Now I am no expert on this and do not have factual evidence at my side like Joanna at RufflySpeaking does (i love those posts by the way...it makes it harder to argue the opposite case when you write so much and so educational...even if i don't agree! )
Anyway...while at the National we had 9 dogs in our room. Yes nine. My 5 and Joanne and Ferris' 4. We weren't the only ones with more than 4 mind you :)
We had three males, two neutered males and an intact 6 month old puppy. 5 of the bitches are intact and we had one female in standing heat. Most had never seen each other until the second they met face to face in the doorway of the hotel room. The people were more nervous than the dogs and we all settled down to a fun romp with 9 long bodied dogs.
why do I write about this? I witnessed not 1, or 2 or 3 dogs but FOUR intact males having issues with other males that were well over 10 feet away and not even LOOKING in their direction. The dogs in question were not eager to 'greet' them but wanted to rip their heads off and eat them for supper. The dogs that were supposedly the 'intruders' were merely standing next to their owners, or walking by without harassing or 'egging' them on. There was a mixed reaction with owners of the 'aggressive' dogs. One was completely oblivious to what was going on and continued talking to their friend. Another tried to get their attention elsewhere but evenutally just laughed it off and said 'silly boy'. A third picked the dog up in their arms coddling them and saying 'its ok its ok' and telling the other person with the dog that was oblivious to the impending battle that they needed to move THEIR dog away. The fourth just made a comment about 'oh that's just him with other males'. Really?
Why make excuses. Your dog is aggressive. Its not my fault and I don't feel like I should have to cower in the corners when you walk by or pick my dog up and run by just because your dog has issues. I don't care how they got them or why but just watching the antics of each of the 4 dogs leads me to believe that it is mostly environmental.
I believe it was Joanna that had made mention of the importance of taking young male dogs (puppies) between the age of 8 weeks and 16 weeks in for socialization and puppy kindergarten. It goes on to say that the fun loving pup in your house all of a sudden is a monster when you go out in public barking and causing a fuss towards other dogs.
Case in point. My Oliver came over from Finland around 12 weeks of age. The gal picking him up said he and his littermate bounded out of the crate to greet them all waging their tails and happy as all get out. He then went to live with her for a week before going to live elswhere for a month. During that time I was told he was not taken out of the household and was not introduced to other dogs, but kept seperate. I went to get him at a show and when i drove into the yard he ran and coward in the kennel and the entire weekend was like that....chasing him in the xpen to catch him. It didn't end there....it lasted MONTHS....lots of week trips or weekend trips to friends places of work, lots of Puppy K, Puppy dynamics etc. To top it off he decided he didn't like men so it took me that much longer to have him trust me. now he is always by my side or on my lap. And he has gotten better. In January we received our Canine Good Citizen award, in 2007 we received our Rally Novice and there were MALE judges doing it and he hardly noticed. We greet people in the show site or sidewalk and he barely makes an effort to look at them. I'm quite proud of the feat we've accomplished....albeit 4 years into it.
Now Mitcham did not have Puppy K. We did not socialize him like we did Sadie and Oliver and Mac. And yet Mitcham still hasn't met a stranger. He is so friendly and welcoming. Granted he DOES bark and cause a fuss when someone knocks on the door, but that is expected of him....well...and the corgis bark like crazy too! So what makes him so different?
Early puppy socialization!!
The breeder who had them from 4 weeks until 10 weeks of age put new toys and objects in their xpens every day that made new sounds and felt different. She took them places and held them certain ways many times a day. When I have a litter of puppies this is the method I am doing. What amazing dogs. She said its partly from her training and partly from the genetic history of her line of dogs...they all have good temperaments.
What about Justice? He is just as happy as Ell and very friendly. We did not get a chance to do puppy K with him either and it shows. He barks at every dog out there but the more shows and more kennel club visits that we do, the better he is getting. Day 1 of the National he barked at every dog...by the end of the week....hardly a peep. I think it helped he got to play rough with Darby the Vallhund and Carly the Cardigan :)
Time will tell how he is. He's never met a human stranger and will never be like Oliver as we did got to trips to town, visited friends, and he played and met many different dogs....just not at the KC or dog shows.
So what's my point?
You are responsible for your own dogs behaviors. Yes it can be genetic but you can ruin a good personality by keeping them cooped up or coddling them or being too rough with them. And you can make a bad personality worse.
Its not my fault your dog has issues, my dogs are fine and are ignoring your dog, so stop making excuses and take responsibilty for your own dog:)