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  #111  
Old 03-22-2013, 01:01 PM
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I'm learning how to live with my very first "OMG I just met you and I love you and you're my new best friend!!" dog.

I've gotta say, while it's a nice change from Dance who wants zero to do with new people and is reactive (but not a bite risk - she just barks without thinking and hides), I hope when Journey grows up she's more reserved.

The Dobermans are naturally aloof dogs and it's one of my favourite things about them. I love taking them out and having them not care about people. To me, Keira is perfection in that regard. People can touch her, hug her, do whatever, and she just stands there and takes it with a very indifferent attitude. Ripley is slightly less tolerant of people and will avoid hugs (which people shouldn't do to a strange dog anyway), but he too is accepting yet indifferent when it comes to anything else. As puppies, both of them were a little more "Oh, I should go say hi!", but they quickly grew out of that with no proofing or training on my part. As they matured, they just lost interest in strangers. Their people are their entire world, and they don't care if anyone else exists or not. They're friendly in that they're not aggressive and they're beyond polite and tolerant, but like I said, they just really don't care at all about other people. The only time they do is when you're in our home. Then you're obligated to touch them for the entire time (they think) haha. They are my ideal when it comes to how a dog should be with strangers. I'm learning I have a strong preference for a dog who loves their person/family and is aloof (but not shy or aggressive) toward others.

With that said, Journey's love for people doesn't interfere with life, and TBH, it's nice to have such a social, lovey dog when someone decides to pet or stare at her out of the blue. Sometimes it can be a challenge as it rewards the person for being rude and touching my dog without asking, but it's not an issue with her that I have (just the people). Despite her love for people, I'm still very obviously her favourite person and she always comes back to me and wants to know what we're doing next. She's just the first dog I've ever really had to work on ignoring people with and also the first dog that it's been important to give a "go say hi" cue to. She's actually very good at ignoring people and paying attention to what I've asked of her. The only time I really need to enforce it is when somebody is being really exciting, which can be hard for her to resist. And it's sometimes hard for me to be more exciting than new people, especially in public, although I try.

Whereas with Dance, I never know how she's going to react. I'm super-vigilant when I'm out in public with her and am always ready to block somebody from touching her or tell them not to taunt or stare at her. I don't want her to bark and scare somebody, but I also don't want her to be stressed. So taking her out in public can be tiresome for me, and it's gotten in the way of pretty much all of the hopes and plans I had for her when I got her.

So, in short, having had dogs now on all areas of the spectrum, I would certainly take Journey's friendliness (which is fine and something I like most of the time) over Dance's shyness (which I never want again) anyday, but my preference will always be for the Dobermans' aloofness.
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  #112  
Old 03-22-2013, 01:19 PM
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See, to me, that's a training thing. They know their job outdoors and aren't distracted by strangers but I'm sure the rules are much more lenient indoors.

The majority of the OMGHAI issues I see are training and impulse control problems, not the dog's fault. If I can't be more rewarding to my dog than someone else, I'm doing something wrong. But that's just my opinion on it.
Obviously my goal is to be the center of my dogs' worlds. But it is a lot easier with Mia than summer.

Mia is beyond aloof though. She is distrustful of strangers. Introducing her to strangers must be done correctly. But she's fine around strangers and working around them. She will not work for them though. I understand a lot of people probably would not enjoy those aspects of her temperament. I don't particularly like that she's a little fearful of people, but I do love that she doesn't go out of her way to make friends.

I'm not saying summer is at fault at all for anything. There is absolutely nothing wrong with her. She has a great temperament for the breed. It's actually a lot better than Mia... But Mia is still more 'my kind if dog' than summer. I appreciate them both.

My two are the same in public versus at home as far as friendliness goes.
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  #113  
Old 03-22-2013, 04:53 PM
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Belgians, my friend, Belgians.

Though I think that PyrShep you're after will do it for you too!
Going back because I missed this...

LOL I did suggest this a few times myself

But PyrSheps are a nice portable size. And they look like muppets. Belgians are bigger and look like ALF. Or for the Stick Dogs maybe like a cross between a deer and a wolf....

I'm so happy Laurelin got to meet PyrSheps and see how fun they are. I think she'll really enjoy one

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This! Looking at extremes only, I would much rather want to proof an overly exuberant dog than to work through stranger reaction issues. Obviously that is extremes only, and not taking in account proper temperament of either.
Why would one have to look at extremes only though? The truth is, most dogs aren't extremes (I guess that's what makes the ones who are "extreme" ). Of all the Belgians I have had, only Roust has had worrisome stranger issues away from home. Of course varying degrees of guardiness at home is to be expected. I had three GSDs, one did have stranger issues but he also had brain problems that likely contributed to it. The other two were totally trustworthy out and about and guardy but reasonable at home. Obviously, such dogs aren't suitable for everyone but it's not as though choosing an aloof or reserved breed means you're going to spend all your time trying to condition your dog to function around people. No more so than choosing a friendly breed means you'll have to do that.

