Nature VS Nurture/Tino's Evaluation PT 1 - Page 1

Pedigree Database


by Shandra on 06 August 2007 - 02:08

I think I may have stumbled on this topic before but cannot find it. I am wondering how much of a dogs temperment depends on nature ( ie breeding) and nurturing ( ie how he was raised). My way of thinking, if the dog isnt socialized, handled, or exposed to new/ unusual situations during his formative years, should he be expected to accept all situations without a qualm? How would one begin to safely socialize a previously unsocialized dog and have them begin to accept unusual situations?

I took Tino to be evaluated today.  He was introduced to the obedience trainer and altho he wasnt eager he accepted her petting with just a half pin of the ears. He did not try to get away from her or show any aggressive behaviour. As long as I held the leash he was fine. When I handed the leash to the obedience trainer and walked a few steps away he strained and wanted to stay with me, he definately did not want me more than a few steps from him. He turned and gave her a look that made it obvious with body language that this was not acceptable to him in any way shape or form. She had me work him a bit in basic obedience and the only thing he did obey was the Sit, and even that wasnt regular unless I had his rope tug ( fav toy). I talked with her about the situation with my son ( who she knows) and explained all of the current issues between the 2. She made the suggstion that possibly we should attend obedience classes and have both Justin and I work him so that he considers Justin alpha to him in th epack order. I told her I would not feel comfortable with that and explained Tino's reaction to Justin in more detail. We stood there talking( a planned exercise) while 2 people walked up, both female. Tino came to my side and sat and as long as the 2 women did not approach to closely he was fine. If they got closer than 5 ft he stood and tail went half mast and ears went back. Not fully pinned but showing his displeasure. Tino was put to a Sit and one woman was instructed to approach slowly. She approached hand extended palm down. Tino stayed in his Sit but pinned his ears. He reached his nose forward non aggresively and sniffed her hand then turned his head as if to dismiss her. She stepped back and the same was done with the other woman with the same result. The women walked away and a man walked up. See part 2

by Shandra on 06 August 2007 - 02:08

Tino immediately stood, Tail erect and ears fully forward, his hair did slightly bristle at the neck but not all along the back. As the man walked closer he talked to me and her and then to Tino. Tino would not come off of guard. That is to say he would not sit or relax, He did not make any further movement tho. As the man got closer ( about 8 ft or so, I am not good with distance judging) Tino started a rumble deep in his chest. I had him double leashed for this entire exercise just in case with both an anti pull harness and a choke, both with seperate leashes in the same hand ( with my right hand also hold the leashes) with the choke held slightly snugger than the harness. As the man walked even closer, within about 4-5 ft Tino snarled! I had NEVER seen that before. Ears were totally pinned.The Obed trainer had requested that I not speak to Tino during this exercise as she wanted to see how he would react in different situations  on his own etc. The man stopped and stood there talking, Tino stopped growing but would not return to sit or relax at all. His hair went down but his ears remained pinned. I dont know if it matter but the man was very large, standing 6'5 and well muscled, He is a police officer ( the obedience trainer's husband). After a few minutes the man walked away and her and I continued talking. Her little dog came out and went straight to Tino ( a boston Terrier) and Tino has never been dog aggressive and was interested in the little dog and very friendly. Her cat came walking by and my heart jumped into my throat, I just knew Tino was going to eat her cat but he just looked at the cat and ignored it, didnt even try to go sniff it. The cat thought better than being in the area and went up on the porch lol.

 She had a couple of suggestions/recomendations. 1 suggestion was to keep Tino crated inside the house while justin was in the house, He would see us interacting. 2 put Tino outside while Justin was home and keep them seperate. 3 Find a dog behaviourist for further evaluation. I asked her about sending him to a trainer and she was a bit hesitant, her concern being that at his age he may be set in his ways and attitude towards men that he may not change, altho the obedience training would be a good thing. 4 find a new home for him. She did comment that it wouldnt be long before Justin moved out and Tino did show signs that he would be "Protective" of me. All in al, Basically what I already knew and options that had already been voiced here, so I am back at square one.


