Is this genetics or environment based? - Page 1

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by rakeshausky on 11 July 2018 - 21:07

So, there was a puppy in a litter of 5. As a puppy she was very nice, very outgoing and confident. She went to her new home, they did no socialization at all with her or training. They kept her in an outdoor kennel for the first 6 months of her life, with the only contact with humans when they fed/watered her. Now she is in a new home and she lacks confidence and when the new home got her she was defensive toward meeting new people. Would avoid them, growl at them if they became too overbearing. New owner has worked on socializing her and have gotten her to the point where she is neutral toward people. She will no longer growl at people, but still is not confident like she was as a puppy and still would prefer to avoid meeting new people. Is this genetically weak nerves or is it environment based?

by Jessejones on 11 July 2018 - 23:07

If the pup was put into a kennel at 8wks(?) until 6 months with no human contact except for feeding time...and puppy was fine (outgoing and confident) before it went to this home... then it is not rocket science to guess it is 100% caused by environmental failure to nurture the dog socially.

How old is the pup now?

This poor pup missed the valuable socialization months, up to 3-4 months where is needs to see and experience everything possible. There can be another spooky period around 8 to 13 months too. A pups temperament is already there to see at 8 weeks, with no real surprises later on.

Can it ever become normal socially again?
Yes, but it will take someone with a lot of time to spend with the dog, one on one, everyday....and someone who has a good common sense dog behavior and training knowledge. Not someone who is gone at work all day long either...and not someone who has never had a gsd before.

This girl has a good chance of getting back on her feet, so to say, with time and training. But, she may never reach the potential she once might have become. If she is an extraordinary dog, and the new home is loving and outgoing, and they know about dogs and specifically gsds and spends a lot of time with her, she may rebound. I hope so!

It is an absolute crime to do something like this and anyone guilty of doing this should never be allowed another dog as long as they live.

by rakeshausky on 12 July 2018 - 00:07

Thank you. She is 14 months old now and is becoming better with learning to be around people and be at least neutral to meeting new people.

by Rik on 12 July 2018 - 00:07

If it's environmental, I agree with the above poster it can improve. maybe a great deal.

I bought a 2 yo female once because I was so impressed with the character (and conformation) of her sister that was owned by a friend of mine. she had been raised the exact same way as you describe. she was a wreck when she arrived and I was more than sick.

she did come out of it. I really didn't do anything special. just if I was home, she was with me and my family. exposed her to a lot of different situations.

I said in another thread, a sound dog can overcome some negative social experiences. same with people. good luck.


by Nans gsd on 12 July 2018 - 01:07

Agree RIK but whoever takes her on  needs to be patient. If it is her temperamental background and known weaknesses in the pedigree it will come up no matter what the handler/owner does. Insecure dogs due to temperament will come back to bit you in the a_ _ . Enviromental weaknesses can be turned around with the correct training and exposure... Lets hope its the latter.. good luck. Know how hard it is to turn this around, been there myself with a couple of bitches in the past 45 years...Nan

by Gustav on 12 July 2018 - 18:07

It’s environmental, and she can regain some of the sureness, confidence over time, but there are developmental elements of unsureness that she will never regain.

by GSCat on 13 July 2018 - 04:07

Definitely environmental/experiential. This can be corrected with lots of patience, work, and love. Emotionally, she'll mature late, but she can be fine... very, very important for her to not have puppies until she is truly emotionally mature, for both her and her puppies' sakes.

by Rik on 14 July 2018 - 13:07

the pup did miss what is considered some critical developmental periods.

the dog I mentioned in my previous post was never quite the same in character as her sister, so who knows if environment was the deciding factor or if she was just not born as strong. I do agree a dog that is sound can overcome a lot of negative social factors, but it's doubtful that they will ever be 100% what could have been.

a dog that is genetically weak (and it can be in the same litter) will never be 100%.


by rakeshausky on 14 July 2018 - 17:07

Rik, if a dog is genetically weak would you see that by 8 weeks of age? Or would that come out later? Could a dog be genetically weak (not outwardly showing any signs by 8 weeks) and then the trauma of not being socialized at all during the first 6 months compound this even further? I was told that this dog now is neutral toward new people (not growling/hackling, but doesn't seek attention from other people) and when she was 6 months old she would growl and raise her hackles at strange people. Also, there are videos of this same dog at 8 weeks old running, playing, barking, and being a normal outgoing social puppy.

by Swarnendu on 14 July 2018 - 19:07

No one can say for sure whether it's genetic or environmental.

A genetically weak puppy can be given loads of familiarisation and confidence building during 5-13 weeks and brought up to a condition the dog is now currently. A genetically strong puppy deprived of conditioning during this critical period can be recovered with loads of patience and positive teaching, but will never reach 100%. This can be done with any average dog also.

BTW, the 8-13 month hormonal spookyness is not the sign of a properly brought up genetically strong dog.

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