I will also say, the more complicated breeds do need the right people. I have seen Belgians go from acting extremely weird to being perfectly normal with a change of environment and owners. My Loki is such a dog, returned to her breeder before she was even a year old for "serious aggression towards family members". She is kinda mean to other dogs (not dog aggressive per say, just overly strict - she IS the Queen Dog after all...) but I have had her for 13 years now and have never, ever had to worry about human aggression with her. Not with strangers and not with family. One of my 4Hers even used her as a project dog for a couple years, she went to our fair where she was easily crowded, petted and interacted with by thousands of people and I never had any concern about her being there. She been shown countless times and absolutely loves to show. She's maybe a bit too outgoing per the breed standard with strangers. And this was a dog who was almost PTS for human aggression. And it's not like I worked to get her over those issues, she just never had them in the time I have known her. She was great at the breeder's house too, even with her then 4 or 5 year old son. I do believe her previous owners did have aggression issues with her. She was a bad fit for them and it caused everyone involved to be very unhappy.
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  #114  
Old 03-22-2013, 05:07 PM
SaraB SaraB is offline
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Why would one have to look at extremes only though? The truth is, most dogs aren't extremes (I guess that's what makes the ones who are "extreme" ).
Because it's a good thing to consider when bringing a dog that can go to the extremes into your household. I like to prepare for the worst case scenario because I was so obviously not prepared for it with Classic. Never said it was the only thing to consider as you are right, the odds are the dog won't be an extreme example. But knowledge in how to prevent a likely extreme candidate from moving down the path is necessary for a lot of these breeds we are talking about.
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  #115  
Old 03-22-2013, 05:22 PM
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Because it's a good thing to consider when bringing a dog that can go to the extremes into your household. I like to prepare for the worst case scenario because I was so obviously not prepared for it with Classic. Never said it was the only thing to consider as you are right, the odds are the dog won't be an extreme example. But knowledge in how to prevent a likely extreme candidate from moving down the path is necessary for a lot of these breeds we are talking about.
I definitely think being well aware of the extremes is important.

I also feel you on being carefully aware and avoiding a repeat. Honestly I don't ever want another dog with Arnold desire and skills at fighting. I will likely always steer as far clear as I can in an effort to avoid an extreme like him.
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  #116  
Old 03-22-2013, 05:32 PM
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Yeah avoiding Trey extreme shyness would be nice. I don't think many dogs live up to his level of weirdness though. I could deal with a dog like him much, much better now. Would prefer not to but I could.
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  #117  
Old 03-22-2013, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by SaraB View Post
Because it's a good thing to consider when bringing a dog that can go to the extremes into your household. I like to prepare for the worst case scenario because I was so obviously not prepared for it with Classic. Never said it was the only thing to consider as you are right, the odds are the dog won't be an extreme example. But knowledge in how to prevent a likely extreme candidate from moving down the path is necessary for a lot of these breeds we are talking about.
That just isn't how I look at things I guess. I tend to pick breeds that suit me, puppies that have the traits I enjoy from parents that I like and assume they'll grow up to be awesome with good training and socialization. If they do weird things in adolescence I tend to ignore it rather than fret over it. So far, my dogs have seemed to outgrown adolescent social weirdness more so than not

Maybe it's a glass half empty or half full sort of thing. Or maybe it's my background in dogs. My very first dog of my own, when I was 11 was a reactive Dobe mix. I took him to 4H, looking back he was sketchy acting. Wouldn't take treats from strangers, hid behind me and barked, hackled up and barked and lunged. He didn't like strangers. We failed judging our first year because he wouldn't let strangers touch him. Went back the following year anyway. I didn't really know enough to know that dog knowledgeable people would think he had serious issues. Failed judging that year too, although my advisors were able to make friends with him (except the one who was afraid of him). Still went back again the next year. Still didn't know enough to know he wasn't really suitable for what I was doing with him. And you know what? In all my obliviousness and lack of any understanding of behavior modification, my dog turned into a normal dog! We even won our class at judging that year. Just through me taking him to class and taking him all over the neighborhood with me every nice day for a couple years. People who met him after he was three found it very hard to believe that he was ever weird. Then you know, I got into Belgians in my teens. It's been a long time now. Most of my friends have them too. Also got into GSDs around the same time. I worked at daycare for 9 years, grooming shops for 5 or so years. Have taught classes since I was a teenager. And in all of that, I guess it would take some pretty major behavioral issues to really worry me at this point, especially concerning my own dogs. They're all just dogs after all and I don't really get too worried about dogs acting like dogs. Not that I don't have traits I want or don't want in dogs and pick breeds accordingly. But I will not devote my mental energy to worrying about "What if my dog grows up to be an extreme? What if this thing he's doing as a puppy has some deeper, darker meaning? What if...".

