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Old 02-23-2014, 08:19 PM
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GoingNowhere GoingNowhere is offline
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Default biddability, energy, and "velcroness"

Is it just me, or do they all seem to go hand in hand more often than not? Dependence/"velcro-dog" syndrome and biddability make intuitive sense to me - after all, the independent dog likely wants to think independently as well and thus may have other ideas than listening to the trainer. But energy seems to be right there as well.

I ask because I've been thinking about my future dog and what I like to live with and what I don't and it seems I've stumbled upon this interesting catch-22 of sorts. When it comes down to it, I think that there are two things that would drive me up a wall faster than anything else: noisiness and lack of an ability to settle (while I love training, I'd prefer this ability to be less of a trained "stay at your place" and more of a natural thing. And no - playing independently with a squeaky isn't the same as settling in my eyes).

I like Boo's energy. From the day that we got her (@ around 2 or 3 years old), she always had impeccable house manners. She settles well, doesn't always need to be up someone's butt, etc. Yet, she LOVES to do things and go out when we give her the opportunity. I really really like that slight independence/grace/composure about her.

At the same time, I would love to have a dog that's naturally a bit more biddable. Boo is more than happy to work with me, but she doesn't have the "let me do something for you PLEASE!" attitude. I would love a dog who, with a bit of work (but not so much that I give up), can be let off leash in public spaces with a solid enough recall that I can get it back to me even with another dog approaching or a squirrel nearby. I get that it's as much about training as it is about natural behaviors/willingness to please. But, I also recognize that there's absolutely something to be said for genetics.

So, here's the general question. Are there any breeds that you know of that are notoriously biddable, but also notoriously well-mannered before they've just settled with age? I'd be interested on the flip side as well (though I think that's a bit more common) - of dogs who have a ton of boundless energy, but really don't give a crap what their owner thinks (I'm thinking some terriers haha)...

Sighthounds and spitz type dogs strike me in the very "well-mannered" category, with dogs like border collies and malinois in the very biddable category. Are there any that are extremes of both?

And yes, I get that a mature golden retriever, lab, aussie, or border collie even could fit the bill quite well - but I'm wanting this to be more of a general breed thing and less of a "dog for me!" thread

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Old 02-23-2014, 08:33 PM
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What about like a collie collie?

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Old 02-23-2014, 08:55 PM
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I'm not sure. I mean, Dobermans are supposed to be a biddable breed, they're definitely energetic (especially in their younger days) and are extreme velcro dogs, but they (IME) are not naturally well mannered haha. Mine were both terrors. Ripley was better, as he's a sucky boy who just wants to do right, but Keira was a nightmare and made me never, ever want another Doberman again lol. Until she grew up a bit and then Ripley came along and we were like yes, let's get another (apparently we temporarily forgot her naughty stage in the presence of a cute little red puppy and his littermates). But for a breed that is very human oriented, they are not a breed I'd put into the "naturally well behaved dog" category.

Journey is a very energetic, very biddable (much more so than the Dobermans), very velcro dog and while she's had naughty moments, she's been super easy since day one and has never caused any major trouble. I started letting her sleep loose in my room at like 4 or 5 months old and she was perfect, and she's totally trustworthy left alone in the house too and has been that way for a while. I don't do it often, but I know I can. I also never really had to teach her to be off leash. She just was naturally good. Stuck close from the beginning, keeps an eye on me, 99% of the time has an extraordinary recall, etc. There are many examples, but those are a couple. She's just a naturally good dog. And for as much of a velcro dog as she is, that doesn't mean she pesters me. She just likes to snuggle and be near me, but isn't what I'd call too clingy or needy. My Border Collie mix was much the same way, except with her extreme sound neurosis, I couldn't leave her loose alone as she'd panic.

Dance is not what I'd call biddable, is not at all a velcro dog, and is active. She's never gotten into any major trouble and is not what I'd call a dog who took a lot of work to mold into a well behaved house dog, but at the same time, she is super sneaky and is always finding things to do independently. Not usually anything bad (except consuming fabric), but still, she doesn't just hang out like the rest of my dogs and when I tell her to do something, if she were a human, she'd totally give me that bratty teenager eye roll look and do what was asked with an attitude haha.

As far as general breeds go that are biddable and easy, I know the internet scared me from herding breeds a little bit thinking they were all "go, go, go" dogs who needed tons of training and stimulation, but now that I've had two, and thinking about most of the others that I know, I'd say generally herding breeds seem to be (for the most part) naturally good, easy dogs as long as the owner is an actual dog person and knows how to raise a dog properly. Not all of them, of course, but many of them. Other people might have had different experiences, and this might be my experience simply because I am well matched to herding dog personalities, but yeah, my experience is that they're pretty naturally well mannered.

Other groups I've lived with are hounds (IME not naturally well behaved) and working dogs (again, take a lot of effort and training, but then are good). Most of the dogs I know are herding dogs, working and hound as well. Some sporting and some terriers (both of which I would not say are naturally well behaved, although the sporting dogs certainly try their best haha).
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Old 02-24-2014, 01:41 PM
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Jumping in with a silly question - which breed is Journey?
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Old 02-24-2014, 02:41 PM
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Sheltie? All of the shelties I have met are very biddable and also naturally well mannered. None have had over the top energy either.