by Shandra on 06 August 2007 - 02:08

I am wondering about his issue with men, His last 2 owners were men. I did see him interact with the last owner when he took Tino out of his kennel and let him run the yard. Tino was very happy to be out and run and had no issues with the man. I left the Obed trainers house and took Tino to the lake where my sister and a few of her friends were as well as my son and my nephew. Tino got out ( still in his harness)and I walked him along the lake and he got his feet wet and played with me a bit then I took him back to the van and buckled his retractable in and let him stay there, he could get in the van or stay out, his choice. I went and visited with everyone a little bit then we all got ready to go. Tino had jumped back in the back of the van and was sitting there, I was talking to my sis and she had already been introduced to Tino outside of the van and he was fine.with her but not overly enthusiastic. The others came over to the van and I had already wanred them not to pet him. Sis reached in the van to pet him and he looked at her with that look and I told her to move back. The others reached in without warning as I was telling sis to move back and Tino snarled. He was immediately corrected, right or wrong I will be damned if I allow his to snarl and growl at folks without correction. It may have been that he felt he was protecting the van but I cannot allow that without reacting. In hindsite, it may have been that he was just overwhelmed by the activities of the day and it was my fault for putting him in tomany new situations to close together.

So I am ready for your thoughts. I know I wont like them but I will listen and consider :)


Sheesh I cant believe I had to make it 3 posts lol sorry guys, I wanted to make a full recount so I could get your best advice/opinions based on exactly what went on.

by DKiah on 06 August 2007 - 03:08

Oh brother, this is the 2nd post that has given me the willies.. the hair on the back of my neck is standing up..... I'm sorry I think you are in way over your head with this one and your situation is an accident waiting to happen..

The nature vs nurture question is asked repeatedly and although it is a good discussion in your particular instance, I think it doesn't matter.. I don't recall how old this dog is but he looked big and powerful in his pictures and that is the scary part..... I think you are so new at this, this is not the right dog for you or your situation.. i am not new at this and I want nothing to do with a dog like this... at all - ever!!

It doesn't really matter why he is acting the way he is, it is however unacceptable and unless you can absolutely control him physically and are prepared for him to retaliate when you put pressure on him..

I'm sorry but he is not protecting you, this is all about him and he either thinks he is all that and has learned that growling works or he is worried, nervy, whatever you want to call.. at any rate, he should not be allowed freedom to make those choices.

I don't have any answers for you I'm sorry , because this is just not the kind of dog I want to spend my life with.. I am in this for the fun of it and the joy I get from having a relationship with an animal on a level most people don't  ever achieve.. I love to train and teach my dogs things and I love the connection we have... not sure that is possible with this animal..

I could be totally wrong but you asked for opinions and maybe there is someone out there who likes this kind of dog .. you better have some good insurance (liability and medical) and a chunk of cash stashed away cuz it is my gut feeling this dog is a huge liability on so many levels. You have enough in your life that your dog should be safe around people and should be a source of enjoyment  to you. Placing this dog elsewhere would also be a liability unless it was with someone accustomed to and ok with having this kind of dog.

Well, that was more like 20cents wasn't it. Please be careful



by allaboutthedawgs on 06 August 2007 - 03:08

Shandra, my daughter was given a dog, not a GSD, when she was younger. This dog had been badly abused by a male and was terrified of men. It took a long time of being exposed to my husband and sons, all of them very gentle and kind, for her to get over it. But, the one big difference between her and Tino is that Tino takes that fear and turns it into aggression. This is a nerve issue. I know you haven't wanted to hear that in the past thread but please listen to what they have said to you.  It is a terrible gamble to have a dog like this. I know you love him and are devoted to him, but more than likely it will be your son or someone else's that will pay the price for Tino's problems. A dog with bad nerves is a loaded weapon. And it's not his fault if that's the case. But, I hope you do listen to Jeff and Dkiah and the others even though it would be a terribly hard decision.

