Class discussion veered to breed specific behavior yesterday. Its always interesting to me what people think about the differing breeds of dogs. There are certain breeds people think of as ‘smart’ and ‘dumb’. Or ‘can’t be housebroken’ or ‘runners’.
I have my thoughts too – given my druthers when picking a demo dog to show off a new command, I will instinctively go to the lab or golden or pit or yorkie or boxer. They will just Do it for you. I’m not sure how much MY expectation of that influences their behavior.
When I’m in a quirky mood and feel like a challenge, I’ll go to the chihuahua or husky instead. Sometimes I have to pull new tricks from my hat to get them to ‘do it’. “What’s my Motivation for that??” They ask me. “Explain to me why I should want to.” I enjoy that occasionally.
But people will often look me in the eye and say very seriously, “its not the dog, its how you raise the dog.”
And I have to say an emphatic “Sometimes” to that.
Sometimes it IS the dog. I have a golden in class right now that is just nuttso. He has a brother with the ‘golden personality’ laid back, calm, happy. Both from the same litter, both gotten at 8 weeks and raised by the same family in the same way, but one is a wild, destructive thing and the other isn’t.
You Get a boxer because you want that goofy, energetic, intelligent, pawing boxer personality. Right? And a huge majority of my boxers seem to have separation anxiety issues. Something to deal with.
You get a yorkie because you want the smart hyper fun cuddle bug, and you realize many of them WILL be challenging to housebreak. Now some will be calm and housebreak easily. Most won’t be.
You simply Can’t point fingers and say “its all in how you raise them.” Dogs are not robots. They have thoughts and feelings and breed instinct and all kinds of things we can only hope to influence.
Some people can do everything wrong and still have a good dog, despite them. Others can do everything right and have the dog either just not be a good fit for them, or have personality traits we need to deal with.
That’s just a fact.