Working Dog Forums banner

1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
398 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
As you all know, I own a show dog. I'm pretty up front about that with people, and for it I receive a lot of flak. I'm prepared for that. But today I was told that my dog is also weak nerved, which is not something I have ever considered him to be. I think of him as very stable. He is not bothered by loud noises, car rides, crowds of people. The only thing that really bugs him so far are squirrels (he wants badly to eat them) and the banging sound the dishwasher makes (that's just unnatural, but he deals with it...just sort of looks at it when it bangs and either sniffs the dishwasher or walks off). It's been our experience that if something does startle him, he recovers pretty quickly, and nothing has ever made him tuck tail and run.

So I thought I'd pose the scenario to all of you in an effort to discuss just what constitutes weak nerves in a dog, and if those traits make the dog untrainable, or unworthy of work, or whatever.

So you also proably know that we're military and have just come from Germany. We made a huge move, very stressful on everyone involved. Our things were packed up Jan 4th, so Achilles spent two full days crated with people boxing up, taping, moving, being loud. Then more people came the next day to move temporary furniture in. Other than having a bad day at training theh following Saturday (new helper and he bit, but was coming off the sleeve before told), no effects. He had to stay with my mother for 4 days a couple of weeks later while we were on a trip. Right after that we had to leave the house and move into a hotel. He stayed with friends for those 5 days. We put him on a plane after picking him up from them (Feb 12th). 10 hour plane ride. We stayed with my dad one night, then my in-laws' for a month (where he was crated 80% of the time b/c thehy didnt' like him). Left there March 14th. Then he had to be boarded for 10 days at a kennel (so now it's March 25th), where they let him out in the run wtih other dogs after being told not to. We brought him to our brand new, empty house and he was suddenly dog aggressive and defensive (he would bark/growl/hackle at both dogs and people passing the house, and wouldn't let another dog get within 10 feet of him).

He is calmed down now with the help of training and no longer reacts to other dogs/people passing my our house with the bark/hackle/growl. He does bark at other dogs still, and we had a very hard time introducing Andi to our house. He tried to dominate her and it took him a week and a half to accept her.

Does this constitute weak nerves brought to the surface by the stress of hte move, or would any dog in this situation (huge amounts of change in a relatively small period of time) show some effect? What effect will this have on his training (should we even continue it)? What are your experiences?

And no, I'm not looking for "your dog is perfect" responses, or validation, or "how could someone say that?". I'm looking for honest opinions from those who have and are currently working dogs. I shoudl probably mention he's a SchH dog...that might make a difference.

I guess, bottom line, what do you all consider to be a weak dog?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
21,869 Posts
What were the circumstances this comment was made?
Although Achilles may not fit the description of someone elses idea of strong nerve, if your happy with him, happy with his training level, so be it! :wink:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
398 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Bob Scott said:
What were the circumstances this comment was made?
Although Achilles may not fit the description of someone elses idea of strong nerve, if your happy with him, happy with his training level, so be it! :wink:
Sorry, Bob...I must have left that out.

I was discussing the possibility of joining a SchH club with the club's Training Director and he asked about the dog in general, and if we were having any issues with him. I told him about the dog aggression and defensiveness of the house since our move; I was told that the stress of the move is simply bringing to light the dog's weak nerves.

It just got me thinking about what "weak" really means, and if being "weak" makes training a dog a waste of time (I've heard that, too). I just thought it might make a good discussion, and I might get more insight into my own dog's temperment through it.

Thanks, Bob. We're happy with him -- he's meeting our goals (which are just to have fun iwth our dog and learn about SchH. We never intended to be top competitors). It's just been our experience in this area that we're written off before anyone even sees the dog due to his pedigree, and when they learn we aren't "serious" about competition, no one seems too interested in helping us.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,011 Posts
I agree with Bob. I have a showline dog that everybody loves and he'd be considered weak nerved by working dog standards because he doesn't have the temperament to bite or fight, but he's a calm and very stable dog, for instance, i brought him to the St. Patrick's day parade in the city and he was ho-hum, no problems, he was happy to be there, and let me tell ya, there was loud and crazy stuff going on, tons of drunk people etc., so does it make him weak nerved? i don't think so, but some people would because he doesn't bite. He'll play hard with a sleeve in play mode but wouldn't bite for real in a million years, who cares, that's what attack muppets are for... :twisted: :twisted:
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
21,869 Posts
having weak nerves can be a big detriment to training. However, the level of the "weak nerves" can cover a lot of ground. We all want that rock solid, fear no one kinda dog. IMHO there are very few out there. What's more important for someone at your level, is that the dog can work through the problems.
Recovery time is what your looking for if the dog does have some issues. Unfortunately, finding someone that is willing to spend the time is the biggest problem.
Not everyone at our club will make the competition level dog but dedication to training is all we ask.
Our TD has commented that he'd rather work with a three legged dog and a dedicated owner then potential top level dogs with owners that don't put their hearts into training.
We have two show line dogs at our club. One will never get beyond a BH. The other has the postential to go as far as it's owner can take it.
Both are dedicated handlers. Both will get all the help we can offer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
398 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Al Curbow said:
I agree with Bob. I have a showline dog that everybody loves and he'd be considered weak nerved by working dog standards because he doesn't have the temperament to bite or fight, but he's a calm and very stable dog, for instance, i brought him to the St. Patrick's day parade in the city and he was ho-hum, no problems, he was happy to be there, and let me tell ya, there was loud and crazy stuff going on, tons of drunk people etc., so does it make him weak nerved? i don't think so, but some people would because he doesn't bite. He'll play hard with a sleeve in play mode but wouldn't bite for real in a million years, who cares, that's what attack muppets are for... :twisted: :twisted:
LOL @ the "attack muppets."

