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I have been involved in a discussion where trainers are blaming neoteny, and poor breeding as the reason for few breeds producing really outstanding specimens for bitework. I am wondering what the opinions are here? Personally, it think it is because canines, all canines, are not wired to work large or superior animals, such as humans, alone. They are hardwired to hunt in packs when pursuing larger game. Canines were never intended to face down superior animals alone.....mice and squirrels yes....man, no. Many of the fatal dog attacks where adults are killed is when the attack is by multiple dogs. Same with packed dogs running cattle and livestock. This leads me to believe the pack mentality is alive and well in most domestcated dogs. The dogs that do excell have come to the conclusion that humans are not that tough, because, yes, normally they do run. In short, superior dogs for serious manwork are rare, comparatively, because it is just the nature of the beast.
 

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I'm not following. Man is not a physically superior beast. I think if this was an issue, the military & police departments would have abandonded the use of dogs for this purpose long ago.
 

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I'm not following. Man is not a physically superior beast. I think if this was an issue, the military & police departments would have abandonded the use of dogs for this purpose long ago.
from a purely size standpoint, yes, man IS physically superior. usually, a man outweighs a dog at least 2:1. from a dog's perspective, how do they show dominance over other dogs? by standing over them. those posture type displays of dominance do not work on 5 foot and taller bipeds. don's point remains valid in that when taking down a larger prey, dogs typically do it in packs.

to answer don's question....it is an interesting one. i think domestication certainly has played a role. dogs are pretty much dependent on humans at this point. especially in urban environments, turning a dog loose on the streets would most likely render that dog dead very quickly. it is curious that through years of selective breeding, that there aren't more dogs equipped for this unnatural task of fighting humans. it seems like such a simple task for a dog to be able to bite a human on command. as we all know, it is not so simple. selection, training, genetics. these things all play roles. if one of those things is lacking, failures will occur.

i guess i would answer that since there is a much greater "need' for dogs as companions rather than protectors, that is why you see so few great protection dogs. if every family that wanted a dog in the world, wanted it to be able to EFFECTIVELY protect them, i would guess that the number of great protection dogs would greatly increase.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm not following. Man is not a physically superior beast. I think if this was an issue, the military & police departments would have abandonded the use of dogs for this purpose long ago.
Interesting perspective Susan. I suspect that if you were right, we may have all been eaten by now. I suspect we are superior to most all the animals. I would like to think I was. Now, had I said woman..........oh..... never mind. LOL
 

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i guess i would answer that since there is a much greater "need' for dogs as companions rather than protectors, that is why you see so few great protection dogs. if every family that wanted a dog in the world, wanted it to be able to EFFECTIVELY protect them, i would guess that the number of great protection dogs would greatly increase.
And the majority of people blindly believe that their dog will protect them, no matter what, when this usually isn't the case. You can argue until you're blue in the face, but no one will ever be convinced until it happens. I've seen local businesses with 'guard dogs' that have let people rob them blind, and they still keep the dog. Also, a dog that might bark very convincingly at a fence and chase you as you run away will often back off if you come running in at it.

However, 99% of criminals aren't dog trainers. They don't know how to read a dog and determine whether it truly is a threat. To these people, a large dog, no matter how it acts, is intimidating. Most PP dogs serve their purpose solely by acting as a visual deterrent. Your garden variety robber isn't going to pick the house with three shepherds in the yard as his next target.

Growing up, we had showline dobermans. They wouldn't have bitten a fly. There was a rash of robberies in our neighborhood, and my parents' house was one of two houses (out of ten) that wasn't robbed. The other house also owned a large dog.

My male dobe is cropped and docked, and he looks scary, but he's very social and not very defensive. My female is all natural, and she IS scary, but people always try to walk up and pet her. I've learned more about people's perception of dogs from watching the way they behave around my two than ever before.
 

