Confusion about identifying nerviness - Page 2

Pedigree Database


by GSCat on 08 August 2020 - 19:08

Some dogs do not like having their ears, heads, face, nose, and/or mouth touched, or their eyes covered/blocked. I've noticed this with some civil dogs/police K9. I had to work on this with my current dog because she didn't like having her nose touched.

Maybe there was something about the strangers the dog hasn't been exposed to before. Something as simple as soap, cologne, clothes detergent, smoker, cat/dog hair/dander, etc. My dog had a huge issue with a judge's dress/skirt because she had never seen one before. That was my fault for never socializing her with one before then.

Or, maybe the dog could sense something threatening/bad about the stranger(s) the handler was not aware of, or picked up on the handler's distrust/dislike (or worry about what the dog was going to do), or the stranger(s) was/were afraid (could be smell that the handler would not detect). Dogs are often better judges of character than we are LOL

by apple on 08 August 2020 - 22:08

Strong defense is evident by a dog showing violent intent to harm someone.

by ValK on 08 August 2020 - 22:08

No response yet on how high defensiveness expresses itself in a dogs behavior.

hired dog already told you - such behavior is sure sign of nervy dog.
if dog bite her/his handler because external irritants, the best place for that dog to be in isolated location with very limited contact with humans.
it's has nothing to do to defense threshold, applicable for service dog.
what else do you expect to hear?

Valk: how would a non nervy but highly defensive dog respond to intrusion on its territory

depends on dog's temperament/personality and how that intrusion occurred.
could send a warning signals before an attack or can immediately go into attack.
the point is that nervy dog always will act on impulse but very confident dog will do calculated action.
the only way to find out would be to create desirable situation, put dog in it and observe dog's reaction and action till last bit of it.

by Hired Dog on 09 August 2020 - 04:08

K(L1, the best way to do this is for you to post a video of this dog during normal, daily activities and then a set up where someone strange approaches, otherwise this will be all conjecture on our side answering and you defending the dog on your side, without ever having an answer to your question.
If you cannot/will not do that, you will have to accept the answers given, based on the limited info we have on this dog.
Body language and expression plays a huge role, not just when dealing with humans, but, dogs as well. There are nuances that can only be seen and they are so minute that they need to be seen to interpret.


by Hundmutter on 09 August 2020 - 05:08

Coming back to the party a little late - time difference - but I support what Q Man and GSCat and Hired have said, about lack of background and knowledge about things that could have happened to this dog before, resulting in his 'nervous' reactions to the (strangers approach / 'working') situation.


On reactivity around certain people / types of people, we used to have a bitch who was the exact opposite of what Hired Dog descibed in his earlier post.  She was basically a very happy, friendly Showdog; not breed-typical with the 'aloof with strangers' bit, because of her breeding. But there were certain ways of moving / outlines presented by some strangers that would strike her as threatening and then she would 'sound off' as that person approached. Conversely, there was a Day Centre for adults with mental disabilities nearby; she used to love visiting the users, and they loved her, because she was SO patient with them, no matter how oddly they might present or move.  Until dogs can precisely explain their thought processes to us, we can only go by what we know of what they have experienced.

by apple on 09 August 2020 - 08:08

You have to see a dog to draw conclusions. Genetics and training are both factors in the behavior of a dog. You cannot assess a dog based on someone’s written description.

by VomWangen on 18 September 2020 - 00:09

Nerviness... Nervousness. Dog's are considered nervy when they suddenly snap at their handler, at the helper, at anyone for no good reason with no serious provocation. Alot of times you will hear people defending their nervy dogs saying: I would snap at them too if someone walked up behind me or touched me on my back or looked at me that way... etc.. When in reality this means the dog is unstable and not trustworthy. Nerviness stems from fear. How a dog reacts to fear and uncertainty is by going after it puffed up and baring teeth as to scare it away.
Now... nerviness is a reaction a dog will randomly have similar to when a dog is cornered and scared for its life- or its been strangled within an inch of death, it goes balistic and snaps at whatever has them backed into that corner or whatever almost has them killed. A dog that reacts to a stimuli as if it thinks it is backed in a corner when there is no serious threat means that the dog is nervy and can't handle much stimulus. None of any of this behavior is needed for protection training, because protection training is prey drive. A dog never needs to be put into defense to be a protection or a service bite dog- and the adaptation of this sort of training is due to crappy dogs that have little prey drive and have to be scared into biting something(put into defense), rather than naturally wanting to chase and kill something(prey drive). Its people that continue to breed these dogs and scare them into biting things and then breeding these fearful dogs over many generations and consistently training them in defense is what has created the nervy dog that you have. The best dogs are the stable and non reactive ones with high prey drive and always a natural protection instance, no matter what nerves they have, if a situation goes bad and someone comes into your house to kill you, that shepherd will protect you. Even the nicest show dog with zero defense will protect and defend you if the situation arises. Where I train at- it is mostly working lines that are very nervy dogs, but oddly enough, the highest scoring and most consistent dog in protection in the history of the establishment was a show dog because he was the least nervy dog.

Good luck with your dog. I havent seen your dog or been able to judge it in person..hopefully some of it helped you.


by Hundmutter on 18 September 2020 - 03:09

As Hired Dog, Apple and VomWangen all said, it is impossible to properly assess any dog on paper / over the 'Net, you HAVE to meet them in the flesh. As to triggers, I had one that detested the alcohol smell on people; but she only actually bit them if she saw them as a threat to her or me, not just 'cos she didn't like the way they smelled !

by Hired Dog on 18 September 2020 - 04:09

Vom Wangen, prey drive is indeed important, but, you must have some defense in your training if you want the dog to get serious, there is no debating this. Not everything in the real world involves chasing and not everyone runs, some stand and fight.
A personal protection dogs needs no prey drive, it will work great in defense because it will never chase anyone and only needs to function within the confines of the 6 foot leash.
Serious dogs, not prey monkeys, will change your world with their aggression, and its not because they are nervy, its because they love a fight.
No one has ever scared a balanced dog into biting, if done properly by serious trainers and no serious trainer has ever done serious defense work before the dog has matured.
Finally, I dont know what you call protection, but, I am not willing to risk my life on the type of dogs you described.

by VomWangen on 18 September 2020 - 11:09

Great mention of "Fight Drive" by Hired Dog.


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