Dog Attributes
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Thread: Dog Attributes

  1. #1
    Senior Member Sabireley's Avatar
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    We have a lot of discussions about how to train, how to solve problems, how to correct, etc. Most of these discussions start or end with “it depends”. I think a lot of the “it depends” is due to the natural or innate differences between dogs. Dogs have multiple dimensions we talk about to include:

    Heart/Courage
    Tractability/Manageability
    Intelligence
    Physical Ability/Structure
    Drive/Desire
    Marking Ability
    Water Attitude
    Training Attitude
    Sensitive
    Soft
    Sensible

    I think some of the attributes could come together and others typically don’t. Many times Drive and Manageability are exclusive of one another.


    If you were to evaluate and grade your dogs from 1-5 ( 5 is more) across each of these dimensions, would it provide some clarity and direction around how you approach training for each of your dogs?


    For instance, you could have two dogs, one that is a 5 for Heart and a 2 for Intelligence, and the other is a 2 for Heart but a 5 for Intelligence. How might you approach training differently for each of these dogs? How do you build on natural strengths to make up for weak areas?
    Last edited by Sabireley; 07-31-2019 at 12:12 PM.

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    I'm liking your posts Steve. Could you explain the difference in the last two?
    Last edited by Dave Burton; 07-31-2019 at 09:32 AM.

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    Senior Member Sabireley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Burton View Post
    I'm liking your posts Steve. Could you explain the difference in the last two?
    Sensitive to Tough = the response to various levels and types of pressure to change behavior. Sensitive can be good because it takes very little pressure to change behavior, but can deal with it.

    Soft to Hard is similar. Soft is more about the resulting attitude from pressure. Soft dogs fold under pressure and have a difficult time responding appropriately under pressure.
    Last edited by Sabireley; 07-31-2019 at 11:37 AM.

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    Here's an interesting thread about soft dogs. It might be helpful.

    https://www.retrievertraining.net/fo...#/topics/78685
    Last edited by Desiree; 07-31-2019 at 10:35 AM.

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    Senior Member Sabireley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Desiree View Post
    Here's an interesting thread about soft dogs. It might be helpful.

    https://www.retrievertraining.net/fo...#/topics/78685
    Great link

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    Senior Member Daren Galloway's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sabireley View Post
    Sensitive to Tough = the response to various levels and types of pressure to change behavior. Sensitive can be good because it takes very little pressure to change behavior, but can deal with it.

    Soft to Hard is similar. Soft is more about the resulting attitude from pressure. Soft dogs fold under pressure and have a difficult time responding appropriately under pressure.
    I flip your definitions of soft and sensitive. I classify a dog that cant take much physical pressure as soft, but a dog that cant mentally take pressure as sensitive. I have a physically tough, mentally extremely sensitive dog. And also physically tough and mentally tough dog. I wont train a dog that's mentally weak/sensitive dog.
    Daren Galloway

    FTCH AFTCH HRCH Hank's Settin' The Marsh On Fire

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    Senior Member Sabireley's Avatar
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    The mental weakness is a key point. A dog that can’t function under pressure is hard to advance in training, whether the mental pressure is the result of physical correction or inability to handle the complexity or challenge of the task. To me, sensitive is not a negative trait but an indication of how much and what type of stimulus is required to change behavior. It may be accompanied by Soft as well. I think we have the same understanding just use the words the opposite way.

    I have one that is tough as nails, hard charging, good marker, but not a mental giant, so can have trouble thinking his way out of a problem under pressure. I would not characterize him as sensitive or soft.

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    Great thread so far. Don't you think how well(or not so well) a dog was conditioned to pressure plays some part? To much to early can make a dog erratic when faced with a problem because all he/she is thinking about is the correction that is coming instead of using the noggin. Thought?

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    Senior Member Sabireley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Burton View Post
    Great thread so far. Don't you think how well(or not so well) a dog was conditioned to pressure plays some part? To much to early can make a dog erratic when faced with a problem because all he/she is thinking about is the correction that is coming instead of using the noggin. Thought?
    How well a dog is conditioned plays a big part. During conditioning you figure out how much pressure you need to get a change in behavior under various circumstances. You also teach the dog how to respond to the command and correction. I think a well conditioned, sensitive dog could get overwhelmed by an overly strong correction, or unfair correction they don’t understand.

  12. #10
    Senior Member EdA's Avatar
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    There are dogs who, no matter how well conditioned to pressure, inherently do not have a positive response to pressure. That makes them more difficult to advance, it is possible just slower.

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