Nature or Nurture ? - Page 1

Pedigree Database


by susie on 17 March 2015 - 18:03

My almost 9 years old male died 2 weeks ago due to bloat. Time to think about all the dogs that shared my life for almost 40 years now. Cry Smile

During the decades I raised several puppies, males and females.
I had not much success with the females ( my problem, the dogs were fine ), but every male I raised on my own shared the almost similar characteristics ( temperament, working abilities ) with its forerunners.
The instincts like "hunt drive", "prey drive", have been different, but the main behavior has been always similar.
They have been out of different lines, out of different breeders though, and I trained in different clubs.

My question: How much is nature, how much is nurture?
Do I tend to pick similar puppies all the time, or is it just my presence that decides about the development of the dogs?

I really believe in nurture - when I was in policedogs the best dogs we were able to find were the onces that were raised in pet homes - they became alpha, and the unknowing owners had to sell them, because they were not able to handle them any longer.
A lot of my friends, who are involved in IPO on a high level, have to buy green dogs, because they are not able to raise a pup successfully = fitting their needs - they are too dominant.

What are your experiences?


by Hired Dog on 17 March 2015 - 18:03

Susie, first, my condolences for your loss, I just lost my dog 2 weeks a go at the age of 2 as well. 

As far as the rest of your question, genetics, first and foremost....they determine what the dog will be like for the rest of its life. Yes, you can mold and direct those genetics, but, you cant change them, thats why its so important to start with the right dog.

by Nans gsd on 17 March 2015 - 18:03

AAAAAAAAAAAAAW;  so sorry to hear this sad news for the both of you.  Truly sometimes I think it's the luck of the draw.  Hate to say that but if you look back as I often do I too seem to choose a certain type, personality (temprament) for myself and sometimes NO it does not work out.    I do hope for good health though and sometimes even that does not work out. 


Better days ahead for both of you.  Nan


by Koots on 17 March 2015 - 19:03

Sorry for your loss Susie.    With regards to your question, I would say that you are choosing a certain "type" of pup consistently, whether you realise it or not.     The genetic characteristics combined with your method of raising each pup have resulted in the adult expression.    So, IMO, the answer to your question is - both, but to different degrees.   You cannot make a pup something it genetically is not, but you can shape some behaviours while raising the pup.     


by bubbabooboo on 17 March 2015 - 19:03

Genetics is at most 50% of many behavioral traits.  Nurture is huge .. the mother dog from conception to birth has large effects through hormones and epigenetic controls.  Then post natal the first 6 months is likewise huge for the developing puppy.  If Peyton Manning had been raised by wolves I am sure that he would not have been the best quarterback of his generation.  The Manning sons were the beneficiary of good genetics but more important they had Archie to teach them how.  None of the Manning sons has the same tool set of physical gifts or personality but they all turned out as good quarterbacks due to nurture and also due to opportunity.  Puppies that grow up without older dogs and puppies in their lives of course think they are Alpha .. the Alpha dog for sure and possibly they come to be out of control if their humans do not spend time and teach them to become thinking dogs.  In a family of dogs the puppy is by definition subordinate for a large part of it's life.  They must work their way up but in some human families they are crowned king or queen at 8 weeks and have being leader thrust upon them,  The sooner the puppy becomes confident in it's position within it's world and the more the puppy has trust in it's relationships with humans or dogs the faster it develops a stable and confident working relation with humans and dogs which is the foundation of learning.

by Blitzen on 17 March 2015 - 19:03

Very sorry for  your loss, Susie.  Bloat takes so many great GSD's; it's a terrible disease. I've taken adult dogs that needed forever homes after my last 2 GSD's died; I don't know how I would choose a puppy if I needed to. It would be hard for certain.


by susie on 17 March 2015 - 20:03

Thank you all for your kind words. The old guy just became a littlebit laid back during the last year, we had our "routine", we both liked it...
I don´t tend to be too sentimental about dogs, but in this case...

So sorry for you, Hired, 2 years is far to young to die, I´m sure this was a difficult decision for you.

by Hired Dog on 17 March 2015 - 21:03

Thank you Susie, I am not very sentimental about these things either, but, this one hurt, badly!

by joanro on 17 March 2015 - 22:03

Susie, the old ones become our shadow, always wanting to be closer than ever, always keeping eyes and ears focused to located us...watching the door we just exited, waiting silently in anticipation of our arrival. Sorry for your loss.


by Hundmutter on 17 March 2015 - 22:03

Susie, I'm so sorry to hear about the death  of your dog.

RIP  Rose

 Made me realise all over again that when Taz bloated at about the

same age as your dog, we were SO lucky he came through it. 


Girl Hug


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