Most dogs have some sort of weakness even if its just the vacuum cleaner,fire works or the vet. Some can be extremely brave towards other animals but not humans,or the other way around. Not all dogs are even capable of rage,I have seen it in my Rottweiler a few times though with other dogs and in cases where he felt he had to protect me. The dog can still feel pain but it seems that that will just increase the aggression, and the dog will not react to it. Unless the dog needs to have it,it is not really a good thing.
Prey drive I`ve seen can bring great courage for especially creatures that are not human or canine with dogs. That was seen more in my Malamute/GSD mix.
"Every fighter that ever lived had fear. A boy comes to me and tells me that heâ€™s not afraid, if I believed him Iâ€™d say heâ€™s a liar or thereâ€™s something wrong with him. Iâ€™d send him to a doctor to find out what the hellâ€™s the matter with him, because this is not a normal reaction. The fighter thatâ€™s gone into the ring and hasnâ€™t experienced fear is either a liar or a psychopathâ€¦" (Cus Dâ€™Amato, legendary boxing trainer)
In dogs, is courage a function of absence of fear? Are there fearless breeds and if so, are those basically bred psychotic? Can a dog be more courageous with or without fear? Are there fundamental differences to human emotions? For humans we often say that the difference between a hero and a coward is that they both have fear, but the hero acts despite it whereas the coward freezes and runs. Is it similar for dogs, or a whole different game altogether. I'd like to hear opinions.
Dan - in all walks of life fear is a great motivator. Fear takes many shapes and motivates in different ways. It is fear of being killed, captured, or being called a coward that motivates some uniformed persons to do great things in their own mind. Fear motives defense, cowardice, courage, and .. the big one - inaction. Most military personnel are trained to conquer or control their fear and use it as motivation to do heroic things. The big difference in dogs is the need for self preservation which lead some to run away because they know they cannot survive the conflict or motivates the defense in the ones that think they can or have no escape. I think you know it is much more complicated than that from a genetic or physiological standpoint - so I'll wait for more comments.
Fear is a great motivator for all things in life - me thinks.
Everything has fear since its located in the most basic of the part brain..Amygdala. But fear is a bigger motivator than courage ever could be. Modern day troops are definitely the easiest place to see this in action... you think there not scared you wouldn't be furthest from the truth....... 9/10
from what I have seen, many dogs were fearful of certain things when they were tender puppies.. but as they grew up, they became beasts and wanted to kill that by which they were afraid when they were puppies..
there is another category of dogs.. they r friendly with everybody.. but they get aggressive and attack only when they/their family are/is attacked. so, I think this explains everything. if they react to a threat, why do they react? obviously because they feel threatened. if they r strong, the fear dissolves in their will to act, or if they are weak, their resolve to protect their turf runs helter skelter and a fear or being eliminated dictates their mind and body. thats what my opinion is..
When it comes to a protection dog, actually...
Having fear or not is less important to me than is not reacting fearful. Some believe having fear is necessary to define courage. If one accepts this, well then to me having such "in spite of fear" courage or not is less important to me than displaying boldness to resist stress (in spite of recognizing fear or not recognizing fear). I see no need in personifying the trait anymore than necessary. Motive is important in training, but the expression of the desired behavior is more important.
I desire the dog that is comfortable in conflict as long as the dog is NOT rank driven within the pack and is also stable minded. Not that anyone above is doing so...but if I think of a person that has no fear I can't help but think they lack some intelligence to some degree...but when it comes to dogs...I don't actually feel that way. Dogs are domesticated and during this domestication they have been severely modified to serve. As a result, self preservation isn't always a necessary component to breeding...and in fact in some gladiator breeds self preservation can cause a said individual to be culled. For this reason, I do not completely accept the idea that a no fear dog (should one exist...as in a "truly dead game dog") is necessarily "self limiting" in reality...as such a dog has been domesticated and is often SAVED by its owner simply because of its tremendous willingness to continue a given task at the expense of denying its own well being. Such a specimen has to some degree been selected to have a "hero" behavior IMO even if not natural. Therefore, I see no reason to suggest (intended or not) that a dog that acts as if it has no fear is not intelligent in conflict...as long as the said dog is easily trained to perform well at desired tasks.
