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sharp vs. aggression
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pointon
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PostPosted: 04/25/05, 12:23 pm    Post subject: sharp vs. aggression Reply with quote

I'm thrilled about my GWP. She's 8 weeks old now and coming along quite fine.. I currently try to label her as BOLD, SOFT or AVERAGE so the I can use the right method of training.. I did tons of research about this breed and the biggest behavior, maybe personality is a better word, that keeps being mentioned is sharpness. I've heard this term used as being sharp towards other dogs or as a dog trait. Can someone clarify so that I don't confuse sharpness for defiance and possibly aggression. I see the value of a sharp dog in the field; however, I see no value in aggression thus I don't want to misread this trait.. Lets hear it. Very Happy
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PostPosted: 04/25/05, 1:56 pm    Post subject: SHARP Reply with quote

The adjective for this word is aggressive-definace has nothing to do with this at tall. With this breed, it refers primarily to fur(or should anyway) especially cats/raccoons/foxes- you get the drift. The dog is expected to dispatch these critters in the field by themselves after adolecence 15mo+(at least in the other breed club). The ferocity to fur is amazing in the German dogs Ive seen. Im talking Jeckle & Hyde here.

Sharp to dogs and people is IMO, a huge detriment and makes for unpleasant visits. I expect my dogs to be protective but, unprovoked aggression is in no way tolerated, nor has it ever been a problem for me. Socialize your dog as a pup through 1 yr. with lots of Friendly dog encounters and people/kids too. This will help greatly. Keyword is friendly contacts. Let your pup get attacked, and it will backfire. You are the leader and protector.
Wires are generally Soft in that they dont take to harsh corrections as other breeds and will shut down-Ive learned this lesson a few times. QUit early and on a good note to avoid training setbacks. I correct mine wish a firm NO and this usually does the trick. They live to please and so in this sense they can be a challenge to train to those used to other dogs.
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PostPosted: 04/25/05, 2:27 pm    Post subject: friendly contact Reply with quote

Ok, I'm glad you mentioned "friendly" contact. We have 2 small kids so socializing should be pretty easy, you know, soccer games, baseball games, birthday parties, lots of kids and lots of poking.... However, my father-in-law has an English Setter that's 14 months. He's an athletic, birdy, energetic son of a gun! So, here's my concerned, I bring my pup around this Setter and she basically gets mauled for the some time.. There's a distinctive change in my pups character as she get nipped at, stepped on, and sat on by the bigger adolescent Setter. I don't want this to be a bad experience and or bring out the sharper side of my GWP. On the other hand, this Setter will be a mentor to my GWP.. Obviously, since the dog's my father-in-laws.. So, should I keep these two apart unitl my pup is a little bigger or, as all the experts say, let them work it out...?
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PostPosted: 04/25/05, 5:52 pm    Post subject: Pup Reply with quote

Sounds like socialization will be fine. As my pups mature arond 7-8mo, I strart to pull on ears/tail gently and put hands in food, while feeding and condition to what a dog might experience w/kids, to avoid problems later.

Absolutely do not let these 2 dogs or any other dogs "work it out" w/a 9wk pup. Thats the part of you being the protector. (Not to mention your dog could get accidently hurt with an overexuberant dog). Remember that Nothing bad happens in your presence while pup is growing up, and figuring the world out. Your pup at 9weeks is a baby-treat it as such around other dogs especially, to make sure their friendly. Just make introductions to friendly dogs for now. Around 4-5 mo, some playing together is fine. If it turns rough, step in now. Do this and Then youre on your way w/a well adjusted dog. Just avoid em being snipped at or worse-then you got a real problem.
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PostPosted: 05/01/05, 1:09 pm    Post subject: Understanding Yourself Reply with quote

Whiskerdog has given you good advice, Here are a few more thoughts. If you have not already done it spend some time reading some training books and try to pick out the training Philosophy that best fits your personality and hunting demands. Two that are big on my list are: Speed Train Your Own Bird Dog..., Mueller, Larry and How to Help Gun Dogs Train Themselves: Taking Advantage of Early Conditional Training, Bailey, Joan. You can check Amazon for used books.
I agree with Whiskerdog’s position on Sharpness, but feel that there is room for a little more explanation. Mueller explains in his book that pups fit into a personality spectrum from sensitive to dominate with timidity being the step beyond sensitive and aggression being the step beyond dominance. Neither the timid nor the aggressive pup is worth the feed bill, but the human factor is most often responsible for pushing the pup to either extreme. I have never found the degree to which a pup displays sharpness to have any connection to where the pup measured up on the sensitive/dominance spectrum. When I was younger I was more willing to pick up the dog that displayed the most dominance in the litter, but as I have gotten older I have learned that the dog on the sensitive side of the spectrum is easier to train and fits my personality and training/hunting philosophy better. Along with beginning to understand the training philosophy that fits you, you will need to determine how your philosophy fits with the training philosophy of the folks you are going to hunt with. Putting your pup in the field with dogs marching to a different drum can undo a whole of training that you felt was important enough to spend the time on.
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PostPosted: 05/01/05, 1:10 pm    Post subject: Understanding Yourself Reply with quote

