Temperament or training
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Thread: Temperament or training

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2009

    DefaultTemperament or training

    A dog who just moseys around outside, offleash and has no desire to run to the neighbors or anywhere for that matter, even with distractions around (like a dog next door).
    Is this temperament or a trained dog?
    Which kind of lab do you have?
    Mine is a runner, and I just feel like we will never see the day he can just hang out outside if he is not leashed or fenced in.
    And, if it is "trainable" then how in the world do you train that??? I suppose many would answer recall. But here is my thinking. I have a dog who wants to run to the neighbors all the time. Let's just say, we have 99.9% recall. He starts to go, I recall. He comes back. Won't his instinct be to just take off again? Therefore we spend an evening in the yard of recalling, recalling and recalling some more?

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  3. #2
    Mel is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009

    DefaultRe: Temperament or training

    Honestly I think with Maxine it's a combination of both. She's been trained to all the commands and will stop on a dime (just in case we're out front and a squirrel runs by), but she's also a real velcro dog and doesn't like for me to be out of her sight.
    I've also found that my females have been more trustworthy in this regard than my 3 previous males. (Except for the Great Dane. He was a velcro dog, too.)

  4. #3
    Trickster's Avatar
    Trickster is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009

    DefaultRe: Temperament or training

    Good question.

    I think it is a combination of both. You can suppress a dogs instincts (for example, prey drive and the desire to chase) with good training but that instinct will always be there.

    I don't think that anyone should be under the assumption that because their dog doesn't chase things that it is "trained". A dog that has no desire to chase has a low prey drive so yes, that would be that particular dogs temperament and not its training.

    Because I gundog train I want both of those qualities in my dogs. I want dogs with high drive AND high trainablilty. I find high drive dogs much easier to train than lower drive dogs because are so much more motivated, full of energy and willing to learn. They have an incredible enthusiasm for life and I really bounce off that. I much prefer working with a dog that WANTS to learn rather then one that has to be baited into it with food or whatever.

    My dogs stick with me when I am out walking and they are always off leash. They would be "runners" but they are well trained (IMO!!* )

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  6. #4
    WigWag Guest

    DefaultRe: Temperament or training

    Yes definitely both. Our Scout is a dog that never leaves the yard. She is terrific and will simply look up at a dog passing by and all it takes is a "Hey" to get her attention back. Our others won't bolt off if out of the fenced yard but their nose is to the ground and they are dashing about and will hang around the front and side yard for 10 - 30 minutes but something would tickle their fancy and they would be off if left unattended. All obviously have the same training and environment but Scout's temperament is one to keep her in her own yard.

  7. #5
    patm's Avatar
    patm is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    SE Ohio

    DefaultRe: Temperament or training

    I'll have to say both also - but I think they do have a basic temperment to be one or the other. Skippy's mom was a "runner". She had a lot of energy and even when we went for walks in our woods she would be running out making great but circles in a cloverleaf pattern around us. Out one way and back to us, then out the other way and back to us. She went 4 times as far as us on a walk. Skippy is a combination. He likes to "explore", but wouldn't run off if I was there and told him to stay with me. Emilu is definitley a "stay at home" girl. When we go on our walks she tends to walk right in front of me - slower than I want to go, while Skippy is making forays out into the woods. While not my habit, the other day we stopped at a rest area with the car and I was trying to arrange the blankets in the back seat for Emillu. I finally told her to jump out of the car and "stay". She did. Woulnd't do this with just any dog. I also believe that my dogs don't "run" because they are allowed off -leash alot and it isn't any big deal to them. I think that a dog who can't run free much is much more excited when they "get out" and are off leash.

  8. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2009

    DefaultRe: Temperament or training

    Its both. This morning we were at the park in a section where dogs are allowed off leash. For some reason the park planners decided this would be a good place to put a frisbee golf course :
    Oona saw the golfer before I did, and she took off when the guy threw the disc. I waited until she got to the frisbee and yelled, "LEAVE IT!" She turned on a dime and came right back to me

  9. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    DefaultRe: Temperament or training

    Same here, I'd say both training and temperament. Tucker's been free outside since about 10 months; he roams the yard and nearby field, but doesn't go beyond.

    We started young training to know the boundaries of the property.

    We have a neighbor dog that comes to play, but when he goes home, Tucker stays in the yard.

    I think patm may be right. Maybe dogs that are offleash don't run 'cause it's no big deal, whereas dogs that get offleash want to run.

  10. #8
    Bob Pr. is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Lawrence (ex-Topeka), KS

    DefaultRe: Temperament or training

    I think both, too.

    I'd like to also second Trickster's comment about high drive = high trainability.

    That's certainly been true of the two I've had, Bess (BF, AKC bench line, 55 lbs., 1967-81) and Puff (YF, AKC bench line, 63 lbs, dob: 8-'01).