Actually...to some degree I prefer the "missiles armed full steam ahead, and if there shall be any regrets we will deal with those tomorrow...right now I need to deal with this" no fear type of dog. IMO, such a dog is a better tool/servant as it is more capable when more determination is needed. Take that dog and train it to control it when you don't want it to bite off more than it can actually chew (like the hypothetical unnecessary "bear" or "mountain lion" engagement in the "wilderness survival dog" topic).
I have to disagree Lee I think that fear makes you fight that much harder thinking you can die seperates the pups from the dogs so to speak..... fight or flight is revolved around the fear response I don't think anything will put as much into it without some level of fear. plus fear also releases endorphines for pain and adrenaline for stamina and strength fear is needed that's why its there....I'll take a dog that can harness there fear over a dog that is afraid of nothing any day
I understand your point...from a defense situation. I do like a DISPLAY of what appear to be a combination of both prey and defense for that vary reason.
My issue however with the concept is that we are left to read the behavior of the dog, as we can't read their mind. Generally speaking, fear based response to conflict will show greater signs of stress AS the dog APPROACHES its threshold for avoidance. Avoidance however is not something I want on the table; therefore, I select for intensity WITHOUT signs of avoidance. Now, with that said, the dog is selected to maintain intensity without showing the signs of fear.
From this, one could argue that we are therefore producing a more confident fear fighter due to the higher intensity and greater determination to remain in the battle...OR...one could also argue that instead of creating a more confident fear motivator...perhaps instead we are simply creating a more INTENSE prey motivated predator...and that is when we find the most confidence as a hunter generally doesn't fear their prey...but just kills it. So...
1. Perhaps we are creating a BOLDER but already intense dog...(a braver fearful dog)...are we [u]adding boldness to intensity[/u]?
2. Perhaps we are creating a more INTENSE but already bold predator (a non-fearful dog)...are we [u]adding intensity to boldness[/u]?
In other words...are we adding A to B or B to A? To answer that, I would like to remind us what we are starting with. What is our genetic base...prey or predator? The dog is both. Now the question becomes, which type does a given breeder prefer?
With that said, I would like to mention that while if dealing with GREAT DOGS of either type...the two end products appear the same...but the motive is different...and upon close inspection a trained eye is more likely to see signs of such motivation as the duration and intensity of a battle is increased. The greater both components are in the dogs (intensity and boldness), the more difficult it becomes to decipher which of the two is the primary component of motivation and which is the supplemental motivation. Some may argue, does it really matter? Well, what we need from the dog is action...not theory. So, in the end, the proof is in the pudding...and once again artificial selection provides for that need.
Endorphines for pain and adrenaline for power are not only products of fear. Sex produces such. Athletes are able to tap into such. I have tapped into such before without ever experiencing fear. Marathon runners get a 2nd wind after "hitting the wall." These are products of endorphines and adrenaline.
If you think one can't be intense without fear, well...I would like to remind you blood hounds have tracked unto their death. In other words, some animals don't just fight to the death. Some have worked themselves to a "point of no (natural) return" and yet still continued to work until they themselves extinguished. It is rare...but artificial selection allows us to capture such genes as it allows us to use UN-natural means (artificial interference by man) to save such awesome specimens...so once they are identified they can be treated for their "no-return" display and via medicine...indeed return and contribute to future generations of such working stock.
Rage also produces adrenal responses. I've seen plenty of that teaching Martial Arts. I've seen people's pupils dilate when the adrenaline hits then seen the extraordinary display of power a man can have with an adrenaline rush. That's one reason I feel like a mal and similarly sized dogs would be killed very quickly by a raging man fighting him. I've seen similar seeming responses in dogs.