Showsight Spring Edition, February/March 2021


From Pavlov to Clarence Pfaffenberger’s 1963 classic, The New Knowledge of Dog Behavior; The Landmark work that established the science of puppy temperament testing and socialization. “Is it hered- ity or environment that shapes the dog? Researchers J.P. Scott and John L. Fuller, authors of Genetics and Social Behavior of the Dog, bred and cross-bred dogs in their quest to understand human heredity and behavior. Their research yielded a gold mine of data that Pfaffenberger turned into practical information for dog breeders and trainers. Learn about the critical stages of puppy development, how breed differences make dogs suitable for spe- cialized work, and how to breed and socialize temperamentally sound dogs. Reprint of a 1963 classic. Today’s experts recommend ‘The New Knowledge of Dog Behavior.’ Every time I hear someone talking about dogs as being hard-wired for behavior; or self-cen- tered, food-seeking gluttons, eager to be manipulated with a tidbit or click, I get out my copy of this book and my faith in dog and man is rejuvenated.” 2 From these two researchers until today, the information on dog behavior has blossomed into a new industry of its own, and even to “veterinarian behaviorists” who now specialize in correcting the errant behavior of dogs. “IN THIS DAY AND AGE, VERY FEW DOGS GET TO PERFORM THE TASKS FOR WHICH THEY WERE DEVELOPED. TEMPERAMENT SHOULD BE A PRIMARY CONSIDERATION WHEN PLANNING A BREEDING.”

Just what is meant by temperament? In its most basic sense, it is the mental (and physical) reaction to a stimulus. It is difficult to separate temperament from personality in the canine. In humans, temperament is defined as the basic, biologically inherited tenden- cies of an individual, whereas personality is described as the result of the interaction between the temperament and the environment. In the canine, these are wrapped up into one word—temperament! Canines, having been domesticated from the wolf, have what is called a “pack mentality.” This pack order or pack hierarchy consists of the alpha dogs, the middle-of-the-road type of dogs, and the submissive dogs. This hierarchy is ingrained within each dog and cannot be changed. Understanding this pecking order is crucial to understanding the temperament of the individual dog. From this basic pack mentality, each breed was developed for a specific function, whether it be finding birds or game, tracking man or animal, gathering and moving livestock, ridding the world of vermin, assisting man in his daily work whether it be by pull- ing a cart, protecting the home or business, or simply by sitting in someone’s lap offering love and support as only a dog can. So, within the various groups, you will find a wide range of differing personalities from breed to breed. “Each dog breed has a specific standard with certain charac- teristics for a particular breed. Retrievers instinctively retrieve because it’s in the DNA. Terriers may retrieve a ball, but their instincts tell them to grab and shake the ball instead of bringing it back. Sled dogs are born to run ahead of a sled, but cuddling on the couch isn’t something most of them enjoy doing. Guardian breeds are perfectly happy spending their days and nights protect- ing a flock of sheep, far from human interactions. Some breeds have a good work ethic and a willingness to do specific tasks, and some are independent and capable of making decisions on their own. However, this doesn’t mean that every herding dog wants to manage a flock or that all scent hounds are eager to hit the trail, and all retrievers like to get in water. It all depends on a dog’s indi- vidual temperament/personality.” 3 In this day and age, very few dogs get to perform the tasks for which they were developed. Temperament should be a primary consideration when planning a breeding. We must try to produce biddable dogs that can fit into just about any situation and be reli- able enough to go out in public without the owner having diffi- culty controlling the dog. It does not matter what the breed of dog is—it must be able to fit into modern society! As breeders, we must


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