I think a collie is another good suggestion. Biddable, but well mannered and not off the wall.

I think the "moderate energy" herding dogs (like farm-type collies, not BCs) fit a lot of your requirements.

IME sporting dogs are pretty biddable and generally very velcro, but not at all naturally well behaved. The older ones often are (everybody knows a sweet old gentleman golden or lab) but adolescence can be tough. They are just physical dogs and think that body slamming and moving into your space is awesome. Dogs who naturally move away from physical pressure (like some herding dogs) come across as more polite because they're not getting up in your space and jumping all over you. I think the ones with softer temperaments tend to be easier, because they actually care when you give them a withering look and ask them to stop counter surfing. The ones with more of a hard temperament just laugh at you while jumping on the counters and stealing your stuff.

Watson will hunt independently off leash, and it seems like he doesn't care where I am, but I've realized he does always have his eye on me. He just assumes that if he can still see me, it's fine to keep running after animals. He doesn't actually want to take off on his own though and will panic a bit if I suddenly hide or disappear. So not crazy biddable, but pretty velcro and not super independent either.

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Old 02-24-2014, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by StompinT View Post
Jumping in with a silly question - which breed is Journey?
She's an Aussie.

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Old 02-24-2014, 04:57 PM
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Carma has incredible biddability. She will work for anyone who asks her to, really, and do so happily. She loves doing everything and will try anything once. She also recovers well from something that might startle her and has no issues with trying something more than once, even if she's unsuccessful. She could heel through a busy dog park with the most focus you could ever imagine, and do a perfect recall in the middle of it all.

She has plenty of energy, lol. Not sure if you've seen some of the videos I've posted of her, but she can go all day long. The greatest thing about her though, is that she settles so great in the house. As long as she has had a reasonable amount of exercise during the day, she just grabs her closest toy and lays down. She isn't super destructive and sleeps loose in my bedroom at night, usually on my bed

Velcro, for sure. Even though she settles well in the house, she does follow me from room to room. Not up my butt or anything, but just keeping an eye on me She won't really go farther than fifteen feet away off leash outside. She likes to explore a bit, but make sure I haven't gone anywhere without her.

She's perfect for me. Obviously I recognized her drive to work at a young age, and spent a lot of time building upon that, but i think that even if I hadn't picked her for sport, she would be an awesome pet for an active home. She's great with every person or animal she's ever met, could play fetch for days on end, and will sleep in bed with me at night. I can't ask for much more than that.

Oh, she's absolutely adorable too.

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Old 02-24-2014, 07:37 PM
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I think a lot of that depends on how the dog is treated in the house. I'm not saying that all dogs can be taught to settle well (that's obviously untrue) but I think there's a lot of play in the line.

When I'm home alone with Elsie, she naps. If I ask her to get the ball, she jumps up, if I leave the room, she follows me, but she doesn't pace, pant, or pester.

When my roommate is home, Elsie moves NONSTOP. She pokes, she pants, she drops balls, she pesters, she steals, she gets on and off furniture--she's a huge pest. I told my roommate when she moved in not to encourage those behaviors, but she ignored me, and now she's a monster who won't settle... when my roommate is there.

Now, my roommate talks about how 'those dogs' never settle in the house and Elsie has too much energy and needs constant attention and so on, but as soon as she walks out the door, Elsie's back on the sofa, napping. My roommate doesn't believe me, lol. Why would she? In her experience, Elsie moves nonstop.

I'm not saying get a Belgian, of course, but Elsie is not anywhere near the monster people talk about. She gets a lot of stimulation and interaction, but she doesn't need 7 hours of running or anything crazy like that. We have plenty of days where we do very, very little.

She's very biddable, moderate energy, and she's... under my desk with her head on my chair's wheels right now, lol.

Last edited by Red.Apricot; 02-24-2014 at 08:30 PM.
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Old 02-24-2014, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Red.Apricot View Post
Now, my roommate talks about how 'those dogs' never settle in the house and Elsie has too much energy and needs constant attention and so on, but as soon as she walks out the door, Elsie's back on the sofa, napping. My roommate doesn't believe me, lol. Why would she? In her experience, Elsie moves nonstop.
I get this with Watson too. Right now he's passed out on his dog bed, and earlier tonight he was passed out on my lap. We only walked about 30min and did 5 minutes of training and he's happy to sleep all evening. If I get up he'll be ready to go, but when I sit down he goes to sleep again.

When he's around our instructors (and other dogs), and when my parents are visiting he paces, whines, jumps on and off furniture, steals things, and is generally annoying. I've had so many trainers say "Oh, he's high energy! I bet he never sleeps." They really don't believe me that he just crashes at home and 99% of the time isn't a pain at all. My parents don't always know how to encourage quiet, and instructors see him in high arousal situations which aren't daily life.

I think dogs with that tendency towards busy behavior can be easily stimulated into acting obnoxious, but if you manage it correctly they're really not bad. It just requires some dog savviness to be conscious of when you're reinforcing bad behavior and when you're reinforcing calm.

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Hazel - Truepenny Bright Side of Life | Welsh Springer Spaniel | DOB 4.2.15
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