Achilles does bite, and rather well actually. He's just upped his defensive tendencies (I guess that's what you'd call it?). He has become leery of other dogs and of people/dogs in our yard. I've been told that he reacts that way out of fear, but I honestly don't know enough about teh subject to either confirm or deny that assertion. I can tell you that when we're out walking around the neighborhood he doesn't so much as look at a person or another dog, let alone bark/hackle/growl. I don't know what that says about the situation. But if a dog were to come near him or he sees something in our yard, he gets upset.


Do nerves have more to do with protection, or with everyday situations? Which says more about a dog? Should age be factored into it (i.e. a puppy reacting this way is more acceptable than a dog over the age of 2, or some other age?)?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,588 Posts
hard to say stacia. one thing is for certain. i would NEVER label a dog weak nerved without seeing it. that is pretty irresponsible....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
398 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Jerry Lyda said:
Train the dog, I bet he'll suprise a lot of those folks.
LOL...yes, I think you're right. Someone once told me that is it NEVER a waste of time to train a dog. He might not be the best one out there, but the bond and insight you gain from training is invaluable to the relationship with the dog.

I've just been told more than once that defense = fear = nerve problems. Is that true? Or can a dog be defensive for other reasons?

BTW, my Abbie is a true fear biter. She was attacked many times while tied up in someone's backyard before I rescued her and as a result she is truly dog and leash aggressive (hence going after Andi and getting her a$$ kicked). She reacts out of fear, and it's apparent. I don't know that i see the same thing in Achilles when he's barking and such, and since he's been attacked just once by another dog (the Boston Terrier at 5 months old) and this didn't develop until around 12 months, I don't see what reason he has for it, either.

Maybe it's just me, but I always get the feeling these trainers are writing the dog off based on his pedigree (none of them, BTW, have ever seen the dog on the field, and only one has actually ever even SEEN the dog). Do I admit Achilles has shortcoming? Sure! He's certainly no k-9, or even a PPD. But he and my husband had fun with SchH in Germany...and we aren't finding it fun here in the US so far :( .

Anyway...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
398 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Tim Martens said:
hard to say stacia. one thing is for certain. i would NEVER label a dog weak nerved without seeing it. that is pretty irresponsible....
Was going to edit this in and board won't let me :(.

If you were to see a dog, what would make you think it had weak nerves? How would you evaluate that? What behaviors would it display?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,588 Posts
Stacia Porter said:
I've just been told more than once that defense = fear = nerve problems. Is that true? Or can a dog be defensive for other reasons?
let me start off by saying that i'm probably not the best qualified person to answer this (in police work i don't see too many weak nerved dogs. they usually don't make it that far). i'll give it my best shot...

i don't think that equasion you gave is ALWAYS true. a dog goes into defense when it feels threatened. the question then becomes what makes your dog feel threatened? does it happen all the time or is it only a certain stimulai or two that elicit this response? if you have a dog that is always going into defense, then i think it would be safe to say the dog has nerve issues.

if there are only a few quirky stimulai that puts your dog into defense, then those could be worked around for sport work without a doubt. if the trainer is saying the dog is weak nerved because it barks and growls at other dogs, then there are many, many VERY good PSD's that i know of that could be labeled "weak nerved" in the same way. dog aggression does not mean weak nerved.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
398 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Tim Martens said:
let me start off by saying that i'm probably not the best qualified person to answer this (in police work i don't see too many weak nerved dogs. they usually don't make it that far). i'll give it my best shot...

i don't think that equasion you gave is ALWAYS true. a dog goes into defense when it feels threatened. the question then becomes what makes your dog feel threatened? does it happen all the time or is it only a certain stimulai or two that elicit this response? if you have a dog that is always going into defense, then i think it would be safe to say the dog has nerve issues.

