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  #121  
Old 03-23-2013, 11:26 AM
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Looking at extremes, I would think most wouldn't choose to have a reactive, aggressive, etc, dog. I mean, who really SEEKS that trait/behavior out in a dog? It's just something that sometimes just happens and you work through it, and fall in love with that dog anyway, flaws and all.

My life would be made somewhat easier if Jackson was okay with strangers handling him, or loved everyone right off the bat, etc, in the sense that he could be boarded without worry, go to daycare without worry, have a pet-sitter come in the house easier if needed. But the whole thing is, those aren't huge issues for ME because it's not like I go away without him a lot and when I do, I have family to watch him. But the option of boarding him or dropping him off at daycare is something I wouldn't do to him. Not because he's aggressive or reactive, he'd be absolutely terrified. It's something he'd survive, but I just don't like the idea of doing it to him. If I had done these things from the time he was a puppy, I think it'd be different. But his whole life, it's just been me and him and then close family.

But just because he's not 'OMGHAI' to everyone doesn't mean he's not perfectly behaved in public. He's the easiest dog to travel with and is up for anything new. He never is reactive towards dogs or people, and accepts being pet my strangers. But generally could care less about strangers (unless you have food, LOL). He's somewhat distrustful but not to the point of biting or aggressiveness. So it's really not that big of a concern.

But I will say when it comes time to picking a second dog, it would be nice to have one dog who is 'easy'. I'll probably pick a few days a month to let future puppy go to daycare, and that type of environment, so I have the option. Also socializing at the vets will be a big one. Jackson is horribly frightened at the vets, he lets them do their thing and examine him, etc, but he's terrified the whole time. But I do think these are things that I could've done differently as a pup and he wouldn't be the way he is with certain things.

But overall he doesn't have any major behavioral issues. But the little fearfulness that he has is something I wouldn't have chosen, but it's not something that effects our every day life, so it's not a huge issue.
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  #122  
Old 03-23-2013, 09:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Fran101 View Post
This is seriously Merlin 99% of the time

That's Stan, which always feels odd in a Belgian. I've had both ends of the spectrum in the breed, the "No Touch" and the "ZOMG HAI!!!!!"
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  #123  
Old 03-24-2013, 01:16 AM
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I think the thread has taken quite the turn, but I still want to play!

On paper, collies (rough/smooth) sound perfect for me, but the ones I've met lacked a sort of... oomph that I want in a dog. That could also be just the local population, but the ones I see at shows? They just don't do anything for me.

On (the current) topic: Rowan is a huge people slut, and Riff is so NOT that it's really thrown me for a loop. I've kind of taken for granted how easy Rowan is with people, I think. Riff isn't aloof, he's just straight up scared. I could see someone who is not dog-savvy thinking that he's just overly protective (he sees a stranger and immediately lets out a serious of alarmed AROOROOROOOOs while holding his ground) but I think for anyone with at least a little experience, it's obvious that he's just really insecure. He WANTS to be friends with people, but they scare him. As soon as he warms up, he's all over them. I'm working on setting up situations where he meets someone new that has lots of treats for him - he's pretty food motivated. Luckily I have a decent number of friends who haven't met him yet!

I think I'd like an aloof dog, one who is fine with strangers but just doesn't care about them. I don't care for the reactivity, but we'll work through it. It's not too bad; I can't picture him biting or anything, he's just a scaredy cat. He's already getting better.
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  #124  
Old 03-24-2013, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by JacksonsMom View Post
Looking at extremes, I would think most wouldn't choose to have a reactive, aggressive, etc, dog. I mean, who really SEEKS that trait/behavior out in a dog? It's just something that sometimes just happens and you work through it, and fall in love with that dog anyway, flaws and all.
No kidding. Although I have heard some bite sport people who think it's awesome to have anti-social dogs that can't be touched or handled by anyone but them. To each their own I suppose but I'd say the majority of people, regardless of what breeds they love want a sound dog, not a sketchy, over-reactive, likely to bite over minor issues kind of dog.

I took in Roust knowing he had stranger issues because I didn't see any other options for him. I couldn't touch him until an hour or so after I got him home. He's still anti-social and it does suck because it really limits what he can do and he's an otherwise awesome dog. I would not ever get a dog thinking it would be all fine and dandy for them to be like Roust. I'm capable of handling such a dog but he's not my ideal and he's certainly not ideal for the breed. He has improved by leaps and bounds since I brought him home, he is an overall much more confident dog, he can work fine in class settings, he is never reactive acting (he doesn't bark and lunge at people) so most people who see him would never guess that he has the issues that he does. He can not be petted by strangers that he hasn't warmed up to on his own. That doesn't mean he doesn't have a lot of other great traits of the breed though. He loves to work, is super devoted to his family, learns new things quickly, has drive to spare and is always up to try whatever I ask him to try.

