Nat. Geographic program about dogs

HandyMacDecember 24, 2007

I watched this program---covered the genetic reasons mankind can easily alter canines genetically as well as why dogs interact differently with humans than cats or primates.

There are some major differences in dog behavior from what I learned just 45 years ago---and what I have experienced. The programs also underlined the problems inbreeding has caused in breeds----saying basically inbreeding is the cause of most of the problems found in purebred dogs---one of the few things that I learned early on in my education about dogs.

I found the program to be extremely informative and interesting, as it explained how much dogs have been changed in just decades---their abilities and their interaction with humans.

Then I watched a program where the Dog Whisperer worked with a former ATF dog who had had what basically amounted to a total nervous breakdown. Say what you will about Cesar---he brought that dog back from being a useless nervous wreck to being a productive and happy animal. The program did accentuate for me the necessity of allowing even working dogs to be able to be just dogs at regular intervals----and the nesessity for the pack to be included in dogs lives. For people who do not think the pack works, seeing Gavin(The Golden in the episode) get to reunion with two of the dogs he grew up with was impressive. He almost immediately reverted to the puppy/adolescent behavior he and those other two exhibited while growing up together----6+ years earlier.

Both programs made me realize dogs are much more changeable than I realized----and mankind can actually selectively breed super dogs---as the Russian dogs bred for bomb detection illustrated.

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fancifowl

A comment on inbreeding.

Its easy for someone to cite inbreeding as being a bad genetic tool. That's just wrong. Poor judgement in selected genetics IS a bad practice, proper genetic selection and proper culling is responsible .

I have been witness to poor inbreeding practices and I have practiced proper inbreeding , there is a world of difference. In wild animals selection is made by natural means, the strong live, the weak die, simple. When humans are involve they become the force which determiones which individuals survive and contimue the gene pool, good or bad.Its been my experience that random matings are more harmful than matings selected by reason.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2007 at 12:30PM
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sheltiemom

What was the name of the program?

    Bookmark   December 24, 2007 at 2:46PM
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HandyMac

The information presented in the Nat. Geo program stated scientists have mapped the canine genome---and the difference between a St. Bernard and a chihuahua is controlled by .02% of the genes----you cannot tell me you can selectively inbreed over 30 years without creating problems.

I have seen problems develop in many breeds---displaysia in GSD and other breeds, large swings in temperment(cocker spaniels), blindness, deafness, and other problems----all from inbreeding on a much larger scale than one breeder.

The reason dogs have hundreds of breeds now is because humans have used selective breeding to develop those differences. When that selective breeding is limited to a few individual animals from a single line----sooner or later problems will arise. Now, by culling the obvious problems, that inevitabiltiy can be extended. But the genes are still being recombined and unseen, undetected gene ems are being passed and replicated. At some point, those genes will become evident---simplr mathmatical probabilitiy guarantees it.

If you persist in claiming you can best Mother Nature, you are fooling yourself.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2007 at 2:57PM
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dobesrule

To a degree you both have good points. Inbreeding is the fastest way to fix desirable traits, but it's also a fast way to fix undesirable traits.It takes a very knowledge person to pull it off but even then most choose to line breed, mating aunts uncles and grand parents to fix the good traits while still maintaining some room for genetic variation.

While I agree with you about the GSD, breeding for that ugly roached back and hip set I believe contributed greatly to the incidence of hip displaysia in the breed the other problems you mention are just as likely to come about because of lack of selective breeding. When a breed becomes very popular people don't think about whether fido is a good healthy, mentally sound representative of the breed. They only see dollar signs. For example someone I work with has a Pit Bull that is going blind from a genetic condition. She informed the person she got the dog from. Didn't want him to do anything, just let him know about it. He is still breeding the dogs that my co-workers came from. Her son got very angry when she had the dog spayed, he wanted to breed her even knowing that it was genetic. What ever happened to the puppies wasn''t his problem. They just don't get it. All they see are dollar signs.

Lisa

    Bookmark   December 25, 2007 at 4:12PM
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nancyinmich

Handymac,you and I spent the day watching the same programs! My DH joined me part way through and commented that the episode of the Dog Whisperer showed him to have a side that even positive reinforcement believers could admire.

Here is the show with a discussion of dog genetics:

Explorer: Science of Dogs [TV-G Ratings N/A]
Sunday, December 30, 2007, at 03P
The dog is one of mankinds prolific creatures. With 400 breeds and counting, the dog is more varied in size and behavior than any other species on the planet. NGC looks at mans evolutionary manipulation of dogs appearance, talents and temperament and the accelerating efforts to create breeds to suit our needs (more than 80 percent of todays breeds did not exist 150 years ago).

    Bookmark   January 8, 2008 at 12:17AM
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buyorsell888

I saw both programs and thought they were both very interesting.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2008 at 10:52PM
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