Whiskerdog has given you good advice, Here are a few more thoughts. If you have not already done it spend some time reading some training books and try to pick out the training Philosophy that best fits your personality and hunting demands. Two that are big on my list are: Speed Train Your Own Bird Dog..., Mueller, Larry and How to Help Gun Dogs Train Themselves: Taking Advantage of Early Conditional Training, Bailey, Joan. You can check Amazon for used books.
I agree with Whiskerdog’s position on Sharpness, but feel that there is room for a little more explanation. Mueller explains in his book that pups fit into a personality spectrum from sensitive to dominate with timidity being the step beyond sensitive and aggression being the step beyond dominance. Neither the timid nor the aggressive pup is worth the feed bill, but the human factor is most often responsible for pushing the pup to either extreme. I have never found the degree to which a pup displays sharpness to have any connection to where the pup measured up on the sensitive/dominance spectrum. When I was younger I was more willing to pick up the dog that displayed the most dominance in the litter, but as I have gotten older I have learned that the dog on the sensitive side of the spectrum is easier to train and fits my personality and training/hunting philosophy better. Along with beginning to understand the training philosophy that fits you, you will need to determine how your philosophy fits with the training philosophy of the folks you are going to hunt with. Putting your pup in the field with dogs marching to a different drum can undo a whole of training that you felt was important enough to spend the time on.
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PostPosted: 05/02/05, 7:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dave,When I 1st decided to get the GWP, I searched and searched for training methods.. I couldn't decide on what philosophy to use in going forward w/ training. I just received Joan Baily's "How to Help Gun Dogs Train Themselves" book Friday. I've ready most of it and it realy falls in line w/ how I was already working w/ my pup up to this point. She's got a real handle on the "gradual" aspect of training our dogs making most of our casual and playful activities w/ the pup opportunities for training..

Man, i'm really losing some sleep over how my pups being handled by other dogs.. I took her to another friends house this weekend for a little social acitivity w/ their 6 mo. Blue Heeler mut. I just wanted to let her get some playtime in.. Before I new it the Heeler was pinning her and my pup started to get more and more aggressive in return.. I would step in and break it up and put my pup in her kennel for 15 minutes and then she'd want out again.. So, I'd try it again and like the 1st time they'd start going at it pretty rough. There's really no "fighting" but extremely rough play.... What I notice is that the bigger dog is perfoming some submission moves on my pup, i.e., sitting on her, pinning her on her back, making her be calm before releasing, etc.... However, it never fails that once my pup gets back up she goes right back the bigger dog and initiates play... So, it all starts over again... I'm starting to think that if my pup would just submit and stop, it would end quickly; however, she wont do this...

Now, this doesn't happen w/ all dogs. She sniffs and is curious around the neighborhood dogs that roam around; a lab and beagle. She's fine w/ my dads dog, a mut... It seems to be the younger two dogs, a Setter and the dog that I described above..

Do you or someone else have any insight.. I'm starting to think I should just avoid these two dogs and others like them all together until she's a little bigger.... Advice/insight PLEASE!
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PostPosted: 05/02/05, 6:10 pm    Post subject: Sharp Reply with quote

"Man, i'm really losing some sleep over how my pups being handled by other dogs"

Im starting to wonder about you. Ive mentioned twice now what I thought was appropriate action. You, yourself mention that your losing sleep.
At what time do you make a conscious decision to say "im going to CAUTIOUSLY introduce my dog to strange dogs, make them nice encounters and leave it at that?" Do you know what cautious means?
I sure would not ANY dog "Handle" my dog, play or not-it can turn rough or aggressive and then you will have regrets or a hurt pup, possibly.
Like Arnold says "hear me now or believe me later"
No dog is a mentor to your dog. I am my dogs mentor. My dog lives for me, but is social with other dogs because I say it better be so and ive socialized him, not let em get his ass kicked. Short, brief, friendly introductions are great, but thats it. If an older dog is well behaved & very patient-they make the best playmates, otherwise I dont really chance much.
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PostPosted: 05/03/05, 7:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whiskerdog1, When I say I'm losing sleep, I'm just saying that this is something I'm concerned with, not really "losing sleep." Just making sure you're not thinking I'm freaking out about it.... What I am doing is trying not to be over cautious.. The gundog world has me worried that everything and anything I do w/ my pup is going to ruin her!