Best wishes,


by Shandra on 06 August 2007 - 03:08

DKiah, I appreciate your honesty. I was just sitting here reading what I had posted and ya know, even tho I live i, it didnt hit home, all of the issues, until I sat down a read exactly what went on today. I love Tino and I want whats best for him. I thought I was that situation. I have gone in circles with this issue and I dont know which way to go.I know I need to find him a new home but how would I do that? I would be passing a problem on. He is only 2 1/2, he hasnt had much of a chance in life :( He is stuck to me like glue and seems to be most comfortable when he is at my side. To date I have never had even the slightest indication  that he would be a threat to me, never a growl,snarl or even sideways look. I have put him in a submissive hold many times and he never reacted. I know that does not mean it cant happen if the situation were right. I want to enjoy my dog and when it is just me and him, playing whatever I have a blast and he is so comical but I also want my dog to be able to accompany me on outings without fearing someone might get bit. Thats why I was wondering if this could possibly be due to nature or the way he was raised?
Is there a chance of redemption thru training?

What type of person would want him knowing his issues, life as a junk yard dog?


by k9sar on 06 August 2007 - 03:08

If you are not comfortable with the dog or happy then perhaps you need to replace him. I do not believe in sending a dog away for training. He is your dog, in your house. You and your son need to work with a trainer experienced in these behavior issues. A dog shouldl learn to respect every member of the household, on your terms.

I agree  he was not protecting you. He was controlling the situation. Not the kind of dog I would want in my house (I have had some tough resues to work with for clients) What with home owners insurance rates and people happy to sue a the drop of a hat....Realistically, some dogs are just not fixable but I am not judging you dog via internet.


by Changer on 06 August 2007 - 05:08

Okay, I haven't seen the prior posts about conflicts between Tino and your son but lets talk about the lack of obedience. If you say you bring him to the trainers and he won't do anything but sit, and even that he has to be bribed with his tug toy, why are you giving the dog the option not to do his obedience? Correct the disobedience and stop putting him in situations where he feels he has to protect himself or his space. I don't care whether it is weak nerves or not, manage the situation and train him to do a behavior incompatible with growling and moving forward. In my opinion, being protective of you and sticking so close to you means a dog that is trying to manipulate you! You are not allowed to interact with men, says the dog. Did you think these men were a threat? Do you think people reaching into your van are a threat? If not, then tell the dog to move over and let the people in and if he doesn't, then feel free to correct him. Don't correct him for reading a situation, reacting and for you not liking that reaction. He's already proven that his reaction is not the right one, so from now on, stop giving him the option. Crate him and get rid of the retractable.

I am sorry to sound so harsh but I am jaded about people blaming the dog. He may very well have weak nerves, but he may also be reacting to your lack of leadership. Dogs will never hesitate to step into that role if no one is in it.

by Shandra on 06 August 2007 - 05:08

oh boy

Changer, I appreciate your comments and you are spot on I think about the leadership, ask my son, I am a push over most of the time. The retractable is what I use when walking him. His outting today did not involve a crate. Rather that go into everything all over again, Please view this thread, you will have all the background info on the situation :)  BTW , The obedience trainer was an initial consultation not someone we have been working with..

by Domenic on 06 August 2007 - 11:08

Shandra,first i want to CLEARLY state that i had the same type of problem with a dog i bought from a scumbag BIG showline women breeder in Abottsford B.C. Canada and  know how you feel.I have to say that in your case it sounds like there are some things that you could do in order to gain some control and to become the HEAD PACK LEADER.First of all ,why is the dog not in his crate?Why is someone reaching in the vehicle?also ,could this dog be sensing  your anger towards your son?Please understand that these are only questions to help you see what may be going on and NOT to in anyway insult or offend you.I beleive Changer said some valid things.You need to IMMEDIETLY find a GOOD trainer who can read your dog and who can work with you  so that  you find the stimulation which will work for YOU. OBEDIENCE,OBEDIENCE,OBEDIENCE is all you should be concentrating on for now and it is my opinion that your son should NOT be put in a situation where something bad can happen.Keep him away from the dog until you have rectified the situation somewhat.DONT PUT THIS DOG IN A SITUATION WHERE FAILURE IS FOR SURE.Do yourself and the dog a favour,find a GOOD RELIABLE trainer and work with that trainer only OR you will hear a million different fixes and in the end you will have the same problem or worst.I hope this will somewhat shed some light on your situation.


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