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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-18-2014, 08:30 AM Thread Starter
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Small Dogs vs. Big Dogs....

Interesting article, I'd love to hear other's thoughts. My daughter and I had a lively discussion on this.
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/...gical-problems

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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-18-2014, 09:37 AM
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It's an interesting article; I thought the most important bit about it was at the very end, under 'Important Caveat!', where they remind us that the study was based on the observations of owners, rather than on any scientific research done by disinterested parties. My immediate feeling is that actual owners have few comparisons, biased opinions, subjective responses to questions and are far more likely to make inaccurate assessments of the subtleties of behaviour. It is such a massive subject. It's certainly interesting if, even on a subjective response, small dog owners report consistently different findings from large dog owners; separating out, then, what might be the difference between the owners' attitudes to small dogs v large dogs, the expectations of small dog owners v large dog owners, and all sorts of other differences in the lifestyles of the dogs might prompt further questions designed to discover the nature/nurture balance. They touch on all of that but don't give us any specific statistics. I'm interested in whether or not breeding for neoteny in looks also produces neotenous behaviour patterns, such as would, for instance, make housetraining more difficult. I think there is a certain amount of evidence to suggest that this is true.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-18-2014, 09:25 PM
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I think it's an interesting article too. It's certainly one to make us think. I do think that it it is very much a "nature" AND "nurture" thing. There certainly are some things about little dogs, and those who show more signs of neoteny that seem to make them more difficult as a group. HOWEVER, since i soend a good deal of time at two training centers, that tend to attract people who are SERIOUS about training their dogs, I've seen tiny Chihuahuas and "tea cup" Poodles, Pugs, (who are as brachycephalic as they get) and Lhasas, who are well adjusted, happy, obedient, HOUSE TRAINED , solid citizens.

In the greater world, I see all too many spoiled rotten and mishandled little dogs who are NOT potty trained, and behave atrociously around other dogs and people. But I also see Labs and Goldens dragging their owners around, jumping on people, and generally making themselves a huge nuisance. There are alot of il-mannered dogs of all sizes, and a lot of stupid people, who shouldn't have dogs. At times, I think they should license dog OWNERS rather than dogs.


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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-19-2014, 03:27 AM
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In the greater world, I see all too many spoiled rotten and mishandled little dogs who are NOT potty trained, and behave atrociously around other dogs and people. But I also see Labs and Goldens dragging their owners around, jumping on people, and generally making themselves a huge nuisance. There are alot of il-mannered dogs of all sizes, and a lot of stupid people, who shouldn't have dogs. At times, I think they should license dog OWNERS rather than dogs.
What a good idea to license the owners rather than the dogs - seriously clever!! Yesterday, in the university parks here in Oxford, my husband was walking Tycho when a Jack Russell literally hurtled out of nowhere and attacked Tychy really badly - Richard had to break up the fight, and fell, came back covered in mud and with a bad shoulder. He said to the owner "That dog should be on a LEAD", and the owner said, "yes, I agree"….???? What is WRONG with people? I dread going into those parks now, which is why Richard was taking Tycho in the first place; I've had too many instances of horrible behaviour, both canine and human, including that nasty little three or four-year-old boy (I posted about it once) who kicked Tycho hard in the ribs.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-19-2014, 06:05 AM
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My sister got a German Shepard around the same time I got Ludo. Whenever Sam (GS) does something exhibiting bad manners or bad parenting I think, "Do I just think this because he's 25 times bigger than Ludo and therefore his behavior is more noticeable or is he really behaving awfully?" Most times I have to consider it's his size that makes his behaviors seem so pronounced. (I still believe he has some manner issues but not the point of this post.)

I have to be very careful to remind myself to treat Ludo like a large dog. Because the pee pee is a tiny little puddle on the kitchen floor doesn't mean I brush it off --- It's back to vigilant potty training. When he jumps all over me but I barely feel it I still need to turn from him so he knows this isn't the way to get attention, etc. etc.

I hope Tycho is okay. Sometimes dog owners like parents of children don't associate their nurturing with the resulting behavior... It is appalling.

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-19-2014, 06:09 AM
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My sister got a German Shepard around the same time I got Ludo. Whenever Sam (GS) does something exhibiting bad manners or bad parenting I think, "Do I just think this because he's 25 times bigger than Ludo and therefore his behavior is more noticeable or is he really behaving awfully?" Most times I have to consider it's his size that makes his behaviors seem so pronounced. (I still believe he has some manner issues but not the point of this post.)