Yep, you're right, I need to avoid all together rough dogs... The problem is, you don't know they're rough until you've exposed your pup to them.. So, I've already learned w/ two dogs and now I'm going to avoid them if they decide to play rough.

The main thing that I wanted to get out of this chat was if others find this common w/ GWP pups(not submitting to bigger dogs)? I've owned a boxer and he was the biggest and most dominant of the liter and I never saw this problem.. So, I'm trying to decipher whether this rough play is due to my pups reaction or I've just encountered two rambunctious young dogs(6 months and 14 months).. Remember, I'm trying to watch my pup closely these 1st 12-16 wks to determine if she's "SOFT, BOLD or AVERAGE" so that I can employ the right combination of training methods. Can you speak to that?
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PostPosted: 05/03/05, 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wouldn't let the pup get beat up... but if she isn't freaking out, I don't think rough play is all bad. I do find the girls to have a bit more of an attitude than the boys at this age.

I've had several females that will just not take being overcome by a bigger puppy. They will fight back and hold their own. I will watch their reactions, and if they recover , no harm, no foul. But if they shrink from the play and try to escape I will rescue them and put them away.

I won't let one of my pups bully another pup either. If they get too rough I step in and correct them. Actually, both pups may get a talking to if the play gets out of hand. They will learn what is appropriate and what is not from each other.... puppies learn best from other dogs.

Dogs can teach each other many things we simply cannot understand. Yes, we are their protectors and we have to step in when things are getting out of hand, but we can't teach them to be dogs... only other dogs can do that. Seperate the pups when they get nasty, seperate them when one appears to be at their wits end, seperate them when one become tired. But sometimes, they have to figure out on their own how to interact with others of their own species.

Use your common sense, but don't become over protective. Or at least try.
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PostPosted: 05/04/05, 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dualgwp,

Thanks for the insight. It seems, with the bigger dog(14 mo. Setter) she holds her ground but the play just gets rougher and rougher, on the part of the Setter as long as she doesn't submit. So, that's what I've been doing, pretty much let them play but once my pups starts to get a little yippie and/or defensive growling, I put her up.. The over protective thing is exactly what I'm trying to avoid...

Regarding her not letting the bigger dogs overcome her.. It's interesting you say this. My pup is head strong and surprisingly stubborn when she wants to be.. She's extremely laid back but when it comes to some yard work(not much) or leash training, she can be really stubborn if she wants. I'm starting to see some excitement in her when she thinks she pleases me.. I'm really excited about that.. I just finished reading Joan Baily's "How to help a gundog train themselves" so I'm mainly just trying encourage her desire to please.. I'm happy w/ how she's coming along..

Once again, thanks to all for your insight.. I'll keep a cautious eye on my pup and the setter during play time.. If things start to escalate, I'll step in to be the protector.
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PostPosted: 05/04/05, 7:57 am    Post subject: Sharp Reply with quote

Sounds like youre doing the right thing. My limited assessment of your dog is you got a Bold dog. They are fun but can be a handful too.

For me what makes the Wires a challenge is the softness side to their character. They live to please and just dont do well with rough handed ness and strong corrections. They want to please so bad and feelings get hurt easily and they will sulk or shut down as your training progresses. Id worked GSPs and German Shepherds many years before. I had to change the way I train, correct and discipline my dogs in comparision to these breeds. Its made me a better trainer, alot more patient now and you develop with your dog becoming a "team"

Dual had good advice. Play is great. Too rough play is not. Make cautious introductions to strange dogs. If the others are outwardly aggressive-I step in-- now- and will protect my dog-to the point of physically handling another dog-If the owner cant control his dog, I will. Its that simple. Ive

trained Shepherds that would attack anything on 2 or 4 legs. Its not fun and such a pain. Ive seen aggressive GSPs, Weims and DDs. You cant hunt with them. Its a pain and more trouble than its worth. Thats where the proper socialization comes in. Just monitor, be careful and have fun. Build a confident cooperative dog and you will enjoy her many many years and be glad you socailized her.
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PostPosted: 05/04/05, 6:20 pm    Post subject: Just Rambling Along Reply with quote

