Become a Member Today Forums General Dog Training Discussion Miscellaneous Does This Big New Study Contradict, Amend or Support Scott & Fuller???? Reply To: Does This Big New Study Contradict, Amend or Support Scott & Fuller????

  • Dustin

    Member
    May 3, 2022 at 11:34 am

    OK, I just finished reading this study and I have some thoughts…

    I agree with Mike on the subjectivity issue, my main problem with this study is that the data collected was done by self reported survey of dog owners. The average dog owner is not able to properly identify or quantify cannine behaviors. That makes the data they are basing their conclusions off of questionable at best.

    Another issue I have is that they used the AKC breed descriptions as one of their baselines for how a purebred dog is supposed to behave. “affectionate, smart, energetic, friendly, curious, merry”. Terms like this are also subjective and don’t provide insight into actual dog behavior. As an aside, AKC breed descriptions always remind me of horoscopes. Vague enough that they could apply to almost any dog.

    The study does not take into account the difference proper husbandry and training of an animal can have on behavior. Basically the Nature vs Nurture question. The authors lump all behavior into “nature” and ignore the effects nurture could be having on these dog’s. In the study they label the Belgian Malinois as the most biddable breed according to their survey. Malinois are and can be quite biddable but that is only when they are properly raised and cared for. I would suggest that if a person has a well behaved Mal they are likely either a dog trainer or involved in dog training. That person with the well behaved Mal is more likely to respond to this survey than someone with a Mal that has a lot of behavioral problems(data bias). There is a massive difference in biddability between a properly provided for Mal and an entitled or not provided for Mal. Another example that jumped out at me was when they stated that “Ancestry from Chesapeake Bay retrievers increases with propensity to damage doors (Q40; LMER <i style=”background-color: var(–bb-content-background-color); font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; color: var(–bb-body-text-color);”>t = 4.2; <i style=”background-color: var(–bb-content-background-color); font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; color: var(–bb-body-text-color);”>p = 0.001) and escape from enclosures (Q35; LMER <i style=”background-color: var(–bb-content-background-color); font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; color: var(–bb-body-text-color);”>t = 3.5; <i style=”background-color: var(–bb-content-background-color); font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; color: var(–bb-body-text-color);”>p<sub style=”background-color: var(–bb-content-background-color); font-family: inherit; color: var(–bb-body-text-color);”>FDR</sub><font face=”inherit”> = 0.02).” I have a couple problems with statements like this. As always, correlation is not causation. From a trainer perspective the propensity to </font>damage<font face=”inherit”> door’s </font>has more to do with the dog’s level of drive balance than it does with breed. We could change this statement to read “Level of drive increases with ancestry from Chesapeake Bay retrievers”. That statement would be more technically accurate from an animal behavior perspective but it’s still based on the fact that the dog’s that are chewing on the doors are not being raised in an environment where they are provided for and have their drives balanced. I don’t think those dog’s should be baseline for behavior of that breed.

    Having said all that, I don’t disagree with their conclusions. It basically confirms 200 years of dog breeding experience even if the authors don’t say as much. They DO NOT differentiate purebred dog’s and mutts when they draw the conclusion that “breed is not a reliable predictor of behavior” even though in the article they admit several times that purebred dog’s are much more likely to conform to breed traits and stereotypes than dog’s of mixed ancestry. Thats exactly what dog breeders have been saying forever. Dog’s that have been carefully bread for certain behavioral traits are more likely to deliver those traits and dog’s that are randomly bread (or bread for morphology rather than behavior) will produce offspring of random and unpredictable behavior.

    db