I have to be very careful to remind myself to treat Ludo like a large dog. Because the pee pee is a tiny little puddle on the kitchen floor doesn't mean I brush it off --- It's back to vigilant potty training. When he jumps all over me but I barely feel it I still need to turn from him so he knows this isn't the way to get attention, etc. etc.

I hope Tycho is okay. Sometimes dog owners like parents of children don't associate their nurturing with the resulting behavior... It is appalling.
Good points all, Traci; I think Tycho is alright, I may not know until the next time he sees a Jack Russell, or indeed any other dog….
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-19-2014, 08:18 AM
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Very interesting article. Before getting my two Havs, I disliked small dogs, was almost afraid of them. What I have learned from my personal experience is what you have all said, 95% of the dog's personality is shaped by its environment. What behaviors are reinforced.

One behavior I am recently attentive is growling when being moved over in MY bed. First of all, NONE of my large dogs were EVER allowed on the furniture! NEVER! Plus they all weighed at least 90 pounds so to pick them up and move them was impossible. Then in came this adorable tiny "puppy(s)" that are now 3 years old. They are all over the furniture. Is that because of the stature of the breed? No, that's because of me allowing it! Over the years when my husband comes to bed, he'll move Lucy. I never heard it but he'd make comments about, "oh, gurrrr yourself" and just go about his business. I'd continue to read my book. NEVER doing anything about it other than allowing her to readjust herself to cuddle close to me. I am so mad at myself! She's NEVER growled at me but she growls at Charlie (her brother) when he comes around and she's being cuddled by me. I've started working of that by pushing her away and ignoring her. It is working but still, this is one HUGE reason I disliked small dogs and here it is staring me in the face. It is NOT Lucy's fault at all. I take 100% responsibility.

I think the article is right on target. Humans treat small dogs differently in so many many ways and our behavior is what shapes a dog's personality 95%.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-19-2014, 10:24 AM
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There are a couple of things I allow Kodi to do that I probably wouldn't if he were a large (or shedding!) breed. But I have made a conscious decision to allow these behaviors, and I'm happy with that decision.

First, I DO allow Kodi on the furniture, as long as he "sits quiet". He is not allowed to dig or get wild on the furniture, and he knows it. I also allow him to come up to me QUIETLY and put his paws up on my leg. This makes it easier for both of us to get close and exchange some love. I've made it vey clear, from the beginning, that this is VERY different from "jumping" on people, or "slamming" into me. (which he DID try (often) as an adolescent )

I DON'T think I'd let a Lab sleep on the bed or the couch… a Lab would ruin my furniture! And I think, even if it were done slowly and gently, having a 70lb dog put his paws on your chest would be a bit much! But I truly think these are conscious training decisions. If I had WANTED to keep Kodi off the furniture, or keep him from putting his paws on me, I would have enforced that from the beginning. Can't really blame the dog for getting on the bed when I bought him steps!


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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-19-2014, 10:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lalla View Post
It's an interesting article; I thought the most important bit about it was at the very end, under 'Important Caveat!', where they remind us that the study was based on the observations of owners, rather than on any scientific research done by disinterested parties. My immediate feeling is that actual owners have few comparisons, biased opinions, subjective responses to questions and are far more likely to make inaccurate assessments of the subtleties of behaviour. It is such a massive subject. It's certainly interesting if, even on a subjective response, small dog owners report consistently different findings from large dog owners; separating out, then, what might be the difference between the owners' attitudes to small dogs v large dogs, the expectations of small dog owners v large dog owners, and all sorts of other differences in the lifestyles of the dogs might prompt further questions designed to discover the nature/nurture balance. They touch on all of that but don't give us any specific statistics. I'm interested in whether or not breeding for neoteny in looks also produces neotenous behaviour patterns, such as would, for instance, make housetraining more difficult. I think there is a certain amount of evidence to suggest that this is true.
yes, as much as Serpell is well respected, this survey has been criticized because of It's "unscientific" approach. People in general are not very good witnesses when it comes to dog behavior.

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-19-2014, 03:05 PM
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yes, as much as Serpell is well respected, this survey has been criticized because of It's "unscientific" approach. People in general are not very good witnesses when it comes to dog behavior.
Same with parents. Depending on their built in view of things, they can sometimes think little Johnny's behavior is "perfectly normal" (when he's setting cats on fire), or that there must be something wrong, when a normal, but highly active kid gets born into a house full of bookish types.


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