Wiskerdog told you that the Wire wants to please and that it has a soft side, keep that it mind. The Wire/DD pulses and minuses are a larger story for another time, but for now the important point is that when you get into the world of wire whether GPW or DD it is a toss up whether the please drive is stronger then the hunt drive, and it is your job to turn both on without compromising either one.
When I was a kid we ran petty free and got into trouble and had our fights and scraps. Our Moms looked after us by first looking at the parents of the kids that we were playing with. If we got to rough in our goings on, the closes Mom would step in and get a handful of what ever was available. We did a lot of growing up that kids today miss out on (IMO). I mentioned the need to check out the Training philosophy of the people you plan on hunting with and I should have expanded that evaluation to the owners of all the pups you plan on interacting with. (Just like our Moms used to do.) I take a good look at how the other pup is being trained and how it response to commands. I won’t intentionally put my pup in a free play situation with a larger dog that does not respond to basic commands. I want to know that the owner has spent some time teaching his dog the basics and that he expects his dog to respond. Actually I don’t find enough in common with anyone who has a pup and is not teaching basic commands to spend any time with them. I can share a beer or a coffee with people of any Race, any Political Party or any Religion and find a lot in common and agree to disagree, but when it comes to my wife, my kids, grandkids or my dogs I don’t have much leeway. I agree with Wiskerdog, if my pup is in the middle of a mess I am going to step in and get a handful of whatever is available. I don’t care if I make the owner mad; but, since I have finally learned that healing takes longer and rainy days remind me of old breaks, bites, and cuts, I try not to get where the problem will come up. Your pup is about 10 weeks old, take it one day at a time and let bonding be the first priority. What you consider to be stubbornness in yard training is more likely a lack of understanding. She has not yet figured out what the leash is all about. Put the leash on her at the first of every training session, even if you are going to start with her up in your lap. Lead her around real easy with a lot of happy talk and a little bribing, and as soon as she comes along take the leash off and have some free play. It won’t be long before she understands that the leash means school is in session. If you establish a strong bond early on she will forgive an awful lot of your mistakes along the way.
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PostPosted: 05/04/05, 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am always bothered by the discussion involving aggression. Sharpness I have always equated with the proper prey drive that the versatile breeds should have. However they should also have the biddability such that the handler can turn this off when needed.

I am convinced that aggressive incidents, especally in young dogs are a normal testing of where the dog belongs in the "pack order". After years of experience, I think most owners recognize where the line is between muscle flexing and dominant behavior and aggression. I truly believe that the majority of dogs with aggression problems are the result of poor judgement and conditioning on the part of owners. I have always put sharp limits on rough play and have established "me" as the pack leader that dictates behavior. I don't allow posturing or rumbling and such. In the wild, only the dominant male and female undertake aggressive action. (I can remember a new owner looking at me horrified as I knelt and rumbled over a young pup years ago!!). It is natural that underlings take no action unless engaged. I think if you establish this early, you are better off. When I run with my three "girls" (ages 11, 2 and 1), should another dog approach, they will all stop and wait or I will call them to heel. That is the routine which puts me in control of the chance meeting. This was taught on the lead first and then reinforced with the collar. I am the pack leader and running at or challenging other dogs, whether in play or not, is not allowed, except when they are released. None of them is aggressive, but the fact is that I don't know what kind of dog we may run into. Safe is safe. My 1 year old is big enough to be a formidable destructive force and I have no intention of letting her develop in that direction.

If proper conditioning and correction will not prevent aggression, then most likely a dog has a problem. Unless a place can be found for such a dog, the only repsonsible thing would be to put the dog down. No dog is worth one stitch or a wounded bystander. I love my dogs but people are more important than dogs. I think truly aggressive dogs rarely occur - in most cases, I suspect the cause is an owner caught unaware.
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PostPosted: 05/04/05, 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some interesting observations....
I run a doggie B&B where we keep the dogs together while they stay with us. Some breeds fit right in, some breeds take longer to feel safe, some breeds have to be the boss.

For the most part, and this includes all of the Wires I have, once Mom and Dad are gone they get along just fine. They figure out who they can and cannot mess with, who they can play with roughly and who they cannot, who they can bully. When Mom and Dad get back into the picture, everything changes. We, as humans feel we have to protect them, and inadvertantly put our feelings into the pot.... we don't want them bullied, so we hover over them and try to protect them, we pull them away from the crowd which only makes the anxious and we mess with the pecking order.

Get us out of the picture...... they seem to figure it out. It's really pretty fun to watch how the dogs do this....the ones you think are going to be the problems rarely are.

This is not to say that you should just let your dog get the snot beat out of him... but sometimes....dogs know how to teach dogs to be good canine citizens.
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