Sunday, May 19, 2013
Subject: Re: [working-gundog] prey drive 4 = sharpness 1,questions
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12/14/2007 11:54 PM
1. Can a completely non cooperative dog learn to be cooperative? An inherently uncooperative dog is not capable of working with a human, it appears to be a behavior that can not be learned but is inherited from the parents. Such a dog can be trained to be obedient but obedience isn't cooperation. In fact training to be obedient to all commands is really the only way that one can hunt with an uncooperative dog. I have seen trainers work for months or even years trying to make an uncooperative dog into a cooperative dog, I have never seen success in this effort. 2. Can a dog be cooperative in one setting, but not in another? Yes but this takes some explanation. An inherently uncooperative dog will not have spells of cooperation, you only have obedience to trained commands and some range control. One can make a cooperative dog into an uncooperative dog by stupidity and/or abusive training... ignorance is the major cause of learned uncoopertative behavior by a dog. For example stupidity or ignorance in training can train a dog to be uncooperative about pointing, even to the point of blinking. All blinkers are trained into it, I have never observed a "natural" blinker. The answer is yes but only for innately cooperative dogs that are turned off by incorrect training. I have seen many cases in which the cooperative act of pointing was "trained out" of a good bird dog. If the trainer/handler gives up on the ignorant training such dogs will gradually (2 to 3 years or more) come back and start pointing again with exposure to wild birds. For a really poor training job (trying to teach the dog to point or to hunt) recovery can take so long that most of the dog's useful hunting life is wasted. 3. Can a dog that is born with a high level of sharpness, lose that ability later in life and exhibit a low level of sharpness? Not usually, a sharp dog is a sharp dog for life. Illness or injury can dramatically reduce the appearance of sharpness and old age can dull the edge but talent tends to persist with a good dog. Like cooperation, sharpness can be beaten out of a dog by a stupid trainer but the urge is just hidden in the presence of the damned fool that caused the problem. I have encountered dogs that would hunt vigorously for anyone except for their owner. 4. Can a dog that exibits hardly any sharpness as a young dog, later in life exhibit a very high level of sharpness? tc Not usually a very high level but a dog that is disinterested in birds can sometimes be stimulated to sharpness by proper exposure. For some young dogs being permitted to kill and even eat a few birds will being out the desire to hunt. This can work with young dog up to 6 or 7 months of age. If it doesn't work at 3 months, try again at 4 and then 5 months. If this doesn't work and the dog shows no interest in birds by 8 to 10 months just find the animal a good home, it isn't going to become sharp. No matter what good characteristics a dog has if there's no desire to hunt the dog is worthless. Note that sharpness has nothing to do with social aggression, a dog can be very aggressive towards other dogs and have no interest in game. A very soft dog is quite often very sharp and will make a fantastic hunting dog if the trainer isn't stupid about the idea of being a dominant pack leader. I once spent a week with a wirehair bitch testing various advanced test methods such as tracking through multiple mixed drags and bypassing diversion birds to retrieve marked birds and so on. The dog flawlessly passed every test we could throw at her no matter what it was. This dog was also so soft that she would urinate every time her owner spoke harshly to her. Cj
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> Re: [working-gundog] prey drive 4 = sharpness 1,questions
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