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Natural Conditions and Dog Behavior

Do lead sled dogs receive training and does that lower their rank in the pack?
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Replies (9)
  • [quote=Beso]In Natural conditions Caucasian Ovcharkas have not any training. Theirs instict is to provide optimal behaviour. Most Natural CO even do not react on theirs names - actually they have not name - they are dogs and members of Pack (human owner and family members, including sheeps and cows of owner also are members of a Pack). But CO can be trained (some of them). Generally human shephers think that good leader of pack is to be ageins any training - training discussed as lowering leadees natural rank inside pack.[/quote] The quoted post by Beso invokes some very interesting thoughts for me. Especially the last sentence. I was wondering what others think about this statement and hope we can discuss it without talking about people and breeders. Just discuss natural habitat and behavior. Members who own other LGD in natural environment are welcome to chime in on this too.
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    • Do lead sled dogs receive training and does that lower their rank in the pack?
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      • Yes sled dogs are trained, considering they are TRAINED to pull forward, turn and stop when given a command. As far as the original post, I can say from first hand experience that COs can be trained although they do seem to tire of it quickly and choose not see the point, in a way. As far as my understanding of LGD work, they need little to no training in order to do their job of guarding. They do, however, need guidance in order to LEARN manners around the stock and those people who are acceptable to be present.
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        • hi,i`m from Romania and i own a caucasian ovcharka;as far as i know,the romanian shepherds,who use carpathian,mioritic and bucovinian dogs for protecting their flocks,don`t seem to train them;instead,they train those dogs who are suitable for herding the flock but who are less aggressive against predators.this holds also in caucasus i would say;
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          • The member who posted this text was banned - and the post is depricated.
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            • Obviously it depends on the individual dog. Most LGD of any breed *shouldn't* go after a neutral or passive person that is a ways away. A CO being employed as an LGD, I would say is more apt to charge off towards the person but, again, this is up in the air as to how the shepherd wants the dog to act, how much socialization it's had, life experiences and to an extent even the lines it comes from.
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              • [quote=EsqCaucasians]Do lead sled dogs receive training and does that lower their rank in the pack?[/quote] Not a good comparison at all Stacey. The dogs have totally different missions.
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                • [quote=rafi]hi,i`m from Romania and i own a caucasian ovcharka;as far as i know,the romanian shepherds,who use carpathian,mioritic and bucovinian dogs for protecting their flocks,don`t seem to train them;instead,they train those dogs who are suitable for herding the flock but who are less aggressive against predators.this holds also in caucasus i would say;[/quote] Thank you for this post. It is so nice to read input from other countries. edited: I am trying to understand the question in full. So herders think that if they train the dog it lowers their rank? Ok, I would like further clarification. However, if only the one dog is trained I could see how this might lower his rank. He now listens while the other dogs and flock for that matter don't listen. However, the problem that I have is that if I trained one dog I would tend to rely more on that dog than any of the others. The herder must always be the pack leader. It would seem to me that now that dog would rise in rank, because as the leader I now rely on that dog more. If that dog stays with herd while I am gone I don't know what would happen. I image the other dogs picking on him because he is now the teachers pet. I can't really see a plausible reason to believe that the dogs rank will be lowered. I hope some of you can.
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                  • [quote=gsicard"][quote="Beso]In Natural conditions Caucasian Ovcharkas have not any training. Theirs instict is to provide optimal behaviour. Most Natural CO even do not react on theirs names - actually they have not name - they are dogs and members of Pack (human owner and family members, including sheeps and cows of owner also are members of a Pack). But CO can be trained (some of them). Generally human shephers think that good leader of pack is to be ageins any training - training discussed as lowering leadees natural rank inside pack.[/quote]

                    The quoted post by Beso invokes some very interesting thoughts for me. Especially the last sentence. I was wondering what others think about this statement and hope we can discuss it without talking about people and breeders. Just discuss natural habitat and behavior. Members who own other LGD in natural environment are welcome to chime in on this too.[/quote]

                    I think you need to think about what "training" means. Does it mean a human shows/teaches/trains the dog to do something specific? There are inherent instincts/traits within the dog. Those are very very elemental, however. They are refined into what we see as behavior through experience. However that experience is imparted. When you put an LGD into the field, as a puppy, it learns from the other dogs around. That's training. Actually, the best way to train an LGD is to put it in with another LGD that is already doing the job. The more experience dog "trains" the younger one.

