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  #91 (permalink)  
Old 12-02-2012, 03:36 PM
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A Golden does not need a "mean streak" to subdue a goose, it needs to know its job and be willing to do it. Courage and attitude do not necessarily combine to make "mean." After killing the goose, the dog must naturally bring it back in its mouth without leaving a mark, that is not a dog with a "mean streak." Hostility toward prey seems to be to a meaningless idea since the ability to subdue prey is actually prey drive and has no necessary relationship to the dog's attitude about anything else.

The first sentence of the standard states in part (and before "primarily a hunting dog") displaying a kindly expression and possessing a personality that is eager, alert and self-confident. I believe the "displaying a kindly expression" implies that the dog is kind and kindness includes attributes like gentleness at least.

So the terms used in the standard to describe temperament are KINDLY, EAGER, ALERT, SELF-CONFIDENT, FRIENDLY, RELIABLE and TRUSTWORTHY. no suggestion of meanness or nastiness.
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  #92 (permalink)  
Old 12-02-2012, 04:13 PM
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The field pro that we train under says that, of the retrieving breeds, the goldens are the least likely to start a dog fight....and the most likely to see it thru to the end if one does start.
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CH Rosewood Little Giant, UDX VER RA MHU SH MXP MJP XFP T2BP DJ VCX WCX CCA CGC FFX-OG (born 3-10-2007), also UCH HR UUD UJJ URO1 UHIT a.k.a. "Tito" (the Tito Monster)

waiting at the bridge:
My first dog, and my most special girl
Gibson's Golden Girl, CD, CGC, TDI ( 3-20-1997 - 11-22-2013) a.k.a. "Tiny", "Queen B"
and my heart dog
Gibson's Golden Guy, CD, CGC, TDI ( 01-31-1998 - 01-02-2012) a.k.a. "Toby", "HRH"
run free my sweet, sweet loves, I will love you and miss you forever.
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  #93 (permalink)  
Old 12-02-2012, 04:26 PM
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A Golden does not need a "mean streak" to subdue a goose, it needs to know its job and be willing to do it. Courage and attitude do not necessarily combine to make "mean." After killing the goose, the dog must naturally bring it back in its mouth without leaving a mark, that is not a dog with a "mean streak."

I do believe you have said this better. I would add determination.
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  #94 (permalink)  
Old 12-02-2012, 05:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Selli-Belle View Post

So the terms used in the standard to describe temperament are KINDLY, EAGER, ALERT, SELF-CONFIDENT, FRIENDLY, RELIABLE and TRUSTWORTHY. no suggestion of meanness or nastiness.
Well, read the standard again.

The standard does not say that the dog shall demonstrate NO hostility of any kind. It states the dog should show no hostility towards humans or other dogs.
If you're a duck, pheasant or goose you're perspective is quite different is it not. From the perspective of the prey animal, the dog is extremely hostile, as it should be.

What it comes down to is this, when the dog reaches a wounded bird and the bird flaps and prepares itself for a fight, the dog is presented with a choice. Do I square off and go in after it, or do I shy away and return to the hunter without it. In that split second where the dog is making its decision, critical elements of its temperament are revealed. Are you a hunting dog or not?

There are a LOT of Goldens that will shy away, and return to their handler without attempting to pick up the bird. These dogs do NOT possess correct temperament for a Golden Retriever.
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  #95 (permalink)  
Old 12-02-2012, 06:09 PM
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I think the problem is the negative connotation of the words "mean", "hostile", or "nasty".
I call the traits you are describing "courageous" and "perserverance", not mean nor hostile.
And as you said, a golden certainly must possess both courage and perserverance to be a good hunting dog, and to be true to the original purpose of the breed.
It is sad to see a golden (or lab) refuse to chase down or pick up a cripple.
That's the only time I've seen Tito injure or kill a bird; when it's just wing nicked or barely crippled; but I don't think of it as him being mean or hostile. I think of him doing the job he was sent out to do, which is bring the bird back. If the bird is putting up a big fight and he has to give it the "death squeeze" to get it back, so be it.

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Originally Posted by Swampcollie View Post
Well, read the standard again.

The standard does not say that the dog shall demonstrate NO hostility of any kind. It states the dog should show no hostility towards humans or other dogs.
If you're a duck, pheasant or goose you're perspective is quite different is it not. From the perspective of the prey animal, the dog is extremely hostile, as it should be.

