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Since we have been discussing weak and real dogs I would like to know what everyone considers a weak dog?
 

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Dogs that are fear biters are the weakest, then dogs that are scared of a lot of stupid different things and can't recover. A buddy of mine has a lab who is afraid of everything (i mean everything) except people. He brought the dog to a town parade and almost had to bring the dog to the vet cause it acted like it was haveing a seizure due to the drums. My youngest male would be considered weak by a lot of working dog people, but he's not scared of anything and has tons of personality, but isn't cut out for flashy ob or bitework. People look at him and smile cause he's goofy and always carries a ball in his mouth, i wouldn't part with him for anything. So i guess a lot of it is perspective, except fear biters.
 

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Speaking from years with dogs and dog training (although not protection work), I would agree with Al: fear biters are at the bottom of my wish-list.

Unfortunate for the owner, and probably more unfortunate for the dog. :(
 

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A dog that will not pay attention easily.
An uninterested dog.
A dog that distracts easily.
A dog that doesn't associate quickly.
A dog with very high or very low thresholds.
A lazy dog.
A dog with an overly angled structure.
Other genetic problems.

In summary...an unbalanced dog.

...I'm sure there are more...
 

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I'm not good at wording things just right, but I would think a weak dog is a dog who is not comfortable to follow it's handler/team-mate into various environments, obstacles, etc. (after being given ample opportunity to adjust to the situations - and after the handler has done what they can to give the dog the confidence they need to follow) That would be my number one problem.
Fear biters are also a weakness/problem, depending on it being from genetics not environmental.

A herding dog may be weak for instance if it is too nervous to do the work, and a PP dog may be weak if it is too nervous to withstand a threat.

Even a golden retriever that cowers in the woods on a hike would be in my mind a weak dog. Especially because the Goldens are normally so bouncy and fun loving in any environment.
I base most of my opinions on how the dog performs in the country, woods, and meeting people, animals and strange dogs, strange obstacles, etc. Also how the dog is willing to go along the street beside traffic, strollers. Building doors, mopeds, bicycles, all of it.
I would also find a dog weak if they continually showed fear in thunder storms, hearing gunfire, running from smoke, avoiding water and mud.

Another way I decide if a dog is weak is if I hide in the trail and it takes off blindly in frantic running instead of using it's brain to scent me out calmly and showing drive to do it.

But I don't decide on it being a weakness in the above examples if the dog has never had the chance to become a trusting partner yet.
 

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Weak is too general a term overall.

Weak nerves would be an obvious one.

I have seen high threshold dogs that people described as too weak to do the work.

Most of what I refer to when mentioning a weak dog is nerve related, which of course by definition incorrect, as what I am describing has nothing to do with nerves, but thresholds. Weird huh?

When you describe a dog using thresholds instead of nerve, it is so much easier to understand...........providing you know the definition of threshold.



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Jeff, I always thought that a high threshold in a dog was preferable. I thought that because if the dog took a lot of pain to react in fear, that would be good, he would not give up as easily. Or if the dog took a lot of pressure while searching he would not give up as quickly as a dog with a lower threshold. So I am confused when someone says that a high threshold is not good.
 

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So Jeff, are you referring to a low threshold being good, say in regard to reacting quickly to become offensive or defensive to an attack. If that is what I think you mean then I agree for that scenario. I always termed that low threshold as a "Sharp dog" for PP or quick reaction to a threat to the handler.
But I like a high threshold for search work and not being scared off by an attacker. I know it sounds contradictory the way I am thinking. But can't a smart dog figure out the difference of which threshold to use and be able to have a general high threshold by nature but be able to know the difference when fast reaction is required.
 

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Quote: But I like a high threshold for search work and not being scared off by an attacker. I know it sounds contradictory the way I am thinking. But can't a smart dog figure out the difference of which threshold to use and be able to have a general high threshold by nature but be able to know the difference when fast reaction is required.

A high threshold in what? Thresholds are not "used" by dogs. Dogs do not stop and think, they react to stimulous. How they react is defined by the thresholds they have most aspects.

A good example of a high threshold is my GSD Jinxie. She has really high prey drive, yet due to her high threshold, it is not really obvious if you have not played with her. The longer you play with her, the more in drive she becomes. She will play ball way beyond exhaustion, and you have to be careful with that.

An attacker as you seem to describe, would more than likely ilicit a startle response, and therefore defense. If there was a high threshold, the dog would not likely engage this attacker.



