a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Nature vs Nurture plus Evil Floors

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Nature vs Nurture plus Evil Floors

SUMMARY: Who's her daddy?

If you haven't already read this short article about nature vs. nurture in dogs (USDAA posted it in its news feed), you should. It's easily read and has nice diagrams. It clearly describes how both nature and nurture affect a dog's behavior, but that even the best nurturing can't overcome genetic flaws in behavior (and, vice versa, the worst nurturing can't completely overcome genetic strengths).

It's All in How They're Raised (not)

Here's my response:
Thanks for this article; just read in in the USDAA news. I particularly liked it because it followed a discussion with a friend about human children. I commented that she'd done a great job raising her kids, and she said that, no, she was just lucky. I said that I believed it's a combination of nature and nurture, and she said it's almost all nature, because she's seen good kids in bad situations and vice versa. Your article captures the answer to our discussion quite nicely. Thanks.
My border collie (Boost) abruptly developed a fear of unfamiliar flooring (especially if it was smooth, although it could be the exact flooring that I have in my house, just in a different building) when she was maybe 3 or 4. She'd always been concerned about changes to her environment, but this stunned me, because it also included floors in houses in which we had previously spent many days during her life or even weekends visiting. This manifested with the toes splayed out, the legs splayed out, hunkering down for a low center of gravity, and preferably hugging the walls and furniture as if somehow that made the floors safer. Fast forward to when she's 8 years old--still does it, although not quite as much and she can get used to the floors given time and patience. Talking to her breeder one day about border collies in general and reactivity, and I mentioned the floors thing. He said, oh, yes, her father did that his whole life, on *all* smooth floors, even in his own house--hugging the walls, toes spread out. Funny thing is that in looks and attitude, she's so much like her mother (whom floors never bothered).

Previous posts about Evil Floors (some with photos):

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