I love the nature vs nurture idea and it comes into play in what I want to talk about today. What do I mean by nature in dog training? The nature is genetics. Its when the dog comes from good stock with you having to do anything. I used to wonder how some dogs were so muscular only to realize their father was also muscular. Nature plays a big role in protection dog training. Some dogs have “it” and some dogs don't. Sometimes I hear people say that they want their dog to be protective. The problem is that som dogs don’t have a prtective instinct. Sure they bark at strangers, but thats mostly out of fear not protection. The other part to this equation is training. A protection dog can only truly protect on command through training. This is the nurture side of the same coin.
Nurture is how you raise your dog. What type of environment? Is she socialized well? Does she have any fears not due to genetic disposition? I focus mostly on nurture when training dogs. It's the only area I have control over. I can't control what a dog was born with.
I seen a friend with their dog. It was a pit bull that was well behaved and even easily capable of being off leash within a short period of time. His dog was 7 months old. His roommate claimed she was a dog trainer and said the dog needed no training. As much as i feel a dog trainer is needed, I agreed. If my friend just wanted a well behaved dog the dog needed no training. This dog was laid back and calm. I would trust a kid 6 years old and above to be around this dog. My friend began to explain to me that this dog was not like his previous dog. This dog was naturally calm and not pushy whatsoever. His last dog was a brat and if you gave her an inch she would take the whole football field for a touchdown. How do you recognize each?
Laid back dog
Has ears slightly backwards and flat against head
Eager to please
Looks at you a lot for approval
Moves slow a lot
I don't want you to confused this with a dog who has been punished a lot. These dogs can show the same signs yet it's because their natural drive has been suppressed. You would have to know a dogs history to know for sure.
Pushes head on you to make you pet them
Usually the first one to eat from mother and pushes other puppies out of the way
Possessive over toys, people, and other objects
Rushes out the front door
Never takes in information from the owner
When you correct they tend to redirect as if to say “how dare you”
These are just some ways that you can easily spot this behavior.
I wrote this post with the beauty of variety in dog’s personality in mind. I love it how different breeds have different tendencies. Since society has been modernized we forget that all dogs have a purpose. Some dogs are not made to sit in an apartment with little exercise. Other dogs have a tendency to chase things. This could be the difference between a well behaved dog and a “bratty” dog. The dog might just be displaying natural tendencies that is not beneficial to us in our modern society.
Get a professional dog trainer to help you figure this out.