I often look back to that first dog and think how lucky I was...and he was that I wasn't more knowledgeable. In being more knowledgeable, I may have worried more over his behavior. I may have given up on taking him to class and training him, thinking he'd never get better and would be better off being a house pet. Maybe I would have taken up some other hobby. Thanks to my ignorance, I became heavily involved in dogs. And that first dog had a much better life. I try to always remember that. Us knowledgeable dog people can get sort of weird about things, the hazard of knowing too much I suppose.
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  #118  
Old 03-22-2013, 11:33 PM
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This! Looking at extremes only, I would much rather want to proof an overly exuberant dog than to work through stranger reaction issues. Obviously that is extremes only, and not taking in account proper temperament of either.
I'm with Sara on this one. If I had to choose an extreme, I would much rather have exuberance than reactivity - and I've had both. And it's not so much which behavior is harder to work with or harder to proof - I think that's going to depend on the individual dog and the individual trainer.

I now have a dog that's reactive. And he causes me a lot of worry. He doesn't particularly enjoy handling by strangers. He has his one groomer that he has to go to, and his one vet. There are very few (like three) people I would trust to watch him. When I take him somewhere, I'm constantly working with him and constantly managing the situation to make sure it's not going to push him over threshold. And yes, with a combination of training and management, he's not difficult to live with. But those things, those things I have to consider, are always in the back of mind.

The dog I grew up with never met anyone that wasn't her best friend. And we never had to worry about her. Never had to worry that she was going to feel uncomfortable in certain situations, never had to worry that she was going to react to someone in a store or at a park or at the vets office. She could go to any vet, any groomer, whatever. Never had to worry when we had maintenance people in the house, she loved them too. Going out of town was not a big deal, she could stay with anyone, anywhere. Sure, it was annoying that we had to hold her when people came over so she didn't bowl them over, and she was never off-leash because she would follow anyone anywhere, but those problems could have been fixed with training. I never had to worry about her, and that's worth something to me.

I do think it's all about personal preference. Everyone has behavioral issues that they won't/can't deal with. I don't mind living with my resource guarder, but I absolutely would not knowingly adopt another dog with seperation anxiety ever again. It's all about what you prefer.
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  #119  
Old 03-23-2013, 01:24 AM
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My god it's like I have one of each of these types of dogs lol.

Enzo is a people slut. She's a lab. She can't help it. She loooooves to meet people. There are certain people that she literally cannot help herself from doing a full body wiggle before going up to them. It was one of the single hardest things to overcome in her training, and no amount of making myself more rewarding really helped when she was young because "omg! Other people!" was definitely more rewarding to her than me. She loved me, obviously, and I think if she left with someone, she would definitely be trying to get back to me after a few minutes, but she's one of those dogs who really would walk off with anyone. She would look back, but she would definitely leave.

Ozzy was reactive. Working through his people reactivity took less time for me to fix than it took for me to work through Enzos' "ZOMG HAI"-ness. His dog reactivity is still a work in progress though.

Jones loves everyone. He's a schmoozer. He will work a crowd like nobodies business, but after greeting everyone he comes back to me. He's not like Enzo where everyone is a potential new best friend, he's more like "Hi, got food for me? Nice to meet you. Later."

Indy is aloof. She has her favorite people, but strangers get a little more than an eye flick and maybe a tail wag. She doesn't want to say hi. She will accept petting without batting an eye, but she just really ignores the crap out of most people. I love that. I want that in every dog I own lol, because the attention from me is worth so much more to her than attention from strangers. Unlike with Enzo. She will do a full body hug for certain people (my TD being one of them, so she will almost always break focus off me to look at her in case of forthcoming petting from her ) but most people she is very Meh about.

All of this is out and about. Inside our home, Ozzy is aloof, but friendly. He will come over and sit with you, but he prefers to be touched on his own terms. Enzo wants to sit in your lap (and will definitely try to get there) Indy will take herself to her crate, or pace circles around you, but she will more than likely NOT come up to you. Strangers in the home are something suspicious and to be watched. If she knows you, she's all about getting pets, but there are very few people that applies to. Not even my mother or father get attention solicited by her.

Jones just wants to eat your shoes at home. And then maybe sit in your lap. And chew your clothing. And then maybe you'll feed him. Or throw the ball for him. But he's not demanding about it, which is nice.
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  #120  
Old 03-23-2013, 01:31 AM
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Jones loves everyone. He's a schmoozer. He will work a crowd like nobodies business, but after greeting everyone he comes back to me. He's not like Enzo where everyone is a potential new best friend, he's more like "Hi, got food for me? Nice to meet you. Later."
This is Logan, except replace food with butt scratches. He's the type of dog where I really wish people would take "DO NOT DISTRACT" seriously when he's working. He's a total flirt. He refocuses very easily, which is great, but he does get distracted when people coo at him or call to him, and he MUST wag his tail for EVERY person that walks by, EVER lol
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