Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Ricochet, A tale of nature and nurture

this is a story about the nature/nurture debate. pit bull advocates claim nurture overrides nature with love and humane treatment. this story provides further evidence of their delusion.

Dogs In Service recently blogged about a golden retriever named Ricochet who was bred for service work and raised from birth for service work. Ricochet's genetic hard wiring turned on at 9 months. although Ricochet excelled in her training, her trainer could not discourage her from genetic trait of chasing birds. her owner was smart enough and honest enough to recognize that despite her best efforts, she could not stifle Ricochet's desire to chase birds and released her from the service dog training program. Ricochet went on to do great things, just not as a service dog. watch the video.

dogs are amazing creatures. we owe it to them to appreciate their unique breed traits. we owe it to them to recognize what they are and what they are not. we owe it to them to recognize the power of DNA.

the most recent example of the failure of the love conquers all approach.


Miss Margo said...

WHAT A SWEET VIDEO! Actually made me tear up a little (in a nice way).

Golden Retrievers are awesome. I used to have one. I probably wouldn't have one again--they're too boisterous and high-energy for me...I prefer calm, quiet sighthounds--but I have to say, that Golden was the warmest, happiest dog in the universe. They are comically friendly dogs. It's almost silly, how friendly they are.

Good workers and biddable, too.

Thanks for this vid; it put a smile on my face and it was nice to remember my old dog.

april 29 said...

Tear up a "Little"? Nope, tears streaming down my face.

This is how genuine service dogs are created.

Thanks for sharing this!

Jim Reeve said...

I love dogs with special talents. It's hard to believe that dogs can surf. My old poodle used to ride a skateboard when I was young, but he never rode a wave on a surfboard.

Jewel Jade said...

Thank you for sharing this! I was crying too when I watched it! I watched it twice! What a cool dog! I never thought of it in this way though, in regards to DNA, but HOW VERY TRUE! And a GREAT OBSERVATION! That's awesome!

Anne King said...

very profound on a few levels. Truly an incredible dog. I'm sure zealots would love to be able to lay this kind claim on their breed, but I would society wouldn't qualify that. But for me, the most telling part of this tale, is that the trainer of this dog, had the courage to realize it wasn't possible to force or train this beautiful creature's DNA and breed traits out of it. Now, if we could get zealots to realize that they can't love, train or nurture away their pit's dangerous urges.

Miss Margo said...

Haahaha I just watched the video again and paid attention to the song lyrics. Yes yes, you make us cry!

How do you teach em to surf, I wonder?

Well actually, now that I think of it, my brother hunts ducks with a lab. He can take the dog out on a small boat, and the dog knows to be quiet and still. They wait together.

That dog will work--wait, and then swim and fetch--till it drops. It's weird, that headspace dogs get into when they're working. Genetics, as you all have said. So focused. I find it fascinating.

I also had a whippet mix. Predictably, she loved to run. It was as if it induced ecstasy in her. She was a pretty obedient animal, but sometimes when she started running and really got into it, she wouldn't stop, and she couldn't be called--it was like she couldn't hear your voice. I couldn't let her off leash--I was worried she'd go turbo and not pay attention to her surroundings and get hit by a car.

Pit bulls must be like that when they fight. Remember that "baboons presenting" video? It always irritates me when people say that you "have to teach them to fight." Maybe a bit, but you don't have to teach em a lot. Besides, half the time I see these civilian pit bull owners, and their dogs haven't been trained to do jack--even to stay off the furniture. It's a miracle the owners can operate can openers. How are they going to teach a dog to be aggressive?

The New Yorker recently ran a pretty good article about law enforcement dogs. You can read it here: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/02/27/120227fa_fact_bilger

cinnamon2005 said...

My old dog trainer used to do agility with her goldens. Then she met my Mastiff and now breeds and shows Mastiff's.
As far as nature vs nuture...Rachael Ray nulls and voids that arguement as far as pits are concerned.

scurrilous amateur blogger said...

pit bulls are bred and conditioned to fight. they are not "taught" to fight.