As far as his issues go, I don't spend much time dwelling on them. I manage him with strangers and I train him as I would any other dog, focus on the positive and not the negative.
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  #125  
Old 03-24-2013, 10:52 AM
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As a bite sport person I think most I've been around share my interest in preferring a dog that is aloof, ambivalent, and while many are willing to go to the no-touch reactive extreme before an overtly haiiiiii dog they don't seek out out anything less than neutrally aloof. These dogs should be suspicious, they should be thinking guard first, that doesn't exactly preclude any social ability, FWIW no one has met Sloan and not been encouraged to pet her, but I would like to believe my protection sport dogs can work in the real world as well and I not only trust their judgement but encourage their awareness of strangers. This can easily be misconstrued as overtly shy, scared, trained, or just plain wrong, that said for me, my dogs, and my choice of lifestyle with them that careful awareness and lack of further interest without prompting is ideal.

Of course there are people giving this a bad name and, without malice IMO, misunderstanding the difference between a healthy aloofness and a less than ideal temperament.
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  #126  
Old 03-24-2013, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by AdrianneIsabel View Post
As a bite sport person I think most I've been around share my interest in preferring a dog that is aloof, ambivalent, and while many are willing to go to the no-touch reactive extreme before an overtly haiiiiii dog they don't seek out out anything less than neutrally aloof. These dogs should be suspicious, they should be thinking guard first, that doesn't exactly preclude any social ability, FWIW no one has met Sloan and not been encouraged to pet her, but I would like to believe my protection sport dogs can work in the real world as well and I not only trust their judgement but encourage their awareness of strangers. This can easily be misconstrued as overtly shy, scared, trained, or just plain wrong, that said for me, my dogs, and my choice of lifestyle with them that careful awareness and lack of further interest without prompting is ideal.

Of course there are people giving this a bad name and, without malice IMO, misunderstanding the difference between a healthy aloofness and a less than ideal temperament.
I know a bite sport person who returned an extremely nice GSD to his breeder because the dog "wasn't tough enough". What he meant by that was that unlike his other dogs, the dog allowed strangers to pet him and didn't act suspicious and aggressive towards neutral or friendly strangers. This dog was awesome in protection work, his second home was as a k9. His first owner didn't think "tough dogs" should allow anyone but their close family to touch them. Interestingly, I spent a long weekend in a hotel room with one of his dogs that his daughter was trialing in obedience. IMO the dog was unstable, not tough but...sketchy. Honestly, they really had no business trialing her in AKC obedience. The dog bit a vendor at the show just for moving her arm in the wrong way (not even trying to touch her but I guess the dog thought she was going to touch her). Luckily, the vendor had a coat on. I almost got bit by the dog for sitting too close to her, not even really paying much attention to her. But the owners would tell you up and down how great that dog's temperament was and how extremely tough she was. Yeah real tough, seeing a threat in every move a person makes.

When I was going out to the SchH club here, I met another guy who bragged and bragged about how his dogs wouldn't hesitate to bite anyone who tried to touch them other than him. Because they are just that badass.

FWIW Roust is not a badass, he is not tough. He does not have an ideal temperament. His quality of life would be much better if he didn't have to worry that even the most unassuming stranger might...OMG try to touch him. It's stressful for dogs to have to live in a state of constant suspicion when around strangers. And he is far better than the dogs belonging to the people I talked about above. He's not going to just nail someone for moving their arm in the wrong way or walking too close or sitting near him. It makes him uncomfortable for them to do so, but he'll choose to reposition himself. He looks fine to everyone else but I can see the shift in him being totally comfortable to being uncomfortable by the presence of a new stranger too close or talking to me. He can work through it, mostly because he trusts that I will look out for him. Also because he loves to work and his drive and his drive can help him overcome his discomfort. But that doesn't mean it isn't stressful for him to be the way he is. Dogs can be appropriately suspicious without being paranoid, there is a difference.

I do agree that those people really, truly thought their dog's temperaments were correct. They thought a dog being social, able to be touched by strangers was a sign of a weak temperament. They didn't look at their dogs and see the same things I did. They looked at their dogs and they saw tough, badass working dogs. To each their own I suppose.

ETA...I see it with dogs who are fearful too. Dogs of reserved, aloof, guardy breeds who hide behind their owners growling at strangers being called "aloof" and "protective". Either the people don't understand the terms or they are kidding themselves...
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  #127  
Old 03-24-2013, 12:13 PM
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As far as Roust, I'll be interested to see if he's like Backup. Maturity comes slowly on Backups dads side (which was something they were hoping this breeding would take after moms side more) and as a younger dog he was too socially uncomfortable for my liking. I complained about it often and training didn't change what was at his core, it merely was an attempt to mask it. That said around three he just changed. Nothing I did really played a part, except maybe the years of not encouraging it. He's now at a place I like, he's still a bit freaky, a bit too no-touch (loathes his feet touched and sensitive about his stomach), but over all he's just matured beautifully. I'm still careful about who touches him more due to my insecurities about dealing with the younger version of him but despite me he's started to go out of his way to prove me wrong.

It's interesting, no matter the outcome.
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  #128  
Old 03-24-2013, 12:30 PM
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ETA...I see it with dogs who are fearful too. Dogs of reserved, aloof, guardy breeds who hide behind their owners growling at strangers being called "aloof" and "protective". Either the people don't understand the terms or they are kidding themselves...
The dog you described as biting people who moved in the wrong way definitely sounds fearful/reactive more than anything. Interesting that she's not biting hard enough to get through a coat, and her owner's think she's "tough".