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I see what you mean, I guess I am using Threshold and Tolerance as one in the same meaning kind of, when it comes to quick reaction or startle response. I know that usually the word Tolerance is in relation to a dog not reacting to strangers or stimulis bothering it. But I use them interactivley.

But I use High Threshold alone in reference to the dog's inclination to tolerate harsh situations for a long time.
 

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Jeff Oehlsen said:
I have seen high threshold dogs that people described as too weak to do the work.
You just contradicted yourself, you said my explanation of a high threshold being equal to a dog who is also highly tolerant of pain, threat, etc. was wrong. You said that a dog tolerates this because (What the F. else can he do) You referred to it as abusing a dog.

Then why have you seen dogs too weak to do the work in peoples opinions???? When they show a high threshold. What work are you refferring to???? This thread is about Weak dogs. A good search dog can be weak or strong. If you have never worked a search dog, then you of course do not understand that a high threshold for extreme conditions is required.

A high threshold for flight response in a fight is preferrable too.

A low threshold for quick reactive bitework in a sport is what the game is all about, but does not make the dog a stronger dog, just a different threshold to the stimulus.

Where the heck does anything about abuse and the dog having to put up with it come in.

If people would get confused by my explanation, then maybe I just see things simpler and less complex - like a good dog would.
Imagine the weak dog - holly crap, he would have a nervous breakdown just trying to figure out what terminoloy to use to suit each and every thousand and one ways of saying the same thing. I say it my way - simple, some say it in terms of a word for every display the dog makes.

1. Threshold = the length of time the dog takes to react to a stimulus
2. High Threshold = equals stronger REAL working Dog
3. Low Threshold = Reactive Quickly to Prey, Chase, Fear Bite, Flight or Fight
4. High Drive = Any drive the dog has for his given breed's character history, being very tenacious.
5. Low Drive = Any drive the dog has for his given breed's character history, being WEAK and sometimes refferred to as LAZY, Lacking of interest, etc.

Your dog you described as having a high threshold and not showing interest in playing with a ball for a long time, but then gradually building his interest and keeping it is just describing a dog with a lower PLAY drive.

Dogs have Prey = Chase, Catch, Kill
Dogs have Play = Wants to run around and have fun with handler, usually easy to train in obedience
Dogs have Fight or Flight.

That is all dogs have. and any way they have it, they DO use their brains to decide on which times they will use it stronger than other times.

Since you became your usual RUDE self again, I have decided to use my Prey Drive for a moment. F. the play drive, your no fun, maybe that's why your dog shows little interest at first.
 

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And another thing Jeff - if you want to get MORE technical.
A dog can have the uncanny abiltiy to have a high threshold for pain and flight response. And the same dog can have a low threshold for PREY.
Or am I going to confuse everyone with this :evil:

Simply put: A brave dog who is not going to let his prey get away, because genetics told him to get it, hold it and EAT IT.
 

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It is evident that often times when trainers and handlers discuss training, terminology is the stumbling block. It's the reason the Scientific Work Dog Group, funded by a host of federal agencies and being conducted by Florida International University is working on standardizing terminology for working dogs. I believe their interests are more focused on working dogs ie, police, SAR etc. Their definitions will be based on science and "industry standard" for those areas science applicable. Personally, I see differences in terminology and how it's used between sport and, for example, law enforcement canine. Admittedly, I'm not all that knowledgable about sport. I do, however, have an extensive background in law enforcement canine. I guess that's why I get confused about prey (to me it's a good thing) and particularly about decoys/ helpers. I'm also confused, on occasion about many other terms used to express behavior. I guess it's why I'm more objective rather than descriptive based. Take decoys/helpers for example. We often hear of the importance of good decoys. I can certainly understand that when initially training a dog. I also hear of how helpers can make a dog look bad during trials. That part I don't understand. If a do is ready for competition, one would assume he's trained. With a law enforcement dog, if he's trained, he's ready for the street. We don't encounter trained decoys on the street. Yes, they do inflict pain, they fight the dogs and the dog will act as trained. I do understand sport. Actually, I enjoy watching it. There are certainly some areas in sport where law enforcement trainers could learn a few things. There is a difference though.

I'll watch this thread because in spite of the cheap shots and occasional childish behavior, there are some learning opportunities. Play nice.