What it comes down to is this, when the dog reaches a wounded bird and the bird flaps and prepares itself for a fight, the dog is presented with a choice. Do I square off and go in after it, or do I shy away and return to the hunter without it. In that split second where the dog is making its decision, critical elements of its temperament are revealed. Are you a hunting dog or not?

There are a LOT of Goldens that will shy away, and return to their handler without attempting to pick up the bird. These dogs do NOT possess correct temperament for a Golden Retriever.
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CH Rosewood Little Giant, UDX VER RA MHU SH MXP MJP XFP T2BP DJ VCX WCX CCA CGC FFX-OG (born 3-10-2007), also UCH HR UUD UJJ URO1 UHIT a.k.a. "Tito" (the Tito Monster)

waiting at the bridge:
My first dog, and my most special girl
Gibson's Golden Girl, CD, CGC, TDI ( 3-20-1997 - 11-22-2013) a.k.a. "Tiny", "Queen B"
and my heart dog
Gibson's Golden Guy, CD, CGC, TDI ( 01-31-1998 - 01-02-2012) a.k.a. "Toby", "HRH"
run free my sweet, sweet loves, I will love you and miss you forever.
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  #96 (permalink)  
Old 12-02-2012, 06:17 PM
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The word mean still doesn't fit. I don't believe hostility fits either.

Predatory skills.
Excellent working hunt and prey drive and will use his/her predatory skills as needed to complete the job intended.
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  #97 (permalink)  
Old 12-02-2012, 08:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Selli-Belle View Post
As to the CCA, I agree it is an extremely valuable teaching tool, but I also think it is a valuable tool for breeding decisions.


Finally, to the point that some dogs people do not think should pass do pass since evaluators do not fail dogs, that is a problem with the evaluator and as time goes by with the club that asks that evaluator to be part of their CCA evaluation. When my girl got her CCA, maybe a third of the dogs that day passed. Granted, the evaluators were known as being sticklers and not at all likely to pass a dog to prevent hurting someone's feelings. One dog failed the temperament portion of the test due to timidity during the individual evaluations.

In short, I think the CCA program is an amazing educational program, but it CAN also be useful as a tool to independently evaluate potential breeding dogs.

Note, although my girl did pass her CCA, I decided not to breed her.
I am not quite sure who said that evaluators won't fail dogs. I absolutely disagree with this. The program was not put out there to give everyone a warm fuzzy feeling. I am an evaluator and if I felt the dog being presented to me did not meet the minimum standards allowed for in the CCA, I would have no problem with not giving the dog a passing score. There are also disqualifications for bite and height, like there are in the standard and of course, for temperament.
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  #98 (permalink)  
Old 12-03-2012, 12:01 PM
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I think what Swampy is trying to get at is not hostility in that sense of a teenager with a chip on their shoulder looking for a fight, but that soldierly attitude of getting the job done--that involves some prey aggression. And I think the other component of the point that he is making is that that sort of drive SHOULD be present in a Golden RETRIEVER, and should be a consideration in making breeding decisions. It is supposed to be a hunting dog, not a lounge-around-on-the-couch dog (although they do excel at that!) And if breeding individuals are being selected for calm passivity then we are losing something that is essential to retaining the characteristics of the breed as a gundog. More and more, I try to select for working drive in my breedings, and I have had people ask, "Well how do you place those dogs in pet homes?" Frankly, I do not place a dog of that breeding solely as a companion. I place them with people who want to do something with them. And when I get inquiries looking for "just a companion for around the house" I am clear that that is not what I am producing, and that it is not what a Golden is meant to be in my interpretation of the standard. It might be what people want, I just don't think it is what the breed is supposed to be. Are my dogs good companions in my home? Yes, but they are because of the training and activity and work that they get, and the same goes for my puppy families now.
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  #99 (permalink)  
Old 12-03-2012, 09:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sterregold View Post
I think what Swampy is trying to get at is not hostility in that sense of a teenager with a chip on their shoulder looking for a fight, but that soldierly attitude of getting the job done--that involves some prey aggression. And I think the other component of the point that he is making is that that sort of drive SHOULD be present in a Golden RETRIEVER, and should be a consideration in making breeding decisions. It is supposed to be a hunting dog, not a lounge-around-on-the-couch dog (although they do excel at that!) And if breeding individuals are being selected for calm passivity then we are losing something that is essential to retaining the characteristics of the breed as a gundog. ...
I have deep respect for all of the breeders who post here, not to mention gratitude that the thread remains a discussion of important issues while still being constructive. And I am struggling to find the right way to say what I feel to compelled to say in response to this. I hope you'll bear with me and not take offense.