All 3 of the Staffords who I took through the ATTS temperament test were scored high on protectiveness. The 2 that were adults when they took it moved between me and the "threatening" stranger and stood up and alert, watching, at the end of their leash. (they started when the person started towards us acting strange, and didn't really vary their posture during the change from "weird" to "suspicious" to "threatening"). Tess was under 2 when she took it, and still not mentally mature, so she reacted more strongly to things. When the "threatening" stranger started rushing us, she lunged at him. (Then she got all goofy happy when he left, playfully biting her leash, and when the head evaluator came to discuss our results, she jumped in his lap and kissed him.)

Interestingly, she had the same score on protectiveness as Tully, who was tested the same day and just did the "stand and watch". They did recognize that Tess wasn't fully mature, so I guess they allowed for that in the reaction.

Point being, that I consider a dog that stands between me and potential danger to be more protective and effective at that than a dog that skulks behind it's owner, no matter how many people that second dog is willing to bite.
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Old 03-24-2013, 09:50 PM
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Originally Posted by AdrianneIsabel View Post
As far as Roust, I'll be interested to see if he's like Backup. Maturity comes slowly on Backups dads side (which was something they were hoping this breeding would take after moms side more) and as a younger dog he was too socially uncomfortable for my liking. I complained about it often and training didn't change what was at his core, it merely was an attempt to mask it. That said around three he just changed. Nothing I did really played a part, except maybe the years of not encouraging it. He's now at a place I like, he's still a bit freaky, a bit too no-touch (loathes his feet touched and sensitive about his stomach), but over all he's just matured beautifully. I'm still careful about who touches him more due to my insecurities about dealing with the younger version of him but despite me he's started to go out of his way to prove me wrong.

It's interesting, no matter the outcome.
I have thought about all of that as well. I have known a lot of...well, weird Belgians who were able to get over it as they grew up. Almost to the point of being different dogs once they matured. And they really aren't socially mature until 3 or 4 years old.

I really think there are issues in Belgians that are like developmental delays. That is the only way I can really explain them. Cherry's brother Kiwi gave me such worry as a baby puppy. He was touch sensitive, freaky certain sounds and just...weird. I worried and worried about what we would do with Kiwi, as I couldn't imagine most people wanting a well bred Belgian wanting a puppy like him. In the midst of my worrying about him, someone contacted his co-breeder and was interested in him. She and I both told her the issues he had and she wasn't turned off in the least. She said she enjoyed dogs who presented training challenges and she had worked her last dog through serious aggression issues. So Kiwiw found a home. Fast forward about 5 years, circumstances forced her to give him up which was very sad. I hadn't seen him since he was a baby and while he sounded like he was a great dog I wondered what he'd be like. I met them about 4 hours from my house to get him, they had driven about 6 hours with him. He got into the crate in my car without complaint or issue. Was great all the way home. At home, he was a big dork. No sign of touch or sound issues, a very normal, happy Belgian boy. I placed him with friends of mine and he's been a great dog for them, trustworthy anywhere and easy. Go figure!

Now I do credit his owner with all the work she put into him as a puppy and adolescent to get there. I think getting such dogs over those issues takes the right sort of approach. I have seen dogs get worse and worse too unfortunately, when they weren't handled properly (although their owners were generally well meaning and honestly trying).

So I do think it's in the realm of possibilities that Roust in another year could be a different dog. And in another 3 years could be pretty normal. I think he had these tendencies and his early life did nothing but bring them out and make them worse. By time I got him, he was 3 months old and the window for trying to positively expose him to things young puppies should be exposed to was quickly closing. He hadn't ever seen strangers at that point expect a man he was afraid of who he had to go live with. Who knows how that guy and his roommates handled him in the couple days he was there. I don't think they purposefully mistreated him, however they were not any kind of dog person and had a puppy who was snarling and trying to bite when touched. It's sort of like, everything that could happen to make the situation worse did and in a very short time.

As of right now, he is vastly more comfortable in social settings then he was as a puppy. I think exposure without forced interaction has done wonders for him. He still gets uncomfortable when strangers move too close to him or me initially, especially if they focus on him but he can work through it much faster now. He really doesn't ever look like a problem to anyone though. Usually he has this happy, dorky look on his face which makes people want to pet him. And he's pretty too, so even when he isn't looking dorky they're like "oooooohhhh I love his color" and want to pet him. I can't tell you how many people who know him from class or who've seen him at the outside shows have said to me "I really want to touch him!" or "let me know when he is ok with people petting him" LOL


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Originally Posted by Flyinsbt View Post
The dog you described as biting people who moved in the wrong way definitely sounds fearful/reactive more than anything. Interesting that she's not biting hard enough to get through a coat, and her owner's think she's "tough".
Yeah I thought that was really odd too. The dog they returned to the breeder was an awesome GSD. Seriously, I met him after she got him back and I wanted to bring him home with me. They did SchH with their dogs but...I dunno. People have weird ideas sometimes.

That's interesting about your girls with the ATTS test.
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