DFrost
 

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liz, i think the semantics discussion you and jeff are having is just that. semantics. when i have seen "thresholds" talked about in internet dog forums, it has related to what jeff is talking about. what it takes to "turn the dog on". i've heard it discussed for prey and also defense (some dogs require aggressive posture and movement, maybe some yelling = high threshold, some dogs maybe just eye contact to get them in defense = low threshold).

to say the dog jeff describes as having a "low play drive". is exactly why people talk about thresholds. jeff is saying that once this dog is "turned on", it will play as ferociously as any dog. in other words, if you didn't see the beginning of the session to see what it took to "turn the dog on", you'd never even think for a second that it had low play drive.

so when jeff says that you using the term "threshold" to talk about pain tolerance might confuse some people, he's not saying your use of the word threshold is gramtically incorrect, just that the word isn't commonly used that way...
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
David Frost said:
It is evident that often times when trainers and handlers discuss training, terminology is the stumbling block. It's the reason the Scientific Work Dog Group, funded by a host of federal agencies and being conducted by Florida International University is working on standardizing terminology for working dogs. I believe their interests are more focused on working dogs ie, police, SAR etc. Their definitions will be based on science and "industry standard" for those areas science applicable. Personally, I see differences in terminology and how it's used between sport and, for example, law enforcement canine. Admittedly, I'm not all that knowledgable about sport. I do, however, have an extensive background in law enforcement canine. I guess that's why I get confused about prey (to me it's a good thing) and particularly about decoys/ helpers. I'm also confused, on occasion about many other terms used to express behavior. I guess it's why I'm more objective rather than descriptive based. Take decoys/helpers for example. We often hear of the importance of good decoys. I can certainly understand that when initially training a dog. I also hear of how helpers can make a dog look bad during trials. That part I don't understand. If a do is ready for competition, one would assume he's trained. With a law enforcement dog, if he's trained, he's ready for the street. We don't encounter trained decoys on the street. Yes, they do inflict pain, they fight the dogs and the dog will act as trained. I do understand sport. Actually, I enjoy watching it. There are certainly some areas in sport where law enforcement trainers could learn a few things. There is a difference though.

I'll watch this thread because in spite of the cheap shots and occasional childish behavior, there are some learning opportunities. Play nice.

DFrost
This is one reason I started this thread.I have seen this "weak" term used over and over but everyone is just spinning their wheels.The type of dog I like would be viewed by many as weak because I like a more defensive and suspicious dog so I guess I like a dog with lower thresholds all around but not too low.
I like to use terms such as "aggressive" and "serious" rather than "prey monster" although some may look at them the same way.
Also,it makes me squirm when people start talking about "weak nerves".I dont understand how you say a dog has truly weak nerves until you work the dog for yourself.The work will show the strengths and weaknesses of the dog.Talking about it till you are blue in the face will prove nothing.
Along the same lines most civilians never test a dog's nerves correctly.You have to put them under stress,alot of stress.If they fold then they fold.The good dogs wont shut down.Sport training is only a weak test for weak dogs.it never tests the dogs nerves like they should be tested before breeding.The courage test no more tests a dog's nerves than a ping pong tournament tests a person's nerves.It is only a small part of the dog's temperment that you see.While it might reveal something you should investigate further,it is rediculous to judge a dog's breed worthiness in this manner.
People are sissies these days.They are afraid of image and political correctness.This goes against common sense most of the time.Schut used to be a good test.

Also let me say that I have the utmost respect for the dedication you guys put into your sports.It is a very difficult thing to do and you deserve respect for that.BUT you MUST realize that sport and sport titles are not the only reason to breed for working progeny.Points are for people and titles are just BLING BLING. :p

It seems I got off on a bit of a tangent.... :D
 
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There are many dogs that have low thresholds that can't by anyones standards considered to be weak, as far as physical threats go.

If you are talking about environmental stability well that's different.

I don't like dogs that have to be hit on the head before they will go civil on anyone, it's usually too late then.
 

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<<<<I don't like dogs that have to be hit on the head before they will go civil on anyone, it's usually too late then.>>>

Speaking strictly from the police world, there are two times it is ok for a dog to bite;

1. When he's commanded

2. When the handler is attacked.

Other than that, control is lacking.

DFrost
 

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David Frost said:
<<<<I don't like dogs that have to be hit on the head before they will go civil on anyone, it's usually too late then.>>>

Speaking strictly from the police world, there are two times it is ok for a dog to bite;

1. When he's commanded

2. When the handler is attacked.

Other than that, control is lacking.

DFrost
IMO this should be first and foremost in the civilian world of working dogs as well.Not having total control is having no control at all. :wink: Unless you are trying to get a couple extra points.. :p
 
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