if there are only a few quirky stimulai that puts your dog into defense, then those could be worked around for sport work without a doubt. if the trainer is saying the dog is weak nerved because it barks and growls at other dogs, then there are many, many VERY good PSD's that i know of that could be labeled "weak nerved" in the same way. dog aggression does not mean weak nerved.
In this case, the dog only has this response when a strange dog gets too close to him (or to me or my husband) or a dog or person is IN our yard. He's fine if they're on the street, or across the street, but not in the yard. He also hackles/growls/barks at the dog next door if she's on teh side of her house, which is only about 20 feet from the side of ours. To him, I guess, that's too close. He gets pretty ticked if left alone in the car and someone approaches it, too. But if I had him out on leash walking around and you wanted to approach us in a non-threatening manner and asked to pet him, that wouldn't upset him in the least. If I let someone into the house, he's fine (ask poor Kristen, who got jumped up on LOL).

He does bark at other dogs on the training field, but this is an initial response and he quiets down and gets to training. That's more of a prey bark, though (high pitched, whiny bark as opposed the deep, growly one I consider defense). I've never seen him hackle and bark at another dog on the training field except for Kristen's dog.

He also gets pretty ticked if you try to clip his toenails. Anyone can do anything to him they want except try to clip the toenails -- then he bucks and even tries to nip hands to get them off his feet. We have to muzzle him.

This person isn't our trainer, yet. I've been calling around to find prospective clubs and training situations and his reponse is pretty much what i've been met with: I'd rather train k-9's and PPD's, but I'll work with what you've got, you'll just have to realize that he'll never be a top competition dog.

No, I wouldn't think you see too many weak nerved police dogs :wink:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
398 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
OH, and it's not the dog aggression that he took issue with as much as the defensive reactions to people/dogs in the yard, though he did say teh dog will have to learn not to bark incessantly on the field (this is something we've never been able to get past with him....he's very vocal and is a BIG barker).

He is improved, though. When we used to go on neighborhood walks in Germany if a person tried to approach me during teh walk he would bark immediately and have to be taken in a dfferent direction and as we passed the "threat," he'd turn around and continue to bark! So being able to walk around with him and hear silence is a huge improvement.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,452 Posts
I've never seen him hackle and bark at another dog on the training field except for Kristen's dog.
You probably should have mentioned that this was in response to Jak jumping on Achilles' back, and barking BACK at him. :roll:
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
21,869 Posts
Do nerves have more to do with protection, or with everyday situations?

Everyday situations!
Avoidance would probably be a better description then aggression. The flight is much stronger then fight with these dogs.
Agression, IMHO, is more a result of sharpness. Weak nerved dogs are often sharp but a sharp dog isn't necessarilly a weak nerved dog.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
11,728 Posts
Quote:Although Achilles may not fit the description of someone elses idea of strong nerve, if your happy with him, happy with his training level, so be it!

PC crap, shame on you Bob.

It all works out in the wash. You should train the dog, and you will find out HOW weak nerved he is. This is really the best way to go about this, as it is really hard to type an answer that will translate correctly.

As far as Sch goes, over-rated piece of crap sport that it is, WHO CARES what the morons say. Like they could train a dog anyway. Go to a club and train the dog. If they are snotty, screw 'em, go to another club.

As far as weak nerves are concerned, there are plenty of dogs out there that have them. If you can get this dog pretty far in sport, then if you get a solid dog, achieving what you want will be a breeze. :roll: :lol: I know quite a few people that got a really good dog right away, and were never satisfied after that.



100% free webcam site! | Awesome chicks and it is absolutely free! | Watch free live sex cam - easy as 1-2-3
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
21,869 Posts
Jeff Oehlsen said:
Quote:Although Achilles may not fit the description of someone elses idea of strong nerve, if your happy with him, happy with his training level, so be it!

PC crap, shame on you Bob.

It all works out in the wash. You should train the dog, and you will find out HOW weak nerved he is. This is really the best way to go about this, as it is really hard to type an answer that will translate correctly.

As far as Sch goes, over-rated piece of crap sport that it is, WHO CARES what the morons say. Like they could train a dog anyway. Go to a club and train the dog. If they are snotty, screw 'em, go to another club.

As far as weak nerves are concerned, there are plenty of dogs out there that have them. If you can get this dog pretty far in sport, then if you get a solid dog, achieving what you want will be a breeze. :roll: :lol: I know quite a few people that got a really good dog right away, and were never satisfied after that.
No PC here Jeff. We'd all love to have that great dog. Some will get rid of anything that doesn't fit their needs. I have no problems with that, but I doubt Stacia fits that description. My comment was basically go for the top of what is possible for the dog and be happy with that.
Of course train the dog, but her issue is finding someone that will help her with it.
Training this dog wil go a long way to Stacia's abilities towards the next dog.

I'll try harder next time Jeff. :lol: :lol: :wink:
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top