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I have been involved in a discussion where trainers are blaming neoteny, and poor breeding as the reason for few breeds producing really outstanding specimens for bitework. I am wondering what the opinions are here? Personally, it think it is because canines, all canines, are not wired to work large or superior animals, such as humans, alone. They are hardwired to hunt in packs when pursuing larger game. Canines were never intended to face down superior animals alone.....mice and squirrels yes....man, no. Many of the fatal dog attacks where adults are killed is when the attack is by multiple dogs. Same with packed dogs running cattle and livestock. This leads me to believe the pack mentality is alive and well in most domestcated dogs. The dogs that do excell have come to the conclusion that humans are not that tough, because, yes, normally they do run. In short, superior dogs for serious manwork are rare, comparatively, because it is just the nature of the beast.
Speaking as a biologist, I would have to say this sounds plausible. In the evolutionary sense, man is an extremely successful (and therefore dangerous) hunter and a lone canine would have been an easy target in prehistoric times. This is why canines hunt large animals in packs; the more individuals participate in the hunt, the lower the risk of injury or death (you don't want to get kicked by a deer any more than you want to get speared by a human) and the higher the succes rate. The fact that canines associated themselves with man is seen by biologists as one of the smartest moves in dogs' evolution and the primary reason canines are such a successful species. But the man-dog association is too short to have completely eradicated pre-existing survival mechanisms such as pack mentality. On an evolutionary scale, it takes a lot more time for such changes to occur.

Dogs that excel at manwork may not necessarily have 'decided' that man is not such a big threat, but instead come to excel through prolonged selective breeding and consistent training. I also believe (and have witnessed this myself) that the dogs that perform best are also the dogs that have an exceptionally good relationship with their handler. In other words, the dog is a member of a strong (handler-dog) pack and gains confidence from that.
 

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Interesting responses, and a pretty good question.

Standards for breeding here are pretty low.

We live in a society that judges will actually hear a case against McDonalds that their food causes people to be fat, and that they should have healthy alternatives. This is a business that is pretty much sucessful across the country, and fat people want $$$$ cause they cannot quit stuffing their loser mouths full of food.

How many millions did granny the idiot get for spilling coffee???? Now their coffee is not so good. Seriously, if that was a small business, they would have been done in with that retarded law suit.

So if we actually bred dogs that could and would do the job, then take that times the number of idiot owners, squared against the liberal bullsh%t judges, how long before we have no more breeders period????

There are a lot of people that think that dogs have all kinds of human emotion, and go out on dates and eat spaghetti and kiss.

So how in the name of all that is Holy, can the few breeders out there acomplish the impossible, which would be to start producing stronger dogs??????

The few breeders out there with just decent dogs have the litters sold before they are even born. They have a lot of people in alternative sports interested in the culls, so they can sell those as well. Lot less BS with alternative sports, as they expect a lot less from the dog, yet pay the same price.

In the end, as with everything, paying your bills comes before ethics in breeding. I can't argue with that. (at least not on the internet : ) )


As a disclaimer, I am not poking at any one breeder, just the system in which we have to work with. Weak people, weak ideology, and consequently (overall) weak dogs.



 

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it is because canines, all canines, are not wired to work large or superior animals, such as humans, alone. They are hardwired to hunt in packs when pursuing larger game. Canines were never intended to face down superior animals alone.....In short, superior dogs for serious manwork are rare, comparatively, because it is just the nature of the beast.

Just look out for ones that figure out through trial and error that the "superior beasts" have an acute aversion to a few hundred pounds of focused psi put on an appendage. Breed those. Problem solved.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
If dogs are at their best working and hunting in multiples, the survival instinct may have a lot to do with how they handle a bad situation. What bearing might the fact that, while much of the fight is controlled by a pack mentality in many domestic dogs, we have also eliminated much of the "survival instincts" in many domestic dogs. It is not so much a breed thing as it is more noticeable in specific dogs with in a breed. Are the two connected? Do good protection dogs lack more survival....which leads to less need for the pack defense? Or....is it just about prey which is discussed a lot?
 

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Look at how many breeds we have altered the "natural state" in, to suit a specific task. Herding breeds whose desire to kill their prey has been tweaked so they have a really strong desire to control the prey, and go through the motions of hunting, without the final take down. Hunting breeds who do the same, go through the initial stages of the hunt (finding, stalking, etc) but don't take the prey down, but instead retrieve it once it's been killed. Bulldogs who have been bred to love the fight so much they will die doing it, before quitting and getting out of there. Wether they are fighting another dog, a feral pig, etc. Terriers who will do the same, die fighting a much larger adversary instead of giving up.

Considering everything else we've bred dogs to do, I don't think it's that unique that we have also bred dogs who are willing to take on a human, one on one.

Course there are herding dogs that will take down and kill their livestock if given a chance. Pit dogs who won't fight or will cur out. Labs that don't hunt, etc. And PP dogs who won't engage a human.

It's the beauty of having taken the dog out of the wild. He no longer has to support himself, we take care of all his basic needs. So we can genetically alter him in ways that mean he's no longer capable of caring for himself, but is very capable of doing the job we want from him.

By the way, what is the definition of a "great protection dog"?
 
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