    Bess's #1 drive was eating.* Affection and being petted by someone was a fractional notch below that.* Retrieving was -- who knows how many -- notches above that?* Too much was never enough.* She had only one speed -- top, about 30 mph -- both out and back to get and bring back her training dummy.* I easily trained her to turn right, left, go further, come back with whistle calls and arm signals.* She'd do anything to get that training dummy.* I often said that I thought I could teach her to read if only I could figure out a way to make getting the TD dependent on that.

    Puff's #1 drive is riding shotgun in the van.* Some retrieving interests her briefly for awhile but it isn't sustained.* In the beginning she'll run fairly fast after an object but coming back, it's always at a moderate trot, sometimes digressing to visit a distraction.* (And this from the fastest Lab we've ever met of 30-40.)

    I've been working with Puff daily for 4 years to get verbal commands to go L or R mastered (she kind of does arm signals).* I feel very much like Anne Sullivan must have felt when she was first working with Helen Keller.
    Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]

    Bess [BF, AKC bench line (from competing show breeder) 55 lbs., 1967-1981] "Poor Bess, the Wonder Dog":

  11. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2006

    DefaultRe: Temperament or training

    Yes, I believe it is both training and temperment. As puppies all my dogs were trained to not go past the grass in front of our house. I never leash trained them as puppies till they learned not to leave the property by themselves. Mercedez loves to sit on the front deck and watch the world go by. One time she was out there she started to bark and when we looked outside one of my neighbors was walking his dog by the house. From past experiences most dogs would go investigate. Mercs just sat on the deck barking knowing that when we aren't out with her she is not supposed to leave the deck! Good girl Mercs. Temperment is a huge factor too. My Catahoula leopard dog, Kiah, it's all about temperment. I teased her one day to see what she would do. She was on the front lawn, alone, and I said "goodbye Kiah" and shut the front door. She came booking up onto the porch and jumped and scratched and cried at the front door to get in, like we were abandoning her. That she was not trained to dothat! Seperation anxiety???? I have previously owned dogs who would use that as an opportunity to go sightseeing. I think the closer you are with your dog the more they will try to and know what will please you.

  12. #10
    AngusFangus is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2009

    DefaultRe: Temperament or training

    That is a good question!

    I think this is probably very true:

    I also believe that my dogs don't "run" because they are allowed off -leash alot and it isn't any big deal to them. I think that a dog who can't run free much is much more excited when they "get out" and are off leash.
    I was having this conversation with my friend at work the other day. She has a Redbone Coonhound (same age as Angus. We call her Angus' "girlfriend.") She was telling me this hilarious story (well, she made it funny) about Delta getting out the other day. It was right before a book club meeting at her house. First time she had ever met any of these girls. One of the girls opened the back gate (thinking Delta was a "normal" dog [her] words ) and Delta bolted three yards away before she was snagged by a neighbor. My friend came back panting and sweaty to a book club meeting that had decided to begin without her. I mean, it was not funny at the time I'm sure, but I was rolling hearing this story.

    Anyway, we were talking about recalls. She has always commented on how great the boys are with this. Part of it is temperament, especially with Angus. The VERY first day he came home, I was remarking about how 'clingy' he was. All you have to do if he is not coming is turn around and act like you are going to leave, and he shoots towards you like a rocket.

    Simon is not as solid on recalls, and we've had some tense moments off-leash with him. But oddly, he has escaped our fence a couple of times and, even though once he had hours and hours to have gotten himself hopelessly lost, he never went further than three feet away from his yard. I have no idea why. Just grateful.

    Back to Delta, the Coonhound. My friend asked me if there was anything she could do. She said Delta goes completely deaf and acts like she is not even there when she's doing one of her disappearing acts.

    My honest opinion was this (and it's just an opinion): She could try to work with her on recalls more outside the home in different surroundings, so Delta knows "Come" means "Come" even outside the house. But truthfully, I believe Delta is a hound. Hounds are independent, bred to follow a scent without any assistance or direction from humans. It is my gut feeling that Delta is always going to put that nose to the ground and GO!

    But, I think what Pat said has a great deal to do with it too. The boys are field-tripped to death. They are walked through the neighborhood 3-4 times a day. When they get out in the front yard, it's not like this mysterious, unexplored frontier, because they have already seen it several times today, you know? And when we go to the lake or the old neighborhood, it's exciting, but it's not so exciting and novel that they lose their minds. If that makes any sense?

    Connie and "The Boys":
    Angus, Yellow Lab, CGC, RE, CD
    Simon, d.b.a. Flat Coated Retriever, CGC, RE, CD

    Gone ahead, but forever in my heart:
    Crash, Pit Bull x Rottweiler x Golden Retriever


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