.
The default behavior, whether it is the fear or never being afraid, is what is being bred on. Doesn't matter what is fixed by training. I've seen lots of dogs look better on the field than they really are because I know about the training that went into them. When those dogs are bred it is not their training that gets passed on, but their genes.
What's a baseline, anyway?
Let's say Erin and Allison "evaluate" the exact same litter of seven-week old pups... would Allison weed out those puppies who responded w/fear or caution when being exposed to x amount of people/things for the very first time immediately, but Erin would make an extra effort to work w/those same pups to help/teach them how to deal w/the world more appropriately?
And how is that fair to the pups? Isn't that like trying to "evaluate" a human infant to see how well he/she will do in grade school, years down the road?
For me, a baseline is the raw dog. It is the firsts that that dog experiences and how he/she reacts to them.
When looking at fear and caution you also have to look at recovery rate. A pup who runs away from something and hides...wash out. A pup who is startled by the first pan you throw to the ground but then cautiously investigates it without being influenced by the handler to do so (depending obviously on a lot of variables and how quickly the dog goes to investigate, body language, etc) would be watched. You also have to take into consideration how the dog reacts to things both in and out of drive.
Personally, I don't really care about being "fair" to the pups. If the pup is weak at 7 or 8 weeks of age, it's going to be a weak dog. I don't want to put my time, money, and effort into training that dog. I want the dog that has the raw materials that allow me to build what I am looking for.
theredqueen wrote:I'm guessing here, but I'd assume that the fearful ones wouldn't become a "working" dog. In SD work, if the dog is too fearful, we'd find it a pet home. There in lies the trouble for me...if you've bred a dog with a HUGE work ethic, that doesn't have any socialization or experience, but is too fearful to actually do the job...what happens to that dog?
Depending on the breeder, pups who are displaying fearful or otherwise unstable temperaments may very well be put down. Some may just have a spay/neuter contract put out on them and then placed in an experienced pet home. If, god forbid, I ever end up with the dog that Erin describes the dog would either stay with me and be managed or be put down.
Demo's posts are spot on with my way of thinking.
I'll be back later to check on this thread. Fun discussion!