                    An example might be a puppy in with lets say sheep. It will tend to treat the sheep like another puppy. "Play" with them. Not good for the sheep. If it's a little older, it might chew an ear or bite a tail. If the sheep are for food, probably isn't a big issue, but it disturbs the sheep. Older, bigger sheep will "correct" that puppy. That's training. Another more experenced LGD there will also correct. Somtimes, the shepherd will put a "drag" on the dog to slow it down.

                    Training. Even in terms of defense. The instinct/trait/drive may be there, but it is refined through experience (aka training). A story as an example. Man had sheep, a smaller farmer. He had problems with coyote predation. He had a mature Kuvasz that was taking care of the problem for him. (the dog, obviously, knew his job and did it well he had been "trained" by another LGD who passed away). The man got a Pyr, another male I believe, to replace the LGD that had passed away. At the age of about 18 months or so, he separate the two to different fields of the farm. In the area where the young Pyr was, a coyote pack came in. They had already had experience with an LGD. Most of the pack stayed in the woods at the perimter. A few came in. The Pyr, instinctively, knew this was trouble and went after them. Ended up going just into the woods in chase, to drive them off. At which point the rest of the pack went after him. Ambush.

                    The Pyr was in trouble "alone" against the determined pack. The man became aware of this when the real uproar started upon the ambush. He rushed out, with a shotgun. As he was running out across the field to get to the situation, the Kuvasz, who always stayed on his side of the fences, came flying across the farm, clearing fences at a full run, and into the woods. By the time the man got there, there were coyotes, and pieces of coyotes, flying left and right.

                    That was a learning experience, training, for that Pyr, on top of his inherent instincts. Had the more experienced dog been with him, he would have been trained about chasing something into an ambush situation less painfully. Had that been really in the mountains, with really full shepherds and a full contingent of LGD's, the more experienced dogs would have "trained" that younger one. (that slit up of only 2 lgds would not have existed in the first place) The shepherds would probably not have even interrupted what they were doing. When you take a dog out of that specific environment, where does that training/experience come from then? Then it shifts more to humans to provide that. It becomes something more like what, perhaps, we tend to think of as training. The dog doesn't "have" to have that additional training. But if it does not, it's likely to be even more problematical than that puppy in the field. Since it will not even have the "training" the field puppy got. The dog will then express its real inherent traits based on extremely limited experience (training). Everything is possible danger. That's one possible outcome. HE should be the dominant, since there is no other dominant around teaching (training).

                    Here's another example, less specific. If you remove a puppy very early from its litter mates, that puppy will be rougher when playing. Up to the point of being painful (too rough). Why? Because it didnt receive the feedback (training/experience) from other puppies : get "too" rough and you get just as rough back. Ow. Maybe I shouldn't to that again. That's truly not inherent (less roughness), it's learned. What's the really "best" way to deal with that in a puppy? (even an adolescent a lot of the time?).

                    As Humans we can try to "train", with a leash, with some sort of restraining or corrective process. That's not the "best" way though. If we respond back, also in play, just a little rougher, and if we keep escalating, still in play, until the dog says "hmm that's not what I want, that hurts". If we do that really in play, and escalate gradually, not jump to an extreme. we "train" the puppy exactly as it would be in the litter. It becomes an absolutely rock solid learned behavior. Just as rock solid as the LGD behaviors we see the dogs take on when they are in the field, learning from the other animals and experience. I think the transference of information between the dogs is really amazing. There is much more transferred (taught) that we see.

                    Our communication skills without words, are feeble compared to the dogs. No end of subtle communication that we dont perceive.

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