Is it time to reconsider the idea that Goldens are "gun dogs"? How many members of the breed actually live that life now? My guess - and it is only that - is that if you polled the GRF members and the thousands who read but do not post, you would find that most Goldens today are pets who hold down a couch...who have never been near a gun and never will... that most retrieve tennis balls, not birds. Is that bad, or is it a reflection of this century instead of the last one? Or at least of urban life in this century? If Goldens continue to be bred as gun dogs, does that mean that more and more will be unsuited to the homes they inhabit and thus end up in shelters? Or do we somehow need to move towards two breeds, one of which is bred for hunters and the other for home life?

I honestly don't know what to make of this, but I hope that nobody will be offended by having the questions asked. I realize that the breed standard belongs to many, many people who are not represented here and that breeders are bound to that standard, but there must be a way to make the standard responsive to the changing needs of the breed and the times.

With abiding love for the dogs and deep respect and regard for all concerned,
Lucy
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  #100 (permalink)  
Old 12-04-2012, 08:31 AM
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Lucy, a very valid question. I believe it was Shelly that wrote an outstanding article that explains why the same traits that make goldens good gun dogs/hunting dogs also make them outstanding family pets. (Sorry if I have the wrong author).
I don't remember a lot of what it said, but things like their intelligence, trainability, gentle mouth, non-reactivity (is that a word?) to loud noises, ability to get along with other dogs (in hunting, they will often be with other dogs they don't know, and they have to get along!), and there was a lot more, make them such great family dogs.
The goldens, as gun/hunting dogs, aren't very reactive to pain. That's pretty valuable around small children who tend to accidentally hurt them. A good hunting dog has an "off" switch, too. Think of a dog in a duck blind, they can't be jumping around, barking, acting like idiots all day. They sit quietly until told to GO, and then they pour their heart out into it until they return with the bird....then they sit quietly again.
Good hunting dogs are pretty quiet. They don't bark endlessly for no reason.
More thoughts....a good hunting dog has to have an outgoing, confident nature. No fearfulness, fear aggression, skittishness, and so on. They are happy, eager, confident dogs if they are going to succeed in the field.
While they are a very mouthy breed, they don't tend to chew up furniture and drywall like some breeds do. They learn easily what is and is not an appropriate chew item. Another characteristic necessary in a good hunting dog.
Even their willingness to retrieve things endlessly makes them wonderful pets, especially for families with children who just love to play with them.
I'm not doing a very good job of explaining this. But the traits that we value in the goldens do derive from their hunting background.
As a final thought, and yes this is going to sound like a brag, but...Tito is a fantastic hunting dog according to the people who have hunted over him. Everyone enjoys him and they often comment that most guys would give a lot to hunt over a dog like him. But he is also the easiest dog I have ever lived with. So yes, in a well bred dog, you certainly can, and should, have the traits that make a fine hunter even if the dog never hunts. And I think of Tito as the "norm" in a well bred golden, not the exception.
Now the dogs being bred to run field trials (which don't resemble hunting very much), well, that's another whole discussion. No where in the golden standard does it say "primarily a field trial dog".
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CH Rosewood Little Giant, UDX VER RA MHU SH MXP MJP XFP T2BP DJ VCX WCX CCA CGC FFX-OG (born 3-10-2007), also UCH HR UUD UJJ URO1 UHIT a.k.a. "Tito" (the Tito Monster)

waiting at the bridge:
My first dog, and my most special girl
Gibson's Golden Girl, CD, CGC, TDI ( 3-20-1997 - 11-22-2013) a.k.a. "Tiny", "Queen B"
and my heart dog
Gibson's Golden Guy, CD, CGC, TDI ( 01-31-1998 - 01-02-2012) a.k.a. "Toby", "HRH"
run free my sweet, sweet loves, I will love you and miss you forever.

Last edited by hotel4dogs; 12-04-2012 at 08:48 AM.
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