Soft dog - Page 1

Pedigree Database


by crazystyna on 25 August 2020 - 13:08

Hello everyone,
I have a question. Is there a way to figure out if the dog is genetically soft or whether it’s the outcome of heavy handed handling?
Looking forward to hear your thoughts,


by Hundmutter on 25 August 2020 - 14:08

How about starting with a description of what it is that the dog is doing - or not doing - that makes you ask your question ?

Hired Dog

by Hired Dog on 25 August 2020 - 15:08

How old is this dog? How does it show "softness"? Describe "softness" for me, what do you consider that to be?
How was that dog trained, in what area?I am asking all these questions because I want to make sure we are on the same page.

Q Man

by Q Man on 25 August 2020 - 17:08

So many terms in the "Dog World" are taken different people...So it's always a great idea to make sure your talking about the same things...
A video of what your talking about would be great...



by crazystyna on 25 August 2020 - 18:08

Thanks everyone for the replies!
Here is more info:
I bought a 7 month old GSD female from a trainer who said she was too soft for schutzhund training. She was obedience-trained in German commands. The trainer worked her in front of me and the dog did obey, but her ears down, no excitement, no confidence. Fell in love with her anyway-my first GSD. Brought her home. As soon as we entered the house she started shaking. I understand, new place, smells, and all. Few days later I was in the middle of something and asked my husband to take the dog out for potty. As he reached to put the leash on her, her hackles went up. The dog was scared of my teen boys as well, but not my 10 year old. One day while I was stepping out with her, a friend came over and the dog went behind me, laid down with hackles up. I asked the friend to step back, we talked, and a min later the dog approached my friend trying to smell. While working on obedience I didn’t like how she looked responding to commands(seemed like she expected a punishment or something instead of reward/praise). One day I was walking back to her after the down command(obviously to reward her for staying put) and she literally ran to the closest corner. I knew then I had to reteach the obedience from scratch. And I did. She wasn’t scared of any things, loud noises, etc.
Fast forward, 1.5 years later, we have a beautiful relationship. She loves everyone in the household including our older Doberman and grumpy cat. She’s excited to work, has 100% recall anywhere/anytime, crazy about ball, food. Could care less about other animals, dogs or people. Even seems to enjoy July 4th as my boys blast the fireworks. She’s ok with people coming to our home-a bit suspicious, wants to smell them, backs off if a new person tries to pet. But. Sometimes when we are on the walk she gets fixated on a person(always male), her hackles go up and she keeps looking back after we already passed the person.
Sorry, long post, I hope I didn’t bore you.


by crazystyna on 25 August 2020 - 18:08

Hello Bob,
Sorry, I don’t have a video of my dog being scared/ hackles up as it happens very rarely at this point.

Hired Dog

by Hired Dog on 25 August 2020 - 18:08

I believe you answered your own question. Apparently this dog, from what you described, was not trained according to its temperament, some dogs can handle the yank and crank, few actually require it, but, it seems that since you retrained the dog, its doing much better.
There may be some genetic issues, but, those dont sound like they count anymore since you are happy with your dog.

On a different note, I have a 4 month old male puppy who is handler sensitive, has a TON of pack drive, will be civil and is already territorial. The handler sensitivity is not something that has ever bothered me as I am not interested in a dog that I have to fight for everything. At this age, when my puppy has something in his mouth that I want, I tell him to bring it to me and he releases, end of story.
Most dogs raise their hackles in the back of their neck, mine does it when he runs around and plays, its excitement and completely involuntary, it does not mean the dog is weak, aggressive or anything else. Enjoy your dog.


by Koots on 25 August 2020 - 19:08

It does sound like your dog has a negative association with strang men, but is OK with family & friends. Good job on the positive association-building with the obedience 'rehab'. If this is a pet dog & you're not wanting to do competitive dog sports, then it sounds like she's a good match for you and your family. Many dogs don't appreciate a 'forward' person who wants to push themselves onto the dog, but will approach & make friends on their own terms. This is what she seems like to me and there's nothing wrong with that. Just tell people 'ignore the dog' and she will investigate/say hello when she's ready.


by Sunsilver on 25 August 2020 - 20:08

I've had a dog that was genetically soft. I was present when she was born, so I know it wasn't due to rough handling (the owner was a friend).

She was fine when I brought her home at 8 weeks, but around 8 or 9 months, she went into what some people called a 'fear period'.

When I took her to obedience class, she did her best to hide under my chair. She was so scared, she would not take treats, even very high quality treats. About 4 or 5 weeks in, she finally got to the point where she would take treats from me, but no one else. She was especially terrified of men and children, as she lived in a household with just 2 women.

I worked with her constantly: obedience classes, taking her into stores, etc. I didn't force her into situations: often, I'd just sit with her on the main street of town, and watch the world go by. I wouldn't let people pet her, unless she showed an interest, which she rarely did.

At 2 years of age, after tons of work on my part, she still could not pass a very basic temperament test. I gave her away to someone who had more patience at dealing with a soft, timid, spooky dog.

by ValK on 25 August 2020 - 21:08

so what is your problem?
seems like you did your best to change dog. what is left, is what that dog gonna have for rest of life. but doesn't seems like it's genetic fault.
cause most likely in wrong start. sounds like this dog isn't genetically predisposed for aggression. from your description of previous owner and his goal looks like there were attempt to teach the dog to respond in aggressive manner. frankly in this case forceful pushing did opposite result. in young age such things strongly imprinting in dog's mind and last for life.


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