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Dog Behavior is Environmental

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 1 1

A couple weeks ago I ran into a acquaintance of mine who also breeds versatile hunting dogs. I asked how things were going and he stated that they were going well, with the exception that he was just served with papers and was being sued by someone who bought a dog from him. I immediately thought, wow the dog must have been sick or had some genetic disorder that they were not covering. When I inquired further he explained that the lawsuit was brought to him because the owner of the dog stated that the dog would not hunt, and that because it would not hunt, the bloodlines must have been falsified.

This highlights a issue as a breeder of Wirehaired Pointing Griffons that I get asked all the time. Will our puppy do this, will it honor a point, will it listen and on and on... I want to make sure this point is perfectly clear, behavior is not something a breeder or even trainer can guarantee. Why??? Because behavior in any creature, human or dog, is driven by the environment they live in. Good bloodlines help to assure that you have a good start and that the animal will typically be free of genetic disorders, but to expect a dog to behave the same from one environment to another is just plain loony. It gets worse...

He explained to me that the owner said he had brought the dog to 4 trainers and it still would not hunt for him. I inquired the age of the dog and was shocked when he said it was 7 months old. I told him that more than likely he was dealing with a person that was putting entirely too much pressure on a very young dog. This is like saying I bought a yearling horse that came from a champion stallion, but at one year he won't ride, I want my money back... It just does not make any sense.

Training a dog is work but should not be an un-enjoyable act for the dog, some breeds are softer than others, you need to know basic information about a breed before you go in guns blazing (no pun intended) and train a dog. Environment is everything, I can fix or ruin a dog in a hurry if it is put in the right or wrong environment. At the end of the day, I gave him some of these pointers to bring up and wished him the best of luck. In a case like this, it is truly a shame, because the real loser is the dog. What would probably be a great hunting dog and companion will probably be ruined by a over bearing and demanding owner that has no understanding of dog behavior or training.



Dec 13, 2009 1:22pm
My wife is a vet technician and I hear stories like this all the time. Google article. I hope the lawsuit gets dropped.
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