Sunday, January 18, 2009

Puppies - Nature/Nurture ?

It’s been said recently the genetics don’t CAUSE behavior they just allow it to occur when the environment dictates it. It’s sort of funny to me when I hear some orgs say, “they’ve been bred to fight” while never mentioning what effect the environment might have or have had on the dog. It just can’t be ALL genetics nor do I thing it’s always ALL environment. I do know from experience however that with a good environment a dog has a much better chance than with a bad one. Therefore, we at Our Pack think it’s a bit of both - nature/nurture – that influence a dog’s behavior.

The thing that we have control over most is the environment that the dog will be in. Therefore, we try to provide the best and most positive environment to sort of “guide” those genetics in the right direction so to speak.

Lately we’ve seen lots of Pit Bull puppies turned into shelters. We were thinking it might be a good idea to get dogs started off on the right paw and get him/her out socializing and training right away while providing a positive and structured but fun environment for him/her to grow in. It seems to me that lots of Pit Bull puppies are out there right now only to come back around if they’re isn’t a proper environment for them to mature in.

The AKC now has a program called the AKC Puppy Star Program. Check it out. It’s a sort of a junior CGC program. The AKC has realized that many puppies don’t get a good start in life and this creates a problem. Not to leave genetics completely out of the picture but heck, at least we have control over the dog’s environment, so if you have a pup give him a good start , bond with him/her and get him out there in the world and let him know it’s a fabulous place.


  1. I think you can see that nature/nurture in the Leo/Puppy video.

    That persistence/stick to it attidude which that puppy demonstrates can be directed in 1 of 2 ways depending on who is doing the directing.

    That fork in the road can go towards Agility/Wt pulling/Therapy/disc dog/other good things OR it can be directed down a very bad path.

    Persistence is a GOOD quality if your end goal is good.

    It all comes back to the Choir Director.

    In tune or out of tune.

    And it`s obvious from the dogs abused by Vick that you can take most dogs that were "out of tune" and get them back in tune.

  2. So well said and so very true! It is a lot of work, but so worth it when we see the results in sound stable dogs, no matter what the breed!

  3. I absolutely believe in the combination of nature/nurture. Ultimately, the environment will most likely dictate how a dog lives with what nature/genes gave it. Dogs, by nature, and especially Pit Bulls, are loyal and want to please. What they are taught to do with that desire all depends on who is dictating their environment. How wonderful to start with the young ones and set them on the right path.

  4. I do also believe environment in terms of really good management, training and socialization is key in anyone's life. Not just dogs and ALL breeds of dogs but humans too.

    Good points!

  5. Excellent blog post! Nature and nurture are intertwined and you can never have one without the other. ALL behavior is a combination of both environment and genetics. Such a wonderful thought - that we can control the environment, so might as well do our best to get the best out of our dogs!

  6. Yep, I think that's a better approach than just blaming a breed.